PAST EXHIBITIONS


2018

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Complex 3

Seth Orion Schwaiger

Exhibition Dates: June 8 – July 21, 2018

Main Gallery

 

Art League Houston is excited to present Complex 3, an exhibition by Austin-based artist, curator, and writer Seth Orion Schwaiger. This exhibition is part of an ongoing series of projects exploring ideas of intrinsic and assigned value, with an increasing focus on the value and quality of non-linear thought. The works in the exhibition include architectural intervention, labyrinthine installation, and doubling of imagery and symbols as a strategy to pull the implied line of traditional exhibition viewing back in on itself. The looping or spiraling of information produces a unique environment that challenges the viewer’s proclivity to process information in a way that speaks to a more outcome-driven, practical, algebraic, cause and effect way of thinking.

Complex 3 is Schwaiger’s first solo exhibition in Houston and his most transparently autobiographical exhibition to date. Here, Schwaiger transforms the gallery space into a spiritual quarantine, a space isolated through sonic and architectural means, in which a dark, yet comical image from the artist’s past can be processed in relative psychological safety. The centerpiece of the exhibition is an obscure video of an interpretive dance produced by the Midwestern Christian cult The Way International in 1986 in which their unique spiritual mythology is articulated through nylon clad performers — including the now disgraced former Way President the Reverend L. Craig Martindale who stars as the protagonist of this baffling film.

By opening this sensitive memory, reexamining the absurdity of his own past, and presenting the imagery of it in a physical way analogous to the mental structures and processes that surround trauma, Schwaiger invites the viewer to consider absurdity and pointlessness — to consider elements that add up to nothing, or to less than the sum of their parts. It is an invitation to take in existence without the overwhelming desire for it to make sense, to consider one’s own past without making every moment integral or necessary, and, in the end, to undo these very same conclusions by putting such pointlessness at the center of thought. It is an invitation into the artists own private mental space.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Seth Orion Schwaiger is a lecturer at the University of Texas. He earned a BFA from the University of Wyoming in 2007 and an MFA from the Glasgow School of art in 2013. Since that time he has published 100+ articles and exhibition essays through museums, galleries, and publications including art ltd., Artsy, Arts + Culture Texas, The Austin Chronicle, Glasstire, New American Painting, Sculpture Magazine, and Sightlines. His work has been shown and collected in Europe and North America including exhibitions in London, Zurich, Berlin, New York, Chicago, Austin, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Recent projects include several collaborations with Elizabeth McDonald Schwaiger: you i i i everything else at De Stijl Gallery, Austin; Arch , part of Good Mourning Tis of Thee at Co-Lab’s Demo Space, Austin; and Unheimlich at Anthem Gallery in San Antonio.

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The Dinner Table

Delita Martin

Exhibition Dates: June 8 – July 21, 2018

Front Gallery

 

Art League Houston is excited to present The Dinner Table, by Houston based artist Delita Martin. The exhibition features an installation of 200 ceramic plates depicting hand drawn portraits of black women. Inspired by the idea of sitting in the company of powerful community builders, Martin created this exhibition as a testament to the powerful women she has encountered in her life.  No two plates are identical, each serving as a reminder to the unique existence of the woman depicted on its surface.

Throughout history, the marginalization of black women has led to problematic representations of their roles within community and family structures, as well as problematic visual and textual representations; thus making it difficult to document their positive contributions within collective systems. Martin’s current work deals with reconstructing the identity of Black women by piecing together the signs, symbols, and language found in what could be called everyday life from slavery through modern times. Martin's goal is to create images as a visual language to tell the story of women that have often been marginalized, offering a different perspective of the lives of Black women.   

 

FROM THE ARTIST

The Dinner Table

Come, I have set a place at The Dinner Table for you.  Against a backdrop void of color, The Dinner Table is a space to nourish the body, mind and soul. I invite you to sit at the table and share in a moment of reflection.

When I began this project I imagined myself in the company of women who are reflections of love, wisdom, faith, beauty and power. I imagined standing shoulder to shoulder with women who are the very foundation of our communities. These are the women represented at The Dinner Table. They are mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts. Real women who have come into my life during brief encounters or are still present. Through the acknowledgement of self, these women have changed their environment, but as a group of women they are changing the world. I have witnessed this transformation first-hand. The impact these women have on my memory and my spirit are a testament to their power.

The Dinner Table is a space where 200 woman drawn on ceramic plates have been brought together symbolically to share their stories. Each portrait offers a path to understanding who these women are as nurtures, providers, survivors and vessels of wisdom.  They are perfectly imperfect, unfiltered and real. Each plate is as special as the women depicted on them. The plate is a symbol of good fortune, provision, and survival.  These plates have nurtured many and survived being cast aside, even survived being separated and sold from their original homes. Chipped, worn and imperfect these plates rest here, strengthen by their numbers and their collective history.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Delita Martin is an artist currently based in Huffman, Texas.  She received a BFA in drawing from Texas Southern University and a MFA in printmaking from Purdue University. Formally a member of the fine arts faculty at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Martin is currently works as a full-time artist in her studio, Black Box Press. Martin’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Most recently Martin’s work was included in the State of the Arts: Discovering American Art Now. An exhibition that included 101 artist from around the United States. Her work is included in numerous portfolios and collections.

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The New Border

Luisa Duarte

Exhibition Dates: June 8 – July 21, 2018

Hallway Space

 

Art League Houston is excited to present “The New Border”, by Houston-based Venezuelan artist, Luisa Duarte. The exhibition features a site specific installation from the artists’ ‘Borders or Territories’ series, comprised of wax thread and thumbtacks that encapsulate space, and envision each pathway as a memory or anecdote. The vertices of each ‘territory’ are held in place by a simple thumbtack, pinned to the wall to hold the shape of each line. By using one continuous thread throughout the site of installation, the artist creates a tridimensional space traced on and over the walls, where seemingly single lines come together to form one unit.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Luisa Duarte is a Venezuela born, Houston-based visual artist. These two worlds, and a diverse blend of cultures, have shaped her ideas and understanding of what constitutes ‘home.’ A vague sense of displacement, and, at times, an underlying yearning to ‘belong,’ has lead the artist to create imaginary spaces that appear to straddle multiple worlds, perspectives and forms.

Throughout her upbringing, Duarte was widely exposed to contemporary non-figurative art during a time when the Latin American geometrical abstraction, constructivism and kinetic art movements were at their peak. This aesthetic, and its push to create new ‘Utopian’ cultural spaces in opposition to mainstream politics and culture, loosely informed her professional practice as an architect, and currently continues to influence her practice as a visual artist.

For more of Luisa’s work, head to www.luisa-duarte.com.

 

 

Neon Marty Dance Party!

A Montrose Art Party

Benefiting Art League's Healing Art Program

Co-Chaired by Zachary Gresham and Bobby Bass

Art League Houston is thrilled to invite the public to one of the organization’s most important events of the year, the 2018 Montrose Art Party (MARTY) on Friday, May 18 from 6 – 9 PM benefiting ALH's Healing Art program.


This year’s event, Neon MARTY Dance Party is co-chaired by Bobby Bass and Zachary Gresham and features live music by DJ Flash Gordon Parks, a cash bar (with a very special NEON concoction!), delectable bites, a silent art auction as well as an exhibition of artwork by artists participating in the Healing Art program. Furthermore, the event will honor the National Council of Jewish Women - Greater Houston Section for their continued support of the Healing Art program and its participants.


Established in 1990 by Patrick Palmer, the Healing Art program provides free art instruction and supplies to adults living
with chronic illness and physical disabilities. Students attend classes led by experienced artist-teachers where they work
on both individual and group art projects. Since many students are living on fixed incomes, tuition and art supplies are
provided at no cost. These classes create a network of support in a safe environment and the sales of artwork from this
exhibit help to supplement the income of Healing Art participants.


Art League Houston, one of Houston’s oldest arts organizations, connects the community through diverse, dynamic, and
creative experiences that bring people together to see, make, and talk about contemporary visual art. Healing Art is a
program near and dear to our hearts and we are thrilled to be chairing this exciting event and hope that you can support
us in our efforts.

 

Como Nos Expresamos! How We Express Ourselves

 

Artbound! Exhibition

 

Art League Houston and Writers in the Schools (WITS) are pleased to present an exhibition of artwork and writing by over one hundred 2nd and 3rd graders at Wharton Dual Language K-8 Academy who have been in Art League Houston's Artbound! and WITS residency programs.

Art League Houston's artist residency program, ArtBound!, is a curriculum-based, in-school integrative arts program at H.I.S.D. elementary schools with little or no visual arts instruction. Classroom teachers participate in the planning process to ensure that the residencies support and enhance their classroom curriculum. Each residency has an Art League Houston Teaching Artist visiting a school eight to ten times during a semester, working with three classrooms per visit. For each visit, the teaching artist works with each class for approximately one hour. Art League Houston Teaching Artists are professional artists and experienced teaching artists. In addition, the ArtBound! residencies integrate into H.I.S.D. curriculum and is provided primarily to grade levels third through fifth.

Each ArtBound! residency includes a culminating event, which can be an informal showing of student art work at the
participating school or at a neighborhood library or other venue. The Art League Houston Teaching Artist collects the
artwork from the teachers and works with an Art League staff member to prepare and hang the art.

Since 2008, over 4,000 elementary students in H.I.S.D. have received visual arts instruction through the ArtBound!
program that would otherwise not have access.

For more information about ArtBound!, e-mail Eepi Chaad, Youth & Community Outreach Coordinator, at
eepi@artleaguehouston.org or call Art League Houston at 713-523-9530.

just relax

Britt Thomas

 

Exhibition in conjunction with FotoFest 2018 Biennial

Exhibition Dates: March 23, 2018 – May 5, 2018

 

Main Gallery

 

                                  

Art League Houston is excited to present Just Relax, an exhibition by Houston based photographer Britt Thomas, in conjunction with Fotofest 2018 Biennial. The exhibition features a selection of audio, video, and photographic components that explores issues related to infertility. The phrase “Just Relax” refers to the most common advice given to people struggling with conceiving by well-meaning friends and family who frequently have no idea of the realities surrounding infertility and pregnancy loss. The reality is that 10-15% of the population suffers from infertility, and approximately 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage or stillbirth. Despite these high numbers, infertility is still a highly taboo topic to be freely discussed in public. The lack of discourse on infertility and pregnancy loss has sustained an atmosphere of isolation and embarrassment for people experiencing these obstacles.

“Considering that this exhibition is my first endeavor into presenting a predominantly private struggle,” says the artist. “I opted to start by applying my personal experience with infertility and pregnancy loss. Since 2014, my husband and I have been working on building our family. We chose in-vitro fertilization (IVF) as our method to create a family based on our wants and circumstances. Because of my intimate knowledge of this method, much of the artworks in this exhibition reflect that choice. Obviously, this is not the only option for individuals wanting to start a family, and I hope that this exhibition leads to more opportunities to work with people who are fighting to overcome infertility and build their families in other ways. In other words, this is not the culmination of this project, but the start of an extensive body of work exploring the many facets to infertility and pregnancy loss.”

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Britt Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist currently living and working in Houston, TX. Extracting the strange from the familiar is Thomas’s aim in art making. She uses lens-based media and mass-produced materials to uncover inherent peculiarities in ordinary materials, visuals, and experiences. At the center of her art exploration is the human experience. Thomas’s introspective nature gives rise to over analysis of how people relate to each other, society, and their environment. Thomas was born and raised in Southeast Texas, receiving her M.F.A. in Photography and Digital Media from the University of Houston in 2011.

 

Makeover Kingdom

Cobra McVey

 

Exhibition in conjunction with FotoFest 2018 Biennial

Exhibition Dates: March 23, 2018 – May 5, 2018

 

Hallway Space

 

                               

Art League Houston is excited to present Makeover Kingdom, an exhibition by Houston based artist Cobra McVey. Makeover Kingdom features found object assemblages representing the King, Queen, progeny and members of the court in a futuristic kingdom. The materials used to create the assemblages suggest new life forms mutated from orphaned thrift store objects and mass-produced consumer goods, foretelling the fallout from widespread industrialization as ruling the future. The installation transforms surplus synthetic objects into royalty and the hallway of Art League Houston into a castle space. Makeover Kingdom is a futuristic tableau that combines humor and fantasy with an underlying pragmatism.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

 

Cobra McVey is a Houston based artist who uses found objects and recycled synthetic materials in combination with traditional art making techniques to create futuristic environments that reference contemporary culture. She is the lead singer and guitarist for Winelord, a female punk rock trio hatched from the same B-movie aesthetic that influences her visual art. She is also co-founder, costume maker, and a major dancer of The Bar-B-Que Gang Dance Troupe, an enterprise that combines design and performance. McVey received an MFA from the University of Georgia in 2012 and has been an Artist-in-Residence at Virginia Commonwealth University, The Vermont Studio Center, and Houston’s Post-Studio Projects and Lawndale Art Center. She has lived in Massachusetts, Arizona, and Georgia but now considers Texas home. Her work has been screened at festivals and exhibited nationally. Winelord’s album, III, is available online and at record stores across the United States.

The Unwaged

Rodrigo Valenzuela

 

Exhibition in conjunction with FotoFest 2018 Biennial

Exhibition Dates: March 23, 2018 – May 5, 2018

Front Gallery

                                  

Art League Houston is excited to present The Unwaged, by LA-based artist Rodrigo Valenzuela. The exhibition features a single-channel video addressing unpaid labor, volunteering, and internship culture rooted in the capital market. Coming from a low income family and spending most of his twenties as an undocumented worker, the artist was never able to enjoy the privilege of building a CV that would ensure a career. The Unwaged comments on the stress generated by unpaid labor, career building gigs and the outcomes of being underappreciated economically.

The video features a collection of interviews with individuals that have worked for free in exchange for the promise of a “good opportunity”. The length of each interview was determined by personal endurance, and composed to appear as if they all took place in the same room. The strenuous process and resulting composite footage reflect the environment of capital oppression that one must endure in order to achieve personal and professional goals. 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Rodrigo Valenzuela constructs narratives and stories which highlight the tensions between individual and community, and alienation and displacement. The artist utilizes autobiographical threads to inform larger fields of experience. Often using landscapes and tableaus with day laborers or himself, Valenzuela explores the way an image is inhabited, and the way that spaces, objects and people are translated into images. His work serves as an expressive and intimate point of contact between the broader realms of subjectivity and political contingency in order to engage the viewer in questions concerning the ways in which the formation and experience of each work is situated—how they exist in and out of place. He holds an MFA in photomedia from the University of Washington, a BA in philosophy from Evergreen State College, and a BFA in Art History and Photography from the University of Chile.

 

MUSCLE PANIC OBJECTS

Hazel Meyer

 

Opening Reception: 6–9PM Friday, January 26, 2018

Exhibition Dates: January 26–March 10, 2018

Front Gallery

 

Art League Houston is excited to present Muscle Panic objects, a site-specific installation by Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist Hazel Meyer. The exhibition is part of the artist's ongoing, multifaceted project Muscle Panic, which explores the relationship between artistic and athletic practices. The exhibition features an immersive installation comprising of archival research, textile, sculpture, and performance conceived by the artist to recover the queer aesthetics, politics, and bodies often effaced within histories of sports and recreation.

Leading the viewer through the space, the works offer an extended consideration regarding the performative nature of the athletic as it intersects with queerness. The exhibition instigates an arena of sweat and queer desire, evoking the imagery of momentous sports history, the bodily gestures and actions of a drill or warm-up and the aesthetics of the gymnasium. Simultaneously an installation and a performance, the exhibition transforms the banal and austere white cube into a hot physically charged site for emotional and physical exchange.

Additionally, the exhibition features a performance at the opening reception led by the artist in collaboration with local women, trans and/or non-binary artists, athletes and activists. The performance begins for the performers with a 5 km run through Houston, and begins for the audience as they arrive at the Art League Main Gallery. Drawing on the gestures and routines of sports practice as a way to explore the emotive dimensions of sport, the performance is semi-improvised and based on athletic drills, pregame rituals, teammate dynamics and workouts. Remnants of the performance, including the performer's sweaty uniforms will be left on view in the installation, tying action with environment, and leaving a trace of the warm bodies that were there.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Hazel Meyer is an interdisciplinary artist who works with installation, performance, and text to investigate the relationships between sport, sexuality, feminism, and material culture. Recent exhibitions and projects include Propped at Oakville Galleries, Tape Condition: degraded with Cait McKinney at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in Toronto, a screening of Muscle Panic at neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst in Berlin, a commission to produce the installation and performance Where Once Stood a Bandstand for Cruising & Shelter for Nuit Blanche Toronto and her text PONE BONE published in Art Criticism and Other Short Stories.  Her collaborative work with McKinney has been featured in No More Potlucks (CA), Little Joe: Queers and Cinema Magazine 5th issue (UK), PHILE (DE), INCITE Journal of Experimental Media (US), and the upcoming exhibition Deep Down Body Thirst, curated by the collective Radclyffe Hall in Glasgow (SCT) 2018. She holds degrees from OCAD University (Toronto) and Concordia University (Montréal) and volunteers as the textile-banner custodian at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

The artist acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.


PERCEPTUAL PERPETUAL

Sherman Finch

 

Opening Reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, January 26, 2018

Exhibition Dates: January 26 – March 10, 2018

Front Gallery

League Houston is excited to present Perceptual Perpetual, an exhibition by Houston-based artist Sherman Finch. The exhibition features a new body of work that explores visualization, interaction, physics, and conceptual art. The show includes sonic sculptures, wall assemblages, and a mechanized drawing performance. The work relies on audience participation to activate a visual system, which allow variations of order and chaos to influence how the work is perceived. The artist describes the work as a kind of “physics machine,” similar to the anatomy of a pachinko game or a children’s handheld spinner toy, where gravity, kinetics, and a variety of other forces, cause surfaces to spin and set objects in motion. Each piece offers a unique interactive framework that creates random fluctuations in movement and audio mechanics. As the work is activated, a conversation emerges between visual aesthetics and embodied interaction. This results in a playful approach to the art experience.

The exhibition presents a nexus between art and science that recalls such sources as Galileo’s astronomical instruments, Leonardo da Vinci’s diagrams on perpetual motion, John Cage’s artistic philosophy of chance, and Jean Tinguely’s concept of meta-mechanics. Ultimately, this work celebrates creativity and human ingenuity.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Sherman Finch is a hybrid artist who works in traditional, digital, and multi-media forms, with a special emphasis in the area of creative interaction, kinetic assemblage, sonification, and conceptual art. He received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and two Master’s degrees from the Maryland Institute, College of Art: a multidisciplinary MFA at Mount Royal and an MA in Digital Arts.

His work has been exhibited, performed, and screened at venues such as Roswell Museum and Art Center, Amarillo Museum of Art, Artscape in Baltimore, Site:Brooklyn, Govenor’s Island Art Fair, Alexandria Museum of Art, Art Interactive Gallery Boston, Sarai Media Lab in New Delhi, New Museum of Art Detroit, York Art Gallery UK, among other places. He is included in the publication Future Now: 100 Contemporary Artists, produced by Aesthetica, a British art and culture magazine. Recently, Finch’s work was featured on a billboard in Los Angeles as part of the 2016 Billboard Creative Public Art Project and was an official selection of the 2017 London Experimental Film Festival.  He is an Assistant Professor in the Visualization Department at Texas A&M and a founding member of the collaborative group, The AKA Collective.

This exhibition sponsored in part by Ariel Camacho and Valspar. 


GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES, GIVE ME SOME OF THAT

Gao Hang

 

Opening Reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, January 26, 2018

Exhibition Dates: January 26 – March 10, 2018

Hallway Space                         

Art League Houston is excited to present Good Times, Bad Times, Give Me Some of That, an exhibition by Chinese born and Houston based artist, Gao Hang. The exhibition features an installation of small scale watercolors from the artists’ diary highlighting his moments of culture shock upon arrival to the United States. The works in the exhibition mirror the humor, surprise, strangeness and optimism of his experience as a foreigner from China experiencing daily life in the United States. Drawing on the people, places and things around him as subject matter, the artist collects every interesting moment of daily life, and culls from this “database” to extract and distill interesting external phenomena and internal experiences through painting, drawing and sculpture. Hang’s work is a reconstitution of a new visual form using invented color and pattern, to mirror his physical and mental states from moment to moment. Furthermore, each artwork features a clever and sincere caption describing his early observations and impressions of day to day life in the U.S. 

 

A LETTER FROM THE ARTIST

"To my dear friends in America:

Time flies really fast. After six months, all the exciting experience and confusing culture differences were gradually becoming not that surprising to me. I can even calmly say "What's up" to a giant cockroach now. Luckily, I recorded this whole experience in stories via my watercolor diary which becomes immortal.

I consider life in the US as another new beginning of my life, so literally I am about to have my one year birthday in few months. Thanks to all my new friends I met here. You helped me a lot and you are all the "first group of friends" in my new life.

Hope you enjoy this diary.

Best wishes

Gao"

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Gao Hang (高航), is a Chinese painter and graduate of the School of Fine Art of Capital Normal University (Beijing, China). He is currently enrolled in the University of Houston’s painting MFA program. His work has been exhibited in Houston at Anya Tish Gallery, Lawndale Art Center, and Second Bedroom Gallery, and in Beijing and Guangzhou at various locations.   

Hang is influenced by eastern philosophy, particularly the doctrine of Zhongyoung, a practice of balance and harmony. He uses this as both a conceptual and structural armature, and as a result his works offer a sense of rational and stable readability in their often repetitive or dualistic nature. The artist’s recent move to the United States offers him a new lens of a more free and open society. This new terrain and vantage point unwraps endless possibilities, with much to explore.  


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