On Friday, June 22, at 7 p.m. at Parse Gallery, Wesley Stokes will unveil Caligula, his latest installation of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and video. The event will feature a special performance by Justin Benoit with Michael Jeffrey Lee. The installation piece, curated by John Otte and fused with the dynamic sound compositions of Philip Kruse and Philippe Andre Landry, will remain open at Parse Gallery through June 29.
To create the installation, the group of artists came together in what Otte calls a “magic convergence.” Stokes championed the effort and sought out Otte to curate the installation.
Otte, whose curatorial projects tend to create encompassing environments that engulf the viewer in new worlds, said about Caligula: “All parts by themselves are not as strong as they are together. Instillation is art using all these parts.”
Otte acted as producer of the show, utilizing Caligula to bring Stokes’ vision and dedication to his work, as well as the use of sound as material by Kruse and Landry.
In this instance, the sound is a powerful element, emphasizing the viewer’s experience with Stokes’ work. The title Caligula is meant to evoke a heaviness and weight represented by both the pieces as well as a grounding in history. It also addresses the fluid state of mind of the “Big Easy,” by confronting it with something tactile, firm, and challenging. Caligula is a call to find firmness and permanence in an often light and evanescent world.
Though the slide show in the installation lacks sound, it serves as an introduction and a pivotal part of the experience. Stay tuned to NolaVie for a video produced by the Caligula team, or see the show for yourself through June 29.
Brianna Smyk has an M.A. in Art History. A former New Orleanian, she maintains a passion for the city and its people and writes about arts and culture for NolaVie.