Leger's 'Primitive Elegance' to open at The Gallery with Jan. 12 gala

CROWLEY - The Crowley Art Association is kicking off 2013 with a showing of the work of local artist Edesse Leger.

The show, “Primitive Elegance,” will run at The Gallery throughout the month of January.

The show will open with a gala on January 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the public is invited to come view Leger’s work and meet the artist in person.

Leger, who is 75, was not always an artist. In fact, she was an optician by trade for 42 years and only started painting about four years ago, after she had developed Parkinson’s Disease.

In 1990, Leger first noticed that she was experiencing tremors on her left side, and in 1995 she was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Her hobbies were sewing and crocheting. Sewing became impossible very quickly, but she was able to crochet, which she did like mad, until the fall of 2008.

At that point, she had to find another hobby and picked up a box of crayons. Not liking their waxy look, she invested in some acrylic paint, a couple of brushes and a sketch pad.

Amazingly, Leger found that in spite of the tremors and her loss of motor control, her right hand was able to flow freely as she painted.

Thus Leger, who would now rather paint than eat, began her career as a “primitive artist.”

In the art world, primitive does not mean “crude.” Rather, primitive art refers to art created by untrained artists who do not recognize themselves as artists.

The subjects of Leger’s paintings vary widely, but she is generally known for her fanciful portraits of aristocratic women.

According to Leger, the women she paints, who are generally wearing extravagant hats, are fictional and come strictly from her imagination.

“They are very beautiful and very wealthy beyond words,” she said. “They are either born with a silver spoon or very wealthy by marriage. They are enjoying the fruits of their labor or wealthy by being widowed.”

Leger always read about and admired the ladies in the Crowley Art Association (CAA) and wanted to be a part of the organization, but felt she didn’t belong. That’s why she was so surprised at CAA President Robert Baxter’s overwhelmingly enthusiastic reaction to her paintings. She is now a member of CAA and is “tickled pink” to have The Gallery hosting the first public showing of her artwork.

Leger is both excited and nervous about her January 12 opening gala. She has never had this kind of recognition or attention, and she feels like this is her own personal “red carpet” moment.

The public is cordially invited to attend the gala opening of Edesse Leger’s “Primitive Elegance” at The Gallery, located at 222 N. Parkerson Ave. in Crowley.

Although The Gallery is currently closed for the holidays, it will reopen Jan. 7, and Leger’s work will be on display from then through the end of the month.

For more information about the opening of “Primitive Elegance,” call The Gallery at (337) 783-3747.

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