Three female artists, Babette Beaullieu, Maggie McConnell, and Luba Zygarewicz, make visible the passage of time through sculptural installations showing that boundaries are as impermanent as time.
While all three artists are now actively working and based on the Northshore, they come from different backgrounds and places. Each woman came to a point in her life in which she discovered and reacted to the impermanence of life, nature, and time.
Born in Chile and raised in Bolivia, Zygarewicz moved to the United States via San Francisco when she was 15 years old. She received a BA from Loyola and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Zygarewicz began marking the passage of time while she worked to balance her life as a mother and masters student. Each day that she commuted to school, her car rides were a time for thought and inspiration that she cherished. This time in thought was as important to her process as the time spent in the studio creating physical pieces of work so she yearned to depict the presentation of those invisible moments.
While homeschooling her four children for 17 years, Zygarewicz struggled to find time as an artist so she decided that her domestic responsibilities and her creative needs should be inseparable. “My art feeds my home life and my home life feeds my art,” explains Zygarewicz. This inseparability of motherhood and art are seen in her installations made from the most mundane materials of everyday life. The dryer lint used in “Petrified Time”, creates an ephemeral passage of time in front of the viewer’s eye. The artist’s hair works in the same way in “Today” as each delicate ball shows the impermanence of time.
As a south Louisiana native, Babette Beaullieu has lived her life surrounded by a rich, cultural environment. Beaullieu is a multi-faceted sculptor, installation, and performance artist. She has a BFA from the University of Santa Barbara in Sculpture and went on to explore and study art in Europe and textile and wood carving in Bali. After years of working in the marine industry making sails and building boats, she made a change and began her professional art career. Experiencing the constant change that happens in all aspects of life and nature is a driving force in Beaullieu’s artwork. She has a special ability to acknowledge the impermanence and transitory state of the physical world.
Beaullieu, like Zygarewicz, explores the idea of not only inhabiting your home environment but being one with it. However, Beaullieu begs the question, “Do you have to have one spot?” Her hanging sculpture, “Hovering” addresses this idea of being ungrounded and the ability to respond to the constant flux of life. While describing her own idea of what creates a home in one piece, Beaullieu also describes grieving for the animals that have lost their homes from clearing land for construction. As the lot next door to her home, which is in close proximity to Lake Pontchartrain was cleared after 20 years, Beaullieu walked through the lot picking up objects in the dirt that she then used to create the piece, “They Need A House.” Through a ritualistic style of collection and reflection, Beaullieu copes with the changes and forced adaptations in life.
Born and raised in the Midwest, McConnell moved to New Orleans in 1981 after getting a degree in Interior Design. Yearning for the more hands-on nature of expressing her creativity, McConnell took a pottery class at the St. Tammany Art Association after moving to the Northshore in the late 1990s. She had a very quick connection to the clay and affinity for pottery-making so McConnell enrolled at Southeastern University. After starting the program in ceramics, McConnell was drawn to the sculpture department and there she found her truest artistic voice as a sculptor. McConnell uses her artwork and sculptures to reconnect with herself as she goes through the ever-changing journeys and adventures in life.
McConnell expresses an autobiographical chapter of her life as an artist and mother in “Leavings I & Leavings II”. The stacked leaves were made from paint cloths she had used for thirty years. Outlines of spray paint layered the cloths documenting different projects from years with her family. “It’s an outline of our lives,” she says as she reminisces on this ephemeral material used in cadence with natural wood. The importance of material and the way in which McConnell works with and combines materials from her domestic environment as well as the natural environment is a common theme in her work. In her piece “Without Measure”, McConnell offers up losses with every ceramic pocket. Each piece held combustible materials and was then fired. As the materials burn and loss is let go, they created the most unpredictable, mysterious colors. McConnell’s work is made of materials that she morphs and changes just as she has as an artist, a mother, but mainly as a spiritual being who, “finds nature wherever [she] can get it.”
St. Tammany Art Association (STAA) will host an opening reception on Saturday, April 13 during Spring For Art from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. The exhibit will be on display through May 25, 2019, in the Miriam Barranger Gallery at STAA. A Panel Discussion with all three artists lead by Dale Newkirk will take place at the STAA Arthouse on Saturday, May 11 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm.
The St. Tammany Art Association is located at 320 N. Columbia Street, Covington, LA 70433. Our gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10am – 4pm, and Saturday 11am – 4pm. All exhibitions are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.
St. Tammany Art Association is supported by the generosity of our 2018 Season of the Arts sponsors and 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 Parish Commission on Cultural Affairs. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.