Meadows Museum Showcases Corporate Art Collection of Commercial National Bank

Contact: Judy Godfrey, Meadows Museum

The Shreveport Art Guild opens the fall art scene at Centenary' s Meadows Museum of Art with contemporary art from the Corporate Art Collection of Commercial National Bank in Shreveport. Opening August 25 and on view through November 3, the CNB Corporate Collection presents a variety of artistic expressions considered contemporary art. Many kinds of media and diverse modes of expression are emphasized. Commercial National Bank is the corporate sponsor for this major exhibition of 55 art works by 46 artists.

Commercial National Bank purchased the art to celebrate the opening of its Commercial Center Tower in 1987. An art consultant from Houston spent two years researching professional artists and selecting contemporary images as expressions of CNB's commitment to future growth of the Ark-La-Tex.

More than half of the artists represented in the collection are from Shreveport, with Clyde Connell being the senior artist and the best known, receiving international recognition for her work. Other local artists include Don Alexander, David Bradley, Nevelyn Brown, Richard Edwards, Milton Fletcher, Ann Gardner, Lynn Gautier, Sue Gilpin, Michael Harold, Gregg Hornbeck, Lee Jamison, Neil Johnson, Jasmine Morelock, Tama Nathan, Lucille Reed, Nancy Walkup, Glenda Rogers, Elizabeth Wallace, and Jerry Wray. Louisiana artists represented include Clementine Hunter and Terry Weldon of New Orleans.

The media represented includes painting, sculpture, ceramics, fiber, lithography, and etching in such diverse materials as wood, paper mache, fabricated aluminum, burlap, rattan, and charcoal. The art styles range from realism and impressionism to folk art, abstraction, and op art.

The Red River is one of the unifying sources of the Ark-La-Tex. This theme is evident also in the art collection. Centenary College graduate Lee Jamison was commissioned to paint the largest landscape in the CNB collection, Evening Moonrise on the Red River. Portraying a quiet, visual drama in the post impressionism style, the artist uses light and color to show the evening view of the bridge over the Red River. Ann Gardner's textile wall hanging River Rose also celebrates the Red River by portraying a well-known riverboat.

Inner Space Habitat, 1977 by Clyde Connell is from the artist's popular totem series of the 1970s. There is a spiritual quality about this totem which evokes a sheltering sense. It elicits timeless, universal feelings in the viewer. In a statement that reveals the actual meaning of her art, Connell says that she wanted to create a ritual, protected place, of the kind that animals and people make for themselves in nature.

Mrs. Connell lives and works at Lake Bistineau. Much of the artist's materials come from the grounds where she lives. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum at the Smithsonian, the Dallas Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and many other public collections have acquired her works. She will celebrate her 95th birthday in September at a special event at the Meadows Museum.

Lucille Reed's tight, gridlike geometric canvases vibrate to achieve a sense of rhythm. Reed's paintings are restricted to five basic colors.

Contemporary artists are constantly challenging our notion of what art is. The wall pieces of Lynn Gautier transcend the use of such common materials such as mud, sand, acrylic paint, modeling paste, and screen. Dualities, in four sections, is an illustration of strong contrasts: of the open and the closed, of warm and cool colors, of textured and smooth areas, of straight lines and curved lines, and of the covered and revealed wall.

Folk art is a separate tradition in the art world and refers to the work of untrained artists who make art in a very spontaneous and unstudied way. The CNB collection is well represented by The Wedding Party by Clementine Hunter, Milton Fletcher's MaGraws Sawmill in Yazoo, Miss., and William Potts's carved and painted airplane.

Charcoal is an old technique with a long tradition in art history. A modern master of charcoal drawing is Joseph Piccillo. His striking image of a horse in Study #1, 1993 is memorable and bold.

Michael Harold's Art in ASCII is one of the most original works in the collection. Created in 21 small square and circular paintings on handmade paper, the pieces were designed in computer language (binary code) and spells ART. The different styles from art history are represented on the surface of the pieces.

Large color photographs of the outstanding murals in the original 1940s bank will be on exhibit. The 5 original panels, each 8' by 16' were painted by famous Southwest muralist J. Buck Winn, Jr. They depict key elements of Shreveport history and were restored in 1986.

The exhibition offers something for everyone and will be on view through November 3. School groups may be scheduled for tours guided by Museum volunteers. Museum hours are Tuesday - Friday 12-4 and Saturday & Sunday 1-4. Admission is free and the museum is handicapped accessible.