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Baton Rouge Gallery's June Exhibition, 'The Mississippi River School' Features Latest Works from Charles Barbier, Clark Derbes, Wylie Sofia Garcia and David Scott Smith


Baton Rouge Gallery (“BRG”) is proud to feature "The Mississippi River School" in June, an exhibition featuring the latest works from four of its artist members – Chalres Barbier, Clark Derbes, Wylie Sofia Garcia and David Scott Smith. The four-person exhibition will be on display at BRG through June 25, 2015 with no admission charges during normal gallery hours (12-6 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday). 

This exhibition marks the BRG debuts for Derbes, Garcia and Smith.

A ‘First Wednesday’ Opening Reception will be held - in partnership with BREC - at the gallery, located inside City Park (1515 Dalrymple Drive) to celebrate the exhibition on June 3, 2015 from 7 – 9 p.m. As always, ‘First Wednesday’ Opening Receptions are free and open to the public. 

On Sunday, June 7, the gallery’s ARTiculate Artist Talk series will offer an intimate look at the inspirations, techniques and thoughts that led to the works featured in the gallery. Each of the four exhibiting artists will be on hand to discuss their work and answer questions from those in attendance. ARTiculate begins at 4 p.m. and is also free and open to the public. 

Visitors to the exhibition will be treated to Chalres Barbier's electric look at the times he was born into, Clark Derbes' colorful and entrancing sculptural and painted works, Garcia's intricate tapestries and drawings and Smith's illuminated ceramic oddities.

As the artists explain, "‘The Mississippi River School’ is more of a nostalgic snapshot than a movement. It is a moniker encapsulating a group of artists with decades of collective collaboration and friendship who came of age together, influenced by relationships with the people and cultures that make Baton Rouge special." 

Charles Barbier


With his latest exhibition, Charles Barbier once again offers his signature entertaining and colorful style. This time, he delves back into the 1960s to revisit the era that has heavily influenced his artmaking ever since. Armed with a strong sense of humor and an eye for composition, he ushers visitors through subjects ranging from pop music icons to war, from religion to science fiction.

Barbier has been a BRG artist member since 1994. Before receiving instruction, he was a self-taught artist for fifteen years. He cites his experience of being a veteran of the Vietnam War (1968-69) as a strengthening factor in his development as an artist. In tackling controversial subjects and themes that often reflect a local context, Barbier employs complex compositions with meanings that are open to the interpretation of the viewer.  


Clark Derbes

Utilizing a combination of folk art methods with contemporary painting dialogue, Clark Derbes transforms locally felled tree trunks into fine art objects. With a beautiful montage of pattern and dimension, he outwits the eyeball and begs the viewer to ask, “What am I seeing?”

He became inspired to work with wood when he discovered - and subsequently purchased - a giant poplar tree cut down by an arbor crew. He offered the crew $20 for the tree and soon after had it delivered by a crane to his studio, where he began carving it with a chainsaw. 

Using the natural growth of the tree as his guide, Derbes uses a carving technique called bas-relief to create shallow cuts into the wood for dimension, then smoothing the surface with a power sander. Once the shaping process is complete, Derbes hand paints the polygons. He applies a polymer gouache and employs a multi-dimensional painting technique called trompe l'œil (a French term that means "to fool the eye") to exaggerate their physical appearance. Each piece is then signed with a wood-burning tool. The finished results are puzzling, interesting pieces that honor the American traditions of resourcefulness, frugality, and beauty. All of his work is done by hand without the aid of measuring or masking.  

A multimedia artist, Derbes was born in New Orleans, LA and received his B.F.A. at Louisiana State University. He has been featured in solo exhibitions locally as well as nationally in Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Vermont, Rhode Island and Washington. He has been featured in the Boston Globe, Art New England, Country Roads, The Advocate, New Orleans Defender and Art Map Burlington. Derbes has also collaborated to develop public art in Baton Rouge, including the first mural commissioned by The Walls Project.


Wylie Sofia Garcia

 As powerful and unapologetically feminine as it is beautiful and strong, Wylie Sofia Garcia’s work continues a long tradition of self-expression through textile design. Garcia has always loved sewing, but as an art student, shied away from the medium. She worried that it may be thought of as too crafty.  However, with time, she came to embrace sewing as a form of meditation and self-expression that many women before her have utilized. Garcia uses fabric installations, performance art, dress forms and textile design to create strong topographies that express a womanly perspective on sex, femininity and life's journey.  

Garcia was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She received her B.A. from The University of Chicago and her M.F.A. from Massachusetts College of Art and Design at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Garcia has exhibited nationally as well as receiving multiple grants and fellowships such as a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship and a Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant. 

Garcia is an MFA Thesis Mentor and Art Coach providing portfolio consultation.


David Scott Smith  


David Scott Smith, a sculptor and mold maker, re-contextualizes familiar objects and textures often humorously, dealing with serious issues of excess and consumption.

At a young age, Smith worked for his father in the family taxidermy business, re-animating dead animals into lifelike forms. He found the irony of the process both humorous and beautiful. That play with absurdity and beauty is evident in his work and the way he pairs natural objects into imaginative, surrealistic forms.  Smith uses light, pattern and color as tools for unification and reordering.  His objects are cast in translucent porcelain, and then illuminated from within.  

David Scott Smith received his B.A. in English from Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA) and his M.F.A in Ceramics from Louisiana State University. He has exhibited nationally and has received many grants for both his work and collaborative interdisciplinary projects. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Sonny Kamm Teapot Foundation and Southeastern Louisiana State University. Smith is currently completing a mold-making book (Voodoo Mold-Making); his work has also been featured in Pottery Making Illustrated and Ceramics Monthly. 

Smith currently lives in Little Rock, Arkansas where he is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock.


If you would like more information on this exhibition or on any programming or events at Baton Rouge Gallery, please contact us at 225.383.1470.