If you didn’t catch the Foundation Gallery’s (1109 Royal Street) Jane Talton “Beastly Delights” showcase — an exhibition comprised of Talton’s anthropomorphic depictions of 15th and 16th century northern Renaissance paintings — on Dirty Linen night, it’s not too late. And this Saturday afternoon, not only can you still view and purchase paintings from the exhibition, you can also leave the gallery with a furry friend. From 1 – 4 PM, Animal Rescue New Orleans, a local no-kill shelter, will be in attendance at the gallery with some of their adorable rescues. Can’t take one of the fur balls home? You can still contribute to the no-kill movement by purchasing a painting; 25% of the proceeds from the showcase will be donated to ARNO.
New Orleans is an oasis unto itself and with that comes obvious dichotomies between the unique portions of the city.
White Linen Night on Julia Street, a two-decade old tradition, is the crisp, tailored cousin to Dirty Linen Night, which has taken place the second Saturday of August since its origin in 2001. The differences between the two is palpable: White Linen Night in the Warehouse District is home to a flood of patrons wearing clean white clothing; alternatively, Dirty Linen Night in the French Quarter had no rule set governing the dress code or the art.
This year, The Foundation Gallery will be a part of the Royal Street bustle during Dirty Linen Night on August 9. The gallery moved from their spot on Julia Street to their new 1109 Royal Street location a mere month ago. Prior to being host to the gallery, 1109 Royal was a run down hair studio, famous for their literal wall of mirrors and an ancient hot tub in the back employee room.
“It hadn’t been redecorated since about 1970 and there were these honeycomb rooms, all these different little hair salon stations,” explained Erica Amrite, director of The Foundation Gallery. “Everything was made out of mirrors. Every single surface.”
Foot traffic was in large part to credit for the gallery’s decision to move from the warehouse district to the edge of the French Quarter for Amrine.
“I would say that in an hour on a Monday morning, we’ll get as many people stopping in [here] as we would an entire week on Julia Street,” said Amrine.
The crowd sets and art exhibitions differ vastly between the two events, and the upcoming showcase at The Foundation Gallery is a perfect example of the stylistic chasm.
Artist Jane Talton‘s Beastly Delights collection is showing now through the end of August at The Foundation Gallery. Talton’s work is reminiscent from 15th and 16th century northern Renaissance art with a quirky twist: her portrait subjects are often animals or dolls. The artist’s intention for the works isn’t about eccentricity or originality; it’s about portraying animals as many seem them – equal to humans.
“My goal for the animals was to represent them, to anthropomorphize them. I think that when you anthropomorphize them you can see the creature’s humanity; they’re not just a cat or a dog or a lizard. They’re equal to you,” explained Talton of her collection debuting at the gallery.
One of the gallery’s main features is the charitable aspect that goes along with each showcase they do. Showcases mainly feature one artist at a time and run for a period of approximately two months. According to Amrine, many artists come in with their own charitable prospect in mind, such as Talton did. During a showcase’s two-month exhibition, 25% of the proceeds garnered from Beastly Delights will go towards Animal Rescue New Orleans, a 100% non-profit organization. Other artists aren’t quite as positive what their charity of choice should be and leave it up to the gallery to choose.
Both Talton and Amrine are looking forward to Dirty Linen Night traditions: Royal Street’s closure to vehicular traffic, fire performers, live music and, of course, floods of art-happy folks in their soiled linens. The growth of Dirty Linen Night’s lively atmosphere was an essential factor that motivated the gallery to move to their new French Quarter location.
“We really pushed construction so that we could be in [this space] in time for Dirty Linen,” Amrine revealed. “I think Jane’s work is very appropriate for what goes on during Dirty Linen.”
And Talton agrees. A Maryland Institute College of Art graduate, Talton originally worked with murals immediately following her graduation. However, the artist felt the need to scale down her oil on canvas works to render the architecture indigenous to the city; long, narrow houses aren’t exactly compatible with five or seven-foot tall paintings.
“My work is eclectic because I’ve done everything from caricatures to gallery work, but painting is my primary love,” expressed Talton. “I’m interested in [the point] when artists first started using oil paint.”
While The Foundation Gallery may have made some changes since the infamous mirrored hair salon, the unique atmosphere continues to ripple through its carefully curated selection of art showcases and will, no doubt, mesh well with the Dirty Linen crowd that will take to the streets Saturday night.