Saturday, March 6, 2010

BROWSING IN THE A&E…

The Land of Dead Giants: A Louisiana Story in English and FrenchYesterday, I went into A&E Gallery to purchase one of Paul Schexnayder’s prints and met another New Iberia artist of note who exhibits in, and helps manage, the gallery. I first heard of Kate Ferry in the 90’s when Morris Raphael commissioned her to do illustrations for MARIA, GODDESS OF THE TECHE, a fantasy about a mermaid who lives in the Bayou Teche. A few years later, Kate also illustrated Morris’s TI-NUTE, THE ANGEL OF DEVIL’S POND, a story about one of the numerous nutria that abound in Teche country.  Another Teche country author and photographer, Greg Guirard, commissioned Kate to illustrate THE LAND OF DEAD GIANTS which has as its setting the Atchafalaya Basin.

Kate, a free-lance graphic designer/illustrator, graduated from Mt. Carmel here in New Iberia and completed formal art training at the Art Institute of Houston. She has studied with Elemore Morgan, Sara Parker, and Diana Kan and participated in an Illustrators Workshop in St. Maarten, an island in the Caribbean. When the Acadiana Symphony in Lafayette sponsored a Painted Instrument Project, she was one of 25 artists who painted instruments as part of the Symphony’s 25th anniversary celebration. Inspired by Django Reinhart, a gypsy and jazz guitar artist, Kate painted a guitar in acrylics with beads, fabrics, and leather strips. Kate says the guitars will be auctioned off this spring and are also for sale.

Kate works in watercolor and mixed media and likes to paint on “beat-up pieces of wood.” She has created many carnival masks and faces and has done linoleum block prints of masks/faces, focusing on rough textures and layering of colors. She says she likes to produce work that appears to have been exposed to the elements, similar to advertising and signs on the side of a building or barn. Her “canvas” also extends to painting bowling pins, rocking chairs, and benches.

In 2009, Kate painted the poster for Festival Internationale held in Lafayette each year --three women , representing morning, noon and nighttime activities, play music and dance in the painting. Recently, she has begun “3-D work” with paper-mache’, artistic pieces constructed of paper and other materials. This three-dimensional work will be exhibited at A&E Gallery during the gallery’s first year anniversary celebration on April 11.


I’ve included in this blog Kate’s rendering of “Cat Eyes” which depicts a West African woman wearing a gele head wrap, an example of the type of bold fabric patterns and shapes Kate likes to “play with.” “Cat Eyes” and an article about Kate appeared in the March, 2010 issue of “Face Magazine.”

A&E Gallery is the site of the poetry reading where Darrell Bourque, Bonny McDonald, and I performed on January 29 and has become the meeting place of artists and writers in New Iberia, thanks to the sponsorship of Paul Schexnayder.

Kate Ferry’s work is also exhibited at Entre Nous in Lafayette, but we New Iberians claim her as one of our own artists and as someone to watch in the art world. She is “on her way.”
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