It’s not quite time for April showers at River Oaks, but artist Eva Kwong’s colorful and compelling pots and sculptures based on organic forms are certainly reminiscent of the beauty and variety of nature. Kwong, an Associate Professor at Kent State University, says, “My work-study experience at the Rhode Island School of Design Nature Lab in the 70s sparked my continued interest in forms and concepts from nature. Most of my inspirations for my work come from my direct observation of things in nature and within my life. Often it starts from a question or thought about some human experience; for example, pondering about how our bodies function under the skin or fertility and mortality. My artwork is a way to understand myself and the interpenetration of the worlds within and around us all.”
Kwong has lectured at over 130 schools around the country and in Australia, China, Japan, Korea and Italy. Her compelling, colorful and biomorphic sculptures, vessels and installations have been exhibited extensively in the United States and in Asia, Europe and South America. “We are very excited to have such an accomplished artist not only exhibit here at River Oaks, but also teach a workshop,” says Aubrey Bolen, Artistic Director at River Oaks. “Students will explore adding color and various surface techniques to intensify your clay surfaces. This will be a hands-on workshop, where we will experiment with all the slip techniques like sgraffito, stencils, slip trailing, mishima, to add colors, patterns, markings to enhance the forms.”
Joining Kwong’s exhibit titled “Opposites Attract Vases” will be River Oaks resident artist Maria Manemann, whose exhibit “Thru the Dragon Gate” showcases the painter’s talent to combine subject matter with her unique personality and zest for life. “My art is about brush and color. I use recognizable subjects but that is just the starting point. The brush strokes both define the image and express me, the artist. I think of it is as a type of calligraphy. Color is about relationships–contrasts that build volume and perspective, compliments that provide balance and harmony. As a result, the journey of painting itself becomes the goal,” says Manemann.
Also exhibiting will be The Contemporary Artist Guild with their exhibit titled “The Collective,” curated by Megan Valentine, AMoA Curator. A special feature exhibit “King Coats: Eight Gypsy Kings” by artist Joan Manuel will display elaborate coats worn by the past kings of the local Mardi Gras Krewe of Twelve Nights.
“We have a stellar lineup for March and April,” says River Oaks’ Executive Director Rachael Dauzat. “Of course, we are also busy preparing for our annual Men Who Cook and Men Who Mix Fundraiser, for which we are accepting applications for cooks as we speak. We are asking all aspiring cooks that want to measure their talent against others to contact us here at River Oaks. Some of our returning cooks and mixers have been plotting and planning since last year–the Men Who Cook Trophy is a coveted award!”
River Oaks is also in the midst of their annual membership drive. Membership benefits include early registration for select events, including the frequently sold out Summer Arts Camp, free entrance to River Oaks and reduced facility rental rates. “Your membership helps aid one of the state’s and the South’s most unique arts centers, featuring over 24 exhibits and over 100 artists annually, renowned visual art classes for youth and adults, special outreach programs for developmentally disabled students, public art components, not to mention over 40 local artists in studio residency,” says Tish Fresh, President of River Oaks. “Membership is affordable and benefits a cause that is near and dear to my heart–our beloved River Oaks.”
For more information, contact River Oaks at (318) 473-2670 or via their website at www.RiverOaksArtsCenter.com.