“The Gulf: Works Completed Before the BP Spill” is intended as a poignant meditation on the profoundly endangered beauty of the Gulf of Mexico, its related commercial fishing life, and its bordering habitats as a result of the oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig explosion. Several gallery artists have had environmental concerns as a central theme in their work for many years.
Among the works featured in the exhibition are paintings by Allison Stewart, an artist who has found inspiration in the Louisiana wetlands for over sixteen years. She describes her “awakening” on a flight to New Orleans across the Gulf of Mexico: “I saw the barrier islands literally sinking into the sea. Land at the mouth of the Mississippi was disintegrating like old lace, scarred by a thousand miles of oil canals and pipelines.” Jacqueline Bishop’s piece, Trespass (2003-2004), comprised of discarded baby shoes and artificial birds, addresses threats to the landscape in Louisiana and beyond. Other works featured in the exhibition include Simon Gunning’s paintings of shrimp boats docked in Grand Bayou, Louisiana and David Bates’ paintings of brown pelicans in their Gulf habitat.