On View April 22 – June 4, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
6:30-8:30 PM , artist talks at 6 PM
John M. O’Quinn Gallery
Lawndale Artist Studio Program Exhibition
The Lawndale Artist Studio Program is part of Lawndale’s ongoing commitment to support the creation of contemporary art by Gulf Coast area artists. With an emphasis on emerging practices, the program provides three artists with studio space on the third floor of Lawndale Art Center at 4912 Main Street in the heart of Houston’s Museum District. This exhibition features residents for the fifth year of the Lawndale Artist Studio Program, Hillerbrand+Magsamen (Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen), Daniel McFarlane and Anthony Thompson Shumate.
Hillerbrand+Magsamen’s videos, photographs and installations reinterpret the people, activities and objects of their everyday life and engage the edge between the heroic and tragic. They navigate perceptions of identity, emotion and family within a uniquely American subjectivity. Their experimental short video, Elevated Landscape, shot on location at Lawndale, looks at suburban lawns as identity for families as well as the social and environmental impact. House/hold is a photographic series of portraits of the artist’s family set in surreal settings and interactions.
Daniel McFarlane will exhibit a collection of abstract paintings completed during residency at Lawndale. McFarlane's work explores color space and highlights the relationship between improvisation and control. His paint forms create dynamic tension and balance, as he develops a physical 3D plane of illusion within the 2D picture field.
The new body of work to accompany the group show, MEASURED, by Anthony Thompson Shumate explores the measurements imposed and created by mundane objects and their influence on how individuals are viewed. The works are created through analog translations of drawings that are filtered through a digital medium. The images are 1:1 scale drawings of "tools" that measure an individual through the prism of social norms and expectations. From a wedding ring to a vibrator to a house, individuals relate and equate their stature and station based on what or how they use the items. The work is a mechanical and methodical representation of this process- done so in a digital-analog vocabulary.
Anthony Thompson Shumate
Some artists record the world, some interpret it, and some distort it. A few, like Jim Woodring and Marc Bell, create their own worlds. Woodring’s world, the Unifactor, features Frank, a cat-like cartoon naïf, whose pets, Pupshaw and Pushpaw, are his fearlessly loyal protectors. The other characters in the Unifactor form a moral universe, where mysterious jivas—a visible representation of a soul—intervene in the daily lives of the characters. All of this takes place in a dreamlike landscape with architecture that is a cross between orientalist fantasias and elaborate wedding cakes. Woodring’s art relies on an intense level of craft, and his love of nib penmanship lead him to craft a six foot nib pen with the intent taking what is usually an intensely private act—drawing with pen and ink—and turning it into a public performance.
Marc Bell’s world-creation leaks freely between his comics and his paintings. Bell’s world is one where “people” and buildings are equally alive (and have feet), where visual information is densely stacked. His work seems to draw equally on Philip Guston and E.C. Segar (the creator of Popeye). His world is genial and inviting, but requires close attention. Bell’s art is the kind that demands the viewer stick her face right up next to it; details are as important (if not more so) as total pieces.
Woodring and Bell represent a certain strain in modern comics—a world of fantasy influenced by childrens books, pre-war newspaper comic strips and illustration, and contemporary art. They are artists who are as comfortable in the gallery as on the page. They are artists who happen to do comics.
Leigh Merrill’s work is driven by an interest in regionalism and the cultural signifiers of particular places. She has photographed the places where she has lived, motivated by curiosity about the architecture that surrounds us and how it reflects larger ideas of beauty, class, romanticism and perfection.
The works in the exhibition, Into the Sunset, are digitally constructed scenes of North Texas. While exploring a city or neighborhood, Merrill creates thousands of individual photographs and then digitally assembles and re-assembles these photographs to create new images. Each image is typically made from tens to hundreds of different photographs. At first these composited images might look plausible; but closer inspection reveals that they are fabricated.
Merrill explores the ways in which our built environments are themselves composites of different architectural styles and cultures. These photographs range from urban to rural scenes reminding us of how the American West has been romanticized and shaped through movies and photographs.
Carmen Flores’ drawings explore the proliferation of violence in the culture and its impact on the human psyche. After being in a violent environment for a long period of time, people change behaviors and activities in order to be safe. The acceptance and normalization of violence is part of the process of desensitization in our society. The imagery in Flores’ work is drawn from personal safety tutorials, police reports and press accounts of violence drawn in graphite and chalk. The ephemeral quality of chalk speaks of the physical vulnerability of violence and, the remains of erased layers allude to the remembrance of victims.
Also on view
Snack Projects • featuring Cody VanderKaay
Snack Projects is a miniature and portable art space, a “gallery” measuring 11” x 20” x 13”, organized by artists Michael Guidry and Robert Ruello, featuring the work of both local and regional artists.
For more information, please visit: www.snackprojects.com