Simon Gunning: Drawings and Paintings from the Gulf

Exhibition Dates: March 4 – April 22, 2006
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 4th, 6 – 8 pm
Location: Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm
Contact Info: 504.522.1999;

The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present “Drawings and Paintings from the Gulf,” an exhibition of recent work by Louisiana landscape painter Simon Gunning. The exhibition will be on view from March 4th to April 22nd at the Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia Street. The artist will be present at the opening reception hosted by the gallery on Saturday, March 4th from 6 to 8 pm.

Simon Gunning, Study for Blue Rigolets, 2005. Pen and ink on paper; 34 x 46 1/2 inches, 41 1/4 x 53 3/4 in (framed).

Simon Gunning, Study for Blue Rigolets, 2005. Pen and ink on paper; 34 x 46 1/2 inches, 41 1/4 x 53 3/4 in (framed).

A native of Australia, Simon Gunning has lived in New Orleans’ Bywater area for over twenty-five years. “As a youth, I received a scholarship to leave the Victorian School of Art in Australia and attend an art school in London,” Gunning recalls. “My flight to London had a layover in the U.S. I never even made it to England.” Beginning with his first weekend living in the New Orleans, Gunning has traveled regularly to the Gulf of Mexico to explore the region’s coastline, including its many estuaries and bogs. During these expeditions, he discovered that the area is often littered with wreckage of the maritime industry. Before losing his sailboat last fall to Hurricane Katrina, Gunning frequently sailed down the Mississippi and out to the Gulf’s barrier islands, particularly Cat Island.

In his recent work, usually begun on location near the mouth of the river, the artist again shows his appreciation for this locale’s light and color. “For me, the measure of an artist is his or her ability to render forms directly from nature,” says Gunning.

Gunning’s intricately composed oil paintings on canvas capture the industrial essence and startling commercial ambiance that extend along the Gulf near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Artifacts of the maritime and fishing industry, particularly wrecked boats, are hauntingly central in several paintings included in the exhibition. His mastery of brushwork and composition is particularly evident in the magnificent large diptych The Entrance. A number of Gunning’s drawings on paper in the exhibition are studies for oil paintings and were completed while the artist was in Florida in exile from last fall’s hurricanes.

Born in 1956 in Sydney, Australia, Simon Gunning currently lives and works in New Orleans. From 1976 to 1978 he studied painting and drawing at the National Gallery School of Art, Victorian College of Art in Melbourne. In 1999 Gunning was awarded a Visual Artist Fellowship by the Louisiana Division of the Arts. His work is exhibited both nationally and internationally, and has been included in many distinguished public and private collections including the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.