Louisiana Landscaped by Mary Louise Porter and Karen Mathison Schmidt

December 1 - January 14

(Shreveport, LA) – No other state in this United States can boast the unusual and varied landscapes that Louisiana celebrates. All one needs do is take to the road from our own piney hills and woods in the northwest corner of the state and begin the trek south to see fields of corn, soybean or cotton turn to dark cypress-shrouded bayous winding their way to grassy prairies, then wind-swept coastal marshes and finally to the gritty streets of inner city New Orleans. Whether urban and rural, there is no place like Louisiana, and Author John Kemp has enlisted 37 of the state’s best artists to all express “their place" on canvas in his latest book, "EXPRESSIONS OF PLACE: The Contemporary Louisiana Landscape." Kemp and two of the Northwest Louisiana artists featured in the book, Mary Louise Porter and Karen Mathison Schmidt will be featured in a special exhibition opening and book signing at artspace Thursday, December 1st at 5:30 p.m. An artist talk by Porter and Schmidt will follow on Thursday, January 12, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Expressions of Place features the talent of acclaimed Louisiana art professionals some whose paintings are included in major private and public collections regionally and nationally and others who have found their followings closer to home. All artists, however, strive to express impressions of the land with artistic styles that range from traditional to the symbolic and almost totally abstract. Such a variety of interpretation becomes possible in a landscape that changes as dramatically as the Louisiana landscape does.

Porter's art explores the landscapes along the Cane River and in the meadows, glades and wooded hills of Northwest Louisiana. She studies art at Louisiana State University, but says that she was most influenced by the French impressionists. Van Gogh's perceptions of light, color and form are clearly evident in many of Porter's landscapes such as her "Louisiana Cottonfields," which is reminiscent of Van Gogh's animated treatment of skies and clouds in his 1869 painting, "Wheatfield with Cypresses."

Schmidt's art is inspired by what she refers to as the farm country of North Louisiana, and she loves looking back on the art of America's Golden Age of Illustration, especially the works of Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth. She says that she gets constant inspiration in her daily live: dogs, cates, cows, horses, trees, fields, ponds, bayous, morning, light, afternoon light..."you get the idea."

Kemp's book includes an introductory essay, which places the artists and their works in historical context, as well as individual essays and biographical sketches in which the artists, in their own words, give insight as to what they paint, how they paint, where they paint and why they are drawn to the Louisiana landscape. Expressions of Place is not an encyclopedia, catalog, or history of the visual arts in Louisiana, but is instead a celebration of the state's evocative landscape in the work of these 37 accomplished contemporary artists.

The book is as much about the landscape of the artists imaginations as it is about the land itself. With each painting, they have created visual poetry of a land and environment that has become a defining part of their lives.

The public is invited to join the FREE "LOUISIANA LANDSCAPES" exhibition opening at artspace on Thursday, December 1st from 5:30 p.m. To 7:00 p.m. with a book signing by John Kemp, author of "EXPRESSIONS OF PLACE: The Contemporary Louisiana Landscape.” Complimentary nibbles will be provided by Southern Fork Catering. The art of Porter and Schmidt will remain at artspace through January 14, 2017.

Artists’ Talks Thursday, January 12

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM FREE