Tulane professor, Prospect 4 artist talk latest projects

The New Orleans Center for the Gulf South welcomed Prospect 4 artist Cauleen Smith and Courtney Bryan, a composer and Tulane professor, on Jan. 25 for an event entitled, “Dark Matter.” The presentation focused on a few of the artist’s selected works and facilitated a conversation about creativity and collaboration.

Smith is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker whose work reflects on the possibilities of the imagination. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema and science fiction, she makes pieces that employ the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants. Bryan, a New Orleans native, is a pianist and composer of panoramic interests, as well as an assistant professor of Music in the Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane.

Smith and Bryan first met at the Sai Anantam Ashram, a spiritual retreat in the Santa Monica Mountains created by the late Alice Coltrane as a place of spiritual refuge and peace. The two immediately hit it off and have remained friends ever since. At “Dark Matter,” they sat down like old friends, both elated to catch up on the other’s latest projects and to share life and work experiences. Their love for Coltrane was a main topic of discussion, as she serves as a guiding light for both of their art forms.

“The opportunity to talk through our practices as composer and visual artist enabled me to really consider and recognize the possibilities for overlap and collaboration. Courtney has such [an] adventurous and sensitive way of thinking about her craft. And I just love her sound,” Smith said.

The event was tailored to bringing the the audience academic content in an accessible way.

“It was awe-inspiring as well as accessible,” Denise Frazier, assistant director of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, said.

The crowd watched as Smith and Bryan interacted with each other in an open and approachable way, making the audience feel as if it was sitting in their living room, watching these two catch up on life. It was truly black girl magic.

To see Cauleen’s work, visit the Prospect.4 exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. For more on whom, and what, the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South will be hosting, add it on Facebook, at NolaGulfSouth.

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