Artist Angelbert Metoyer’s striking, energetic work appears to reflect many different cultural touchstones, art that is at once ancient, modern, tribal and urban. The Houston artist says his work is the result of curiosities about history and histories, specifically personal, public and historical mythologies.
“As those things go in and out of current interest and what I’m doing, it has its effect on the kind of temperance or permanence of my work,” he said. His paintings, drawings, sculptures and projects in film, sound and architecture reflect his desire to explore existential issues and create “a talisman that delivers something or extracts something from the viewer, or the person who decides to live with the work.”
Metoyer is one of three Creole artists featured in “Elemental Threads, Contemporary Works by Angelbert Metoyer, Annie Moran & Ayo Scott” on exhibit Sept. 15-Oct. 29 in Northwestern State University’s Orville Hanchey Gallery. The exhibit is being presented by NSU’s Creole Heritage Center. Metoyer created a new series titled “Red Clay and Violet Light” for the exhibition, based on a memory of visiting Natchitoches this past spring.
“There was a moment I had in the car with some loved ones where we were experiencing the color of the soil and the light from the sky. And we couldn’t compare it to anything else. I just wanted to hold on to that incomparable memory, something really unique that I’ll never forget.”
Metoyer has special ties to the Creole community of Cane River.
“They are places in my personal mythos where I’m from but didn’t grow up in. I have this strange relationship in my mind to the images of these places. There’s the image of the beautiful childhood of my father and my grandfather and everybody else in my family, but I grew up basically in Houston,” he said. “I have the same relationship with to north Texas with my mother, so these are like these two worlds for me.
“Every time I get to create something in that place, it’s very special to me. It’s almost like if you got the chance to make something in a dream, what would it be? For me, working in a place like Natchitoches, which I’ve done many times before – making sculpture, paintings, temporary objects along the riverbeds and such – every time I do it is like imagining if you could go and create something a dream and wake up and it still exists in reality. That’s what this place is for me. There are only wo places I the world like that and Natchitoches is one of them, and Isle Brevelle explicitly. That’s a huge page of my mythology.”
Metoyer has worked on significant and on-going architectural projects, including a natural observatory that has been in progress since 1998. Another significant collaboration is a civic monument to Texas that will be unveiled before the end of the year in Houston.
“My studio is an ongoing practice; it’s the garden. My studio practice is an evolving experience that I’m hoping to expand outside of walls. I’m looking forward to working more succinctly in nature as my work progresses.”
Metoyer hopes to inspire through his work included in “Elemental Threads.”
“It is a group show, so it also matters what the other artists are doing, creating something like a play or symphony together. I’m excited to be her, in the moment and connected to the place and making something new.”
Hanchey Gallery is located in the Creative and Performing Arts Complex, 140 Central Avenue, Natchitoches. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-noon Fridays.
Visit Metoyer’s website at https://www.angelbertmetoyer.com/ and join his studio mailing list. More info on the exhibition and artists is on the Creole Heritage Center’s website at https://www.nsula.edu/creole/.