Join us for a book signing with Expressions of Place: The Contemporary Louisiana Landscape author John R. Kemp, and artists Rhea Gary, Libby Johnson and Charles Smith.
Expressions of Place: The Contemporary Landscape, published by the University Press of Mississippi, is a journey through the rural and urban landscape of Louisiana through the eyes, imaginations and talents of thirty-seven artists located across the state. Many are acclaimed professionals whose paintings are included in major private and public collections regionally and nationally, while others have found their followings closer to home. All, however, are driven to express their impressions of the land with artistic styles that range from traditional representational imagery to the symbolic and almost totally abstract. Yet, each is an interpretation of a landscape that ranges from dark cypress shrouded bayous and the gritty streets of inner city New Orleans to vast wind swept coastal marshes and piney hills of North and Central Louisiana.
Expressions of Place is not an encyclopedia, catalogue or history of the visual arts in Louisiana, though it does include an introductory essay, placing these contemporary artists and their work in historical context to earlier ages. More importantly, Expressions provides readers with individual essays and biographical sketches in which the artists themselves, and in their own words, give insight as to what they paint, how they paint, where they paint, why they are drawn to the Louisiana landscape, and what they are saying in their interpretations of that landscape. In a sense, the artists themselves are speaking to readers.
In a sense, Expressions of Place is as much about the landscape of the artists’ imaginations as it is about the land itself. With each painting, they have created visual poetry and sonnets to the land and the environment that have become so much a part of their lives.
About the author
John R. Kemp, the former deputy director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, has written hundreds of articles about Louisiana and Southern artists for numerous regional, national and international magazines, including, among others, ARTnews (New Orleans Correspondent), American Artist, Arts & Antiques, The Artist’s Magazine, New Orleans Magazine, Plein Air Magazine, Country Roads and Louisiana Life. The New Orleans native covers the New Orleans art scene for WYES Public Television’s weekly show, Steppin’ Out. The former New Orleans Times-Picayune staff writer also has written, edited and contributed chapters to seventeen books on Louisiana art and history, including A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana for which he served as associate editor and co-author. Expressions of Place: The Contemporary Louisiana Landscape is his most recent book.