Louisiana Tech’s first art exhibits of the new school year will run from Tuesday, Sept. 16, through Oct. 10, spotlighting a mother-daughter duo and a photographer-sculptor.

The mother and daughter are Sarah Hollis Perry and Rachel Perry Welty, whose exhibit will feature independently created videos by each artist as well as collaborative works made as a team. Their art will be displayed in the main gallery.

The adjoining Bellocq Gallery will feature Leighton McWilliams’ work, which combines the mediums of photography and sculpture.

An opening reception for both exhibits, which will begin with a performance, is set for 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16.

In the video for which Perry and Welty’s exhibit is titled, ‘Collaboration,’ two hands operate together in concert to accomplish a task. Complex by nature, the mother-daughter relationship is pushed to metaphorical extreme as one left hand and one right hand take on the painstaking job of untying a series of tight knots in a plastic bag. The video gradually reveals the process of unwrapping, physically taking viewers through stages of expectation, uncertainty and control while referencing larger issues of birth, aging and death.

The mother-daughter team of Sarah Hollis Perry and Rachel Perry Welty created the video “Collaboration,” from which this production still, “Unraveling,” is taken.”

Perry and Welty graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 2000 and 2001, respectively. Both also won the prestigious Traveling Scholarship the year after graduation. Though each maintains an independent studio practice, this mother-daughter team collaborates from time to time on video and installations.

Sarah Hollis Perry began her career as a photographer after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. She joined the fledgling Polaroid Corp. in 1957, working closely with and as assistant to the company’s legendary founder, Edwin H. Land.

Later Perry turned to mixed media, video and performance. She has been a resident at the Millay Colony in Austerlitz, N.Y., where she was named Nancy Graves Fellow for 2004. Recently
she has worked with surveyors tape and recycled newspaper delivery bags, knitting sweaters for trees. The resulting art is displayed via outdoor installations, such as the current ‘art/recycle’ at the Children’s Museum in Boston.

Rachel Perry Welty holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Connecticut College and a diploma and fifth-year certificate from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. While completing her studies she was awarded first prize in the Boit Competition, received the Dana Pond Painting Award and was a three-time recipient of the Drawing Prize. A recent group show at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston resulted in her video ‘Karaoke Wrong Number’ entering the facility’s permanent collection.

Other recent shows include her second solo exhibition at Boston’s Barbara Krakow Gallery as well as ‘Harvest’ in the Project Room at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York. She was selected as a 2006 artist-in-residence at both Santa Fe (N.M.) Art Institute and Art Omi International Artist Residency in New York.

In the adjacent Bellocq Gallery, the photography-sculpture work of McWilliams ranges in subject matter from human anatomy to hand guns and roses. The images — juxtaposed with materials such as dice, satin and gold leaf — are contained in carefully constructed mahogany boxes.

Leighton McWilliams’ “MGM/Gold Leaf” combines an image from a Holga camera with mahogany and imitation gold leaf.

‘My everyday activities inform and influence the images I make,’ McWilliams said. ‘Tearing out the wall of a house, tuning a racecar or watching a B-52 circling overhead all have consequences in my work. The seemingly disparate realms of chance, mechanics, humor, architecture, eroticism, death, kitsch, construction and aviation are all fused into what I produce.’

Many of the images have been taken with ‘toy’ plastic cameras. Simplifying the technology offers a direct connection between the photographer and the subject, and links McWilliams’ work to that of 19th-century photographers.

McWilliams, a professor of art at the University of Texas-Arlington, has also worked professionally in the advertising and film industries. He holds a master of fine arts from Florida State University in Tallahassee and a business degree from UT-A. He has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows throughout the United States.

The Tech Art Galleries are in the Visual Arts Center between Tech Drive and Mayfield Street, next to the Natatorium and across from A.E. Phillips School. The galleries are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; admission is free. For more information call the School of Art at (318) 257-3909.

Written by Sallie Hollis