Dig Baton Rouge

Surreal Salon’s strange appeal

By Tara Bennett

Throughout the month of January, the Baton Rouge Gallery (BRG) will display the work of that tests the limits of creativity and imagination for its annual exhibition Surreal Salon.

This will be the 7th edition of the national juried exhibition of pop surrealism and lowbrow art, featuring works from 58 artists representing 25 states. The exhibit opened on January 4 and will run until January 29. The exhibition is free and open to the public at the gallery, located inside City Park at 1515 Dalrymple Drive.

This year’s juror is Shag, a pop surrealist based in California. Shag is prolific in the surreal art scene, having nine art books published and successful solo exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.

“He is easily one of the most recognizable artists working in the pop surrealist movement,” said Andreasen. “One of the most iconic and popular artists out there. It’s an honor to have him kind of be able to put his stamp on the show and help us continue to grow the exhibition.”

Shag was tasked with selecting from over 550 works to be placed into the gallery. The chosen works range from drawings, paintings, glass art, photography, sculpture and technical pieces, including an installation, “Adolescent Eyes” by North Carolina artist Tony Waldron. The piece focuses on the prevalence of social media by featuring a tripod attached with five iPhones, each connected to a different form of social media. The phones are programmed to take photos, then send the photo to the different social media sites.

“There are more than a handful of pieces in this show that you could easily sit down in front of and study and just get lost in, frankly,” said Andreasen.

Each of the artworks will be well-lighted in the gallery thanks to BREC and the BREC Foundation.

“They just got us a brand new lighting system,” said Andreasen. “So throughout the gallery there is a brand new state-of-the-art LED technology lighting system that just makes such a huge difference in terms of how people look at the art and how the art is presented. There’s features on these lights that allow the colors to appear more brighter and really pop off the work.”

On Sunday, Jan. 25, Shag will be give an informative and informal presentation at the BRG at 4 p.m. The lecture will focus on his own work along with the pop-surrealist/lowbrow movement. This event is free and open to the public.

There is also the much anticipated party, Surreal Salon Soiree, which will be held on Saturday, Jan. 24. Headlining the night will be musicians Quintron & Miss Pussycat along with a set from local DJ artist RAV3N. The artist collective Elevator Projects will also construct a one-of-a-kind outdoor installation for the Soiree. Also during the Soiree, the gallery will announce the work selected by the exhibition’s juror as “Best in Show.” This work will be prominently featured in Juxtapoz Magazine’s upcoming editorial on the exhibition in their April 2015 issue.

In honor of the exhibit, attendees will don costumes befitting the surreal paintings in the gallery, limited only by the reaches of their creativity and how much a papier-mâché headpiece could weigh. Previous years have seen costumes such as giant cockroaches, video game characters, mermaids and more.

“The costumes have become a big part of what this event is about,” said Andreasen. “The costumes steal the show every year.”

The soiree will also serve as the closing reception for P.3+ Notes Upriver, which will conclude Baton Rouge’s involvement in the satellite program for the New Orleans art biennial Prospect.

“P.3+ BR speaks to how much Baton Rouge has as an art community and is an art city that continues to grow,” said Andreasen. “It’s an honor to have Surreal Salon be a part of it.”

Tickets to the soiree are $17 in advance, $20 at the door if in costume and $25 at the door if not in costume. For more info on Surreal Salon 7 contact BRG at 225-383-1470.


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