UPDATE: Join us on Friday, May 21 for a closing reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall. 

UPDATE: New Gallery hours are Wednesdays – Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Revery Alone Will Do, a botanical art exhibition, will be on display at the Slidell Cultural Center at City Hall starting April 14 through May 21. The spring show, curated by Liv Butera, will feature the floral work of nine artists working in the Slidell area. 

The Revery Alone Will Do will feature work by Emily Binder, Martha Whitney Butler with The French Potager, Emma Fick, Rachel Jung with Rayco Design, Solange Ledwith with Swampgirl Glass, Angel Komazec, Laura Scariano, Rachael Lagarde Walker, and Dustin Young.

All COVID-19 safety protocols will be in effect. Patrons will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Gallery hours are by appointment only Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Same-day viewings will be accommodated based on availability. Please call the Department of Cultural & Public Affairs at (985) 646-4375. The Slidell Cultural Center is located at 2055 Second Street, on the first floor of City Hall in Olde Towne Slidell. Admission is free.

This will be Butera’s third time organizing a show at the City Hall gallery. Olivia (Liv) Butera is a Slidell curator, writer, and arts administrator. She is the Operations Manager for Prospect New Orleans, the nation’s oldest and largest contemporary art triennial. She has organized multiple exhibitions for the City of Slidell including the Celebrate Slidell Mural Project, Matriarch, and the 2017 Mixed Media exhibition. Butera also runs the blog The Local Camellia on Instagram which advocates for shopping local and serves as a directory for Slidell businesses, art, and culture. She also represents Slidell as a guest writer for Edge of the Lake Magazine.  

The title of the exhibition is derived from Emily Dickenson’s 1755 poem To Make a Prarie, in which the poet writes, “revery alone will do if the bees are few.”

Dickenson, who lived much of her life as a recluse, was an avid gardener and botanist. She wrote a lot about flowers, including this poem which seems like a universal anthem at the moment. While the bees (i.e., togetherness, opportunity, normalcy) are few, revery alone will do. Dreaming will do. Creativity will do. Imagination will do. 

“I knew I wanted the show to be very floral. Like many others, I sought nature more than ever this past year,” said Butera. “My family and I lived in our backyard and explored the entire Tammany Trace and Camp Salmen Park. When cabin fever set in, it was the safest way to get out and have an adventure as a family. When it got too hot to be out, I filled every table in our home with cheap grocery store flowers in an effort to mimic that medicinal quality that comes from being out in the great wide.”

Reflecting on these adventures inspired Butera to reach out to Rachel Jung with Rayco Design. A self-described adventure addict, Rachel runs a successful graphic design company here on the Northshore. Revery will feature three of her digital illustrations inspired by the Louisiana landscape. 

Emily Binder is a local teacher and painter. Her large colorful magnolia abstract will be one of the highlights of the show. 

Angel Komazec of the local husband and wife furniture building team The French Address will be debuting a large-scale floral abstract painting. 

Martha Whitney Butler of the French Potager in downtown Bay St. Louis will be arranging a dried floral piece in their shop’s iconic head planters, which will be situated alongside Covington artist Rachel Lagarde Walker’s new series of head planter paintings. 

Revery will also feature 5 vessel paintings by Emma Fick. Fick grew up on the Northshore and now resides in New Orleans. Heavily inspired by her time teaching and creating in Serbia, Fick’s work has a conceptual focus on hybrids: merging Louisiana-specific symbols and ancient Byzantine frescoes. Her current work, all watercolor and ink on paper, explores cultural, biological, and floral hybrids and the endless permutations they allow. 

In contrast to the painted vessels featured in Emma Fick’s work, the exhibition will also feature physical vessels created by two Slidell artists. A collection of ceramic vases by local potter Laura Scariano will be on display, along with a body of glasswork by Solange Ledwith with Swamp Girl Glass. 

“This body of work looks at the relationship of material and form; how they rely on each other as well as affect each other. The glass components highlight the interior and exterior form because of its property of translucency. Typically when we look at form, we focus on the exterior shape. These particular forms allow us to glimpse inside and consider the interior form, how it also plays a part in determining the exterior shape. It is a synergetic and mutually influential relationship, and because of that, neither is no more or less important.” – Solange Ledwith

Revery will mark the debut exhibition for local artist Dustin Young. A principal theme in Dustin’s work is the swaying and bending of contour line art. With the line, Young seeks to expose a sense of balance and visual calm – A great majority of these contour drawings are completed with one single stroke of the marker, his pen doesn’t leave the paper until the piece has reached the desired result. Young’s aim is to give the lines in the art both power and emotion.

While this will be the first formal exhibition for Young, he was recently commissioned by Starbucks for the Starbucks Art Program. 

Most of the work in the exhibition was created during the height of the pandemic. That knowledge largely influenced Butera’s thinking when deciding on the direction of the show. Revery is meant to be a cathartic moment that aims at providing the audience with an aesthetically beautiful and healing viewer experience. It is a celebration of the ingenuity that came out of this last year. It is a toast to every loaf of bread we attempted to bake, every new hobby we embarked on, and every artist and artwork that emerged during this time. 

“It is also my own little ode to the Louisiana landscape that kept my mental health in check. Thank you to all the artists in the show, Alex Carollo and the City of Slidell for trusting me, and to this community for supporting my practice. Come out and see the show.” Liv Butera 

For more information about this exhibit, please call the Department of Cultural & Public Affairs at (985) 646-4375 or visit the city’s website at MySlidell.com. For the latest city news updates and information about upcoming events, follow the official “City of Slidell, Louisiana” page on Facebook.