Differences link 3 artists’ exhibitions at BR Gallery

“The daydreamer can be in two places at once, one is actual, the other in her head. Another way to think about it is like simultaneous narratives in a book; you get to read about something going on in one part of the city, and in the next chapter you can read what was going on meanwhile somewhere else.” Katie Knoeringer,  artist

Bunnies played into the writer’s theory.

Why bunnies? Easter maybe?

Maybe.

Then again, was it springtime when the writer postulated this theory on a Post-It note? Diane Hanson doesn’t say. She just remembers finding the note in LSU’s Middleton Library.

Someone had left it behind, a fragment of conversation, a picture within itself.

And it proved to be a perfect fit for Hanson’s exhibit, Selective Memory.

The show is one of three that runs through Thursday, March 28, at Baton Rouge Gallery Center for Contemporary Art.

Hanson’s work joins that of fellow gallery artist members Van Wade-Day and Katie Knoeringer in a collection of shows that are amplified by their differences.

Because it’s the vast differences in genres that link these shows together. The styles aren’t complementary but contradictory, which serves as a highlight. Visitors notice the differences, thereby taking note of individual work and styles.

And viewers familiar with Hanson’s work immediately will recognize her exploration of telling a story through fragments.

It’s sort of like the Post-It note left behind in the library.

“I collect sayings and pieces of conversation,” Hanson said. “I found this note, ‘I have a theory it could be bunnies,’ and it stayed with me. I loved it, and you’ll see bunnies recurring in my paintings.”

You’ll also see the image of a blonde woman. She never commands attention and doesn’t dominate the painting.

“That’s me,” Hanson said. “The observer.”

Selective Memory is Hanson’s continuing journey in the idea of how moments and artifacts shape memories and perceptions.

“Despite a sense of completeness, memories are oftentimes the composite of fragments,” Hanson writes in her artist’s statement.

Hanson not only collects information from conversations but also photographs, texts and objects as the foundation for her nonlinear narratives. She starts with a work or phrase as the work’s title, then contemplates the words from a variety of angles, allowing the images to develop.

“The process for the viewer, however, is quite different — deconstructing and decoding the image to reveal the subject,” Hanson said.

Hanson is a native of West Concord, Minn., and a graduate of the Minnesota Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley, Minn.

She earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from the Boston University School for the Arts and a masters of fine arts degree in painting and printmaking from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

She has been a Baton Rouge Gallery artist member since 2008.

Hanson’s work shares a gallery with Van Wade-Day’s show, Ibis and Eye.

Again, there is no connection of styles or themes between these two artist’s work. Each tells its own story.

That is, if there is a story to tell. Wade-Day says hers doesn’t.

She works in mixed media on lithographic metal.

“These are actually plates that were used to print the newspaper,” she said. “I got them years ago from the newspaper.”

And on them she paints abstract images that express almost anything and everything.

“They have to do with the cosmos, metaphysics, the meaning of life, but they have just as much to do with the existence of the Loch Ness monster, a mermaid or an apple or a groundhog,” she said.

It’s not as much about the end result as it is the process. Since the metal plates once served as prototypes for newspaper pages, they are textured. Wade-Day spreads her acrylic paint over the metal much like watercolor paint is spread over paper.

The paint settles into crevices and thickens on high points. Wade-Day allows the painting to form, and the resulting pieces now hang in this gallery.

But there is one piece that Wade-Day created with a specific story in mind. It’s found in the small hallway gallery around the corner.

Wade-Day was caring for a 92-year-old friend who was nearing her life’s end. Their discussions on art and life inspired nine paintings which work together as one piece.

The paintings are moving, showing Wade-Day’s friend moving from life to death and beyond.

Wade-Day has been a gallery artist since 1988. She earned her bachelor of fine arts degree from Middle Tennessee State University and her master of fine arts degree from the University of Georgia.

Finally, in the front gallery, there’s Katie Knoeringer’s gallery artist debut exhibit, Verdant, featuring her collection of lush, organic graphite drawings and paintings.

The pieces shed light on both her process and her surroundings.

Knoeringer likens the drawings to daydreams in that they have several locations layered into them, along with pets or people from different streets in her Hammond neighborhood.

“The daydreamer can be in two places at once, one is actual, the other in her head,” Knoeringer wrote in her artist’s statement.

“Another way to think about it is like simultaneous narratives in a book; you get to read about something going on in one part of the city, and in the next chapter you can read what was going on meanwhile somewhere else.”

The paintings in this collection represent the beginning of an exploration of where drawing and painting overlap for the artist.

“I want to take what is interesting about a drawing and articulate it in paint which I am finding is a delicate endeavor,” Knoeringer said.

Knoeringer is a New Jersey native. She earned her bachelor of fine arts and bachelor of science in art education at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. She earned her master of fine arts degree from LSU in 2011.

Visitors are greeted by her work upon entering Baton Rouge Gallery, where diversity in style highlights differences.