“Museum-goers can get ‘face to face’ with the human condition,” The Vermilion

by Shane Manthei via thevermilion.com


Portraits by Willie Birch line a wall at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. Photos by Haoua Amadou/The Vermilion

Portraits by Willie Birch line a wall at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. Photos by Haoua Amadou/The Vermilion


“Face to Face: a Survey of Contemporary Portraiture” by Louisiana Artists is one of the recently exhibited selections available for viewing at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum this fall season. The exhibit, which opened Sept. 9, features a set of “12 nationally and internationally acclaimed artists working in a variety of media,” as cited by the museum’s website.

The independent curator, Jane Hart, organized the “Face to Face” exhibition with a specific theme in mind. Hart’s curatorial statement, “A Season of Portraiture,” states portraiture is “a way to more fully comprehend not only the universality of the human condition but the uniqueness inherent to all of us.”

The curatorial statement also says, “(They) are increasingly witness to social unrest and an escalating violent state of affairs both at home and abroad.” It is Hart’s intention, then, that “through depictions of people created by artists, we can collectively come together with a greater tolerance and acceptance.”

Following the exhibition’s opening, four other exhibitions also opened, including two others by Hart. On Sept. 14, Laura Blereau, the new curator, hosted a tour of the most-recent exhibits as part of the Wednesday Nights public program series.

The “Face to Face” exhibition includes Willie Birch, Douglas Bourgeois, George Dureau, Elizabeth Kleinveld and Jennifer Shaw, Aubrey Edwards, Deborah Luster, Rashaad Newsome, Tameka Norris, Gina Phillips, Epaul Julien, Jonathan Traviesa and Heather Weathers.

Among these artists are backstories and processes for creating their works, upon which Blereau presented members of the Sept. 14 tour with anecdotes.

“The new exhibit offers a more modern and eclectic feel to the museum,” said Trevor Anderson, a math major at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Willie Birch, Blereau said, is a visual artist and portraitist of figures in New Orleans. Birch’s work has been viewed as part of the civil rights movement, and he will present a speech at the Hilliard Museum on Nov. 16 to anyone interested.

Douglas Bourgeois, will also present a talk at the Hilliard museum on Nov. 12. His tiny portraits, Blereau stated, presented the challenge of not having cluttered labels next to them all.