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February 25 to April 2, 2011

In Galleries 1 + 2

Organized by Keith Couser | images | press: Time Out Chicago
Stephen Collier | Brian Guidry | Rachel Jones

Western Exhibitions is thrilled to present a three-person group show organized by Keith Couser focusing on cultural production from New Orleans and South Louisiana. Featured are multi-media artist Stephen Collier and painters Brian Guidry and Rachel Jones. The show will open with a reception that is free and open to the public on Friday, February 25 from 5 to 8pm.

Stephen Collier will be showing a new video, ceramics, photographs and collages, works that function as staged archeological finds. A recent sculpture"CROATOAN" is a freestanding, resin/fiberglass-cast sand dollar with an airbrushed beach scene on the front and jail-house hatch marks on the back denoting the number of days it took to plug the BP oil spill. Like the word "Croatoan", Collier's artifacts act as traces of lost settlements and are used to describe what has happened in South Louisiana and other parts of the gulf coast.

Stephen Collier was recently included in the Prospect 1.5 Biennial, curated by Dan Cameron, in a two-person show (with Tameka Norris) at the Good Children Gallery in New Orleans and showed in the New Orleans Biennial in 2008 at KK Projects. Collier has been included in group shows at White Box, The Bronx River Art Center and Cuchifritos in New York City; The Soap Factory in Minneapolis; the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans; and the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Louisiana. Collier’s solo show in 2008 at Good Children Gallery was reviewed in The Times-Picayune and his work has been discussed in the Wall Street Journal, ArtSlant, and Time Out New York. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in New York and Louisiana Artworks in New Orleans and been the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant. He received his BFA from the University of New Orleans and he lives and works in New Orleans.

Brian Guidry's intricate geometric paintings are seductive - tiny crackles and splintering shiny surfaces trip both modern and antique sensibilities. His paintings come from an interest in an almost alchemical transformation of material. Guidry states "I am interested in the forces and processes that produce and control the phenomena of the material world. The colors I use are sampled from the landscape where I am currently working in South Louisiana. Reflections from water, menacing storm clouds and September's exhausted foliage are among the sources from which I reference." The conversion of observed, natural color to painted color reflects his fascination with humanity's manipulation of nature for consumption - the conversion of raw material to usable material.

Brian Guidry has presented recent solo shows at CSPS (Legion Arts) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; KK Projects — a Prospect 1 satellite installation, New Orleans, LA., and the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Louisiana. He’s been included in group shows at the Contemporary Art Center, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, Good Children Gallery, Louisiana ArtWorks, the Odgen Museum of Art, all in New Orleans; The Bronx Museum in New York; and within Louisiana: The Paul & Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, Lafayette; Opelousas Museum of Art, Opelousas; Abercrombie Gallery, McNeese University, Lake Charles; Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria; and Ephemeral Gallery in Baton Rouge. His work has been featured and discussed in, The Times-Picayune, Gambit Weekly, The Burlington Free Press (VT), The New York Times, New York Arts, and New American Painting. His work is in the collections of E.O.S Global, New York; Hopkins, Sampson & Brown Equities, LLC., Newark, New Jersey; Odgen Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, Louisiana; National College of Arts--Lahore, Pakistan; New York Public Library, New York, New York; Pratt Institute Library, Brooklyn, New York; and Paul & Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana. Guidry received his MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1997. He lives and works in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Rachel Jones' current paintings, vibrant impasto-ed oils on flexible plastic, hover between landscape, abstraction and phenomenological imagery. Jones will show a series of new small paintings as well as a separate body of work -- sketchy, colored pencil contour drawings of Civil War Era denizens. Jones states "I begin the works by pulling photos and reproductions from public sources, both historical and contemporary. I then distort and abstract the images and use them as casual references. The paintings are executed on cut plastic sheets, and I borrow the crisp, clean borders and layouts from the world of design and advertising."

Rachel Jones has participated in group shows at Galerie im Andechshof in Innsbruck, Austria; Winkleman Gallery in New York City; New Orleans Museum of Art, The Front, Good Children Gallery and Contemporary Art Center, all in New Orleans; Space 301 in Mobile, Alabama; and the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette. Her solo show at The Front wasa Prospect 1 satellite show in 2008. She has had three solo shows in total at The Front in New Orleans. Her work has been discussed and featured in the New Orleans Art Review, Gambit Weekly and New American Paintings. Her work is in the collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art and Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Jones received her MFA from the University of New Orleans and she lives and works in New Orleans.

Exhibition organizer Keith Couser has been involved in Chicago's art community over the past ten years as a fervent enthusiast and for 5 years, the co-owner and co-director of Bucket Rider Gallery. He is a frequent visitor to New Orleans and in 2008 helped to work on the Prospect.1 Biennial organized by Dan Cameron.