Bunny Matthews: Before and After

Exhibition Dates: August 6 – September 17, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 6 from 6–9 pm, in conjunction with White Linen Night
Gallery Location: 434 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am–5 pm
Contact Info: 504.522.1999; arthurrogergallery.com

The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present Before and After, an exhibition of drawings by Bunny Matthews. The exhibition will be on view at Arthur Roger@434, located at 434 Julia Street, from August 6 – September 17, 2016. The gallery will host an opening reception on Saturday, August 6 from 6-9 pm in conjunction with White Linen Night.

Vic and Nat’ly’s Nawlins, 1998 | Pen, ink, and colored pencil on paper 11 x 14 inches

Vic and Nat’ly’s Nawlins, 1998 | Pen, ink, and colored pencil on paper 11 x 14 inches

Before and After features Bunny Matthews’ iconic, instantly recognizable cartoons spanning the last 34 years. Meticulously rendered in pen and ink and sometimes colored pencil, the cartoons are drawn in what art critic Eric Bookhardt noted as Matthews’ “traditional post-psychedelic baroque caricature style.”

In 1982, Bunny Matthews created the emblematic characters, Vic and Nat’ly Broussard for the Times-Picayune’s Dixie magazine. Unshaven, beer-drinking Vic and his flamboyant, buxom wife Nat’ly muse about life, local culture and celebrity gossip at their Nint’ Ward home, the local bar or the po-boy shop they own, where they’re often surrounded by a wisenheimer Chihuahua or a talking cockroach. Matthew’s work has since appeared in almost every New Orleans media outlet, including The Times-Picayune, Gambit Weekly, OffBeat, New Orleans magazine, WYES television, and now defunct periodicals Figaro and Wavelength. Two compilations of Vic and Nat’ly were published in the 1980s (now out of print).

For decades, Vic and Natly’s commentaries have amused, and often provoked. Matthews has said that he holds high standards for New Orleans, where he believes most people are too accepting and forgiving. His outspoken style often prompts controversy, yet he remains unapologetic. He believes that lines are meant to be crossed and through his work, he aims to educate and enlighten his audience, forcing them to react, to think and to change. In June 2015, Bunny Matthews was diagnosed with brain cancer. Since then, he has fought hard for life, and now promotes a message of friendship and love in his work, reminding his audience that, “LOVE is the only thing that really matters.” Also, Vic quit smoking.

Bunny Matthew’s work has been exhibited throughout Louisiana at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts, the St. Tammany Art Association, as well as at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His work can be viewed in the Louisiana State Museum, the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans, and gracing the sides of the Leidenheimer Baking Co.’s delivery trucks. Many of his original drawings are in the permanent collection of the Historic New Orleans Collection, which also commissioned Matthews to create a large mural for the official City of New Orleans Pavilion at the 1984 World’s Fair. He lives and works in Abita Springs, Louisiana.