On View February 28 - April 12, 2014
In conjunction with the FotoFest 2014 Biennial

Opening Reception
Friday, February 28, 2014
6:30 – 8:30 PM, Artist talks at 6 PM

Love Letters in a Tree • Otis Ike & Ivete Lucas
John M. O'Quinn Gallery

Otis Ike and Ivete Lucas employ documentary photography and filmmaking to explore encounters with niche segments of society. While much of Ike and Lucas’s work speaks to the closeness the artists developed with their varied subjects, their most recent project, Love Letters in a Tree, examines from a distance the intimate yet physically detached relationship between two anonymous correspondents. For this series, Ike and Lucas photographically recorded the daily exchange of letters hidden inside a dying tree in Houston, Texas. Using only their first initials, “V” and “J” wrote and illustrated their reflections on love, nature, family, and mysticism. By documenting this exchange, Ike and Lucas address the interwoven nature of public and private spaces, and provide commentary with their interception and restaging of this communication between individuals.

Click here to download the gallery pamphlet.

Otis Ike's website
Ivete Lucas' website

Safe Distance • Galina Kurlat
Cecily E. Horton Gallery

Safe Distance explores the intimate relationship between photographer and sitter. This relationship becomes as much about the process of making the images as the final photograph. The slow, tenuous process of creating large format photographs invites the sitter to orchestrate his or her own compositions.  Each gesture, conscious or not, informs the viewer, while the direction of the subjects' gaze becomes their choice to reveal or hide. Using Polaroid positive/negative black and white film, a fragile medium that has a tendency to react to changes in temperature and humidity, Kurlat deliberately manipulates the negatives while allowing others to degrade, resulting in a controlled serendipity to dictate the final portrait. 

Click here to download the gallery pamphlet.

Galina Kurlat's website

CURB APPEAL • Krista Birnbaum
Grace R. Cavnar Gallery

In the same way that much of Houston is carefully planted, then neatly trimmed around houses, sidewalks, and trees, Krista Birnbaum’s CURB APPEAL fits hedges, trailing vines, and decorative grasses into the structure of the gallery. Using artificial plants, paper cutouts and printed photographs to stand in for living foliage, the installation references the careful maintenance of a year-round growing season into minimalist, geometric form. Photographic and sculptural elements mirror each other, repeating the pleasant constraints placed upon urban nature.

Click here to download the gallery pamphlet.

Krista Birnbaum's website

Friends in Low Places • Spike Johnson
Project Space

Friends in Low Places is a photographic project documenting the lives of a group of U.S. veterans who exist beneath Houston's Downtown in a series of caves, tunnels and alcoves that line the bayou and nestle under the highways. The percentage of veterans in the homeless community is double the representation of veterans in normal society. Around 300,000 veterans sleep rough every night in the United States, around 1 million will have been homeless at some point in 2012. Wrestling with psychological problems, arrest warrants, and an inability to integrate into civilian society, they group together for companionship, seeking solace in a hidden existence. Together they build shelters from scraps of tarpaulin, or scuttle through holes in concrete bridges into the caves beyond. They share the burden of addiction, self-medicating the pain of old injuries, or drowning memories in a blur of alcohol or crack cocaine.

Click here to download the gallery pamphlet.

Spike Johnson's website

Also on view
through January 2015

The People's Plate • Otabenga Jones & Associates
North Exterior Wall

Through a collaborative art project/public health program, Otabenga Jones & Associates will attempt to mitigate the ongoing health crisis of obesity and its related risks. The Collective will create a public mural at the Lawndale Art Center along with a series of adjacent programs, kicking off a year-long commitment to health education. Programs will include cooking classes, a foraging workshop, an urban gardening workshop, an instructional cooking video and a line of mass produced lunchboxes that will be made available to the public. Inspired by the Black Panther Free Breakfast for School Children Program, which saw the Panthers cooking and serving breakfast to poor inner city children, the Collective aims to provide at-risk community members with a set of tools that will encourage self-sufficiency and empowerment in terms of maintaining their own health through food choices, while building community.

Click here to download the gallery pamphlet.

The People’s Plate is a project of Creative Capital.

The Lawndale Mural Project is funded in part by Kinzelman Art Consulting and the Mid-America Arts Alliance ENGAGE Community Engagement Project.

Lawndale Art Center

Lawndale Art Center develops local contemporary artists and the audience for their art.

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