The Department of Visual Art + Design at Southeastern Louisiana University will host an art exhibit by New Orleans based artist John Isiah Walton titled “Black Paintings: Cybernetic Folklore, Place, + Spirit” at the university’s Contemporary Art Gallery, located at 100 East Strawberry Stadium.
The exhibition is free and open to the public from June 14 – Sept. 2 and will include over 30 large-scale paintings by Walton over the last two years. Contemporary Art Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 12 to 4 p.m., during the summer, and Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, and Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. during the fall.
As part of the exhibit, a collaborative animated music video and works on paper by Walton are also included, said Gallery Director Cristina Molina. The exhibition, she said, derives its title from the form and subject matter depicted in Walton’s artwork.
“Referencing Picasso’s ‘Blue Period,’ Walton’s recent paintings uniformly begin with a grounding of black acrylic pigment, which are then layered with white outlines and swift, colorful brushstrokes,” Molina explained. “Working in a reactionary manner, Isiah’s visual language is influenced by internet aesthetics, Black identity, pop culture, and Louisiana history to deliver poignant social commentary and a reflection of our contemporary moment.”
Walton has presented solo exhibitions at The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, The Front, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Barrister’s Gallery and Graham, N.C. Selected group shows include Tulane University; New Orleans Museum of Art; Art Lab Akiba, Ginza, Tokyo; and Untitled Art Projects, Los Angeles.
A co-founder of Level artist collective, Walton has been a member of both the Second Story Gallery and The Front, New Orleans. He has lectured about his work to students of the graduate program at UNC, Chapel Hill.
A closing reception is scheduled Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. in the gallery to celebrate the exhibition. Musical guests Kumasi Afrobeat will play a selection of songs from their new album, “Live from Marigny Studios,” the cover of which Walton designed. The music video included in the exhibition, “Cabilao,” was inspired by Walton’s paintings and produced by Kumasi in part by Southeastern students.