As part of Prospect 3 + BR, the Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery has invited Miami-based South African artist Anja Marais to Baton Rouge.  Join us for the opening reception of her exhibition, The Ballast, on Friday 17 October from 5:30pm

The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge will present The Ballast, a solo exhibition of mixed media installation and video works by South African artist Anja Marais. The exhibition will be on view at the Firehouse Gallery, 427 Laurel Street, from 17 October to 12 December, and is part of P3+BR, Baton Rouge’s regional partnership with the Prospect 3 New Orleans Anja Marais is a Miami-based contemporary artist, will take over the Firehouse Gallery with a hand-made environment of video, sculpture, and installation works that continue her explorations of water, earth, and human interactions. The Ballast, assembled especially for the Baton Rouge community and P3+BR, focuses on how we experience change, stagnation, and natural forces. From one work to another, Marais’s art builds an intricate, many-layered visual poem — haunting and ethereal and rich in supernatural metaphor. Her installation at the Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery continues this and instills a feeling of contemplation and longing in the viewer — with a strong sense of the supernatural.

The Ballast: a solo exhibition by Anja Marais
17 October to 12 December
Firehouse Gallery, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge
Opening Reception on Friday 17 October from 5:30pm to 8pm
Presented by the Arts Council as part of Prospect 3+BR

The works in The Ballast include moving images, sculpture, works on paper and mixed media oil paintings on panel. The artist’s video narratives are centered around a sepia stop-motion animation, created and filmed in St. Petersburg Russia. They follow a mysterious female figure that recurs in much of Marais’s imagery, and stand for the often metaphysical relationship we have with the environment and a desire to become one with the natural non-human world.

Mixed media paintings and photography, including transformed still images of stop animation work, complete the exhibition. Featured on one gallery wall is an installation of found antique oval frames, encasing broken down fragments of textured water. This centerpiece evokes our own community’s familiar vistas and complex relationship with the Mississippi River.

“Water is a powerful subject and a pervasive theme in Anja’s work,” says Arts Council president, Eric Holowacz. “There is mystery in it, and life. There are hints of hidden human forms, and amysticla relationship to the earth that Anja turns into a visual language. The water is like a metaphysical chant that reflects and connects everything.”Considering herself a storyteller, Anja Marais also wants to reveal the magic in our midst. As the viewer moves through the installation at the Firehouse Gallery, the boundaries of the dream world and reality try to dissolve. With the interplay of moving image, painted surfaces, and sculptural object, The Ballast will cast us as beings in her own supernatural, metaphysical place.

The public is invited to the opening reception for The Ballast at the Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery, and an opportunity to meet the artist, on Friday 17 October from 5:30pm to 8pm. The exhibition will remain on view through 12 December as part of the Baton Rouge programming and partnership with Prospect 3 New Orleans