Every year in the summer, the studios are abuzz with activity here at River Oaks. Over forty resident artists are preparing their piece for the Annual Summer Show that features works of art from mixed media to oil and acrylic to pottery. “The Resident Artists Show is dramatically different from all the other shows throughout the year, as it showcases the amazing diversity of talent we have here at River Oaks. All other exhibits focus on one artist or one discipline–this one is basically a creative free for all,” says Aubrey Bolen, Artistic Director for River Oaks. “There is always a mix of friendly competition and collaboration at the same time; it’s quite amazing to witness.”
The Annual Resident Artists Summer Show will be accompanied by contemporary colorist and landscape artist Katy Cutler, who holds a degree from William Carey University in Hattiesburg. Cutler’s work views the world around her in a light, colorful perspective that she describes as a contrast to her own life experiences. “Growing up as a child of the Marine Corps, I had the opportunity to live in many different cities across the United States and Europe. It has given me a connection between the sights and sounds of the locations I’ve been and the cultures of the people who live there,” says Cutler. “Using the challenges of space and color, I intend to bring an attachment between the piece and the viewer by creating a bond of memory, emotion and a sense of belonging to the scene.”
Cutler’s artwork expresses her envy and desire to claim what others who have a deep-rooted sense of belonging already possess—a place to permanently call home. Cutler says she has always lived a life in someone else’s home—never her own—taking the shell and recreating it with her own view. With a fresh perspective of vibrant and soft coloring and imaginative skies, her work is designed to inspire. A great deal of her work reflects how she perceives the internal heart of the city and how it has received her, wondering how long the relationship will last in the hopes that maybe at last she has found a place to call home.
Juxtaposed with Cutler is the work of Natchitoches Parish artist Amanda Roe, who is regionally known for her mixed media still life paintings that tell a story through objects, often with an intentional dark undertone. “I choose to use toy guns, dead things, gas masks, industrial tools, and plastic bones because I want the painting to become recognizable, but disturbed,” says Roe. “I believe that we candy coat horrific events to somewhat protect our society from danger, but the events and history still exist. My use of the particular materials brings an attraction and mood for the situation.”
The three exhibits are scheduled for July 8th through August 16th, with a reception on July 11th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at River Oaks Square Arts Center in Downtown Alexandria. The exhibits coincide with the last three sessions of Summer Arts Studio at River Oaks, which still has a limited number of spaces available for children ages 5 through 13.