Three new exhibits open this month at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, including a showing of Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso works and a locally focused exhibition exploring Louisiana culture through a wide range of artistic media.
“Depictions of Louisiana: From the Permanent Collection of the Hilliard University Art Museum,” “Fashion From Fiction: Romance Novel Dresses” by Carrie Ann Schumacher and “From the Vault: Works on Paper by Dalí and Picasso” all officially launched with a reception Friday at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s art museum.
“Depictions of Louisiana” consists of art pieces created by Louisiana natives or those who have lived or worked here at some time, said Jolie Johnson, museum marketing and membership manager. Those pieces include a painting of a rice field by Elemore Morgan Jr., a photograph of the courir de Mardi Gras by Philip Gould, portraits of Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola inmates by John Ramsey Miller and a colorful abstract sculpture by Ida Kohlmeyer.
“Their work was inspired by Louisiana, so we want others to be inspired as well,” Johnson said. “There’s every form of art in here — there’s paintings, there’s photography, there’s sculpture.”
The exhibit is divided into four categories, each representing an aspect of Louisiana culture, history and people: place, portraits, landscapes and belief.
“Place is the experiences and values you assign to the place you live,” Johnson said. “Portraiture looks at the identity or how you show a person. Belief is religion and faith because that’s something prevalent in south Louisiana culture, especially Catholicism. It’s also what makes us special.”
Accenting the exhibit are quotes from Louisiana writers, such as former Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque, and Louisiana books like the excerpt from John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces.”
“It’s not just visual art but literary art as well,” Johnson said, adding that the quotes may help audience members digest the meaning of the surrounding visual art. “You can find comfort in the woods and translate that back to the artwork.”
“Depictions of Louisiana” runs through Aug. 20.
The museum also will open “Fashion From Fiction: Romance Novel Dresses” by Schumacher, an exhibit of elegant dresses created entirely from novel pages and romance covers to express the relationship between romanticized representations of women in fiction and real life. From a distance, the dresses appear to be made of beige lace and crepe roses.
“She (Schumacher) will strategically place words in certain places to emphasize the way society has imposed what women should look like,” Johnson said.
Upstairs are several pieces pulled from the museum’s collection of Dalí and Picasso for the exhibit “From the Vault: Works on Paper by Dalí and Picasso.”
Gleaned from the artists’ print portfolios of Dalí’s “La Conquete du Cosmos II” and Picasso’s “Femmes et Faunes” are highlights of both artists’ interest in surrealism, an art movement that chose the power of the imagination over rationality and reality.
“These are very different from the melting clocks and the horses with the long legs,” Johnson said of the Dalí prints. “But they are still very whimsical and dreamlike.”
Both the Schumacher dresses and the vault exhibit will run through May 14.The museum will offer Wednesday night programs through the spring in connection with all three exhibits.
For information on the exhibits and a schedule of upcoming events at the Hilliard University Art Museum, visit hilliard museum.org .