The time Paul and I spent in New Orleans recently for Thankgiving happened to overlap with Prospect.1 [P.1], the “largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States”. Spread out at 24 different locations (some standard galleries; others public venues such as schools and churches) art by over 80 contemporary artists is being shown until January 18th. [P.1] takes place all over the city, and since we were without transportation (and busy with family) Paul and I regrettably only got to see the pieces on view at New Orleans’ Contemporary Art Center.
There was a huge stylistic range being shown, but almost everything on display was notable. I did have my favorites though. As far as the two dimensional works were concerned (I’ll fill you in on my film and installation picks in the coming days) I immediatly fell for the massive tapestries of Shawne Major.
Using an at first seemingly chaotic technique similiar to pointalism, Major creates her larger than life tapestries by sewing thousands of “found” objects such as childrens toys and bottle caps onto a fabric base. From close up they seem whimsical, but shallow. A garbled mess. However, by stepping back a new image appears. The swirls of color and shape take on a wholly organic form resembling something close to a topographical map.
Major’s website unfortunately did not have any images of the pieces on view at the C.A.C., but it did have some examples of similiar tapestries. I am mesmerized by following the piece titled Phantasmagoria. I really hate to use the word luscious, but it seems to be the only applicable adjective.
Phantasmogoria ( mixed media tapestry. 108″ X 108″) with detail below.
To see one of Shawne Major’s sculptures click below…
Scared Dragon (mixed media sculpture. (73″ X 111″ X 24″) with detail below.