Academic journal article The Southern Review

Artist's Statement

Academic journal article The Southern Review

Artist's Statement

Article excerpt

I CAN'T REMEMBER A TIME when I didn't draw. Growing up I was surrounded by creative visual expression. My father, Al Eggart, an electrical engineer by profession, was also gifted in drawing and design. My mother, Mary Lee Moreland Eggart, was the director of an extensive arts program at the Baton Rouge Catholic Youth Organization. My maternal uncle, the painter William L. Moreland, led the art department at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette). He visited frequently, always encouraging my love of drawing and helping me learn to see the forms, colors, and patterns of nature.

My interest in nature began early. My grandfather, Fred Moreland, a retired Louisiana State University botany professor, taught me to look at nature in a scientific way: in addition to the beauty of the flower's appearance is the beauty of how it functions and fits into its ecosystem. One of his retirement hobbies was feeding the birds in his backyard. He built all his own feeders, and together we would observe and study the birds from the big windows in the rear of his house.

Images of those birds began to appear in my work. My interest in them expanded from the scientific to the aesthetic and beyond, to their metaphoric potential. The study of art history offered a means to meld my interest in nature with the precepts of a strong Catholic faith, which I inherited from my mother and my grandmother, Hilda Martinez Moreland. As I grew this symbolic visual language, I developed an affinity with the late-medieval artists whose accurate, carefully observed portrayals of animals and plants also expressed a spiritual message. …

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