It’s not every day you see a pig in glasses.
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s show is back after a hiatus in 2015. It runs through April 18 and features work by artists from 38 states, Israel and Canada.
“I was looking at the relationship between animals and humans in their work,” says Mayers, who selected the pieces for the show. “And I was interested in how their work personified animals.”
Placing a pair of glasses on a pig and naming him “Mr. Magoo” gives him human qualities, making him look more like author Truman Capote than an oinker.
“The titles are always interesting, and the stories behind the work is interesting, too,” Mayers says.
Take Baton Rouge artist Lori Moshman’s “Invicta: The Undefeated,” for instance. The piece depicts the silhouette of a dog sniffing around a tall ant hill.
The medium is rough and unfamiliar, but makes sense as the story unfolds.
“Her dog stepped into a nest of fire ants,” Mayers says. “She poisoned the nest and gathered the nest and ants after they died. That’s what she used to make the picture.”
It also personifies the story in a way no other medium could.
Other local artists in the show include Mary White, a fourth-year vet school student, who offers a dizzying, dazzling piece in colored pencils called “From the Same Tree,” while artist Krista Roche focuses on birds in her “Patterns of Diversity.”
Baton Rouge artist Kathy Miller Stone’s watercolor painting “Crazy ’bout the Tigers” will appeal to LSU fans and cat lovers alike. The painting shows a cat in a tangle of newspaper sports pages recounting an LSU Tigers football game.
Artist Jim Jeansonne, of Baton Rouge, created a rocking horse who goes by the name of “Warrior.”
Meanwhile, Mobile, Alabama, artist Baba Scaturo took a storybook approach to tell the story of his ceramic sculpture, “Roadtrip.”
“It’s a different take on the ‘Tortoise and the Hare,’” Mayers says.
The hare sits atop the tortoise’s shell flashing a Disneyesque smile while dangling several carrots in front of the tortoise. But does it make the tortoise move faster? Probably not as he is clearly distracted by his viewers.
Then there’s Warrenton, Virginia, artist Mary Cornish’s vulture portrait, “Barrister.” The painting is framed much like an old family portrait, which somehow enhances the vulture’s stern expression.
“I see this vulture as a baron or a baroness,” Mayers says. “It’s stoic, and I was attracted to the texture. It’s almost as if you could reach out and touch it and feel the feathers.”
The competition drew 381 entries from 202 artists. “I think there’s something everyone can relate to in this show,” Mayers says. “If everyone walks out of here smiling, then I’ve done my job.”
All of the pieces in the show are for sale with 20 percent of the proceeds benefitting the vet school.
One piece will receive a $1,000 Best of Show award, and another will be chosen to appear on the cover of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Follow Robin Miller at @rmillerbr.