Asia Society Texas Announces Artists Selected for its Fourth Artists on Site Cohort

by Jessica Fuentes June 22, 2023

Earlier this month, Asia Society Texas (AST) announced that Tatiana Escallón, Farima Fooladi, Naomi Kuo, and Alexis Pye have been selected to participate in the fourth round of its Artists on Site (AOS) program.

Launched in 2020, AOS provides studio and project space, funding, and other support for Houston-area BIPOC artists. Each artist will receive a $1,750 stipend and $500 for materials, along with a dedicated space for five weeks, professional documentation of their work, and a public platform to connect with patrons, curators, and arts professionals. 

The AOS Series 4 Cohort artists were selected by a committee, including AOS 3 alumnae Luisa Duarte and Ruhee Maknojia, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Curator Patricia Restrepo, and AST’s Nancy C. Allen Curator and Director of Exhibitions, Owen Duffy.

In a press release, Naomi Kuo stated, “I’m most looking forward to connecting with the other artists and just being open to the chance meetings and conversations that can happen.” 

Farima Fooladi, whose work is influenced by architecture, added, “Architecture is a gateway in my paintings; I cannot wait to see how spending days and weeks at AST, with its unique architectural features, transforms my work. Spending five weeks creating art in a museum is humbling.”

Learn more about the AOS artists below, via descriptions provided by AST.

The new cohort of artists will begin their residency on July 26, transforming the AST galleries into public-facing studios from where they will share their creative process. Their residencies will run through Sunday, August 27, with free, public hours on Wednesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A closing reception will be held on Friday, August 25, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

A photograph of artist Tatiana Escallón sitting in front of a large abstract artwork..

Tatiana Escallón. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tatiana Escallón is an abstract artist born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Ms. Escallón started her creative career as a designer and illustrator. It was years later when painting became her main language. She received her Bachelor of Graphic Design at the University Jorge Tadeo Lozano, and at the same time was taking fine art courses at Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.

In 2023, Ms. Escallón was an invited panelist in the program Latin American Women Artist of Houston led by the University of Houston and Latino Art Now. She has exhibited at the X WTA (Woman in Textile Art) Biennale of Contemporary Textile Art, Manizales, Colombia, (2022); Museo Silverio Perez, CDMX, Mexico (2022); the Holocaust Museum’s juried exhibition Withstand: Latin Art In Times of Conflict, Houston, Texas (2021); and V Photography Competition, Resilient Woman Surviving Woman, 3rd place, Madrid, Spain, (2021). Her work is in the permanent collection of Casa Museo El Romeral in Spain. She also completed a 41-foot-long mural commission piece for Sugar Land Town Square, in Sugar Land, Texas.

In 2019, Ms. Escallón was a recipient of the SACI Grant (Support for Artists and Creative Individuals), from the City of Houston through Houston Art Alliance.

A photograph of artist Farima Fooladi.

Farima Fooladi

Farima Fooladi was born in Tehran, Iran, in a transition period from monarchy to the Islamic Republic and theocracy. She lives in Houston, Texas and teaches at the University of Houston.

Ms. Fooladi’s paintings depict spaces using memory, compressing architecture and landscape from her upbringing in post-revolutionary Iran with those surrounding her as an adult after emigrating to the United States. She combines details from Southern Iran’s arid environment with luscious flora and other specifics of her current home in Houston, Texas. Water appears as a motif in pools, waterfalls, and lakes. Water, a scarce resource in Iran that is abundant in Houston, plays a significant role in Ms. Fooladi’s work. It is a texture and a symbol, referencing specific yet undocumentable recollections and shifting availability due to climate change.

Growing up in post-revolutionary Iran, Ms. Fooladi remembers how urban spaces and people changed gradually. She remembers how architectural open spaces became covered with materials and transparent windows became matte. She mentions the apartment she grew up in had a communal swimming pool, which didn’t come to fruition. Due to the regime change, they turned it into a garden to make it more conservative. All the abandoned and repurposed swimming pools inspired the confused swimming pools in her paintings, which she and many of her generation didn’t swim in while growing up in Iran.

Ms. Fooladi completed her MFA and taught at Penn State University before moving to Houston. Her painting titled “Mirage” was purchased with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA)’s support for Houston Airports in 2020 to add to the Civic Art Collection at Houston Airports. Fooladi is fascinated by the lasting impact of collective trauma caused by invasion, migration, and displacement. The transformation of civic spaces caused by social and political changes particularly interests her. Her recent painting has been published in New American Paintings, No 162.

A photograph of artist Naomi Kuo in her studio.

Naomi Kuo

Naomi Kuo is a Taiwanese American artist based in Houston. She utilizes drawing, collage, textile-making, and various collaborative modes to make connections between social systems, material culture and individual experiences—particularly in peripheral spaces. Through her work, she hopes to address both critical and everyday gaps in cultural understanding and to contribute to the well-being of her local community. Subjects of interest include urban ecology, Asian American identity, and solidarity economies.

Ms. Kuo received an MFA in Studio Art/Social Practice at the City University of New York, Queens College. Her artwork has been exhibited in the Queens Museum of Art, Queens Public Library, and Houston City Hall, among other places. She is also a recipient of The Idea Fund grant (2023).

A headshot of artist Alexis Pye.

Alexis Pye. Photo: Bria Lauren.

Alexis Pye explores the tradition of painting as a way to express the Black body outside of its social constructs, to evoke playfulness, wonder, and blackness, as well as the joys amidst adversity. Ms. Pye received her BFA in Painting from the University of Houston in 2018. That same year, she was selected as a Summer Studios Resident and for Round 51: Local Impact II at Project Row Houses. Her work was exhibited in a group show of young artists at the David Shelton Gallery for Everything’s Gonna be Alright in 2019, curated by Robert Hodge. Ms. Pye received the Juror’s Choice Prize for the 20th Annual Citywide African American Artists Exhibition held at Texas Southern University in 2019, selected by Kanitra Fletcher.

Ms. Pye was included in the group show Animal Crossing at Inman Gallery in 2020, and presented her first solo show, The Real and the Fantastic/The Irrational Joys of the Axis, at the gallery in July 2021. In 2021, her work was included in the group exhibitions My Mirror Is Fine, curated by Miles Payne at the Community Artists Collective, Houston and Honor Thy Self at Martha’s Contemporary in Austin. Her work was also in the MFAH staff art show at the Museum Fine Arts, Houston in 2021 and she has collaborated with the Houston Rockets x CAMH at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in 2022. She is a Round 16 Lawndale Artist Studio Program participant for the 2022-2023 season.

Alexis Pye lives and works in Houston, Texas.

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