If you like the unconventional, then this exhibition will be especially special. Surreal Salon 13 is the free-to-view exhibition currently on display at the Baton Rouge Gallery. The BRG is one of the very few contemporary art centers that display international work in a wide radius.
Pop-Surrealism pieces were gifted to the BRG by 40 different artists from 17 states and three countries, excluding the United States.
Once you walk through the door, the eye-catching pieces immediately pull you in every direction. None of the work is what you would expect to find in a fine arts museum. The teeth on the girl’s portrait will not be of regular size. The man driving the car will not have a human head. I’ll share a few pieces that caught my eye.
“Dorothy’s Carousel” by Jackie Cassidy is an acrylic painting of an elderly person crying. What makes this piece special is the way the tears turn into a roll film. The person, or Dorothy, has their memories shown on the film winding around them. The minute details in the 25-plus scenes are those of joy, pain and everything in between.
Janelle Anderson’s “To Have and to Hold” is an abstract piece of art that I cannot clearly describe. The sections are clearly defined yet interacting. Everyone may perceive this piece differently, but there are definitely thoughts to be had about the interconnecting sections. This artist has two other pieces of similar style and intrigue on display in the gallery.
“Ride or Fly” by Carlos Chavez is another piece with details so intricate, one will continue finding new objects after minutes of staring at the artwork. As seen from the artist’s other Surreal Salon pieces, the motorcycle inspiration in this piece comes in the shape of a motorcycle helmet. The subject’s head is literally in the clouds and the surroundings are unbelievable.
Andrew Soria is a Los Angeles photographer with two photographs on display at Surreal Salon. “Chinatown” is a grand photograph with so much going on. The golden dragons face to face just in front of the sunset are a perfect addition.
“Civilization Falls” is a watercolor piece by Baton Rouge’s own Bryson Boutte. The colors of this piece are extremely vibrant. We see a body in free fall position with buildings piled on top of each other on the subject’s back. Complexity exists in every part of this painting, from the body and extra arm to the town to the block style background. It is simply amusing to gaze at.
Finally, is the piece I found most intriguing: a work of art that comes off the wall. "Ahuizotl, que inunda nuestras casas..." is a mixed media piece. The title translates to "Ahuizotl, that floods our houses." Ahuizotl is a mythological Aztecan creature that is a sort of water dog which lures people to their death. Inside Ahuizotl’s mouth is a scene of flooding. Josiah Gagosian is an artist from Harahan, LA. The piece draws from a culture that is foreign to the United States while relevant to natural disasters here in Louisiana.
The Baton Rouge Gallery will continue showing this exhibition until Jan. 28. It is completely free, with a mask being all you need to get in the door. Much more mind-blowing artwork is on display at this year’s installation of Surreal Salon, curated by Thinkspace.