to home, expressing a sense of nurturing
for the human housed in a body. Her
large scrolls are also made of papier-
mache and are embedded with rusty
chains, gaskets, gears and nails—interior
"body parts" to her human figures. They
convey the idea that the physical body is
in fact a machine which needs care, without which it also will deteriorate into
The vine constructions are also "habitats" for the nurturing spirit, sturdily
built of vine pieces cleaned of bark and
tied together in much the same way that
our early ancestors must have used tp
form shelters. Papier-mache covers the
joints, adding strength to the pieces visually as well as structurally. I would feel
perfectly secure and comfortable climbing to the top of any of them.
Clyde Connell belongs to The Great
Gators, a small group of artists who meet
for Tuesday night suppers in Shreveport.
They stimulate their creative lives through
conversation, seminars, workshops, and
the like. Among those invited to their
seminars were Lucy Lippard, Judy Chicago, Jackie Windsor and Roberta Smith.
These feminist influences on Connell's art
are acknowledged and apparent, as she
creates from within (herself) and without
(her environment) forming a unity of her
deep sense of herself as woman and artist.
The grid in Rain Place falling loose from
its frame like a waterfall and extending
onto the floor in front of the frame probably is an accurate visual statement of
her own life as an artist. A fairly structured person falling free from a rigid
Connell laughingly says everyone
immediately picks up on her physical
description: a 95-pound, 80-year-old
woman. "It has nothing to do with my
art." She has been described, as well, as
"an original artist whose great strength is
hammered out of lonely individualism."
Connell has had one-woman shows in
Shreveport and most recently, in the Tyler Museum of Art.
Her exhibit at Lawndale Annex is not
all that easy to find. Persistence pays off.
Locate Dismuke Street on the map. It
converges with Telephone Road and the
Gulf Freeway. Follow Dismuke east until
a block before it deadends into Lawndale.
You will see a large yellow-brick warehouse to the right. Across the street in
the parking area is a large garbage skip
labeled "Lawndale Annex." There are a
couple of large overhead doors and two
regular doors. Try each, one will be open.
The warehouse is open only weekdays
from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Once inside, in an enclosed, separated,
interior "gallery" you will be rewarded
with an experience I can only call mystical. Look slowly, for the artist has much
to tell us, and the exhibit closes November 23, so you will not be able to return
as often as I have. I've spent many lunch
breaks in the dimly lit place.
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