October 30 - May 10, 2021
To register for the November 17 artist talk with Jeffie Brewer, go here.
From Public Art UHS:
“A series of colorful, bright, large-scale sculptures are sprinkled across the University of Houston campus, offering visitors an emotional lift and escape to fun. Lace up your most comfortable shoes, put on a mask and feel the joy of color in “Color Field,” now open to the public.
Presented by Public Art of the University of Houston System (Public Art UHS), “Color Field” is the first curated exhibition of outdoor sculpture at UH and the second project in the Temporary Public Art Program, generously supported by The Brown Foundation, Inc. The traveling show, organized in partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, will remain on view through May 2021.
Winding through a one mile stretch of UH’s park-like campus, 13 works of art by seven contemporary artists will immerse visitors in a field of color. Featured artist Sarah Braman created “Here” (2019), a concrete drainage pipe fitted with coated aluminum frames and laminated glass. She hopes the show serves as a “short reprieve” from everyday challenges.
“I want ‘Here’ to be an invitation to slow down and enjoy the experience of looking,” said Braman, who is known to repurpose discarded objects and give them new life. “Do you notice what you can see through the sculpture? What do you notice that’s reflected back at you from the landscape or the people through the windows?”
It’s those thought-provoking questions that can create a connection between visitors and the works, said María C. Gaztambide, Public Art UHS director and chief curator.
“‘Color Field’ inspires us to think of our campus as an enormous sculpture park with plenty of spaces for encountering the works in the exhibition alongside Public Art UHS’s storied permanent collection,” she said. “At the same time, the exhibition provides families, art enthusiasts and the broad community with a safe and completely open-air environment to connect with each other and with the emotional value that color brings to our lives.”
The inspiration behind “Color Field” is a mid-twentieth-century painting style of the same name – Color Field – characterized by large areas of single colors and surfaces devoid of realistic representation.
“Taking this style of painting as a point of departure, ‘Color Field’ considers a group of contemporary artists concerned with exploiting color for all of its expressive and evocative possibilities,” added Gaztambide.
‘STOP, REFLECT, ENGAGE’
Public art brings people from all spectrums of society who wouldn’t normally go to a gallery or a museum, said Jeffie Brewer, the Nacadoches, Texas artist who is showing multiple painted steel pieces in “Color Field”– including “Bunny.”
“‘Bunny’ is a form that I made about 12 years ago, and this is what actually got me into making public art,” Brewer explained. “I saw the interaction people had with public art and how they would stop, reflect or engage. That changed my perception of how art in general should be and what it meant to me.”
In addition to “Bunny,” Brewer is displaying other abstract forms “Cloud,” “Gigaff,” “Pop,” “Kitty” and “Pink Sexy.” Along with Brewer and Braman, artists and their works also featured in “Color Field” include:
- Sam Falls who has two works in the show: “Untitled (Wind Chimes)” (2014), a larger-than-life-sized, functional wind chime that makes music just by a gentle touch; “Untitled (Maze)” (2014), which consists of brightly colored panels, some of which are coated with light and heat-sensitive paint. Precise incisions into the surface of some panels allows sunlight to shine through the sculpture.
- “Back to Kansas” (2015) by Spencer Finch is a billboard-sized grid made out of 70 blocks of brilliant and subtle color inspired by “The Wizard of Oz.” Each color in the grid corresponds to a color from the film, such as “Yellow Brick Road” and “Ruby Slippers.”
- Odili Donald Odita’s “Negative Space” (2019) is a series of 13 flags on flagpoles inspired by the American flag and its related socio-cultural dynamics. Colors such as red, white and blue, and their complementary green, black and orange work to both enhance and contrast each other.
- “Forms from Life” (2019) by TYPOE is a grouping of minimalist shapes made out of painted aluminum that resemble enlarged building blocks. It is a reference to how the basic information we learn as children forms our understanding of the world.
- Sound artist and composer Amos Cochran’s “Color Field Outside / In” (2019) allows one’s emotions to wander freely in an immersive sonic soundscape. Cochran uses traditional instruments such as violin, cello, harp and piano to produce abstract recorded sounds.
The works are strategically placed throughout the UH campus starting with Wilhelmina’s Grove, the heart of the UH Arts District, which is bound by the Moores School of Music, School of Theatre & Dance, Valenti School of Communication and Fine Arts Building — all at the intersection of Cullen Boulevard and Elgin Street. The pieces then weave through the areas surrounding the Ezekiel W. Cullen Building, Butler Plaza and Lynn Eusan Park — off University Drive. Click here to download a map of “Color Field.”
“By placing ‘Color Field’ works in and around UH’s iconic campus buildings, its main pedestrian arteries and existing permanent artworks in the Public Art collection, we truly want to incite dialogue not only between them and our campus’ natural and built environment, but also with other works for which color is a central node,” Gaztambide said.
TOOLS OF ENGAGEMENT:
The Public Art UHS curatorial team encourages everyone to come experience “Color Field” safely and in-person by adhering to the University’s COVID-19 protocols. Interactive, self-guided tours with printed maps and interpretative signage with QR codes offer opportunities to learn about each artist and their work while providing access to online content. Visitors can also text their feedback about what inspires them about “Color Field.”
“COVID-19 challenged us to move beyond utilizing technology and the internet as a mere platform for communicating information,” explained Gaztambide. “We were interested in exploring how we could interweave the in-person and virtual iterations of ‘Color Field’ into a singular indivisible experience where one complements and rounds out the other.”
There are also several ways to engage with “Color Field” virtually throughout the exhibition’s stay on the UH campus, including:
- Monthly Zoom conversations with featured artists
- Monthly art-making activities for people of all ages
- Wellness programs (beginning spring 2021)
Among the in-person programs planned for spring 2021 is Public Art UHS’s first ever film series, inspired by “The Wizard of Oz.”
About Public Art of the University of Houston System
Public Art of the University of Houston System (Public Art UHS) is an important collection of public art works by acclaimed local, regional, national and international artists, across all forms of media and style. Public Art UHS’s mission is to engage academic and global communities in an open forum to promote dialogue about the visual arts and its relevance to contemporary life. The distinguished publicly accessible works of critically important artists enrich the cultural and intellectual character of the University of Houston System, and reflect and connect our uniquely diverse audiences. In 1966, the University of Houston Board of Regents voted to establish a policy that would dedicate one percent of the construction costs of all future building projects for works of art. At the time, UH was undergoing an unprecedented construction boom, and the public art program was conceived to greatly enhance campus life as well as the prestige of the university at a local, regional and international level. In 1969, the Texas Legislature approved the capital improvement allocation toward the UH public art program. The University of Houston then became the first state university in Texas to adopt such a forward-thinking initiative. The Collection spans the entire University of Houston System, including University of Houston and its Sugar Land location, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Houston-Clear Lake and University of Houston-Victoria. For more information visit http://publicartuhs.org/.
About the Temporary Public Art Program
Launched in 2019, Public Art UHS’s Temporary Public Art Program is based at Wilhelmina’s Grove, a beautiful green space at the heart of the campus’ Arts District and its new gateway to public art. Along with UH’s stellar permanent collection of public art, the program provides the university community, local patrons and visitors from around the world with a unique place and way to experience thoughtful and thought-provoking temporary art installations by a diverse roster of artists. It challenges artists to expand their creative range, while their installations and related programming encourage the public to reflect and to broaden their vision. The program also provides the space and support for artists to enhance their practice through direct involvement with students, and for students to acquire hands-on skills through direct exposure to artists and their work. Held together by meaningful dialogue, it is a means by which people can connect and come together around art on campus. The Temporary Public Art Program of the University of Houston System is generously supported by The Brown Foundation, Inc.”
Artist talk: November 17, 2020 | 5–6 pm
Jeffie Brewer in Nacogdoches, TX. Discussion led by Michael Guidry, Curator of Public Art UHS. See event description for registration.
4800 Calhoun Road
Houston, 77004 TX