These are a few photos from opening night for the “Face to Face” exhibition at LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans. Artists represented by the gallery as well as a few new artists have created their own interpretation of portraiture, ranging from the traditional to the abstract. The show is up now through July 29th, so there’s still time to see the exhibit.
I’ve just finished both paintings previously featured while in progress. Pervasive and Sentiencewill both be on exhibit for the opening at LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans tomorrow (June 3, 2017). Pervasive has been a long time in the making. I’m sometimes asked if living in Louisiana affects my work. Given that my work deals with the welfare of our planet, many of the issues that Louisiana faces (habitat loss, flooding, BP oil spill, hurricanes) are something that I cover but on more of a global scale. Pervasive is one of the most direct pieces I’ve done, focusing on the conservation of Louisiana wildlife and wetlands. The BP oil spill not only affected the wildlife of Louisiana, but it continues to affect the wildlife of rest of the world to this day as bird and sea animals continue to migrate. It may be asking a lot of a painting, but I hope that it has a big impact.
Sentience was specifically created for the “Face to Face” exhibit opening at LeMieux Galleries. The exhibit features a range of interpretations of portraiture. In Sentience, the butterflies represent the beauty and fragility of life, while the third eye represents enlightenment. The eye is a human eye, referring to the fact that we are all members of the animal kingdom, and can see a bit of ourselves in the personalities of other animals. Sentience is an acrylic on canvas, 6″wide by 6″high.
Both paintings will be on view tomorrow, June 3rd for the opening reception from 6-8pm. The exhibit will remain up through July 29th, 2017.
I’m happy to announce that I was recently invited to participate in an upcoming exhibit at the Amelia Center Gallery at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida. The exhibition is titled “Menagerie” and it focuses on animals, covering a wide range of topics from environmental concerns, to societal constructs, to self-examination, to the pure celebration of nature. It will run from Feb. 3- March 3rd, 2017.
I will have work in the upcoming “Emerging to Established” group exhibition at Krause Gallery in New York, NY in January 2017. The exhibit opens January 7th, 2017 with a reception from 6-8pm and will remain up through January 31st.
I’m happy to announce that I was recently interviewed by the Mother Nature Network for a feature on their site. Starre Vartan asked me about my work and the connection to animals and ecological welfare. Here is just a sample of what we discussed:
MNN: In Our Veins is dominated by horses, deer, bears, wolves, rabbits, cows and humans. Why these animals?
AG: I feel like a lot of these animals blur the line between what would be considered domestic and what would be considered wild. As more wild habitat is being encroached upon by new houses and shopping malls, these animals are being forced out of their homes and find themselves having to adapt to this new urban landscape. They are wild, yet at the same time, people either think of them as cute nomads or dangerous intruders, depending on the species.
I’ll use cows because I feel like they are the epitome of the agribusiness animal. They are used for meat, dairy, and leather, and it’s because of them that forests are cleared and “predatory” animals are killed — all for the sake of ranching.
As for incorporating humans, I do so to emphasize that we are all part of the animal kingdom. I’ll sometimes combine a human with another animal to illustrate that connection. Other times, I may just paint the human brain as a symbol of sentience and our moral obligation to the welfare of these animals.
My work was recently published on the cover and inside The Journal literary magazine. My painting Vital is wrapped around the front and back cover while several other paintings from my In Our Veins series are inside. In addition, there is an interview in which I’d like to share just one of the questions because I think it’s an important one:
SS: Is there anything you can tell me about this work that someone who doesn’t have expertise might not see or appreciate?
AG: I think people need to realize this: they are much more astute when it comes to art than they give themselves credit for. True art will elicit an emotional response from someone, whether it’s a positive or negative reaction. For those that enjoy my work, they often tell me that something resonates with them. It may not be exactly what I expect the viewer to respond to, but it’s in the ballpark. There have been times when someone finds my work “dark” and therefore they are unsure of it. I would still consider that an accurate response because I deal with some tough issues in my work. Animals are beautiful, nature is beautiful, and I’m trying to create something that is beautiful but at the same time sends a message. Either way, I want to draw attention to these issues and inspire others to take action, even if it’s just small changes because every little bit helps. That’s the takeaway I hope for when anyone looks at my work, whether they have an art degree or not.
This is a 30-second clip from my Artist Talk at LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans. No matter how many times I have to speak in public, it’s always terrifying. Which is why I often think that the things I don’t want to do, are probably the things that I should do. Side note: this Saturday (Sept. 24th) is the last day to catch this exhibit!
This week is the last week of my exhibit at LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans. My series, In Our Veins, is on view in the Main Gallery of LeMieux now through September 24th. You can also catch Lee Deigaard’s series, Near and Far.
I’ve had some great response to this body of work, including a feature in American Art Collector Magazine’s September 2016 issue. And Paul Bentley of the New Orleans magazine, Where Y’At, gave me a great review stating: “…Her dreamlike landscapes with animal, human, and natural forms mixing and dancing with each other create beautiful images that seem to be more than just a mere neo-surrealist tribute to Dali or O’Keefe. Her paintings create a dialogue with her obvious predecessors and influences, but they retain an original, calming, eerie, and downright intelligent attitude to them.”
More information on this exhibit can be found on LeMieux’s website.
My painting Preservation is featured on the current cover of the Denver Quarterly. Aside from being on the cover, I’m also happy to have another opportunity to get the message out regarding animal and ecological welfare. The circle of leaves was an image that came to mind before falling asleep, and I made note of it in my sketchbook. Using the leaves to replace the head (which is in keeping with some recent paintings where I use landscapes or trees in place of heads), represents the connection of all life forms. Nature is so much a part of us that I freely use trees or landscapes in place of heads or limbs, just to emphasize that connection and significance.
The small lot of land the deer stands on is in reference to our dire need to conserve wild land and forests. The natural space is shrinking due to deforestation. All the more reason to plant trees and support organizations that preserve natural habitats.
In many of my paintings, I use the eyes and facial expressions of animals to convey a sense of connection and relatability, but lately I’ve been doing the opposite and feature animals without faces or covered faces. I’ve been exploring the idea of Anonymity vs. Connection- without seeing their faces, does that make them any less personable or meaningful? And how does this apply on a global scale?
I’m a vegan artist living in “Sportsman’s Paradise.” For those that don’t know, that would be Louisiana. Not exactly a pleasant state nickname if you are a vegan. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to live a vegan lifestyle here and have even made a niche for myself as an artist. And I actually like living here… though I could do without the humidity. So how is this possible, you may ask.
For starters, being a vegan, environmental artist is no harder than any other artist. Art is supposed to make a statement, and it’s not going to be something everyone necessarily agrees with. So the fact that my work is influenced by my personal beliefs, is not any different than any other artist creating work about what matters most to them. And galleries are choosy about what they show regardless, so again, it doesn’t matter if you’re a vegan artist or not.
Louisiana is known for it’s food, unfortunately none of that involves tofu. Yet. So, yes, that is bothersome for me, but it doesn’t stop me from living here. If anything, it just gives me more reason to keep doing what I do. Add to that the BP oil spill, hurricanes, and wetland loss, I have even more reason to be here and speak up for our animals and our environment.
I have met some resistance, but I don’t know any vegan that hasn’t, so I wouldn’t say that’s exclusive to Louisiana. Usually it comes from older family members that have no filter. A lot of people seem to be coming around, while others tolerate it but don’t understand it. I’ve been a vegan for 17 years now and have seen a definite shift in the mindset of the general population. For starters, most people now know how to correctly pronounce vegan and might know someone that is. A lot are open to at least trying vegan recipes. (Everyone loves my dinner parties!) And some are starting to become aware of the huge environmental impact that factory farming has on our planet.
Overall, I’ve had a very positive response to my art, both in and outside of Louisiana, which is promising for many reasons. I would love to see more vegans here, but I’m sure a lot of people would say the same about where they live, too. In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing what I do. With every painting, I have another opportunity to reach out to the world, and inspire them to do more for animals and the planet. And on that note, it’s time to get back to the studio.