Featured Image: “Slug Fest” (2010) by Myrtle von Damitz III
Myrtle von Damitz III, a painter, was the core member of the “curatorial swarm” who oversaw the participation of more than eighty artists in the New Orleans show. She populated a freshly renovated warehouse called the Ironworks with organisms and artworks that spoke to the theme “Hope in Blasted Landscapes”.
“People Paella” (2001) by Myrtle Von Damitz III. Acrylic paint on plywood. (Image courtesy of the artist and Andy Antippas at Barrister’s Gallery)
Original artwork by von Damitz also provided a charter for exploring the theme of “Edible Companions”. Paintings by von Damitz framed discussions of creatures that are good to live with and to eat. Her painting entitled “People Paella” (above), de-centered our discussions by personifying morsels of food. People wearing party dresses, playing a tuba, a saxophone, and a bass drum, seem to be unaware of monstrous beings preparing to feast (Kirksey et al. 2014: 112). Severing the figures in her paintings from their referents, in her own words, von Damitz seeks to separate the “sense of what something is supposed to mean from what the painting is about, or might be.” (Source: Pelican Bomb)
Von Damitz has curated a number of other influential exhibits in New Orleans. Automata New Orleans from 2010-2012 was an evolving collective exhibit of mechanical sculptures. She also founded Babylon Lexicon, an annual book arts and small press exhibition and extravaganza which runs as part of the New Orleans Book Fair. Currently she divides her time between the western wilds of Oregon and New Orleans.
Kirksey, Eben et al. (2014) The Multispecies Salon, Durham: Duke University Press.Official Website