Art center hosts traveling exhibit

It’s shocking, really. Hordes of brightly colored and dark beetles scrambling up the walls and disappearing into the air-conditioning vents at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas.

There’s unchecked prairie grass coming up through the floor of ASC’s International Paper Gallery, but upon further inspection, it’s only the fanciful imaginings of Little Rock artist Joli Livaudais.

It’s part of the traveling exhibit, “Paper Routes–Women to Watch in 2021,” that includes two of Livaudais’ installations, and is sponsored by the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and Simmons Bank. The ASC exhibit runs through Aug. 14 and, really, it’s not to be missed.

It’s a “delightful, whimsical” world, said Matthew Howard, the center’s visitors relations coordinator.

Livaudais’ two large, multi-piece works are part of the state traveling exhibit’s “Paper Routes–Women to Watch in 2021,” that features Livaudais and the work by three other Arkansas artists, Kim Brewer, Linda Nguyen Lopez and Suzannah Schreckhise.

The ASC exhibit was guest curated by Allison Glenn of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

ONE ARTIST STANDS OUT

Livaudais”https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrXgSJ8lAZh3AQAdEXQtDMD;_ylu=Y29sbwNncTEEcG9zAzIEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Ny/RV=2/RE=1627849980/RO=10/RU=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.arkansasonline.com%2Fnews%2F2021%2Faug%2F01%2Fart-center-hosts-traveling-exhibit%2F/RK=2/”All That I Love,” includes hundreds of beetles unexpectedly crawling up the walls to the ceiling, while in “Imperata Grassland” wild grasses sprout from the walls and floor of the International Paper Gallery. While not a traditional sculpture piece but more of an installation — never mind the verbiage — in its entirety, it creates movement, shape and holds the interest of the viewer.

“Kids love it,” Howard said while picking up one of Livaudais’ Egyptian style origami scarab beetles that visitors are allowed to touch.

The scarabs in the exhibit are hand-crafted from photographs, kobo paper, aluminum foil and other materials.

The reason for the scarabs, Livaudais said, “While they are creatures of hidden and dark places, they create new life from detritus and feces, and they can be gloriously colorful and vibrant.”

In “Imperata Grassland,” she again relies on photographs to add a personal, just haunting aspect to the piece. As a surprise, a few scarabs from “All That I Love” cross the gallery, invading “Imperata Grassland.”

Basically, she used paper and photographs taken “during a dark time in my life” to fashion complex pieces of art, Howard said about the artists’ exhibition goals.

Livaudais said in an artist statement about the piece, “The installation refused to be predictable or contained and flows from floor to the walls and ceiling.”

This piece is representative of the connection and shared human experience of both suffering and joy, she said.

MORE ABOUT THE PAPER

Paper Routes’ theme — paper — was chosen by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and required artists to use the medium inventively.

According to the NMWA’s Arkansas State Committee’s website, “Artists use paper not merely as a support for drawings, prints, or photographs, but as a medium itself.”

The works range in size from “minutely detailed, small-scale works to large, sculptural installations, this exhibition explores artists’ ability to transform paper into a surprising array of shapes and structures,” the website states.

Livaudais is an associate professor of art and teaches photography at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Department of Art and Design.

She was selected to represent Arkansas in the sixth Paper Routes–Women to Watch exhibition that opened June 25 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

The ASC exhibit is a chance for locals to catch a glimpse of her work, Howard said. It closes Aug. 14.

Matthew Howard, the visitors relations coordinator at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, studies Arkansas artist Joli Livaudais’ 'All That I Love' installation at ASC. Livaudais was selected to represent Arkansas in the sixth Women to Watch 2021: Paper Routes exhibition that opened June 25 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. (Special to The Commercial/Deborah Horn)

Matthew Howard, the visitors relations coordinator at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, studies Arkansas artist Joli Livaudais’ ‘All That I Love’ installation at ASC. Livaudais was selected to represent Arkansas in the sixth Women to Watch 2021: Paper Routes exhibition that opened June 25 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. (Special to The Commercial/Deborah Horn)

Scarabs appear to be on the ceiling at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. The image is part of the installation by artist Joli Livaudais. (Special to The Commercial)

Scarabs appear to be on the ceiling at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. The image is part of the installation by artist Joli Livaudais. (Special to The Commercial)

Robert G. Mull

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