“Gallery Walk: Paths of Logic,” New Orleans Art Review

BY MARIAN S. MCLELLAN, via neworleansartreview.org

The following is an excerpt. The entire article may be read here.



Arthur Roger Gallery
New Orleans, LA


Jenny LeBlanc and Kyle Bravo, New Wave, 2016

ART IS THE imprint of the senses, the crumbs of thought in the ongoing search for meaning. Here in New Orleans, contemporary galleries glisten with the wares of artists’ contemplations, beckoning us to sample different paths of logic. Along the Warehouse District’s Julia Street, a seemingly wide range of concerns is evident with a deployment of everything from discarded boxes and Ninth Ward Yats to 3D glasses and mythical organics, while Uptown on Magazine Street, a heartrimmed bed, once reserved for intimate encounters, is now rumple-free. Such is the neatness that adorns singlehood.

But, let us begin our Walk on Julia Street with a married pair of local artists, Jenny LeBlanc and Kyle Bravo. Founding members of The Front Gallery, LeBlanc and Bravo’s New Wave installation snugly fills Arthur Roger Gallery’s New Media room. Dadaist in nature, New Wave monopolizes the small space with colorfully painted cardboard boxes piled high and deep. Included in the mix is a repetitive sound of movement, though only one or two boxes actually move. The gallery’s Press Release asserts that New Wave “explores the ordinariness of everyday life alongside an existential search for meaning and purpose.” Like computer chips continually storing and processing, the modular New Wave beckons us to ponder all the stuff we accumulate one day, and so quickly toss come morning pick-up.

Bunny Matthews, Untitled (BMAT 0083), 2016

HUMOR IS OFTEN MARGINALIZED in the world of serious art, but it is grandly featured in a separate gallery space at Arthur Roger where Bunny Matthews’ infamous Nint’ Ward pundits, Vic and Nat’ly, are the main attraction in the artist’s thirty-four year retrospective Before and After. Matthews’ lively repertoire, expressed in fanciful pen and ink and colored pencil drawings, plus one painting, makes the most of his philosophical take on things New Orleans, adorning the walls like an ongoing comic strip. Matthews teases with candid commentary via the mouths of Vic and Nat’ly’s and those within earshot, as in Take it Off from 2000 and Tits from 2008. In the former, Nat’ly discusses the possibility of folks being arrested for indecent exposure during Mardi Gras, while in the latter she touts the virtues of Bourbon Street, each time meeting with a sarcastic retort from Vic. Last year Matthews announced that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer, making him especially aware that “LOVE is the only thing that really matters.” Hence, the 2016 spray-painting on canvas, Untitled (BMAT 0083), presents a silhouette in red of Vic and Nat’ly as a loving couple. Additionally, the gallery informs us that since Matthews’ diagnosis, Vic has quit smoking.