on view

Flicker Futures

Bill Brown + Sabine Gruffat

Exhibition Dates: June 7 – July 20, 2019 Opening Reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, June 7, 2019 Artist Talks and Live Cinema Performance of “Unsettling Texas”: 6:45 PM I Main Gallery

PRESS - Bill & Sabine Waltz Across Texas

Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present Flicker Futures, a 3-part analog-digital installation by the artist team Bill Brown and Sabine Gruffat based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This exhibition is comprised of a series of analog-digital operations that recontextualize and build on current discourses surrounding the idea of the film frame, screen, and projector. “Flicker Futures projects old school analog filmmaking onto the digital now. These three installations reflect on our moving image past and rehearse our moving image future,” states Brown and Gruffat. “As the technological and material conditions of motion pictures shift in an era of digital image making – as we move from the silver screen to the endless stream – it is high time to revisit our assumptions about the way motion pictures are created and how they are presented.”

Quicksilver, a 2017 installation by Gruffat, is a 2-channel video of 35mm film images accompanied by an original spatial soundtrack by sound artist Stephen Vitiello. The images were created by a computer-controlled laser cutter that etched away layers of emulsion, leaving behind abstract patterns. This innovative technique contrasts to traditional approaches in filmmaking, where light exposed emulsion is washed away during the film processing stages. Gruffat states, “In my artistic practice, machines, interfaces, and systems constitute the language by which I code the world. The creation of new ideas means inventing new tools, crossing analog and digital signals, or repurposing old machines to patch into new ones. By actively disrupting both current and outmoded technology, I question standardized ways of understanding the world around us.”

Brown’s 2017 installation, Moving Pictures, is a 3-channel slide projector installation that looks for movement both within and beyond the moving picture plane. Three automated slide projectors work together to create an animated image that is projected on a large, mobile rolling screen. Thus, the illusion of motion via the animated image is literally made real and translated into physical movement in space. Brown states, “I am increasingly excited by the ways digital technologies can extend the creative possibilities of analog media. The tension between presence and absence that marks the experience of film exhibition – screen time vs. real time, the projected image vs. the physical presence of an audience – has led me to experiment with the technologies of moving image projection, and to consider how the space of exhibition can be the site of a sculptural and spatial art practice.” In his Aura Retrieval Machine: aka 16mm Movie Digester (also from 2017), Brown responds to the industrial obsolescence of 16mm film. In this installation, Brown uses donated and deaccessioned 16mm film footage that is projected and then immediately destroyed by a paper shredder. The shredded film collects in an acrylic column, creating a memorial object that commemorates the final moment of exhibition of each frame of film.

ALH is excited to support and be a participating space in Brown and Gruffat’s “Waltz Across Texas” coordinated by Dirty Dark Place with screenings and performances at the following venues:

JUNE 2 IN AUSTIN

Blanton Museum of Art, 2–4 PM Expanded Cinema Performance.

The Carpenter Hotel, 7:30–10:30 PM Screening of Film/Video. 

JUNE 7 IN HOUSTON

Art League Houston, 6–9 PM Exhibition, Live Cinema Performance & Artist Talks. 

JUNE 8 IN SAN ANTONIO

SALA DIAZ, 8–11 PM Screening of Film/Video.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Bill Brown is an artist living and working in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Originally from Lubbock, Texas, Brown currently serves as Professor of Media Production at the University of North Carolina. His artistic practice centers around media art as a series of operations and opportunities that enable us to explore social, historical, and political forces that produce moving images. He is also interested in ways time-based media can be viewed as a physical object, and how we consider the moving image in a physical space. Brown’s films and videos have screened at numerous festivals throughout the world, including the Rotterdam Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His new series of digitally-controlled analog devices called The Analog Playhouse were recently screened at Alchemy Film & Arts in Hawick, Scotland.

Sabine Gruffat is a French-American media artist who works with experimental video and animation, media-enhanced performance, participatory public art, and immersive installation. She currently lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she is Associate Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina. Gruffat is also a filmmaker with a special interest in the social and political implications of media and technology. Her experimental and essay films explore how technology, globalization, urbanism, and capitalism affect human beings and the environment. Gruffat’s body of work includes digital media works for public spaces as well as interactive installations exhibited and screened at the Zolla Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, Art In General, Devotion Gallery, MOMA PS1 Contemporary Art Museum, and Hudson Franklin in New York, and The North Carolina Museum of Art.


So It Will Be

Daniel Heimbinder

Exhibition Dates: June 7 – July 20, 2019 Opening Reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, June 7, 2019 Artist Talk: 7:15 PM I Front Gallery

PRESS - Mixed Metaphors: Daniel Heimbinder’s Clutch City

Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present So It Will Be, an exhibition of watercolor and ink on paper drawings by Houston based artist Daniel Heimbinder. Recognized for his monumental works on paper, Heimbinder depicts a complex, apocalyptic world with a meticulous and scrutinizing eye. His works are visually arresting and intellectually stimulating in their Bosch-like detail, telling a dystopian story of humanity where time and place are secondary to the narrative that unfolds. There is a surrealist and apocalyptic current running through the work that gives a sense of otherworldly timelessness and displacement – who are these beings, what is their story, where are they going and where have they been?

“We digest, and in many ways navigate our world through stories…narratives that have been ingrained in us since the beginning of time,” states Heimbinder. “Stories that are reductive and insufficient in capturing the enormous complexity that is our world, yet they have served as a navigator often revealing more about us than they advise or inform.”

So It Will Be is a body of work that exposes the complex and confusing nature of these stories, and how they unsuccessfully attempt to navigate the world around us. Heimbinder’s landscapes are purposefully nonreferential and confusing – symbolically referencing the complexities of the human mind. He is interested in how stories form a sense of community, both literally and philosophically, and what happens to a society where shared stories are no longer important. Heimbinder’s subjects stem from an amalgamation of different sources, including Biblical, Greek and Roman texts. This exhibition, comprised of three large-scale works on paper, chronicles stories often used as tools for navigating and understanding the scientific principles and moral codes of our world. In So It Was (2012), Heimbinder highlights contradictions found in his sources, stemming from Biblical, Greek and Roman texts; So It Goes (2015) looks at these contradictions through a more contemporary lens; and So It Will Be (2019) shows the result of these contradictions in our contemporary world, where civilization breaks down and mass paranoia reigns.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Daniel Heimbinder is an artist living and working in Houston, Texas, where he is recognized for his work as a draftsman and painter. Although he was born in New York City, Heimbinder grew up in Houston and graduated from the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Following graduation, the artist attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Skidmore College. Heimbinder’s work, which notably features intricate, intense drawings and paintings of the mind, has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in Houston, as well as national and international venues. Numerous publications have covered his work, including the New York Times, Harper’s, NY Arts, WIRED Magazine, Houston Chronicle, and Time Out New York.


Ubuntu: I am because we are

Tijay Mohammed

Exhibition Dates: June 7 – July 20, 2019 Opening Reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, June 7, 2019 Artist Talk: 6:30 PM I Hallway Gallery

Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present Ubuntu: I am because we are, an installation by Bronx, New York based artist Ahmed Tijay Mohammed (Tijay Mohammed). Ubuntu (uu-boon-tuu) explores the vital and significant role of women, especially the lives of immigrant women, whose daily labor and work, necessary to their families and livelihood, often goes unnoticed. In this sense, Ubuntu is a group portrait, celebrating the familial and societal impact of their lives and work.

The installation consists of Ankara fabric scraps (African wax print) collected by the artist from seamstresses across Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and New York. The collected scraps symbolically represent the shops women traditionally visit to buy special occasion clothing, such as dresses for weddings and funerals. For his installation, Tijay trims the Ankara fabric scraps into rectangular shapes and pastes them on yards of stiff fabric with a white glue. The swaths of thick fabric create a sort of wall that can suspend in and cover an area, transforming space and surrounding the viewer. The sense of total immersion created by the fabric, mirroring traditional brick arrangements, highlights the beauty of Ankara fabrics and symbolically emphasizes African heritage and shared immigration histories. The dynamic installation also highlights the traditional arts found in Sirigu, Ghana – a village known for murals created primarily by women and a lively arts community.

Another component of the installation are portraits of women created using an airbrush application technique with black and white acrylic paint on stiff fabric. In 2013, the artist solicited a call for portraits of women on social media – this collection of images comes from this call and depicts real women from a diverse range of experiences and lives. The artist states that his use of online imagery as source material for these portraits “breaks the shackles” of traditional portraiture that typically uses a live model. He rearranges the ears, nose, and mouth in the portraits so that a new image is created. There is a universal undertone to the installation through the collected fabrics and portraits that highlight the commonalities of all people and our shared experiences.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Ahmed Tijay Mohammed (Tijay Mohammed) was born in Kintampo, Ghana and currently lives in the Bronx, NY. Integral to his artistic philosophy and practice is the necessity of community, and Tijay devotes much of his energies towards creating and volunteering in community-based programs. He has exhibited his work internationally, including features at the Longwood Art Gallery (NY), Green Drake Art Gallery (PA), Lincoln Medical Center (NY), The National Museum of Ghana (Ghana), and Ravel D’Art (Côte d’Ivoire). Tijay has also organized workshops and community based projects with numerous organizations including the Studio Museum Harlem (NY), Wallach Art Gallery (NY), University of Ghana Performance Art Center (Ghana), the Brooklyn Museum (NY), Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling (NY), and Pinto Road Community Centre (Arima, Trinidad and Tobago). In addition, he has received numerous accolades and grants and is a recipient of the Arts Fund and Artist for Community grant from the Bronx Council on the Arts, the Create Change initiative through The Laundromat Project (NY), and the Spanish Embassy Ghana Painters Award. He participated in the Global Crit Clinic, Asiko Artist Residency (Ghana), Harmattan Workshop (Nigeria), and Community Workers Training (NY). Tijay is currently completing a residency at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (NY).


Sustainable Lifeguard Chair Chicken Coop (SLICK)

Kasey Short

Exhibition Dates: June 7 – July 20, 2019 Opening Reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, June 7, 2019 Artist Talk: 6:15 PM I Parking Lot

Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present Sustainable Lifeguard Chair Chicken Coop (SLICK), a new, interactive work by Houston based artist Kasey Short, funded in part by the 2019 Support for Artists and Creative Individuals Grant from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. This project and site-specific installation underscore the artist’s interest in creative sustainability, society and consumerism. The passing of time and the viewer’s perception is integral to the work; the installation is viewable at all hours of the day, and guests are invited to interact with the piece. Originally interested in building a mobile, interactive, public work of art, SLICK is designed to stimulate a shelter that is a self-sufficient device acting as a place of home, occupation and source of food. The desire and importance of living up to societal standards is ingrained in us as humans. Kasey’s philosophical thought behind SLICK questions our innate desires to conform to society and whether a system that values creative modes of living is a possible resource and solution to our mass-consumeristic lifestyles.

“I am particularly intrigued by objects that have social and mobile qualities. SLICK is designed to be inhabited and reflects on the interaction between people and our environment,” states Short. “This project was originally conceived as something that could be accessible as a kit to consumers, but I am more interested in the translation of instructions and that kind of potential through experience rather than explicit guides.” SLICK is constructed using contemporary and unconventional approaches to sculptural practice, including metal, wood, new media and digital fabrication, in the artist’s hope to create a futuristic pod that serves as both a protective and producing resource for life and the idea of art as a tool for living.

In our overpopulated societies, residency and issues regarding population growth and resource scarcity are of growing concern. In this sense, SLICK deals with social mobility and survivalist modes, while also identifying ways of human adaptation and means for living in varied ecological realms. Kasey’s installation emphasizes how we, as humans, cultivate and effectively utilize minimal space. As the population rises, our modes of living must also adjust to accommodate societal changes, creating a sense of place in both interior and exterior worlds.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Kasey Short is an interdisciplinary artist and educator living, creating and working in Houston, Texas. His creative practice and production straddles the categories of both installation art and sculpture – often blurring the lines between the two fields with his range of media and interactive, temporal explorations. Kasey received his BFA from Texas State University and his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His current artistic explorations address societal concerns and community needs through creative problem solving. He is a 2019 recipient of the Support for Artists and Creative Individuals Grant from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Kasey has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, most recently participating in the 2018 Art Rotterdam Fair and the 2013 Texas Biennial, as well as numerous solo exhibitions and projects slated for 2019.