An Intimate Glance
Louanne LaRoche has called the Lowcountry home since 1977. She grew up in Pittsburgh and was raised by Southern parents who were dedicated to providing opportunities they did not have growing up. Her public high school had a keen fine arts and theater department, which was the springboard of inspiration that led her to earn a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Her childhood passion for folklore, spirituality, Africa (ok. Tarzan), and all things exotic fueled her desire to participate in a transcontinental camping expedition her junior year. This took her through the heart of Africa and began a series of adventures expanding to Asia, Europe, India, Nepal, Mexico, Belize, and back to the Lowcountry. "I guess it is in my DNA. In the 1700s my direct descendants were some of the founding fathers of Georgia, spreading into Beaufort and the surrounding areas. I have come full circle," said Louanne thoughtfully.
In 1980 her family purchased The Red Piano Gallery on Cordillo Parkway. "I am so grateful I had the sense to accept the responsibilities. I am indebted to the Artists of the Roundtable (Joe Bowler, Coby Whitmore, Joe De Mers, Ralph Ballantine, Katie Hodgeman, Aldwyth, George Plante, Marge Parker, Elizabeth Grant, Tua Hayes, Ray Ellis, and Walter Greer). Their friendships, mentoring, and talents have been a tremendous influence in my life and my artwork."
Participating on the lecture committee of the Hilton Head Art League gave Louanne opportunities to be in contact and develop relationships worldwide. "The founding women of the Art League were a huge support to me. Nancy Hewett introduced me to Sam Doyle, a self-taught St. Helena Artist. I became a collector of his work, exhibiting his and other self-taught artists worldwide. My relationship with St Helena Island and the Penn Community Center, as a board member, has been profound. A series of my artwork reflects those experiences," Louanne explained.
Subjects of her artwork that are common themes are hound dogs, local landscapes, and gatherings. Her new body of work focuses on intimate surroundings, and she is exploring interiors and gardens where one is nurtured. Renowned potter, Jacob Preston, once said, "Her artwork reflects a significant sense of my community and her response to these connections as they are being lost, displaced or diminished."
Louanne's work has been exhibited and collected both nationally and internationally. It is also important to her to have her work in public spaces, and has had tremendous feedback from people who have seen her work in the local public libraries. As such, her work can be found in the permanent collections of Harvard Business School, Carnegie Mellon University, The National Collection of Kenya and the Strauss Corporation in Germany. In addition, notable celebrities such as Francis Ford Coppola, John Mellencamp, and George C. Scott have taken an interest in her work through private purchases.
Louanne lives on the May River in Bluffton with her husband, Glenn Knight, and her son Cash, who is her greatest adventure yet! Locally, her new work, "An Intimate Gaze", can be seen at Camellia Art Gallery, Pope Ave., HHI or at www.camelliaart.com. Her work is also shown at Four Corner's Gallery on May River Road in Bluffton. For commissions, log onto www.larochecollections.com.