Southeastern Louisiana University is again displaying paintings, sculpture, stained glass, ceramics and photography, hand-picked from thirty nine Louisiana artists. The exhibit is curated by Lily Brooks, Instructor of Photography, Department of Fine & Performing Arts. The exhibit opened on June 7, with a reception attended by artists, faculty and members of the exhibit jury. The exhibit will remain in SELU President John Crain’s residence until June 2018.
The images on loan are “Oak Alley,” upper left, “Lee’s Drive In,” “Pine Knot House” and “White Ibis,” below center.
The painting of Oak Alley, below left, was made by Dr. Crain’s aunt when he was a child. As we discussed my Oak Alley photo, he explained that his aunt offered to paint anything that her nieces and and nephews requested. Crain asked her to paint Oak Alley – and when he asked her to include more color in the painting, she added the blooming azaleas. This cherished painting is also on exhibit in his home.
Above right: Southeastern President Dr. John Crain and Phillip Colwart discuss the Oak Alley photo and his aunt’s Oak Alley painting during the exhibit’s opening reception.
The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of Gloria Ross (1924-2016). Her paintings have been exhibited in all of the eleven showcases.
The fine art selection committee were Dr. John Crain, Katherine Marquette, Roy Blackwood, Dr. Irene Nero and Wendy Lauderdale.
I am sincerely grateful to have been nominated for inclusion in this juried exhibit for a ninth time. It is a great honor to have four of my photographs selected for this exhibit. -Phillip Colwart
Ever pass a building, time and again, for years, and wonder exactly what goes on inside? There’s a seemingly quiet, little factory by the train tracks on North Cherry in Hammond, LA that holds a bold secret – it’s one of the largest manufacturers in the USA of welding consumable storage ovens. What began as a sheet metal business in 1923 as Henkel Enterprises has developed into a leader in welding flux and welding storage ovens supplying local, regional and international aerospace, construction, petroleum, nuclear and marine industries.
During the holidays and summers in college, I worked for a drilling company in Houma and noticed the welders would keep their welding rods dry in a gutted refrigerator fitted with a couple of light bulbs. Compromised welding rods can endanger the integrity of welding seams and endanger entire projects. Keen Ovens evolved in 1972 from a request by a New Orleans distributor in dire need of a way to properly store their welding consumables at a job site that was shut down by a welding inspector.
Over the years, Keen expanded their welding rod and flux oven business to include custom ovens with myriad uses, like heating up and expanding a propeller to be pressed onto a ship’s drive shaft. And some of these ovens are quite large! One photography assignment involved a custom oven fitted with counterweights to assist in opening huge vertical doors – this oven had an overall length of fourteen feet and weighed well over a ton. Their smallest ovens might fit in a gym bag, and all are designed, fabricated, painted, assembled, tested and shipped out from their facility in Hammond, LA.
It was exciting to receive an invitation to photograph these impressive ovens for Keen – after several years and dozens of photo shoots, they are my favorite commercial client. I’m always impressed by the ingenuity of their designs, the clever fabrication techniques and the high quality of their products. They’re just great folks to work with – and I finally found out what goes on inside that old building by the tracks.