By STACEY HOLZER
An annual event aimed at increasing gallery exposure in summertime, ArtHouston premiered July 11 with an additional missionthis year of supporting the reconstruction of the Galveston Arts Center. While the figures are not yet in and there is still time to donate, Houston galleries have already collectively contributed more than $5,000 to this most worthy cause.
Since Hurricane Ike in September 2008, the Galveston Arts Center has been actively involved in the most difficult task of rebuilding. Much progress has been made but additional support would not only be greatly appreciated, but would assist in the recovery of damaged or lost art, restoring the facility, and attracting patronage.
I geared up my running shoes to attend the event and toured three major hubs of art activity on opening day, yet all of the galleries represented will have exhibitions on view through the month of July. My first stop was Wade Wilson Art at 4411 Montrose, which gives Dick Wray center stage. Wray’s colorful paintings reflect his desire to always see things different than the day before. The gallery alternates his work well, mixing his black and white works that play on positive and negative with colorful abstractions full of movement. A celebratory mood was in the air as the artist turned 75 and recently married, coinciding with the opening of this show.
Climbing the stairs revealed a magnificent surprise at Barbara Davis Gallery located in the same building. James Surls sculptures play with shadow and light inviting the viewer to interact with them. A combination of expressive, emotive ink drawings, stainless steel sculptures, and wood, metal constructions beautifully illustrate a passion for nature and an understanding of the three dimensional world. The works in this show invite the viewer to interact on their own terms. Spin me, climb inside me, and explore me to know me better, they say with a simple honesty that is exquisite. This is a show not to be missed.
My afternoon progressed with a drive to Colquitt Street to explore Gallery Row in the Upper Kirby district. The street was packed with people and there was a lot to see. Some memorable works are introduced at John Cleary Gallery Fine Art Photography featuring the works of Josef Hoflehner. Hoflehner is an award-winning nature photographer traveling the world capturing images one photograph at a time. Minimal and varied almost always in black and white, see for yourself these images resonate.
Sisters Bonnie and Linda Lynch team up for a show at Betty Moody Gallery entitled Form and Pigment: Two Views from an Arid Space. Linda’s richly dark pastel drawings on paper are influenced by the works and writings of Robert Smithson. Elegantly rendered, clear mark making, and full raw expression, they combine perfectly with Bonnie’s refined clay vessels which grace the floor with Linda’s drawings. The show creates a dialogue between two and three dimensional space that is a joy for the viewer.
Continuing on, my whirlwind tour of openings ended with galleries in the Heights. Apama Mackey Gallery on 11th Street is showing Leslee Fraser, In the Absence of Empathy, a sculptural installation, G Gallery a fantastic group show entitled Sea Shift, and Redbud with Leon and Molly Bee Collins.
Rebud’s show is a first gallery opening for Leon and Molly Bee Collins, thanks to David Waller and Gus Kopriva for discovering their work in Navasota. Naïve flat folk paintings depict stories of days gone by with a colorful aliveness that stays in your mind. Leon says “Life is Art,” so he paints what he knows from his own experience. Find out about more gallery shows in July and how you can support the Galveston Arts Center by calling Mariah Rockefeller at (713) 522-9116. Read more in depth interviews about Houston Art and artists at www.visualseen.net.
Photo: Detail by Bonnie and Linda Lynch