University Relations graphic artist Renee Copes-Parnell is currently displaying an exhibition at the Ouachita River Art Gallery.
Copes-Parnell is a Louisiana native of rural West Carroll Parish and a graduate of ULM with a B.A. in fine arts. Growing up in the small town of Epps had a significant impact on her art, as such easy access to physical materials normally found in this farming community gave Copes-Parnell a source of inspiration. She works predominantly in wood, as she feels that the grain, color and texture infuse life into the piece. Copes-Parnell uses wood, vines and other natural textures as symbols in her sculptures to reflect the human condition and increasingly finds God in nature. That is reflected in her work; vines, for example, represent the passage of time, growth, or divine love, depending on the piece.
Copes-Parnell’s work is mostly figurative in nature. Sometimes the figures are more realistically rendered and at other times, they are abstracted to the point that they appear more as curvilinear shapes. It often focuses primarily on the roles that women play in society. The mother/child theme often appears in her work. The objective is a sense that the subject is coming into herself, overcoming a variety of obstacles.
She uses contrasting elements frequently in her workgeometric and biomorphic forms together in one sculpture, or abstract and realistic elements in another. In these, Copes-Parnell explores the dynamics of how opposites attract and co-exist.
The show titled “Secrets of the Vines” will run through the month of February at the Ouachita River Art Gallery, located at 308 Trenton St. in Antique Alley. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 318-322-2380 for more information.