20080611-living-0101.jpgArtist Mary Beyt is more than a painter — she’s a poet as well.

I am a visual storyteller.
My paintings are portals for these narratives.
The narrative is nonlinear.
It is abstracted and self-referencing.
Characters appear, reappear and morph.
Their change is reassuring.

This six-line poem, her artist’s statement, is as surreal as her work. Beyt calls her images portraits and landscapes, but certainly not in any traditional sense. From a distance, the shape of one of her portraits may be the back of a neck and head, billowing with a Marge Simpson coiffure. Entwined in the curling tendrils of hair are birds, bluebells, fronds and branches — a composite of information about her subject. Opaque, transparent, splattered and swirled paint is layered on to draw you in. Look closer, and there are surprises scattered throughout the images — snowmen, hands, curling nautiluses and rampant unicorns. Reminiscent of millefleur tapestries on acid or the illustration for an H.P. Lovecraft tale, this is a show worth repeat visits; you’re never sure what could be peering out from under a stenciled leaf.  

Opening in the side gallery of the Acadiana Center for the Arts (101 West Vermilion) during ArtWalk on June 14, Mary Beyt’s exhibit titled Portraits and Landscapes: New Works by Mary Beyt will be on display until June 30. For more information, call the ACA at 233-7060.

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