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.
One of the most popular questions I get about my art is what influences me as an artist. I could give a long list of disparate things, but really the biggest influence is nature. From a young age, I was concerned about the welfare of the planet, as well as animal welfare. Recycling and purchasing eco-friendly, cruelty-free products became a way of life for me.
Eventually a trip to the university library would lead to a significant change in my life. I came across a book about the the conditions of slaughterhouses and the horrible consequences they have on not only animals, but the workers, and the planet as well. Thinking this was a fluke, I looked for more information. After a lot of additional research, I kept finding the same horrible accounts, over and over again. I immediately became a vegetarian. A few years later I decided to take it up a notch and become a vegan.
By the time I started painting professionally, my artwork was becoming more surreal but also heavily influenced by my concern for the environment and animal welfare. I always used my art as a platform for raising awareness and asking questions, but I was looking to challenge myself even more both technically and conceptually. My current body of work, “In Our Veins,” explores the connections between all life forms and the process of the life cycle. This includes the interdependence of the human race to each other and to the rest of the animal kingdom, as well as the planet itself.
As my work reaches new audiences, there is a new opportunity for a dialogue between my art and the viewer. From there, maybe it will inspire them, get them questioning, or thinking about how they can bring forth positive change in the world.
I’ve made some progress on my most recent painting. I finally finished the water (and tested my patience!), and am currently working on the cow. The finished piece will be featured here soon. In the meantime, view the series this painting will be a part of here: http://amyguidry.com/wild_west.html.
I’ve been diligently working on a new painting for my In Our Veins series. This is the outline sketch on canvas before adding layer upon layer of paint. The size is 12″ wide by 6″ high. I’ll be adding more photos here soon, in the meantime, view the remaining series online here: http://amyguidry.com/wild_west.html.
Coming up as of next week is the “Enigma” exhibit at The Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The show is curated by Kelli Scott Kelley and consists of works by Jamie Baldridge of Lafayette, Louisiana; Mark Cervenka of Houston, Texas; Joshua Chambers of Bosier City, Louisiana; Amy Guidry of Lafayette, Louisiana; Todd Hines of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Debbie Kupinsky of Appleton, Wisconsin; and Karey Rawitscher of the Czech Republic. The opening reception is October 17th from 6-8pm and the exhibit will remain up through November 22nd, 2013.
I’ve recently added two new paintings to my In Our Veins series. The first is The Ties That Bind, an acrylic on canvas, 6″ wide by 12″ high and is available through Wally Workman Gallery in Austin, TX. Next is a new small painting, Full Circle, also acrylic on canvas, and is 4″ x 4″ square. Both paintings deal with the life cycle and how everything eventually becomes part of the earth, continuously nourishing and fostering new life. We often forget that everything has a role in nature, which The Ties That Bind serves as a reminder of this. Every species is connected and to remove one creates a domino effect leading back to us. Get a better view of each painting here www.amyguidry.com/ties_that_bind.html and www.amyguidry.com/full-circle.html.