2012 Texas Artist Of The Year & Texas Patron Of The Year
Aaron Parazette & Judy and Scott Nyquist
Art League Houston (ALH) proudly announces the selections of Aaron Parazette as the 2012 Texas Artist of the Year and Judy and Scott Nyquist, as Texas Patrons of the Year. Annually, Art League Houston honors those whose work or patronage has had a significant and positive impact on contemporary visual art in Texas.
"We are so thrilled to have Aaron Parazette as our Texas Artist of the Year and Judy and Scott Nyquist as our Patrons of the Year," said Cara Pauloski Rudelson, Art League Houston President. "Recognizing individuals who enhance the art community through their continuous support of the arts in Houston and Texas artists who enrich our culture is a long standing tradition of Art League Houston," she added.
In 1983, Art League Houston created the Texas Artist of the Year award as a dynamic annual project documenting Texas art history. ALH was the first organization in the state to develop the award. To date, twenty-nine artists have been honored. Past recipients include Mary McCleary, Joseph Havel, Keith Carter, Melissa Miller, Dixie Friend Gay, Al Souza, Luis Jiménez, Lucas Johnson, Sharon Kopriva, Bert L. Long, Jr., Jesús Moroles, Dr. John Biggers, andDorothy Hood, among others.
In 1989 Art League Houston expanded the award to include patrons with its Texas Patron of the Year award for extraordinary individuals whose efforts have helped advance the work of Texas artists. Past patron honorees include Victoria and Marshal Lightman (2011), Leslie and Brad Bucher (2010), Karol Kreymer and Robert Card, M.D. (2009), Anne and James Harithas(2008), Gus Kopriva (2007), Clint Willour (2006), and Sue Rowan Pittman (1989).
Aaron Parazette has lived and worked in Texas for over 20 years. He was born and raised in California and came to Houston in 1990 to be part of the Core Residency Program at the Glassell School of Art. As a Texas artist Aaron has had an extremely active career, with his work being shown regionally, nationally, and internationally. He is represented by McClain Gallery in Houston. He has had solo exhibitions at McClain Gallery, Texas Gallery, and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, the Dallas Contemporary and Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas, the Mark Moore Gallery and the Gregory Lind Gallery in San Fransisco, the ARCO International Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid, Spain, and Marlborough Gallery in New York.
Aaron has also been included in over 100 group exhibitions at venues including University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, Florida; Exit Art in New York; The New Orleans Museum of Art; The Chicago Cultural Center; Hall Walls in Buffalo, New York; Art Pace in San Antonio; the Loggia Gallery in Toronto, Canada; The San Francisco Art Institute; the Saintes Museum of Art in Saintes, France, and the Young Eun Museum of Contemporary Art in Korea. Aaron's work has also been written about and reviewed regularly in publications including Art News,Art in America, Artnet, Afterimage, Art Papers, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Artlies, LA Weekly, and New Art Examiner.
Art historian and critic Frances Colpitt, in her 2007 essay for the AARON PARAZETTE: NEW PAINTINGS catalogue, remarks;
"Exhibiting since the early 1990's, Aaron Parazette has a solid reputation as an accomplished abstract painter with a cohesive body of work. The major transformation in his work - in modernist terms, the "breakthrough"- came when, around 2000, he exchanged his attitude of irony for a submission to what as then the highly suspect sensuousness of painting and a new-found confidence in intuition that comes from experience."
'My painting is becoming more authentically formal and is almost completely devoid of cynicism or irony. I am coming to to think that a good painting might in fact justify itself.'
Aaron Parazette, 2007
"In conjunction with the formal turn in his work, Parazette introduced an autobiographical reference that further affirmed his deeply held convictions. An avid surfer, Parazette grew up in Southern California but moved to Houston in 1990 as a Core Fellow affiliated with the Museum of Fine Arts. Whenever possible, he still surfs and keeps up with developments in sports but, living in Texas, he is a displaced surfer. In his works, which include letters spelling words in the vernacular of surfing, there is a undeniable sense of longing. Slang dressed up in paint for the gallery, these paintings miss the beach.
As Parazette's work matures, so does his facility, technique, and touch. The smooth surfaces and crisp lines of the paintings reveal a sensitive if not expressive hand, guided by experience and motivated by belief. Though cool, the paintings are not cold-hearted, industrial, or ironically distanced. Buoyed by the good humor of surf-slang, they nearly quiver with conviction.
Aaron did his undergraduate work at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and he received his MFA in painting from the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. In addition to his Core Residency fellowship, he has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and an Artadia Fund for Art and Dialogue Award. Aaron joined the faculty at the University of Houston in 1997 and he was promoted to Full Professor in 2010. He continues to make his work and life in Houston together with his partner Sharon Engelstein, and their growing daughter Joy."
'It is an honor to be Art League of Houston's 2012 Artist Of The Year,' said Aaron Parazette. 'The honor is particularly special to me because of Art League's long dedication to the education of artists, and it's commitment to Houston's art and culture. Having now lived here for over 20 years I know intimately how important and meaningful such a commitment is. As a young artist coming of age in Houston the rich network of arts institutions, and the generous spirit of the community of artists, provided the perfect environment to discover my work and find my way. Indeed, as a place to grow and become, Houston has been a city of many surprises, and many adventures. And for over a decade now it has also been my honor and pleasure to be on the faculty of The School of Art at The University of Houston. My position there has allowed me to excel in my studio practice, and just as importantly I have been able to work with and be inspired by the next generation of artists. I consider myself very fortunate to have this opportunity to repay in kind the attention, support, and good will that I have received from the Houston community.'
Aaron Parazette, March 2012
Judy and Scott Nyquist came to Houston over a decade ago from London with a young family in tow. Admittedly "naive" about Houston's art community and with modest expectations, they gingerly embarked on an exploration of the local landscape. To their delight they discovered a vital, progressive, diverse and compelling atmosphere with more excitement, opportunity and substance than they could have ever predicted.
Their passion for collecting contemporary art grew - particularly fueled by the accessibility of working artists and the satisfaction that they found in significant engagement with the actual "maker" that Houston affords. Not only are they keen collectors, but more significantly they feel most rewarded by helping to enable artists achieve their aspirations through patronage for prospective projects. "Houston is a unique and welcoming art community with no pretense," remarked Judy, "and we are extremely privileged to be a part of it."
Judy, an art historian by training, previously had a career as a curator before starting a family. Since her arrival in Houston she has become deeply involved in the community and serves on boards and committees of a myriad of arts institutions, museums and organizations. Her current activities include raising funds and awareness for emerging and mid-career artists and institutions such as the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, The Glassell School of Art, The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, The Menil Collection, The Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Hermann Park Conservancy, Houston Arts Alliance, Rice University Public Art Program and the Blaffer Gallery. She has assumed many leadership roles within these institutions all aimed at bolstering education, exposure and accessibility to wide audiences. Scott shares Judy's fervor for the visual arts and is an avid museum, gallery and studio visitor. He is a strong advocate of the value of arts education and sees it as an essential component of any curriculum. "Our lives are infinitely richer by having the opportunity to invest in the vitality and creativity of the Houston scene," Scott enthuses.
As Texas Artist of the Year, Aaron Parazette, will be featured in an exhibition in the Main Gallery at Art League Houston, opening on September 7 through November 2, 2012. For the first time, Art League Houston will present an exhibition in the Project Gallery featuring Texas artists from the collection of this years Texas Patrons of the Year, Judy and Scott Nyquist. All three awardees will be celebrated at the annual gala titled Carnival of Cool, which will be held in their honor on October 26, 2012 at Hotel ZaZa.
Art League Houston is one of Houston's longest operating non-profit visual arts organizations and was the first alternative art space in Texas. Founded in 1948 and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1953, Art League Houston (ALH) was created to promote the public appreciation of and interest in the visual arts. During the past 62 years, ALH has provided over 800 exhibitions to the Houston community, showcased the work of nearly 22,400 artists, and instructed over 36,000 students through the Art League School and outreach programs.
The mission of Art League Houston is to cultivate awareness, appreciation, and accessibility of contemporary visual art within the community for its cultural enrichment. Art League Houston provides an opportunity for all members of the community to experience the contemporary visual arts. We achieve our mission through exhibitions, education, and outreach programs.
For ticket and table purchase information please contact Jill Nepomnick at the Art League, 713 523 9530.
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