Monday, June 10, 2013

How to Spend The Hot Afternoons This Week in Shreveport

As the heat rises and the temperatures get steamy outside this week in SIGIS-land, consider spending an afternoon at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum on Greenwood Road.  The museum is still home to all the fabulous dioramas you remember as a child, as well as many other wonderful surprises.  Through this month you will find a fantastic special, limited exhibition of the works of local folk artist Bertha Cooper Harris.  Mrs. Harris is sometimes compared to artist Clementine Hunter, but she clearly has her own style and story to tell through her work.

Steve and I attended the opening reception on June 2 where the artist was in attendance along with some 400 other guests who came in and out through the afternoon.  In addition to the paintings, there is also brief, eight or nine minute documentary screening which shows a recent visit by Mrs. Harris to the remains of Beene Plantation where she spent much of her youth.

I'm an admitted admirer of Mrs. Harris's work and have a couple of her numbered prints, and one original, in my home.  One of my favorites is "Cooper Hill" which reflect the artist's early life living on her grandfather's land.

I love it because of all the activity and the bright colors.  There is something going on in each part of the painting!  And notice, in the above photo, the little white and black dog in the right corner.  The dog appears in many of Mrs. Harris's paintings.

In her memoir, reviewed here, she writes of having to leave a beloved dog behind when the family moved one time.  I asked her if this was the dog, but alas, it is not.

She told me this dog is just sort of a trademark of hers.  He's cute, though, and I like looking for him in the pictures.  He's not always there, but he's in many of them.

Mrs. Harris paints on whatever she can find; cardboard, fan blades, canvas, gourds, etc.

I love this one:

It reflects pay day and the company/plantation store.  Again, much activity in the picture!

The exhibit runs through June 28.  The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 - 4:00.  Admission is free.

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