Jade Yumang: In the Shadows

Exhibition Dates: January 26 – March 9, 2019
Main Gallery

PRESS - Spectrum South: Figures In The Shadows: Finding Queer Representation In Film Noir With Artist Jade Yumang

Art League Houston (ALH) presents In the Shadows, an installation featuring sculpture, textile and video by Chicago-based artist Jade Yumang. The exhibition is part of an ongoing body of work by the artist exploring the queer aesthetics of Film Noir. The work in this exhibition considers how film noir is constructed stylistically and narratively to disorient the audience to generate a level of uncertainty and deception, not just in its story arc, but more so on how queer characters implicitly and explicitly surface.

“My work primarily focuses on the concept of queer form,” says the artist. “I use a variety of techniques to convey notions of phenomenology, affect, and "queer" as a process, as a verb rather than a quality. My current work addresses the term "queer" and its aesthetics through three-dimensional, site-specific installation, and performative work as a way to see how the body resists or submits through materiality and technique vis-à-vis obsessive acts, strict parameters, repetition, and forms of discipline. This direction is guided through the tracing and summoning of historical amnesia, by means of myths, scandal trials, obscenity laws, and filmic tropes. I filter these procedures through meticulous techniques and create abstract shapes that initially come from a corporeal form. My compulsiveness to place things in order in reality breaks into pieces that expose the pressure placed on non-conforming bodies and their values.”

Using the materiality of costuming, lighting, and queer affect, the installation in ALH’s main gallery features a series of effigies of queer characters that emerged and navigated the strict movie moral codes in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. Additionally, the installation includes a looped video projection featuring clips from eight films that have been configured to only depict the scenes when queer characters are represented. Furthermore, the video is projected onto, and through, a large-scale abstract sculptural form in the center of the gallery, producing a distorted effect across the gallery walls, echoing the uncertainty that is built into noir’s central narrative. Most of characters' sexuality in the films are formulated through crime scenarios where gay men are portrayed as deviant dandies and lesbians as menacing sadists. These depictions, although contemporarily outdated, were important at that time, since these queer characters seep through the shadow and glare at the instability of heterosexuality as they act as a harbinger for the LGBTQ rights movement in the 1960s.

About the Artist

Jade Yumang was named after his mother’s beauty salon and from an earlier age has been obsessed with beautiful, yet slightly off things. His work primarily focuses on the concept of queer form through sculptural abstraction, installation, and performance. He received his MFA at Parsons School of Design with Departmental Honors in 2012 and his BFA Honors in University of British Columbia as the top graduate in 2008. He was born in Quezon City, Philippines, grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, immigrated to unceded Coast Salish territories in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and lives in Chicago, IL, USA. He is part of a New York-based collaborative duo, Tatlo, with Sara Jimenez and is an Assistant Professor in the department of Fiber and Material Studies at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Karen Lee Williams: a heel is half a rock, a slab is a slice

Exhibition Dates: January 26 – March 9, 2019
Front Gallery

Art League Houston (ALH) presents a heel is half a rock, a slab is a slice, an installation of new sculpture and photograms by LA-based artist Karen Lee Williams.

Because they represent places far beyond our direct experience, images and artifacts of space exploration always have a surreal quality. The gap between the advances of astronomy and the public's understanding creates a void where doubt and imagination flourish. Lee Williams makes tactile proxies for those ideas and observations just beyond grasp. The work is inspired by moments when mainstream science and scholarship are infiltrated by superstition and mysticism.

Norman Mailer, while covering the first moon landing, bemoaned the loss of the moon’s mythic aura in the cold analytical hands of scientists and engineers. In search of some profound meaning in putting a man on the moon, Mailer projected all of his longing on a small piece of moon rock. Through an installation of mixed media sculptures that evoke charts, graphs and rock samples, Lee Williams plays to our collective desire for both truth and lore. By contradicting and disrupting supposedly objective methods of measurement, she opens up the potential for other epistemological approaches. The works on view rely on the senses to excavate the potential metaphorical power of objects while acknowledging the absurdity in always trying to reconcile reason with gut feeling. The exhibition draws on the physical and historical connection Houston has with the moon and references some of the city’s artworks that consider the monolith as a symbol of mystery.

About the Artist

Karen Lee Williams (b 1980 Los Angeles) makes sculptures and photographs that prolong the process of translating sensory information into understanding by engaging with and undermining certain assumptions about perception, natural phenomenon and materiality. Lee Williams has had recent solo exhibitions at Equity Gallery, NY and Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles. Her work has been presented in galleries and artist-run spaces including Albada-Jelgersma Gallery, Amsterdam; September, Hudson; Scott Charmin, Houston; and Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles. She received an M.F.A. from SUNY Purchase and a B.A. from UCLA. Lee Williams lives and works in Los Angeles.

Las Girls Collective: Fruit Series

Daniela Antelo & Brenda Cruz-Wolf

Exhibition Dates: January 26 – March 9, 2019
Hallway Gallery

Art League Houston (ALH) presents Fruit Series, a site specific installation by Las Girls Collective, a Houston-based collaboration between artists Daniela Antelo and Brenda Cruz-Wolf. The exhibition continues the artist’s interest in the relationship between the urban landscape and the female body, and features a series of visually-rich videos using various colorful fruits to playfully interact with the body against a series of backgrounds that seeks to transform the visitor's perception and experience of the ALH hallway gallery. “We are very interested in the choreographic relationship between the objects, the body, and the physical landscape,” say the artists. “These videos configure sensory universes that are minimal and intimate yet produce a complex aesthetic that is both humorous and surreal.”

About the Artists

Artists Brenda Cruz-Wolf and Daniela Antelo have collaborated together for the last few years on various site-specific performances, creating experimental dance films. Their collaborative work merges the strength of their individual practices together by combining experimental movement/performance with video production. Together, they succeed in using the raw elements of each site to produce immersive installations that collapse the boundaries between abstract movement, the viewer and the physical space.

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