Artistic destinations fill Baton Rouge Gallery’s walls in September with the emphasis on the journeys.
In this case, the journey refers to the processes used to create the work in exhibitions by gallery artists Charles Barbier, Leanne McClurg Cambric, Paul Dean and Scott Finch.
Barbier, Dean and Finch presented gallery talks at the gallery’s monthly ARTiculate program on Sept. 7 to talk about their shows. Though each has a different style and theme, each artist focused on the process.
For Dean, that incorporated collaborations, several with fellow exhibitor Barbier.
Dean is primarily known for his collages, but Barbier brings a different dimension to Dean’s work.
“Charles helped me get over my fear of painting,” Dean says. “My collages are so tight, and painting with Charles helped me to open them up.”
Likewise, Barbier credits Dean with helping in his own exhibit. Barbier collaborated with Dean in creating several paintings for Barbier’s show, “The Sixties,” which brings the themes and imagery of his formative years to his current works.
“But Paul is a professor, and I’m not,” Barbier says. “He taught me a lot about color as we were painting.”
Dean is an associate professor in the LSU School of Art, teaching color theory, typography and graphic design history. He even incorporates color in his exhibit title, “CMYK,” a common abbreviation for the primary colors in printings, cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
The colors take precedence in Dean’s display of time capsule jars filled with found objects. Dean painted objects in each set of jars one of the primary colors, all of them representing the human frailty.
“I collected a lot of these objects from the side of the road,” Dean says. “I’m still collecting. But I think about what another species, whether it’s a species in the future or from another planet, would think of our society if they looked through the items in these jars.”
Collecting is part of the process for Dean, as is self-inquiry for Finch.
Finch exhibits color drawings he created for a magazine article in his show, “Passionflower Mounatin.”
He also shows charcoal drawings he created for his book, “Form and Deed.”
Finch’s journey is found in the charcoal drawings, which come together to create a self-portrait of Finch as an artist.
“After seeing the world through other people’s eyes for too long, I start to become warped and weary, alien to myself,” he writes in the book’s instroduction. “I no longer recognize my own face, and I need to recharge. This is when I head to my studio to sit.”
Finch walks gallery visitors through the process. He closed his eyes, weeded out the ideas, then concentrated on items in his studio, incorporating his own portrait along the way.
“I had to clear out all the garbage,” Finch says. “I started going to the Buddhist temple. It was an inner experience.”
This journey began in the summer of 2013 and ended on Good Friday.
Barbier was a self-taught artist for 15 years before earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from LSU. He also is a veteran of the Vietnam War, a running theme through his work.
Barbier returns to his early artistic beginnings, offering a glimpse into pop culture, social issues and the politics of the 1960s and 70s from a military veteran’s perspective. He also pays tribute to his late professor, abstract expressionist Ida Kohlmeyer, through some abstract works.
“I’m still pretty much a self-taught artist,” Barbier says.
Barbier’s images offer a look into history but Barbier’s life journey.
Wrapping up the September shows is Cambric’s “Capacious.” Cambric has been a gallery artist member since 2005 but was unable to attend the Sept. 7 program because she now teaches at Governors State University in University Park, Florida.
She primarily is known for her ceramics, and her show also deals with the artistic process of imagery from an autobiographical viewpoint.
“Cambric uses practical ceramics to begin a truthful conversation about the strength and resilience of humanity,” her artist’s statement says. “With the metaphorical use of dreamlike animals, Cambric’s works allow the viewer to connect with nature on a unique platform.”
The exhibits run through Thursday, Sept. 25.