DWELLING BY SILAS BREAUX
November 15-August 31, 2015
The LSU Museum of Art unveiled an art installation from emerging local artist Silas Breaux in the museum’s grand entrance on Saturday, November 15. Breaux was selected from among 20 other artists as the winner of the Museum’s Love Local Art contest.
This contest invited emerging artists from the Greater Baton Rouge area to create an installation for the museum’s J.D. and Patsy R. Lyle lobby as part of Prospect New Orleans, the largest biennial exhibition of international contemporary art in the United States. For the first time, Prospect New Orleans is branching out to Baton Rouge, giving the museum the chance to showcase Breaux’s work in one of the most influential art exhibitions in the country.
Breaux’s installation, entitled Dwelling, reflects the artist’s deep roots in the Baton Rouge community. Breaux revisited Melodia Plantation, the now abandoned childhood home of his late great grandfather, to reflect on how the buildings and landscapes of South Louisiana’s past continue to shape and inform its present.Dwelling meditates on the transient quality of our built environment, and Louisiana’s complicated relationship with its plantation past.
For Dwelling, Breaux photographs fragments of his great grandfather’s former plantation house and transforms these photographs into ethereal sculptural forms. To create these forms, Breaux wraps wooden frames with wax relief printed paper so that they recall the angles and outlines of his great grandfather’s now collapsed childhood home. These print-based sculptural forms will be mounted on walls and surfaces throughout the J.D. and Patsy R. Lyle Lobby.
The earthen tones and organic forms of Breaux’s sculptures explore the ages-old clash between the natural world and our built environment, but they also tell a story particular to Baton Rouge and to Louisiana. Breaux’s great grandfather grew up on Melodia Plantation, located just east of Thibodaux, but spent his entire adult life in Baton Rouge, where Breaux spent much of his childhood. In installing these remnants of this former plantation home in the brand-new modern architecture of the Shaw Center for the Arts, Breaux makes the architecture of Baton Rouge’s modern downtown bear witness to a Louisiana of not so long ago.
The LSU Museum of Art’s Love Local Art contest was funded entirely by the local Baton Rouge community through Kickstarter, a crowd-sourcing funding website which individuals made personal contributions to help support this art contest and provide funding for the selected installation, including a stipend and honorarium for the artist. The project will be unveiled at an opening reception at the museum alongside a series of art installations and events throughout the city to celebrate Prospect New Orleans in Baton Rouge. Please join us for this special reception, and mark your calendars for an artist talk with Breaux on March 26 at 6 p.m.
Dwelling is organized by the LSU Museum of Art and curated by Dr. Katie A. Pfohl.
This project is made possible through the generous support of contributors to the museum’s Kickstarter campaign, including the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, Susie and Carl Blyskal, Renee Chatelain, Nedra Sue Davis, Fran Harvey, Tina Henderson, Gail and Bill O’Quin, Michael Robinson, Donald Boutte', and Katherine Spaht. Promotional materials and reception generously provided by Nadine Carter Russell.
Image credit: Top: Silas Breaux, Melodia Plantation, 2010. Image courtesy of the artist. First above: Silas Breaux, Detail from Dwelling, 2014, Image courtesy of the artist. Second above: Silas Breaux, Illustration of Dwelling Installation, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist. Bottom: Silas Breaux, Melodia Plantation, 2010. Image courtesy of the artist.