Courtney Egan (b. 1966), Dreamcatchers, 2013, interactive single channel video installation. Image courtesy of the artist.

Since 1986, the Huntsville Museum of Art has presented a noteworthy series of solo exhibitions highlighting acclaimed regional contemporary artists. The Encounters exhibitions afford viewers an opportunity to see how creative inspiration combines with subject and materials to convey a unique artistic expression. The upcoming installment of the series highlights Courtney Egan, a lens-based media artist, photographer and naturalist who lives and works in New Orleans.

a japanese magnolia flower with petals falling down

Courtney Egan (b. 1966), Soft Spots (Japanese Magnolia), 2008, single channel video projection, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist.

Strongly inspired by the profusion of native and non-native flora around New Orleans, Courtney Egan’s work digitally manipulates the natural world, questioning how our perception of nature is augmented by technology. She creates animated collages that merge time-lapse photography with digital image manipulation, resulting in realistic yet subtly impossible arrangements. The ethereal projections converge on walls, floors and sculptural elements, positioning the plant world as an equal cohort to the human world. She explains the fundamental irony of the experience, stating, “We get closer and farther away from the natural world simultaneously when we experience it through a technological lens.”

Learning the ecology of the Gulf South region is an ongoing process for Egan that informs her artwork. She is a volunteer with the Louisiana Master Naturalists and participates in a community native wildflower meadow with Civic Studio, a New Orleans-based collaborative. Her ongoing research reveals complex plant histories, plant economics and lore.

Egan holds an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has had solo shows at Arthur Roger Gallery and Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Bradbury Museum of Art, Louisiana Art and Science Museum, Colorado State University Art Museum, and the University of Louisiana’s Hilliard Museum. Her honors include artist-in-residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute and at Louisiana Artworks in New Orleans.

Encounters: Courtney Egan opens in the Grisham gallery of the Huntsville Museum of Art on April 16, 2023, led by an artist gallery walk and presentation at 2 p.m. that afternoon. Access to the opening presentation will be included with the general price of admission and free for members. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk in the lobby of the Museum or online here. The exhibition will be on display until September 24, 2023, and is made possible by lead sponsors Sasha and Charlie Sealy.