Hammond Regional Arts Center features former professor Barbara Tardo’s artwork


Jordyn Franklin

Barbra Tardo’s artwork sits on display at the Hammond Regional Arts Center. A New Orleans native, Tardo was a fixture in the university’s Visual Arts department for decades.

From Oct. 16 to Nov. 11, the Hammond Regional Arts Center will be displaying Barbara Tardo’s artwork in an exhibition titled “Sand Reliefs & Other Works.” 

Tardo, a former instructor of Visual Arts for the university, has had her work featured several times at the HRAC as well as across the nation.

Tara Bennett, media coordinator for HRAC, detailed how the center came to present Tardo’s artwork.

“Tardo has been a wonderful friend to HRAC for many years,” explained Bennett. “She’s exhibited several times with us in the past, and we wanted to celebrate her long career in the arts with the community where it all began.”

Preparing for an exhibition involves a wide variety of activities behind the scenes, according to Bennett. She provided details as to how the HRAC developed Tardo’s exhibition.

“It’s an extensive process,” stated Bennett. “There’s cataloguing each artwork, designing the layout of the exhibition, creating marketing materials, etc. Even adjusting the lighting system in the gallery is part of the process.”

Bennett believes that the gallery is a fantastic opportunity to get a glimpse of Tardo’s artwork.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to see a real Southeastern legacy,” expressed Bennett. “Not only was she a professor at Southeastern, she was a student as well. We have her very first painting on display circa 1958 back when Southeastern was still known as Southeastern Louisiana College.”

In Art Talk Thursday, an event held by the HRAC, Tardo gave insights on her artistic methods and visions for the pieces put on display.

“I’m a sculptor, but it’s not a practical thing to do. It takes a great deal of time, and eventually you do something else — a show comes up, and they want a piece, but you can’t knock out a piece of sculpture,” stated Tardo. “It takes a while. So, I started pushing the drawing and 2D, but it was always on paper. I like paper.”

Alongside her 2D drawings and paintings are experimentations with sand as a medium. Tardo explained where the inspiration came from.

“I lived between Folsom and Covington, on the Tchefuncte River, and I had this wonderful sandy slough on the property,” detailed Tardo. “When the river came up, it backed into this slough. When it receded, the slough had all of this river bottom patterning on it. I’d look at it each time and I said, ‘I have to throw some plaster on that at some point,’ and I did.”

Examining her artwork as a whole, Tardo discussed that landscapes have always been a prominent aspect of her pieces.

“My subject matter has always been — if it’s not a person, it’s a landscape, so that’s already in my head. You know, whether I’m looking at it or not, that information is there,” explained Tardo. “So, I just did landscape forms. You’re right, I just sit back and look at it and go, ‘Okay, we’ll do this and we’ll do that.’”

As a conclusion to the event, Tardo revealed that she prefers abstraction over realism.

“Abstract — now and again, I would do something realistic, and I love realism, but it’s boring for me,” expressed Tardo. “It has a logical end, and abstract doesn’t. Abstraction gives you lots of room to play.”

The gallery hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 12-6.p.m. The gallery exhibition is free of charge and open to the public.