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Nature meets Nightmare

The Art Studio to present LU alumnae’s ‘Morphogenesis’

Scarlett Blanchard left, and Anna Myers prepare work for their art show, “Morphogenesis,” which opens Saturday at The Art Studio. UP file photo
Scarlett Blanchard left, and Anna Myers prepare work for their art show, “Morphogenesis,” which opens Saturday at The Art Studio. UP file photo

A combination of nightmares and nature will take form in a dual exhibition created by the strange minds of two peculiar artists.

The Art Studio, Inc. will host “Morphogenesis,” an exhibition of work by Lamar University alumnae Anna Myers and Scarlett Blanchard, beginning Oct. 6, with a reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Myers said artists can elevate the average human’s experience by challenging perceptions of reality and opening minds to new ways of thinking and seeing.

“Art helps me cope with my day-to-day existence,” she said. “To me, the realm of art can serve as the gateway through which a person can experience strange alien worlds, parallel universes, and creatures both grotesque and unrecognizable.”

Blanchard said her goal is for viewers to notice the correlation between life and death.

“The struggle between subject, this referring to most of the larger pieces, smaller pieces and sculptures, are more like a documentation of a real-life situation, and representation of organisms to their true form in relation to the environment.”

The title of the show is influenced by the weird fiction of both H.P. Lovecraft and his contemporary Clark Ashton Smith. Myers said she is inspired by a variety of things.

  “Different concepts, like science fiction, extraterrestrials, ancient astronaut theory, cryptozoology, mythology, Hindu deities, reincarnation, theosophy, consciousness expansion, clairvoyance, the occult, all things macabre and outré, the astral plane, multiple dimensions, the multi-verse, the collective unconscious, string theory, and the vastness of space,” she said.

Blanchard said her inspiration derives from animals, biology, nature, life and death, anatomy, symbolism, surrealism and strange and unusual lines and patterns.

“My process is hard to explain,” she said. “Usually, if I have an idea, I will scribble it out and refine it later. I use a lot of reference photos for anatomical nature studies — other work is from my imagination — and I typically use references for those, too.”

Artwork by Anna Myers
Artwork by Anna Myers

Myers said her drawings start out in a sketchbook drawn from the images she said are constantly dancing through her head to a soundtrack of harsh, aggressive electro-industrial music.

“Sometimes music will inspire a line or a mark,” she said. “Maybe the marks themselves will be the written-out vocals from the song I am listening to, or perhaps a quote from a literary work of cosmic horror.”

Myers said that after much artistic alchemy is performed, and the entity has come into existence, it is either completed in the sketchbook or transferred to a larger piece of paper where the image will become something altogether different.

“The initial creation of the ‘being’ is the fun part — finishing the image is where the hard work and six years of college art training come in,” she said.

Myers said the process is the same for her soft sculptures, which will also be in the show.

“The forms start out with a wire ‘drawing’ that later serves as the skeleton for the creature,” she said. “This whole process is new to me and does not flow as easily as working two-dimensionally. After the initial wire drawing, decisions are made as to which areas should either be bulky or remain linear. Like the drawings, this is all done intuitively. Once the basic shape is created, the wires are wrapped with strips of quilt batting forming the ‘bones.’

“If there are areas that need to be more fleshed out, more batting is applied and sewn in place. Next comes the application of the skin. This is the most difficult step because sewing the fabric on the skeleton is physically painful. I’m sure you can imagine how repeatedly stabbing yourself in the fingers with a needle must feel.”

Myers said she wants to share the “strange world” she has created for herself.

“I also want artists to know that it is OK to be weird, and that an art object can still be enjoyed and celebrated even if other people don’t always know what it is they are looking at or exactly why it was made,” she said.

“Without art, what do we have? Toil all day, every day to satisfy our basic human needs, then die? Art gives us what we need to feed our souls, our spiritual selves, the Ka and the Ba, our astral body — that other part of the human animal that makes us self-aware, sentient beings. Art provides us with a means of escape from this harsh, cruel existence — or just a way to express our dismay with it all.”

Blanchard said that animals have always been a part of her life and of her artwork.

Artwork by Scarlett Blanchard
Artwork by Scarlett Blanchard

“I am big on being outdoors,” she said. “I took art classes all through high school and was talked into entering work into a Lamar art contest in which 10 recipients were awarded art scholarships.”

Blanchard was one of those recipients.

“I really had no idea what I wanted to go to college for and I began my path towards expanding my art knowledge,” she said. “I was exposed to more than I had known about art, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking.”

Blanchard graduated in 2010 with an emphasis in printmaking. After graduation, she took a job as a vet tech and has since either worked as a vet tech or a horse trainer. She has also worked in the graphic design field.

“I started back at Lamar last spring to expand on my graphic design fields,” she said. “I am a very structured, go-by-the-schedule type of person, and I believe that can be seen in my work. Drawing and watercolors gives me the control of designed line work.”

The Art Studio is located at 720 Franklin in downtown Beaumont.

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Story by Sierra Kondos, UP staff writer

Category: News