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Experience THE ESSENCE OF THINGS with the Art of Talbot Hopkins; find HOPE AMID MADNESS with David Bottom’s winning short story; and hear how PoeticX speaks LIGHT into DARK MATTER with his spoken word with the opening of Critical Mass 5 Best of Show Solo Exhibitions debuting Thursday, July 27 in CoolSpace at artspace, 708 Texas Street in downtown Shreveport.

The solo exhibitions will take place during an evening filled with Artists and Performers including Buddy Flett who will perform a guitar tribute to James Burton and the “Master of the Telecaster” Exhibition at artspace.  Admission for all three exhibitions and the Flett performances is $10.

Hopkins, Bottoms and PoeticX were selected as “Best of Show” recipients during the spring “Critical Mass” Exhibition – the annual showcase of all Northwest Louisiana Artists with Critical Review by renowned published Critics.  In its fifth year, Critical Mass 5 drew the largest crowd since its inception in 2013 to view visual, literary and performing art entries from more than 130 of Northwest Louisiana’s most talented artists, all competing for the prestigious “Best of Show” honors.  The “Best of Show” award winners each receive a $2,000 commission to plan and execute a solo show that is reviewed by the original Critics.  The goal is to determine if the qualities that determined the selection of “Best Artwork” among so many participating Artists “holds up” within a full body of work.  

In an article published in the USA Today Network, former literary director for the National Endowment for the Arts and Critical Mass 5 literary critic, David Kipen says:

Shreveport appears to have more good writers per capita than any town I know.  One boy in Poland, trying to make sense of the new Nazi occupation. A younger boy in the American South, getting too old to be sharing a bed with his sister. These very different stories represented two of the strongest literary entries for Critical Mass 5, the ambitious, ongoing project for furthering critical dialogue in the arts, organized by the Shreveport Regional Art Council and artspace.

Lead critic for Critical Mass 5, Robert Pincus, had similar praise for the art being produced in Northwest Louisiana touting the visual variety of the exhibition and saying that audience and participating artists have come to expect a high level of eclecticism from the annual Critical Mass exhibitions sponsored by the Shreveport

Regional Arts Council which “have become a welcome barometer of the variety and substance of the art being produced here.”

It is a difficult process choosing one work as the “best of show” in each of three categories—visual, literary and performing art—but in the end Talbot Hopkins Trudeau with her self-portrait In and Out of the Fire; David Bottoms with his short story, The Windows of Wolinska Street; and Hugh Hamilton or PoeticX performing his spoken word, Keep Hope Alive arose victorious.

On Thursday, July 27, each of these “Best of Show” artists will open a Solo Exhibition at artspace to be further reviewed by Pincus, Kipen and performance art critic Mark Lowry, founder of the Dallas-Ft. Worth based online performance website,

Visual Art “Best of Show” winner Talbot Hopkins Trudeau’s solo exhibition is entitled THE ESSENCE OF THINGS:  The Art of Talbot Hopkins.  It includes 75 works of which more than 17 are new, never-before-seen pieces by Hopkins-Trudeau created specifically for this show and more than 40 are portraits.  In her words, “I believe the pieces in this exhibition reflect my love of beauty--especially that found in nature--as well as a subconscious and conscious desire for peace and simplicity.”  Some of the new works are a black enameled Japanese bowl in a very chiaroscuro setting, a mottled Magnolia leaf painted shades of black and gray, a perfectly round green fall gourd painted twice in two different lights, an exquisitely lighted raku vase created by a late longtime friend, and several abstract pieces.

Literary Art “Best of Show” winner David Bottoms solo exhibition is entitled HOPE AMID MADNESS:  Kryzstof Król and The Windows of Wolinska Street.  For his solo show, Bottoms will exhibit a visual representation of his short story with images as a backdrop to lend atmosphere as well as furniture and an old tube radio reflective of the WWII Polish Resistance era which makes up the plot of his story.  When literary critic David Kipen reviewed Bottom’s story, he commented,” “The young protagonist, Krysztof Krol, becomes the reader’s entree into a period setting so convincingly described that it feels less invented than remembered.”  On Wednesday, August 2 during the Downtown Artwalk from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., David will present a dramatic reading of his story in all of the different characters’ voices.  He hopes that during his reading the audience will be able to enter that historic time with him. David Kipen will review the work via a Skype in conversation.

Performance Art “Best of Show” winner Hugh Hamilton, aka PoeticX has won many awards for the power of his poetry, and recently was a key performer with Soundsuit Artist Nick Cave in the “AS IS” production at the Municipal Auditorium.  Critical Mass 5 Performance critic Mark Lowry, described PoeticX’s performance of his winning, “Keep Hope Alive,” as “exquisite wordplay,” and went on to say that PoeticX “speaks of the political moment and the call to fight and resist. The thought behind each word and punctuation mark is evident in his rhythmic, natural performance.”  Hamilton’s solo show will be the exhibition of a new poem created specifically for this exhibition, LONG LIVE LOUISIANA.  It will be hung as a mural in artspace.  PoeticX will perform a never-before-seen work at the Central ARTSTATION on Thursday, August 10 entitled PHOTOSYNTHESIS.  He hopes that this new piece will take the audience to the “center” of themselves and will speak “light” into “dark matter” through symbolism, mysticism and metaphysics.

Admission to the Critics’ Choice 2017 Solo Exhibitions at artspace, Thursday, July 27 is $10 and includes a performance evening with Buddy Flett on the mainspace floor, cool summer nibbles by Parish Taceaux, and a cash bar.  The Exhibitions open at 5:00 pm; the Buddy Flett guitar concert begins at 7:00 pm. 

Critical Mass 5 critic Robert L. Pincus, Ph.D. will return to Shreveport and artspace on Friday, August 11 for a critical review of Talbot Hopkins Trudeau’s Solo Show and Artist’s talk by Talbot.

On Saturday, August 12, Pincus will provide a portfolio development workshop for Northwest Louisiana Artists from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will provide one on one portfolio reviews from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Registration is required.  The Critical Mass 5 Solo Exhibition runs through Saturday, August 19.  For more information, visit or call artspace at 318-673-6535.

Earlier Event: July 26
Wednesdays Story of the Strings
Later Event: August 1
artspace: Music Tale Tuesdays