The Katrina Research Center at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast will host a community reception Friday, June 5 for Bay St. Louis artist Lori K. Gordon, whose exhibit, The Katrina Collection, is on display at the Center through July.
The reception will be from 5 – 8 p.m. in the Katrina Research Center, located on the third floor of the Gulf Coast Library on the university’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. During the reception, Gordon will unveil a piece of her collection she is donating to the center.
“Lori Gordon is a coastal artist who has helped others in our recovery from Hurricane Katrina,” said Dr. Deanne Nuwer, historian and exhibit coordinator for the Katrina Research Center. “Her works reflect an abiding love of the Coast and the ongoing steps toward recovery since the storm.
“She has captured the strength of the Coast with found objects from the storm and her work is about the people and for the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
Gordon has called the Mississippi Gulf Coast her home for the past 20 years. As a mixed media artist, Gordon first attracted national attention with her quilt “Labat: A Creole Legacy,” which tells the story of long-time Bay St. Louis resident Celestine Labat who died in 2002 at the age of 104. The quilt was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for their permanent collection.
When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005, Gordon’s home and studio were washed away. Using only materials available to her, Gordon created a new series of artworks. The pieces, which incorporated storm debris, were exhibited only a few weeks following the hurricane.
The pieces have been exhibited in venues across the nation. Private collectors include former President and First Lady Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, ESPN announcer Jon Miller and country singer Faith Hill. In addition to the Smithsonian, Gordon's work may be found in the public collections of the Mississippi Humanities Council, Safeco Corporate Collection, former President Bill Clinton's “Art Across Arkansas” and Virginia Medical College.
"I am honored by the invitation to exhibit at the Katrina Research Center, and especially excited about this opportunity to demonstrate the interdisciplinary aspects of my work,” said Gordon. “The Katrina Collection is not just about art; it is about the way in which art is commentary on our times, as well as a vehicle through which our experiences may be understood."
The Katrina Collection incorporates an eclectic array of styles and forms. One of the recurring themes in Gordon's work is the use of angels as metaphor. Those who have received rebuilding assistance from volunteers understand intuitively why they have been portrayed as angels in the collection.
Other pieces point to the strength and spirit of the people of the coast. Gordon explained that the collection is all about rebirth and renewal, and all of the pieces reflect hope and determination.
Admission to the exhibition is free and open to the public. The Katrina Research Center is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 2-6 p.m.
For more information about the Katrina Research Center and exhibit, visit www.usm.edu/katrina or call 228.214.3423. Gordon's work may be previewed by visiting her Web site at www.lorikgordon.org.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu/gulfcoast .