October 11, 2003
LAFAYETTE — With all the people crowded into the studio on Gordon Street, it was hard to tell the real ones from those painted on the canvas stretching along the wall.
On Friday, local artist Francis X. Pavy unveiled his latest painting to about 40 people at his studio.
It’s called “Bar Scene.” “I just couldn’t figure out a better title,” Pavy said.
The painting — 6 feet tall and 18 feet wide — is a brightly colored, panoramic view of a south Louisiana barroom.
“It’s an ambitious work,” said Dickie Landry, a longtime friend of Pavy’s, a local musician and artist. “I think it’s beautiful.”
“It has a variety of social situations that one would encounter at a bar,” Pavy said. “People go to bars for a variety of reasons — to blow off steam, to celebrate, to enjoy themselves after a long week of work, to get drunk, to look for sex or affection, to listen to music, to dance. After spending many hours in bars and observing people, this is what’s percolated up from my subconscious.”
Strangely enough, the inspiration for the mature piece came from a child. Pavy said he saw a child’s drawing of some people dancing and the image stuck with him.
“I didn’t copy it directly,” he said. “It just gave me the idea to paint a bigger picture. It was just an idea and his drawing was only 6 by 8 inches. I thought I could probably make it better.”
Pavy said he has been working solely on this piece since mid-July.
“Bar Scene” will be part of Pavy’s exhibition at the University Art Museum, scheduled to open in spring 2004.
Museum Director Herman Mhire said that Pavy will be the first contemporary Louisiana artist to be exhibited at the museum’s new facility, in conjunction with the exhibit “Andrew Wyeth’s Helga: An Intimate Study.”
Mhire said, “I was looking for an instructive juxtaposition from two visual artists who both focus on the human figure. Wyeth takes a very traditional and highly representational approach to depicting the human figure, while Francis Pavy takes a much more personal, highly inventive and imaginative approach.”
Pavy said his upcoming exhibition at the museum will include other pieces of his work from throughout his career.