I called the zoo but the lion was busy
Chickie Brown

Curated by Francesca Fuchs
Exhibition dates: January 27 – March 11, 2017
Opening reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, January 27, 2017
Front Gallery I Artist/Curator talk: 7:00 PM

Art League Houston (ALH) is thrilled to present I called the zoo but the lion was busy, a series of quirky, casual paintings by 94 year old Houston artist Chickie Brown, organized by Francesca Fuchs, Head of Painting at the Glassell School of Art. “If you did not know a 94 year old had made these paintings you would think they were by a hip young artist,” says Fuchs. Usually based on song lyrics, many of Brown’s paintings are narratives that explore relationships between men and women, and between the painted image and the written word. The paintings seem to come straight out of her stream of consciousness with astonishing directness and truth. Brown began painting at 60. She says: “My painting made me feel like I mattered.” 


Chickie Brown was born in Pittsburgh in 1922. At age 18 she eloped with Jack Brown, eventually moving to Houston, and raising three children. She recalls going to the Carnegie Museum of Art when she was young and falling in love with the paintings. Brown didn’t start making paintings herself until her 60’s. She took art classes at the Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she started out by painting more traditional portraits and figures from life. In the last 15 years, her paintings have become more idiosyncratic telling the stories from her youth, imagination and dreams. Brown used a summerhouse in her yard as a studio for years but, since losing mobility, moved into the back room of her small Bellaire home to paint. Art lessons at Glassell are still very important to Brown and her caretaker helps get her to class. She paints almost every day and loves painting people the most.


Francesca Fuchs was born in London and grew up in Münster, Germany. She completed her BFA at London’s Wimbledon School of Art (1993) and did her postgraduate work at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany (1995). Fuchs came to Houston in 1996 for a two year residency with the Core Program, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She has been teaching at the Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, since 1997 and is currently Department Head of Painting. Fuchs’ work has been shown in national and international venues including The ICA, London; The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; and The Fort Worth Modern Art Museum. Fuchs is the recipient of two Artadia Awards and Individual Artist Grants from the City of Houston. She occasionally curates shows, including Fish & Chips, New British Art, at DiverseWorks and Morris Chackas for Optical Project.

Art Show!  
Iva Kinnaird

Exhibition dates: January 27 – March 11, 2017
Opening reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, January 27, 2017
Hallway Space I Artist talk: 6:15 PM
Art League Houston (ALH) is excited to present Art Show!, an exhibition by Houston-based multimedia and performance artist Iva Kinnaird. The exhibition features a collection of small-scale paintings and sculptures that playfully yet carefully reveal show-and-tell fragments from the artists life. Although the works appear simple in appearance, and use humor to draw people in, they are weighted with stories about the persistent desire to connect with others and the need to produce art. “The work is personal and autobiographical” says the artist, “but hopefully the more specific and honest it is, the more universal and relatable it becomes.”  


Iva Kinnaird (born Dallas, Texas) is a multimedia and performance artist. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2014 and now lives in Houston. She has shown at galleryHomeland and Hello Project Gallery in Houston, and in Dallas at 500x. She is a recipient of a Clare Hart DeGolyer Memorial Fund grant from the Dallas Museum of Art, and has had residencies with Sojourn Montrose in Houston and with Co-Lab Projects in Austin. Her work was recently on view at Texas Woman’s University in a two person show with Shelby David Meier, and on Instagram at Performance Art Houston.

Romancing Banality
Lyle Carbajal

Exhibition dates: January 27 - March 11, 2017
Opening reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, January 27, 2017
Main Gallery I Artist talk: 6:30 PM

Exhibition Essay
Lyle Carbajal's Authentic World by Sara Lee Burd
Art League Houston (ALH) presents Romancing Banality, an installation-based exhibition by nomadic artist Lyle Carbajal. The exhibition features a mash-up of anti-artistry, folk, and contemporary themes, which pull from art history, cultural, economic, geographic and personal references, creating an immersive installation of densely layered mixed-media paintings, and sculptural compositions that combines everyday materials and aesthetic traditions. Carbajal, who was born in Los Angeles, and has lived in Mexico City and Buenos Aires, draws on imagery and narratives from his nomadic perspective, creating work that acknowledges the deep-rooted anthropological connections and patterns that traverse across history and place.  The exhibition features music by Third Root (San Antonio), Yarrow Slaps (San Francisco), Yung Turk (Houston), and video by PerrosConSueter (Juarez, Mexico), as well as an essay by writer Sara Lee Burd (Nashville). 

Excerpt from Lyle Carbajal’s Authentic World by Sara Lee Burd:

Place is significant and pluralistic to Carbajal because of the connections amongst the ideas, sounds, colors, words, and values that pervade the roving artist's perception. Taking reference photographs as he goes, he returns to the studio to make art with imagery that is so common it is easily overlooked by passersby, but that is immensely important to his understanding of the world. With his exhibitions, Carbajal invites viewers into his world to see what he finds evocative and meaningful in mundane life and urban detritus. He is not defining a particular culture as much as sharing himself by displaying curated selections of what he sees as the universal connections among urban environments. Romancing Banality is Carbajal's place. It is an extrapolation of what he has found and processed as authentic and meaningful in the world.


Lyle Carbajal is a nomadic artist, born and raised in Los Angeles, California, whose work exists somewhere between the vernacular and contemporary avant-garde. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group shows at national and international venues including Tinney Contemporary, Nashville TN (2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2004, 2002), Art Chicago; Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA), Seattle WA (2013); Cartwheel Street & Outsider Art Show, Hollywood CA (2013), The London Art Fair; Mark Rothko museum, Dünaburg, Latvia (2012), The National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago IL (2007), Museu de Estremoz, Portugal (2007), The Raw Arts Festival, London (2004), La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles and The Mark Rothko Museum in Latvia (2012) while participating in an artist residency in Daugavpils, the country’s second largest city. Romancing Banality began in Seattle in 2013, and has since traveled to New Orleans (2014), Tennessee (2015), and is currently in its fourth iteration at Art League Houston. 

In 2010, Carbajal published his first book, Urban+Primitive: The Art of Lyle Carbajal. Lyle is currently represented by CG2 Gallery in Nashville TN; The Frederick Holmes Gallery in Seattle, WA; Gallery Orange in New Orleans LA; Sardac Gallery in The United Kingdom; Galerie du Temple and Galerie Gabel in France; Mika Gallery in Tel Aviv. 

He currently lives and works in Houston and New Orleans

Score: Field Work
Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud

Exhibition dates: December 2, 2016 – January 15, 2017
Opening reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, December 2, 2016
Main Gallery

Art League Houston (ALH) is excited to present Score: Field Work, a site-specific installation by Houston-based artist Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud. Incorporating elements of sound, performance, writing and installation, the exhibition includes work by the artist, together with a selection of women artists, musicians, and performers, whose work question women's role in sound art, and explore the materiality of sound through a feminist perspective. Transforming the gallery into a multi-sensory environment, the works in the exhibition include an installation by the artist of reverberating bells that suspend from the ceiling in the center of the gallery, along with a series of scores and writings by women musicians and sound artists, which span across the gallery walls. Additionally, the exhibition includes a collection of sound featuring audio performances and interviews by women musicians/sound artists. During the run of the exhibition, the artist will present two nights of live performances, readings and workshops by local women artist/ musicians.


Hear Her Ear: Women in Sound
January 6, 2017
6:30 PM Friday
Art League Houston

Regina Agu
Garden Medium
Stalina Villarreal
Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud & Ruth Langston
Gee Okonkwo

Hear Her Ear: Women in Sound
January 13, 2017        

6:00 PM Friday
Art League Houston

Megan Easely
Veronica Salinas
Sonia Flores & Victor Hernandez
Anisa Boukhlif
Lisa Harris


Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud is an artist and writer based in Houston, Texas. While minimal, her work is driven by explorations in materiality, physicality, and sensation. She has participated in exhibitions throughout the Caribbean, Latin America and in the U.S. including Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Brooklyn Arts Council and Chashama Project Studio in New York; and Diaspora Vibe Gallery and Art Center/ South Florida in Miami. She has participated in artist residencies in Morelia, Michoacán, México as part of Identidades; Art in Public Spaces International Encounter organized by 5célula and International Cultural Exchanges in the Bahamas and St. Maarten organized by Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator. Her creative practice takes on many forms including studio-based art, sound performances, community/ land/ site-specific installations, and writing/publications.

Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud is a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant Award. This grant is funded by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Special thanks to Kenny Trull and Valspar.


Jennifer Ling Datchuk

Exhibition dates: December 2, 2016 – January 15, 2017
Opening reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, December 2, 2016
Front Gallery                                                               

Art League Houston (ALH) is excited to present Blackwork, an exhibition by San Antonio-based multi-discipline artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk whose practice incorporates ceramics, sculpture, photography and installation. The exhibition features a series of installations made using porcelain, continuing the artist’s ongoing exploration into issues surrounding identity, race, and gender. The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Russian-Irish father, Datchuk has faced the complexities of being “in-between, an imposter, neither fully Chinese nor Caucasian.” Drawing on sources from both cultures, the work in this exhibition explore the tensions between cultural appropriation and appreciation, and challenge the racial and gendered politics usually associated with hair, and themes related to labor, power, and beauty.

“Most scholars agree that blackwork embroidery originated with the Moors, but was described as “Spanish work” throughout Europe - the African history erased in the hands of white women” says the artist. “Even so, I was drawn to the innocence of embroidery, especially as a traditional pastime for young girls, so different from the pursuits expected of girls in the digital age. Globally, girls still labor to be seen as equals, find their voice, defend their choices, while being endlessly critiqued. And yet, girls are increasingly finding solidarity in younger political and cultural role models, especially those of color.”

“The painstaking, meditative aspect of embroidery reminded me of the slowness of hair growth. Across the world, women and girls grow their hair for money. Different nationalities are prized for their virtues, but the hair dealer I met in China said Chinese hair was the best for wigs because it can mimic any texture or style, and be transformed into any color. We live in a world where identity can be manufactured and appearances appropriated without concern or even awareness. I explore this conflict through my chosen media – porcelain, which nods to my Chinese heritage but also represents “pure” white – the white desire I find in both cultures. I aim to take back that fluidity and use it to explore my own identity as a woman of color—the sense of being in-between, an imposter, neither fully Chinese nor Caucasian. Blackwork, then, is an intersection of labor, innocence, girl power, and white ideals of beauty and industry.”


Jennifer Ling Datchuk is a ceramic sculptor and artist born in Warren, Ohio and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  Her mother came to this country in the early 1970s from China; her father born and raised in Ohio to Russian and Irish immigrant parents.  Beyond initial appearances, the layers of her parents’ past and present histories are extremely overwhelming and complicated – a history of conflict she has inherited and a perpetual source for her work.  She captures this conflict by exploring the emotive power of domestic objects and rituals that fix, organize, soothe and beautify our lives.  Trained in ceramics, the artist works with porcelain and other materials often associated with traditional women’s work, such as fabric, embroidery, and floral patterns, to discuss fragility, beauty, femininity, identity and personal history.

She holds an MFA in Artisanry from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a BFA in Crafts from Kent State University. She has received grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and travel grant from Artpace to research the birthplace of porcelain in Jingdezhen, China.  Recently, she was awarded a residency through the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum to conduct her studio practice at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany. Awarded in 2016, a fellowship through the Black Cube Nomadic Museum, which allowed her to create a large site specific installation in Gold Hill, Colorado that explored the historical fiction surrounding the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Currently residing in San Antonio, Texas, where she maintains a studio, teaching practice and small design line of ceramic objects for the home.


Erin Stafford

Exhibition dates: December 2, 2016 – January 15, 2017
Opening reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, December 2, 2016
Hallway Space                                                               

Art League Houston (ALH) is excited to present Wanderlust, an exhibition by Dallas-based artist Erin Stafford. The exhibition features an installation of five identical View-Master stereoscopes, each revealing a uniquely layered three-dimensional photograph that the artist made using pre-existing View-Master imagery, relating to themes of travel, religion, storybook narratives and culture. Inspired by ideas of nostalgia and fantasy, the work in this exhibition proposes new ways of engaging with historical material, and expands upon the artists exploration with combining the social graces and ritualistic propriety from bygone eras with philistine sensibilities, revealing personal desires in the form of visual delight.

“By layering seemingly disconnected three-dimensional images from various View-Master reels, I have created visually uncanny effects that exposes our vulnerability in relation to perceptions of memory” says the artist. “The viewer is confronted with images that are simultaneously familiar and yet disorientating, while using an object that is infused with sentimentality. When observing these images, the mind will attempt to recall past events, filling in the gaps where information is missing, thus creating a reconstruction that is neither truth nor fiction.”

“While drawing influence from Joseph Cornell, I am interested in our ability to carve out memories from both our realities and our dreams that is often filtered by unspoken desires for the past. These tokens of remembrance will present an opportunity to escape into surreal, dream-like visions that are illuminated with layers of mystery, whimsy and absurdity. The interactive component of the work will provide an intimate viewing experience, as only one person can view the work at a time. The work will combine multiple layers of the past, confronting our memories in a way that is free of consciousness and tapping into the mysteries of dreams and desires.”


Erin Stafford's aesthetic tendencies are reflected in her studio practice as a result of her affluent upbringing in Dallas, TX where she found upper-middle class expectations full of irony and contradiction. Her influences stem from her perception of this cultural refinement, including various forms a rituals and traditions that have evolved from anachronistic forms of propriety from bygone eras. She began her art education in painting and drawing at the University of North Texas. It was here that she began to question established social conventions while surrounded by eccentric artists and jazz musicians. After receiving her MFA at the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2009, she returned to her hometown to begin her curatorial endeavors at the artist run space called Red Arrow Contemporary. While continuing her studio practice, Stafford began experimentation in diverse mediums and challenged her art-making process with sculpture and installation. Her recent exhibitions include FRESH at The Mom Gallery in Austin, TX, Biennial 600-Sculpture curated by Leigh Arnold at the Amarillo Museum of Art, Tongue-and-Groove at Lawndale Art Center in Houston, TX and Misbehaving at Kirk Hopper Fine Art in Dallas, TX.

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