Artists Driven to Create at River Oaks


1336166314-the_chopping_block_1__cassityDaniel Mark Cassity, a Northeastern Louisiana native, is best known for his still-life works that let objects mimic real life in an encounter of symbolism and realism. His technique sometimes eliminates brush strokes, while other times revealing subtle textures. Paint manipulation and content culminate to bring forth deeper meanings and compositions. Using similar techniques, he has also built an impressive portfolio of landscapes, using innovative wiping to reveal underlying layers of details–his exhibit in the Bolton Davis Gallery is appropriately titled, ‘Sunlight Revealed’.


Cassity credits his inner drive as an artist for both his diversity and ever-changing subject matter. “With my interest as my compass, I move ever forward, for from my perspective as an artist is an unstoppable force of nature–a particular genetic collision driven to produce,” says Cassity. Driven by “a love of nature, and an unquenchable need to make things,  I am most satisfied when pursuing any number of projects of my own choosing.”


JanetphotoLocal artist Janet Ahrens knows the inner drive to create all too well. For her exhibit ‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall’, opening in the Gallerie des Amis, she teamed up with her husband and fellow artist, Carl Ahrens, for an end result she calls, “twice as pleasing”.  “Why Mirrors?  It isn’t expected; I like surprises.  A mirror also lends itself to a variety of different styles, mediums and moods with the common thread of a mirror. I am fascinated by the complexity of the mirror as a paradox.  All is not as it seems. So, we have created mirrors as pieces of art that get more complicated with the image they reflect.”


Sway low resRounding out the exhibit opening is Diana Garrison in the Stokes-Harris Gallery, where whimsical worlds of colorful insects and feathered friends come to life in her exhibit ‘Flights of Fancy.’ “I can sit for hours and watch the smallest of creatures–birds, dragonflies, butterflies, lizards, to name a few–and be completely engrossed,” she explains.


Cassity will accompany his featured exhibit with a two-day oil painting workshop on August 27th and 28th at River Oaks. Students will focus on the benefits of utilizing a limited palette over a dried “high-key” colored ground to quickly unify landscape painting. Emphasis will be placed on shape making, mark making, edges, movement, color and composition. Folded and/or rolled shop towels will be used to wipe and manipulate the top paint layers to reveal the ground below. This “reductive” wiping is combined with “additive” painting by use of brushes and knives. Cassity’s “Daylight & Dungeon/Limited Palette Landscape” class is $75.00 per person for the two-day workshop that runs from 10:30am to 4:30pm. Space is limited.


Starting the Fall lineup of classes at River Oaks, there will be offerings by renowned potter Randy Brodnax and graffiti artist Pat Phillips. Brodnax will teach “Ceramic Forms to Advanced Sculpture” on Tuesdays from August 26th through September 30th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.  Brodnax will also present “Strictly Wheel Throwing” Thursdays from August 28th through October 2nd from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.  Pat Phillips will present “Folk Art Graffiti Aesthetic on Thursdays from September 4th through September 25th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.  Tuition for each of these the six week classes will be $175 per person.


All three exhibits featuring Cassity, Ahrens & Garrison will run from August 19th through October 4th, with an opening reception set for Friday, August 29th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.   The exhibit opening reception is free and open to the public.  Special thanks to our exhibit and series’ sponsors: GAEDA and Dr. & Mrs. Bruce Barton.


For more information, call River Oaks Arts Center at (318) 473-2670.  Visit us online at or on the web at