New Iberia is an inspiring place to live and work. Nowhere is this fact more evident than in the creations of Melissa Bonin, Lyndel Renoudet, Mary Schexnayder, Paul Schexnayder, Norva Mestayer, Gwen Voorhies and Chestee Harrington. These artists draw on their experiences along Bayou Teche to create works that reflect our cultural heritage and sense of place.
A & E Gallery
Paul Schexnayder and his wife, Lee, opened A & E Gallery in 2009 in New Iberia. Over twenty (20) artists are represented in all media. The artists staff the gallery during its public opening hours, 10 - 5 Tuesday through Friday and 10 - 3 Saturday. Fun painting workshops for children and adults, poetry readings, live theatre and art openings happen throughout the year. 335 W. St. Peter, (337) 364-2645. For more information please click here .
Melissa Bonin, BFA, BA
Bonin’s evocative landscapes and portraiture have been featured in Southern Accents, Lagniappe, Southern Living, and Louisiana Life magazines. Having studied and exhibited in both the United States and abroad, Bonin draws from her native Louisiana landscape to produce original works that can be seen at her local gallery at 220 West Main Street Street. For more information, please call the artist at (337) 380-6927 for an appointment or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or view works on-line at www.melissabonin.com.
Renoudet has a large selection of contemporary pottery bowls, vases and crosses in both bold and earthy glazes. She also produces a garden series in which she presses caladiums, begonias and ferns into thrown and handbuilt clay pieces. Each piece represents a small piece of Acadiana for tourists and locals alike. Lyndel's Pottery can be found at
A & E Gallery, 335 W. St. Peter Street. For more information, please call (337) 365-1225.
Schexnayder creates whimsical chickens, alligators, stick birds and other swamp creatures, as well as hand made furniture and accessories, which can all be found at her place on 610 E. Main Street. For more information, please call the artist at (337) 364-0932.
Schexnayder's style is both sophisticated and childlike, blending reality and dreams into colorful poetic paintings. His work has evolved from straight forward narratives to sophisticated assemblages on wood that are about movement. Acrylic on masonite shaped pieces are used to layer the surface. "My goal for each work is to capture a feeling of movement, physically and emotionally, making the paintings linger with you for a time." In 2009, Paul and his wife, Lee, opened the A & E Gallery at 335 W. St. Peter Street in New Iberia. It is home to 20 different artists in a variety of media. You can see more of his work at www.schex.com. For more information, please call the artist at (337) 364-2645.
Norva's artwork is enjoyed inNew Zealand, England, Scotland and Canada. Last, but certainly not least, the United States. Her creativity is appreciated in the fine art and commercial fields. Subjects include a variety of trees, botanicals, magnolias, landscapes, and foreign and local attraction. Her studio is located at 2211 Center Street (Highway 14) at Louisiana Drive. Norva's prints are available at all New Iberia frame shops. For more information, please contact the artist at 380-0799, or on-line at www.artbynorva.com.
I feel compelled to do what I do. It is something that I cannot control. When I see a beautiful sky or a graceful oak tree arching from the strain and weight of it's branches I have this overwhelming desire to capture the image forever in paint, pastel or conte. I have studied many different mediums and work in a variety to capture the images that I see. Most of my work is considered representational. This is a classical style that withstands the test of time. I often work in oils"alla prima" which means I paint wet on wet in one sitting. I have to capture the image I am attempting to portray quickly. I prefer this method because the paintings are alive with passion.Portraits hold a special fascination for me because we can take a photograph of ourselves which is an exact image of us and still we claim it doesn't "look like us" This is because there is more to it than just capturing the image of the person, you have to capture the personality of the person and in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing as well. A beautiful painting will withstand the test of time. A good likeness in a poor painting eventually ends up in the attic! Some of the work shown here is taken from photographs, clients, friends or family provided. The majority are from photographs that I have taken. Although I like the idea of Plein Aire painting and painting from life I prefer the convenience of workng in my studio. The south Louisiana heat and proliferance of the insect population here may have something to do with my preferances! I hope you enjoy my work as much as I have enjoyed creating them! For more information, please contact the artist at 577-6303, or on-line at www.gwenvoorhies.com.
From the deep bayou country come images in wood, canvas, sculpture and print. Chestee Harrington grew up on Rose Hill, along the Old Spanish Trail, where her family home was situated along the route used for centuries to drive cattle cross country, and is now located near the site where Spanish colonists founded New Iberia. Chestee draws upon her early memories and family traditions to create vignettes of Acadian life—a culture rich in spirit and joie de vivre.
Her signature medium, polychromatic bas reliefs—carved and painted works in wood—have been shown across the United States and abroad and are particularly cherished by collectors. For more information, please call the artist at (337) 560-4393, or on-line at www.chestee.com .