Lately, there has been much consternation regarding Louisiana's eroding coastline and its implications for the state and its inhabitants. Big chunks of our coast wash away at an alarming rate and, like many other cataclysms, this resonates in the work of artists as much as scientists and government officials. This is evident in two new shows on Julia Street.
Miranda Lake's encaustic collage paintings are whimsical and poetic, with surreal imagery that falls somewhere between the paradoxical and the decorous. In The Way the Crow Flies, a crow hovers over a wrecked fishing boat adrift on a sea of broken eggshells, an image that resonates in the oblique, metaphoric manner of dreams. As does The Wolf Parade of Summer (pictured), an oversized vintage postage stamp where wolves are silhouetted by a setting sun as they leap across a bleak landscape. Airmail is cheerier, featuring a bevy of those green tropical parrots we see about town transposed to another oversized vintage postage stamp. Lake's vision reflects the "new nature," an unsettled realm of rising tides and climate change where biodiversity sometimes doubles as bio-perversity, and nothing can be taken for granted.
Deedra Ludwig's more traditional paintings hark to the early abstraction of Symbolists such as Odilon Redon, or Whistler's delicate "Japonisme" period. Influenced by shifts in landscapes that were altered by hurricanes, she incorporates materials found on site such as pollen, soil and flowers, working them into the fabric of her oil paintings in an eloquent reminder of nature's resilience and the nascent mini-recoveries that sometimes begin almost immediately after a disaster has struck. — D. Eric Bookhardt
Reclamation: 360 Degrees: New Encaustic Paintings by Miranda Lake
Through Aug. 29
Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400a Julia St., 522-5471
Wild, Cultivated, Fragile: New Paintings by Deedra Ludwig
Through Sept. 27
LeMieux Galleries, 332 Julia St., 522-5988; www.lemieuxgalleries.com