(November 10, 2014)

Student selected for Emerging Artist Gallery

SHREVEPORT, LA — The artistic works of Centenary student and studio art major Nolan H. Simmons '15 have been selected for exhibit at the Emerging Artist Gallery at the Bossier Arts Council in Bossier City, Louisiana.

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Finding the Clarity in Chaos by Nolan Simmons

"I have about 10 pieces on display now until November 30," said Simmons. "This is my first gallery show of only my things. It's really exciting."

Simmons's interest in art intensified in recent years as coursework and internships with professor of art Bruce Allen exposed him to the personalities, ideas, and physical objects of contemporary art and theory.

"Nolan's inquisitive and industrious nature has made him a perfect partner for two summers with me in our Student/Faculty Summer Research program," said Allen. "He always goes beyond the classroom to communicate his enthusiasm for integrating art and design into public and personal projects."

Allen and Simmons have spent two summers in Cheyenne, Wyoming, working the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days Western Art Show where Allen was been the art consultant for the last 35 years. Back in Louisiana, Allen also included Simmons in a project on the interior of the new courthouse in Arcadia.

Simmons, who is coincidentally a talented mathematician, has focused his artistic concepts heavily on the ideas of geometry and ideal proportions. He explains he grew up wanting to be an architect or even an engineer because of his propensity for math. Eventually, however, Simmons recognized art as a field that would allow him to combine many of his strengths and hone his talents.

"When I tell people how much I love math and art, they usually don't see how they are related," said Simmons. "But art is all about proportion, and proportion is nothing but math. I like to play with all these ideal proportions that are seen in nature through the golden ratio. All the greatest artists were completely aware of these ratios."

In his artist statement, Simmons explains how symbols like the Flower of Life, the Fibonacci sequence, Metatron's cube, and fractal geometry govern the physical world.

"I use these naturally occurring symbols in my art because they are evolutionarily successful and thus, extremely beautiful, attractive, and healing in nature," states Simmons. "Because my artwork contains patterns that occur everywhere in the universe, people from every walk of life can see it as attractive—the patterns in my work are subconsciously recognized by all individuals."

As Simmons has learned more about proportions and their ancient origins, he has grown interested in applying his passion and talents toward gardening.

"If you design a garden using these proportions, you will utilize space in the most efficient way," said Simmons. "With food insecurity, not everyone has access to the food that they need to live a sustainable life. I have been working with community gardens in Shreveport through my community service class to push for using geometry in gardening to create the most efficient spaces so whole neighborhoods can be fed."

Upon graduation, Simmons is considering participating in a program through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) to learn more about sustainable living and gardening practices. He then hopes to bring his vision back to Shreveport to cultivate a community garden initiative through which every neighborhood in the region would cultivate community gardens to grow shareable produce.

Simmons' senior art exhibition will double as a kick-off for his new organization, LoCo—Local Collaborations. LoCo Fest (Local Collaborations Festival) will be on Thursday, April 2, 2015 at the Shell Amphitheater on Centenary's campus. Simmons promises live music, painting, illustration, performance, and food and drink vendors.

Artists are considered for the Emerging Artist Gallery if their work has been in fewer than six exhibitions. Applicants may submit their artist statement, biography, and three to five photographs of work each March for consideration.

For more information about the Bossier Arts Council, visit bossierarts.org or call 318.741.8310. Bossier Arts Council is located at 30 Barksdale Blvd, Bossier City, Louisiana.