Sunday, January 29, 2017

Delaney Martin, Taylor Shepherd, Isabelle Hayeur & Myrtle von Damitz at Barrister's

Visitors to this Siren Song expo may wonder why it sometimes looks like whimsical elves got high in a marine salvage yard. But seen in its totality with Isabelle Hayeur’s adjacent Castaway video – which actually was filmed at a marine salvage yard – the ambiance is quite contemplative as New Orleans Airlift co-founder Delaney Martin's colorfully aboriginal totems and wall pieces cobbled from washed - up flotsam subtly resonate their evocative poetry of abandonment. In the gallery setting, their weathered forms mingled with surreal maritime industry impedimenta suggest archaeological artifacts from a lost civilization – which is exactly what coastal Louisiana will become if we keep letting it wash away. Hayeur's panoramic and undersea video views of the rusting wreckage of once proud vessels mouldering in their watery graves comprise a morbidly beautiful elegy to the lost dreams of bygone industries. Sporadic marine radio chatter crackling from Taylor Shepherd's Odessyus and the Sirens installation further elaborates the pervasive aura of mystery. Siren Song is really a prelude to an elaborate free April 8th performance of composer Yotam Haber’s New Water Music by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and hundreds of musicians. Set on Lake Ponchartrain, and inspired by the classical 18th century symphonic compositions of George Frederic Handel, New Water Music reflects New Orleans Airlift's and the Gulf Restoration Network's collaborative efforts to raise awareness of this city's uniquely maritime identity and the importance of our coasts and waterways.

Occasional New Orleans Airlift collaborating artist Myrtle von Damitz has been living in Oregon lately, where her thoughts sometimes wander to endless highways. Gone Trucking is the title work (detail above) of a small suite of paintings of the same name from the wayward byways of her imagination,  where otherworldly scenes suggest what Jack Kerouac and Odilon Redon might have concocted had they somehow joined up for a road trip. In the absence of such time travel collaborations, von Damitz's paintings may be the next best thing. ~Bookhardt / Siren Song: New Works by Delaney Martin, Taylor Shepherd, Yotam Haber and Isabelle Hayeur; Gone Trucking: New Paintings by Myrtle von Damitz, Through Feb. 4th, Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave, 710-4506. More: Delaney Martin Interviewed by Claire Tancons.