Call this show a preview of things to come.
Now, that’s not saying the exact paintings hanging in the Kress Gallery will be transferred to the exteriors of Baton Rouge buildings, but it will definitely be something close.
This is one reason the BR Walls Project hosted a show of works by artists John Wax, Katie Knoeringer and Michael Secor. They will be the next artists to paint public murals on buildings in the city as part of the project.
And viewers will get a chance to see what kind of work these artists do.
The show runs through Monday, Oct. 15, at the Kress Gallery, meaning there’s a week left to see Wax’s diverse collection, including his paintings of crabs and crawfish.
Now, be sure to look closely at the painting of the crab. Wax is thinking about creating a bigger crab to crawl along the side of a Baton Rouge building.
“I love the steam pump genre,” Wax said. “I don’t paint in that genre, but I love it.”
The genre focuses on mechanical images.
“It’s like the mechanical spiders you see in the movie Wild, Wild West,” Wax said. “Though I don’t paint in that style, I can just see a crab steam pumping down the side of a building.”
Wax has a background in graphic design. He has painted both public and private murals and develops new techniques to enhance interior spaces for homes and businesses. And it’s an understatement to describe his style as diverse.
For instance, Wax’s image used for the postcard and poster advertising the Kress Gallery show is painting of a graceful woman. You don’t see her face, and she obviously is nude, but she is positioned in such a way that her nudity isn’t blatant.
The image is monochromatic, save for a blue butterfly landing on her leg.
It’s very different from the paintings of crabs and crawfish, as are the small paintings he calls “framed frescoes.”
“Frescoes are when you paint on wet plaster,” Wax said. “I designed these plaster pieces as samples for when I was working on houses and businesses. I had all of these samples in the studio, so I started painting on them.”
The framed fresco subjects always vary.
But Wax gets most viewer response from his crabs and crawfish.
“People really like them,” he said.
“So, I’m thinking about the crab for the mural.”
Wax is a Baton Rouge native and resident. His fellow artists in the show, Knoeringer and Secor, are Louisiana transplants who opted to stay in the state after earning their master of fine arts degrees in painting from LSU.
Knoeringer is a New Jersey native; Secor is from Kentucky.
Both now live in Hammond but are inspired by the sights they see in and around Baton Rouge.
“My paintings are of buildings and people who lived around me,” Knoeringer said. “I was inspired by my neighbors.”
And Secor? Well, the Mississippi River Bridge as a backdrop to downtown Baton Rouge has been part of his inspiration.
“Right now, I’m focusing on trees,” he said.
Knoeringer and Secor will combine their talents on a mural project. A building has yet to be chosen for their work, so they haven’t chosen a subject.
“We want to see the size and shape of the building before we decide what to paint,” Knoeringer said.
“But it will definitely be inspired by the area.”
Knoeringer spoke on her cellphone from the Greater Baton Rouge Zoo. She is focusing on animals as subjects now.
“And though these animals aren’t really native to the area, they’re part of the area,” she said.
But those are subjects for later. The work in the Kress Gallery is a preview of what’s coming to Baton Rouge in the near future.