Sculptures bring new life to SLU gallery with ‘Ecstatic Objects’


Chloe Williams

“One and Two and” by Jessica Vogel Brown from 2015 is on display in the Contemporary Art Gallery. The “Ecstatic Objects” exhibition will be on view until Feb. 22.

Southeastern’s Contemporary Art Gallery is hosting the “Ecstatic Objects” exhibit from Jan. 20 to Feb. 22. 

The exhibit consists of three different local New Orleans artists’ pieces: Jessica Brown, Blas Isasi and Brittan Rosendahl. According to the Contemporary Art Gallery’s Instagram, the artists’ sculptures revel in the materiality of their media. 

While each artist had differing interpretations of what their work in the exhibit means to them, all of their pieces work well together to create one still, yet interesting exhibit where surrounding objects can be art.

Cristina Molina, gallery director and associate professor of news media and animation, named the exhibit. After seeing all of the creations displayed together, Brown said she found “Ecstatic Objects” to be a fitting title for both her and her fellow artists’ pieces.

“Ecstatic objects are objects that can embody something more spiritual and intangible. In my work, I am trying to commune with the materials while I create, letting the material lead and do much of the work,” Brown explained. 

Her inspiration for the pieces in “Ecstatic Objects” came from quiet moments in her life. She gets ideas from the sense of mindfulness and the way that her body is telling her to “pay attention.” 

Brown then tries to “recapture these moments through her artwork,” she said. Sometimes she will start with a material to manipulate or hash out a sketch in her sketchbook for feelings or emotions she cannot verbalize. 

Most of her artwork for this exhibit spans from the year 2012 to 2020;  her favorite piece on display is “Chocolate Curl,” an early 2012 piece Brown said she views as a self-portrait or alter ego. 

Meanwhile, with Rosendahl’s works in “Ecstatic Objects,” he found his recent works, including the ones in the exhibit, are responding to the prevailing condition of dated reference materials. 

He said, “Medias of interest are overwhelmingly disabled, they linger with little purpose but nostalgia or decoration. I rearrange printed paper to generate a language of inquiry that is ideologically ambiguous.”

For example, Rosendahl’s piece “Furrowed Partners” from 2019 includes 504 yellow pages, polyurethane, hot glue and chicken wire. 

He went on to say the resulting objects encourage a playful reexamination of objective information where aesthetic exploration and obscurity are favored over indexical assurance.

Isasi noted the exhibit is meant to acknowledge inanimate objects’ ability to experience and enjoy the world. 

“This is in tune with a more ambitious and urgent contemporary desire, that of (re)establishing a caring universal community that includes every single existing material and immaterial, animate and inanimate entity that exists in the world,” Isasi said. 

Isasi’s style with his work is usually characterized by detailed, time-consuming and craft-orientated hand labor, which can be seen in the “Ecstatic Objects” exhibit. He would like people who come to see the exhibit to experience a momentary estrangement of the world amongst the objects on view. 

All in all, Brown wanted to mention she was glad to be exhibiting with Isasi and Rosendahl. 

“I am thrilled to be exhibiting with Blas and Brittan. I love our different takes on materiality and perspectives. I want to thank Cristina for bringing our works together to create a fabulous show,” Brown concluded. 

The “Ecstatic Objects” exhibit will be on view until Feb. 22. Due to the concern of a COVID surge, there was not an opening reception held, but the artists will be visiting campus separately to talk about their works. Rosendahl already made his visit on Feb. 1. 

To keep up with the artists’ future visits, check out the SLU contemporary art gallery’s Instagram @slu_contemporary

To see more of the artists’ works, click the links below.

@bbritrrose on Instagram


Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Feb. 8, 2022 for clarification.