December 9 – January 27
– In nature, there is art. And in this art, there is nature. In After the Wetlands: John Valentino, the artist, author, curator and educator has created works of that bring together his passions and expertise in a multidimensional exhibition that will provide an immersive and thought provoking experience for audiences. After the Wetlands opens Saturday, Dec. 9, with a reception from 6 to 9 pm at St. Tammany Art Association’s Art House.
Recreating nature has been a recurring theme in the artist’s work for nearly a decade. A subject of particular interest has been the ongoing efforts to restore Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands, which the artist believes are more focused on maintenance than preservation, ultimately transforming the natural ecosystem into something that is anything but natural.
The focal point of After the Wetlands is a school of eight motorized fish, each floating within its own boxed frame. The colorful sculptures capture the grace and fluidity of the creatures, while also serving as a reminder of the fragility of the environment in which they live. The installation also includes a work created specifically for this exhibition. “See Level” is a twelve-foot long animated work emulating ocean waves via six mechanical layers propelled by motors, belts and servos. Completing the exhibition are additional small works, also reflective of the water-based theme.
Valentino is the Professor of New Media and Animation at Southeastern Louisiana University, for which studies explore the incorporation of traditional materials and techniques with electronics and computer generated imagery.
“The fish created for this exhibition were originally designed and created in a 3D modeling program then output in ABS plastic on a 3D printer,” says Valentino. “I then used the 3D fish to create a plaster mold, then slip cast them to create ceramic fish. The fish and wave are animated using tiny microcontrollers. That’s New Media and Animation.”
Following the opening reception, After the Wetlands will remain on view in the STAA Art House through Saturday, January 27. St. Tammany Art Association is located at 320 N Columbia St. in downtown Covington. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10am – 4pm and Saturdays, 11am – 4pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.