Currently on view at CoLAB Projects in New Orleans is a solo show of new work by Illinois-based artist S.J. Hart. The exhibition, entitled shining with the secret of it, presents paintings from Hart’s Songbirds series. The scenes depicted, like pages from a children’s book but with a slightly sinister slant, are illustrated to the edges with delicate renderings of flora and fauna in a crisp, retro palette. As if clipped from work by a different artist’s hand, black and white portrait drawings of old-fashioned children or fairy-tale forest animals–or a hybrid thereof–are tucked into each piece, front and center. The artist’s statement reveals her interest in Victorian post-mortem photography, the exploration of which is reflected in the vacuous stares of the young subjects she draws.
S.J. Hart received her MFA in Book Arts/Printmaking from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA and her BFA in Printmaking from The Hartford Art School, West Hartford, CT. Her work has been exhibited nationally, including in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.