Cynthia Scott
Sculpture in the St. Claude Arts District
The blog ART E-WALK includes Scott's work in her review of sculpture in January 2016.
Across the street at the Front, Cynthia Scott's hanging sculpture takes over a large space with its shadow spread on the white walls. The intricate structure built with plastic, metal, and mesh, mainly white, has cage-like features resulting in an eerie feeling of entrapment offset by the dreamy shadow in the background. A short text from Macbeth provides the key to the work and its title Poor Players, Strutting and Fretting, 2016.
Review of St. Claude Arts District openings, January 2016
John d'Addario of the New Orleans Advocate reviews the new shows in the St. Claude Arts District, featuring Scott's work at The Front


By John d/Addario

A group show in a different register is on view at The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave., where Shift Change assembles work by members of the gallery’s artist collective.

And despite the somewhat portentous use of one of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquies for the title of Cynthia Scott’s architecturally inspired hanging assemblage, made of suspended bits of plastic and floating in a corner like a futuristic housing complex, you don’t need to read anything into it in order to admire its complex interplay of volume and shadow. All those components may indeed “signify nothing,” but they’re fascinating to look at.

Review of 'Louisiana Contemporary 2015'
John d'Addario of the New Orleans Advocate reviews Louisiana Contemporary at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.


By John d'Addario

You can also follow (curator Brooke Davis) Anderson’s lead and seek out examples of works that she identifies as falling under a handful of broad common themes, including landscape, spirituality and experimentation.

A series of colorful hanging sculptures by Cynthia Scott displayed throughout the exhibition, assembled from household objects like plastic colanders and addressing issues like genetically modified food production, emphatically fall in the latter category.

Review of 'Suspension of Disbelief'
The blog ART E-WALK reviews Scott's solo show of hanging sculptures.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014


By Sylvie Contiguglia

On St Roch Avenue, Staple Goods offers a one woman show with Suspension of Disbelief, a display of Cynthia Scott’s latest work. Forget carving, chiseling or pedestals, Scott's sculptures float in space and invade the gallery like alien ships, each carrying a different message. Scott gets her supplies at the Dollar Store and creates brightly colored compositions to deliver somber news. Following her previous body of work related to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf, this time she is addressing a wider audience, voicing her concerns about our planet’s future with six sculptures hanging from the ceiling. Race relationship, transgenic food, food supply, overpopulation, she tackles grave subjects with wit and humor. For example, the transgenic apples fall to the ground below a dead canary, the doll-size pink gown is surrounded by pink kitchen sponges, black and white king cake babies are piled up in a half earth globe. Scott's message is simple and clear. She does not have answers, but her work keeps raising burning issues.

View of "Suspension of Disbelief" from Cynthia Scott at the Staple Goods gallery, photograph by the author.
Review of 'Punditry'
*The blog ART E-WALK ( reviews Scott's foray into painting.
Monday, January 20, 2014


Sylvie Contiguglia

Known for her installations previously displayed at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans and the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Cynthia Scott, sculptor, is exploring new territories with Punditry, her solo exhibition at Staple Goods Gallery in the St. Claude Arts District. She has chosen figurative paintings to deliver her message which has switched from reflections about disasters to a discussion about pundits.

Her subjects are selected among a list of personalities, mainly heard on television or radio shows, feeding us daily with their "thoughts" about the latest news. Politically savvy, they represent Democrats, Republicans or else with a common trait, they are famous.

The artist gathered screen shots from anonymous photographers found on the Internet and several steps later (after enlarging, cropping, enhancing saturation or shades) printed the photographs. Then, selecting the most expressive gestures or facial expressions, painted these with acrylic on rectangular pieces of yupo, a synthetic material.

Mouths caught in the middle of a speech, lecturing hands with pointed fingers, creases, wrinkles the camera would like us to forget, expose the orator. The satirical works make us wonder. Could it be Rush Limbaugh next to Al Sharpton, Ann Coulter, Arianna Huffington? But this is not the point. What comes out when surrounded by the paintings lining up the gallery are the aggressive gestures of the lecturers and the similarity of expressions whatever "side" they are on. These daily guests in our living rooms, whose mission is to indoctrinate, screaming long harangue, have forgotten the art of conversation and dialogue. The artist has chosen harsh blues for backgrounds, black or sometimes dark violets and all shades of skin tones to deliver her sobering comments with a decisive brushstroke. She is also aiming the camera back to us, the silent and passive audience. Attraction, irritation, loathe, anger and all gamut in between, she crystallizes our feelings with her caustic view of the pundits.

Scott is one of the artists going back to figurative with a twist, combining photography and painting and her latest work is proof that the art of satire, in any form, will never be out of style.

photographs by the author:
A. H." (Arianna Huffington), 2013
"A. S" (Al Sharpton), 2013
View of the exhibition
Review of 'NOLA Now Part II: Abstraction in Louisiana'
The blog ART E-WALK ( spotlights Scott's site-specific installation The Spiders From Mars Are Not Amused in this 2012 show at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans. [Full article with photographs can be found in Links. More images of Scott's installation can be found in Portfolio.]


Sylvie Contiguglia

The opening of NOLA NOW Part II: Abstraction in Louisiana at the Contemporary Art Center is crowded. The first floor is filled with works from Louisiana artists, most of them well known in New Orleans, many of them represented by galleries just one block away. The exhibition is one chapter of a project started in October 2011, the first part composed of installations was located on the third floor of the building. This time, the space is tight and the artists represented (more than sixty) are mostly painters and a few sculptors, creating abstract works. The evening is a great occasion to meet the artists.

In contrast, the second floor dedicated to another exhibition titled Spaces: Antenna, The Front, Good Children Gallery feels empty: blank walls scarred with nails, left over tape, few pieces of art, silent computers, dismembered installations and a few pamphlets left over. The artists withdrew their works to manifest their disagreement with the CAC's administration. The third and fourth floor of the building are empty.

Walking down the ramp allowed me to discover the installation from Morgana King starting with a flower-like composition or a new planet floating in the air surrounded by the sculpture from Martin Peyton. From above, I caught a great view of the "oval room" with its ceiling looking like a beehive. Downstairs, the visitor plunges in a cave with stalactites hanging low, decorated with a few objects constructed to match. Like a process often seen in nature, the artist used an accumulation of units to build the structure and created a magical world where size is relative.

Upon leaving, I took a last look at Cynthia Scott's installation, in sink (sic) with the site and the preoccupations of the city. Photographs from previous disasters (Love Canal, Three Miles Island, Exxon Valdez, BP Deepwater Horizon... the list is too long) are printed** on fabric and installed hanging from the ceiling on inverted broken umbrellas. The result is a soaring colorful composition climbing the four stories of the building. The height of the ceiling creates a cathedral effect which is inspiring and each print is like a page of history, ecological disasters fading in our memory, a reminder that we do not learn.

Missing are all the artists who withdrew from the exhibition of the second floor. The triangle artist, artwork and viewer needs a place to thrive. Art viewers, are always ready to discover another artist and will go where it happens in the city.

** [Artist's note: Nine of the images were hand painted and two were digitally printed.]

Review of 'Fresh Produce'
Reggie Michael Rodrigue reviews this 2011 show at Staple Goods on his art criticism blog (no longer available).

'In both the showrooms of Staple Goods, patrons of Fresh Produce are treated to two views of some pretty unorthodox chandeliers, but there is no lighting involved in these objects – just political commentary by way of some uncanny found object assemblage. These are the works of Cynthia Scott, the unofficial “queen of upcycling” in New Orleans. Scott regularly works with found materials so as to address the political and environmental concerns we all face today at the turn of the century. Whereas the dadaists used found objects and assemblage to shock the public into an awareness of the surreal and absurd all around them, POP artists usurped everyday objects for their blunt coolness and ubiquity, and conceptual artists used everyday objects for the meaning and metaphors which lie underneath their surfaces, Scott uses found objects to comment on how many objects are out there to find in the endless tide of waste and detritus that we as a civilization discard into the environment. Scott connects these objects to the environment through some creative naming, substituting the name of the imperiled barrier islands at the eastern-most tip of Louisiana for the word chandelier. Chandeleur (The Fighters) is a multicolored chandelier made from plastic baskets, ties and tubes filled with a substance which looks black as crude. The sculptural object certainly looks festive. However, plastic is a byproduct of the oil industry, and this industry has done much to alter and devastate the environment in Louisiana from creating canals through sensitive marshlands that continue to introduce salt water into the mainland to the 2010 BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico which ruined the landscape and wildlife on the islands in question. The second chandelier, titled Chandeleur (The Fishers), is devoted to the fishermen of Louisiana. Scott created the piece from found wire objects that mimic the wire traps that fishermen use. The artist adorns her chandelier with little wire boats as well. The two chandeliers call to mind the schism that exists between the two distinct industries, one (the oil industry) bent on the absolute exploitation of the natural environment, and the other (the seafood industry) which is concerned more with sustaining the natural environment for years to come.
Review of 'Fresh Produce'
D. Eric Bookhardt of Gambit Weekly and reviews this show at Staple Goods gallery in New Orleans. A link to this article is in the Links section.


In a recent interview, Prospect New Orleans founder Dan Cameron opined that New Orleans doesn’t do enough “to support its local visual artists, yet ... the St. Claude district now constitutes the critical mass of artist-run spaces for the entire country.” While his opinions are open to debate, his comment about St. Claude being a national epicenter for artist-run co-op galleries is hard to dispute; no other city has so many in such concentration.

The newest gallery is Staple Goods, a former corner grocery on St. Roch Avenue at Villere Street. Its current show features work by its member artists, and it’s surprisingly cohesive despite the diversity. Cynthia Scott’s Chandeleur (pictured) series of sculptures transform everyday manufactured items into airy, chandelier-like mobiles with a Zen-like delicacy that belies their prosaic origins while complementing Daniel Kelly’s grid drawings, in which loosely rendered lines and marks suggest a ghostly sort of architectural space, as if modernism had evolved directly from stone age cave paintings. A notable exception to the prevailing abstraction is Thomasine Bartlett’s Hot Mamas photo series of women in archaic Storyville attire lounging languidly in steamy summer torpor in a visual meditation on “the brutality of fashion and style” in a tropical environment.

More Storyville-based imagery turns up down the street at another co-op, the Homespace Gallery, in a series of tintype photographic portraits by Bruce Schultz. In fact, the entire gallery is given over to the archaic 19th century tintype process with additional portraits as well as abstract compositions by Euphus Ruth, Jenny Sampson and S. Gayle Stevens. Beyond novelty, these works take us to a parallel universe where technique becomes a ritual and where the expressions of the sitters, extended over long exposure times, become windows into their souls.


Review of 'Redheaded Stepchild' at HomeSpace Gallery, New Orleans
Reggie Michael Rodrigue previews this 2011 sculpture show on his art criticism blog (no longer available). More images of Scott's installation mentioned are in Portfolio.]


by Reggie Michael Rodrigue

Abstract Expressionist painter and all-around gadfly Ad Reinhardt once quipped that “Sculpture is something you back into while looking at a painting.” This attitude has been around for quite a while. It’s roots can be traced to the invention of oil paint and perspective, which both lent painting a revolutionary relevance in the days of the budding European Renaissance. With oils and perspective, Renaissance painters could create windows into entire worlds, whether they were realistic or fantastical. This was something sculpture could barely compete with at the time. The supreme position of painting was maintained through the Renaissance all the way into the 1950′s when the Abstract Expressionists were stretching pictorialism to its absolute, ethereal limits. Sculpture was considered a secondary artistic pursuit.

However, in the 1960s, our general attitude toward sculpture began to change. The basic precepts of what sculpture could be loosened. All of a sudden, it began to leap from it’s pedestal, take on more space, fracture into many parts, and multiply in a frenzy of disparate directions. Of course, there were precedents for this sort of thing before the 1960s, but the decade was really the watershed moment for sculpture. Today, sculpture has superseded painting as the ultimate, avant garde medium. However, considering that space is always a premium, sculpture still is more difficult to collect. It’s typically more expensive to produce and transport. Plus, its position as the avant garde medium par excellence is uncertain with the ascendency of performance art, video and digital/social media art in the overall scheme of contemporary art. Poor, poor sculpture! Even at it’s height, it’s still the redheaded stepchild of art in many ways.

The current exhibition Redheaded Stepchild at HomeSpace Gallery satirically toys with this notion. It is an exhibition of nothing but contemporary sculpture that is as tempestuous, mischievous and nearly inscrutable as its proverbial, ginger namesake. Artists Kevin Baer, Thor Carlson, Kourtney Keller, Jonathan Pellitteri, Cynthia Scott and Patrick Segura offer a gallery full of sculpture to back into, scratch one’s head around, and wag one’s finger at – maybe even spank if you just don’t get it. Just Kidding! However, it does look like a rambunctious exhibition.

The closing reception for Redheaded Stepchild will be taking place this Sunday, December 4, 2011 from 12-5PM at HomeSpace Gallery, 1128 St. Roch Ave., NOLA. A spoken word performance will be given at the gallery between 2 and 4 PM. Writer/performers include Helen Jaksch, theatre artist and dramaturg; Benjamin Alan Morris, poet and essayist; Eve Abrams, local writer and NPR contributor; Richard Goodman, professor of English at UNO; and Ingrid Norton, reading from her novella-in-progress. I’ll be attending, and viewing the exhibition for the first time. However, if you can’t make it on Sunday, you can see the exhibition on Saturday from 12-5PM.

The following are some installation pics from “Redheaded Stepchild” that Cynthia Scott sent to “louisianaesthetic” to whet my appetite. Mission accomplished. I hope they do the same for you as well.

sculpture by Kevin Baer
sculpture by Thor Carlson
sculpture by Thor Carlson
sculpture by Kourtney Keller
sculpture by Johnathan Pellitteri
sculpture by Johnathan Pellitteri
sculpture by Johnathan Pellitteri
sculpture by Cynthia Scott
sculpture by Patrick Segura
sculpture by Patrick Segura

Review of 'Redheaded Stepchild' Art Writer Kathy Rodriguez heads to the tucked-away downtown gallery, HomeSpace, and gets a reminder about sculpture's historical importance in the art world. [Full article with image can be found in Links. Images of the piece referred to in this article (Whale Songs) can be seen in Portfolio on this website.]


by Kathy Rodriguez

In 1648, Charles LeBrun, artist and advisor to the French monarchy, helped found The Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris. In the 1660s, Le Brun had become official painter to the King, Louis XIV, and director of the Academy. In his morceau de reception, or reception piece, submitted to the Academy in 1686, Le Brun’s student Nicolas de Largillièrre depicts him like a monarch. Rather than setting the painter in all the lavish accoutréments indicative of the excessive riches of the aristocracy, Largillièrre depicts him surrounded by the trappings of academic training: classical busts, prints, and drawings. In the background, Largillièrre copies Le Brun’s work from the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, The Conquest of Franche-Comté. History painting like this, which is meant to represent the political and military power of the king, was considered the highest academic art. Le Brun gestures towards this precipice in his portrait, signifying painting’s importance above other artforms, as well as his own influence in the future of academic arts training.

The relegation of “sculpture” after “painting” in the title of the Academy is more immediately telling of the relationship between the two media. Though the Academy elevated them from other artisanal crafts, sculpture served painting. Sculpture enjoyed some recognition for its capacity to represent and glorify the elite, but it often found itself represented elsewhere in two dimensions.

In the years after the Industrial Revolution, which began mere decades after the death of Louis XIV, modernity’s pushes toward innovation began to realize themselves in sculpture. Still, our art history texts somewhat describe sculpture’s progress as a reaction to the content of painting – it continues to serve its less-dimensional master. Major painters far outnumber the sculptors, and art history follows the trends that shaped various movements through more examples in painting.

The recently opened show, Redheaded Stepchild, at HomeSpace Gallery confronts the issues that have affected historical perceptions of sculpture. Local artist Cynthia Scott and recent returnee Brian St. Cyr co-curated the exhibit at the request of Kevin Kline, regular curator for the gallery. At the onset of their curatorial statement, they admit that sculpture is inconvenient both spatially and conceptually. Besides struggling beneath the weight of the brush, sculpture’s own weight – both physical and metaphorical – has dissuaded a certain degree of interest in showing it.

For example, an installation like Scott’s, which in this instance extends everyday detritus like yogurt containers and plastic rings across the walls of the space, is at first disarming. The familiarity of these objects is confused in the gallery context, especially when paired with a small sound and video element. Waves wash back and forth within the frame of a tiny screen set into the chaotic but web-like lines of the plastics attached to the walls. Water and animal sounds emanate from the work. The installation itself is complex, intricate, and time-consuming to install. Despite the effort, it is composed of objects that receive minute attention. All this points to the obsessive nature of the behaviors that resulted in the accumulation of these materials, and brings attention to their consuming presence in our broader daily lives. It is a considerably heavy topic; especially after reading that this small sample represents only what was saved after three years – not what was discarded, or where it went.

Sculpture takes time to experience and requires the viewer to consider his or her relationship with it in space. Like Scott, both Kevin Baer and Kourtney Keller use everyday materials to construct their work. Baer’s Mountains – two stalactite-like black and white forms that vertically mirror each other - hang in a corner, leaving just enough space for the viewer to inch around and see it from all sides. This arrangement forces the viewer to change they way space affects perception of the piece in close and distant vantage points. The delicacy of the common plastic used to layer the craggy black and white forms reveals itself in the close inspection it demands from one position. The lightness of the material is belied when viewed from a distance – the forms appear massive, and heavy. Still, they seem strangely free from gravity as they sway and spin between ceiling and floor. Keller’s sculptures, assembled from glass, mirrors, and light, rotate more mechanically. The effect is dramatic in dim light – almost magically, they cast fluid reflections on the wall and floor suggesting continual change. Again, there is a contrast between weightlessness and gravity. The sharp edges and small but floorbound mass of these objects reveal themselves as lovely, soft patches of light shimmering across the room.

Thor Carlson and Jonathan Pellitteri use more traditional materials, but the results are surprising. Carlson notes in his statement that the majority of his work is made with industrial media like cast iron and steel. Somewhat within the tradition of the sculptor/architect, Carlson refurbishes these materials into haunting forms far more emotional than the machine-like coldness connoted by their typical use. For example, Carlson’s Deep Silence is a submarine form riddled with holes, positioned on the floor like a dark, sea-buried relic, once powerful, and now diminutive and forlorn. Pelliterri, who is represented by the Brunner Gallery in Covington, makes work with architectural character. Organic materials like wood and sod join investigative lenses, sometimes on movable rods, in very geometric structures that directly reference the idea of balance. Monument is an upside-down obelisk or ziggurat that appears to precariously teeter on its tip. Fuel Level positions a tube filled with brown liquid between two symmetrical hills. Pelliterri analyzes balance between industry and landscape, at the same time suggesting the disparity between the speed of human time and the slow pace of geology.

HomeSpace is small compared to other galleries, and the center of its main room is dominated by the constant presence of a nineteenth century piano. It increases the already close proximity of the sculptures in the show to each other, but it also serves as a resting point. Walking into the space is like approaching a new world filled with objects that demand us to experience them rather than just view them, so it helps to have something familiar, and sculptural in itself, to guide us.

The work saturates the space, both inside and out; Baer also placed a delicate installation of red painted tree branches on the neutral ground outside the door. It looks like exposed arteries – vulnerable, but life-sustaining vessels. Perhaps this work is a symbol for the show as a whole. No matter what history dictates, sculpture is essential to the art beat.

Review of 'The Bride's Deadly Sins'

This review by art critic Reggie Michael Rodrigue appeared on his blog The Visionary Post, which is no longer available online.

[Images from this solo exhibition are in Portfolio on this website under the Wallworks and Installation sections.]

"TNE NOT-SO-HAPPY HOMEMAKER” - a review of artist Cynthia Scott’s The Bride’s Deadly Sins at HomeSpace Gallery in New Orleans (April 9 – May 8, 2011)

By Reggie Michael Rodrigue

Marcel Duchamp had his Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even - a Dadaist art “machine” alternately described as the artist’s playful take on Victorian physics, a cynical discourse on love between the sexes and a piece of art which aim was to disrupt critical discourse over its own meaning. Many an artist has found inspiration in the artistic polemics of Duchamp since his heyday - in many ways, he revolutionized art and the ways we think about art itself.

Almost one hundred years later, artist Cynthia Scott presents the video The Bride Contemplates Her Future in the exhibition The Bride’s Deadly Sins at Home Space Gallery in New Orleans. In the video, Scott, dressed as “The Bride,” attempts to render order out of chaos by making a structure out of the metal armatures of defunct chairs that have been discarded on the floor. Watching the video is both comical and excruciating. “The Bride” is involved in a game she can never win (the structure she is attempting to build is never sound, continually falling apart time and again despite her attempts), and the end result of approximately thirteen minutes of tinkering is her walking away from the scene in exasperation. There’s much here that is Duchampian in nature, namely ideas about sexuality, physics and the use of nontraditional materials and readymades. Scott brings other nuances to the piece, however. In general, her art is highly immersed in feminist and environmentalist ideology. Through these lenses, one can read the video as a provocative take on what it means to be a homemaker in the 21st Century. Gone are the days when a woman could materialistically build a life for her family with a clear conscience through unbridled consumption. We now know that rampant waste and pollution are the end results of this lifestyle. Have we come to a point where things are so broken that we cannot even make something valuable from the recycled detritus of our lives? It’s an important question. There’s only so much recycling one can do. Meanwhile our waste keeps piling up, and the problem is being exacerbated by the peoples of developing countries such as China, India and Brazil taking on the American lifestyle of consumption and waste. How does a contemporary housewife (or househusband) contend with building a life for her children today that will not endanger their futures? It’s an incredibly daunting thought considering the odds that are stacked against her. At this moment, the average American generates 20 tons of carbon dioxide a year through simply living the “American Dream”. Multiply that times three or four for the average American family. Conversely, the average carbon footprint for the rest of the world’s citizens is 4 tons per year. Something has to change. Scott’s video points to this fact.

Also on display in the exhibition are some of Scott’s “wallworks” - constructions assembled from detritus that, in this instance, correlate to the concepts of the Seven Deadly Sins from Christian lore. Each wallwork is constructed from detritus that can be associated with a particular sin. The piece Envy (pictured here) is composed of green clothing scraps, yarn and parcel strapping. The central panel contains the crocheted statement: “I want.” The materials used in this piece echo certain people’s need to “keep up with the Joneses” through such things as fashion and material purchases, and the structure of the piece emulates a net, alluding to ideas about entrapment. Here, Scott continues to riff on feminist aesthetics, eschewing traditional materials associated with male artists of the past in favor of what we can think of as feminine materials and artistic strategies that derive from craft, which was essentially thought of as the artistic domain of women before Feminist Art came to the forefront of artistic practice.

Scott’s wallwork Gluttony is composed of translucent plastic dessert cups and soda packaging. The blob-like structure of the piece takes on the ominous shape of a raincloud or congealed fat. Greed has a similar net-like structure to Envy; however, it is made from woven plastic shopping bags and wire. Lust is a palimpsest of dried pomegranate skins sewn together and laquered. It alludes to the forbidden fruit from which Adam and Eve ate in the story of the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis. Rather than being overtly seductive, the piece looks like two tumors. With this piece, Scott openly exhibits the byproducts of the perversion of love and faith. With Wrath, Scott creates a piece imbued with implicit violence by using bamboo skewers. The chaotic geometry of the piece implies a cage that both restrains and injures.

Also on display are some drawings on brown paper which reprise the imagery of the chair armatures featured in The Bride Contemplates Her Future. All titled Sit, the drawings can be viewed as an expression of the absurdity of trying to find a place of rest in a world that is falling apart.

In all, the pieces in this exhibition exemplify the work of an artist who is in continuous engagement with the world around her, despite being overwhelmed by the task at times. It is serious work. To borrow from the great Kate Bush, it’s “this woman’s work” … and all of ours as well.