Myth and Disaster in Southern Louisiana

galleryshotTrials and Tributaries was Hannah’s MFA Thesis Exhibition at Louisiana State University in May of 2011. This body of work examines disasters occurring in southern Louisiana, interpreted through the Greek myths The Twelve Labors of Herakles. Mankind’s false sense of control over Louisiana’s resources leaves us vulnerable to nature’s powerful acts of reclamation: hurricanes, floods and the ground sinking beneath our feet.

While researching the details and origins of The Twelve Labors, Hannah found a plethora of similarities with local culture, politics and natural disasters. The characters in these narrative prints include hybrid monsters drawn from Greek mythology, which she then further augmented with various forms of local south Louisiana fauna and contemporary political figures. Trials & Tributaries explores events ranging from Hurricane Katrina of 2005; the BP oil spill in the Gulf, Summer 2010; and the raging university budget cuts going on during my thesis year, 2010-11.

Trials and Tributaries includes woodcut prints on repurposed bed sheet fabrics, applique stitched together to form colorful, layered surfaces. Accompanying the prints, I also create collections of crocheted floor pieces called “foot prints,” which incorporate scrap fabric from the printing process as well as clothing donations from family and friends. The pluming shapes of the foot prints mirror Doppler images of monstrous weather conditions, encroaching on painfully smaller coastal cities and ecosystems. This powerful image of pluming dangerous substances or weather systems functions as a reoccurring image throughout much of my work about the Gulf Coast.

I was interviewed about my Trials & Tributaries exhibition on Ann Flowers’ A Beautiful Party Blog.