Image Universe: Norah Lovell on the Battle of New Orleans, Part 1

"Image Universe" presents image essays inspired by our articles, reviews, and the work of local artists.

Editor's Note

Introducing a special three-part edition of "Image Universe" with local artist Norah Lovell. Lovell shares with us three paintings from her current exhibition at Callan Contemporary and the source materials that inspired them. The exhibition, “Reconnaissance: Battle of New Orleans,” features ten large-scale paintings conceived after meticulous research and collaging. The paintings bring to light the work of muralist, Ethel Magafan, while calling on a host of other images relating to war, the natural world, and the insular domestic spaces of aristocratic women.

Norah Lovell, Inception: After Magafan, 2015. Gouache on panel. Courtesy the artist and callan contemporary, new orleans.

Norah Lovell's study for Inception: After Magafan, 2015. Lovell begins in Photoshop creating semi-transparent layers of maps, wallpaper, and other patterns before collaging printed materials on top.

Ethel Magafan, Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, 1943. Mural at the Recorder of Deeds building in Washington, DC. Photo by Carol Highsmith. Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC.

Lovell's cutout of the Spanish moss in Magafan's mural.

Nineteenth-century wood engraving of the Battle of New Orleans after Jean-Hyacinthe Laclotte, who was an engineer in Andrew Jackson's army. Courtesy

Charles Bentley, Fox Hunting: Full Cry, 1828. Hand-colored aquatint. Courtesy

Lovell found this image through an online search of what she describes as "white ladies" in the 1840s.

Lovell paired a map showing the positions of both armies on January 8, 1815 with wallpaper to suggest domesticity and a feminine narrative of war at the time. In the upper lefthand corner is a photograph of the Magafan sisters, Ethel and Jenne.

John James Audubon, Brown Pelican from Birds of America, 1827. Illustrated folio.

Editor's Note

To see more paintings and source materials from Norah Lovell, see Part 2 and Part 3.

Norah Lovell's "Reconnaissance: Battle of New Orleans," is on view through April 28 at Callan Contemporary (518 Julia Street) in New Orleans.


Photo Essay