There aren’t many contemporary artists who paint with the sensibility, skill and understanding of light and color as the Renaissance masters, and Lafayette is fortunate to have among its talented residents such an outstanding painter.
Herb Roe understands the unique Cajun Culture of Acadiana — courirs, boucheries, festivals and everything in between — and he conveys far more than just novelty. Roe illustrates the strength of a special community that has evolved from exile, assimilation, oppression and a renaissance three centuries in the making. His depictions of revelers following traditions of the courir through the county, musicians playing on front porches, festival dancers filling up park spaces — any space where music and dance and food can be enjoyed — are vivid in their color and dynamic in content.
Herb Roe: Ça c’est bon opens at this Saturday’s ArtWalk at the Acadiana Center for the Arts’ Side Gallery and runs through Feb. 20.
“My newest work has been me playing with light, color, application of paint and design to evoke the emotions of our unique way of life we share in Acadiana. As a transplant I’m always mesmerized by the riots of color and activity that are so different from where I grew up," Roe says. "But the longer I am immersed in the cultural life of the area, the more I come to see these events as the ultimate expression of the Cajun joie de vivre that permeates the everyday: camaraderie, family, food, music, tradition,” he continues. “They aren’t just things that happen once or twice a year; they set the pace for life in general and function as a metaphor for how the culture of Acadiana remains so strong.”
Herb Roe: Ça c’est bon
Acadiana Center for the Arts - Side Gallery
101 W. Vermilion St.
Jan. 9 – Feb. 20
Opening Reception, Jan. 9 - January Art Walk
A critical element among the Cajun community and Roe’s work is inclusivity: the current generation of Cajuns welcoming and including guests, who often become residents, from throughout the nation and many countries abroad; the young and the old, men and women steering new themes of the culture. There are many sources and approaches to cultural analysis, and there are many visual artists who work from a place of depth and genuine passion.
Roe’s oil paintings draw from an impetus to both analyze and create. The thing is, his paintings are true contemporary iconography at an extremely sophisticated level dealing with a subject matter of weighty significance. It’s nothing short of a beautiful synchronicity to have the artist and subject matched so well.