October 7 - December 2, 2023
From Sculpture Month Houston:
“Every time and period has its own special image of the human figure that responds to its social and cultural mantras. Cubism, at the outset of Modernism, radically and irrevocably changed the perception of the figure. The de-constructed, fragmented, and subsequently reconstructed figure became the ubiquitous symbol of the modern human condition.
What has the “fragmented figure” endured in the 21st century? The sobriquet “disquiet man” was coined to refer to the vexing complexities of modern life, its insecurity, and the feeling of solitude and anxiety. If one considers the looming challenges ahead, life in our century may be even more complex and anxiety producing.
The 18 artists in this exhibition provide the viewer with a wide spectrum of viewpoints as they try to formulate visual metaphors that make this new reality emotionally accessible. All artists are Houston and Texas based and the concept of the exhibition is not so much a methodical survey as an examination of trends and trajectories.
The archetypal touchstone of sculpture is the standing figure like the classic Greek “Kouros”. Several artists in this exhibition use this image as their point of reference like Frances Bagley, Suguru Hiraide, Jeff Gibbons, and Jay Sullivan with his truncated torsos evoking archeological excavations. Jessica Kreutter has crafted human figures out of clay and porcelain as organisms that interconnect with the whole of nature. The late Jesse Lott created modern man out of wire and found objects.
Another category of art may evolve from artists who refer to themselves as multimedia artists like Steve Parker who plays the trombone, writes music, reconfigures musical instruments, creates installations and sculptures, and invites the visitors to interact with the objects. Colette Copeland presents a “sonic sculpture” for “disembodied voices” that depends on a vast array of technology.
Kris Pierce’s work points to the future. He paints, sculpts, and creates kinetic installations with virtual reality, game engines, 3D modeling, and computer-generated videos. Here, the virtual world is the reality. He points to a possible scenario, where basic human emotions are intertwined and amplified by virtuality. Jimmy Canales’ humanoid robots point in a similar direction.
Several artists are socially engaged and have integrated their social concerns into their artistic vision. Nadin Nassar relives her immigrant experience in a mise-en-scène “Immigration Tableaux” including a scary police encounter. Rabea Ballin’s installation points to the absurdity of any racial categorization. Elizabeth Chapin as an artist/mother reflects on and transforms the experience of her teenager’s coming-of-age drama. Sarah Sudhoff uses her own body image to create intriguing visuals, especially when interacting with the medical profession.
Some artists touch on more politically relevant themes, like the powerful video that Yuliya Lanina created about the psychological impact of the war in Ukraine. Allison Hunter, in her Silo filling video installation, revisits the traumatized victims of the Covid period. Hugo Santana, an architect turned artist, who grew up in Ciudad Juarez, wants his art to be understood as a dialogue between space and history, the value of labor and its exploitation in capitalism and, interestingly, the art of toolmaking and the shape of the human figure.
The title “The Sleep of Reason” pays tribute to Francisco Goya, the 18th/19th century Spanish painter and printmaker who in his visionary etchings like the “Caprichos” and the “Disasters of the War”, depicted the social upheaval of the ordinary people, their anguish and despair. Goya, often referred to as an “Early Modernist”, castigates the corrupt society he lived in by creating the “fragmented” figures that were subject to violent deformations and humiliating mocking.”
Reception: October 7, 2023 | 6–9 pm
1502 Sawyer Street
Houston, 77007 TexasGet directions