Im just sitting in my car and Im looking at stunt-jumping monster trucks coexisting with art cars. Its a place of extremes, says Toby Kamps, senior curator for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and one of three curators (with Valerie Cassel Oliver and Paola Morsiani) of Nexus Texas, a group show of work by 16 artists who call the Lone Star State home. Included are Dallass Jeff Zilm, who does abstract paintings, San Antonios Gary Sweeney, who creates mixed-media messages spelled out in varsity letters, and Houstons own El Franco Lee II. Francos painting Rudy T. vs. Kermit Washington captures the iconic moment in Houston sports when then-Rocket Rudy Tomjanovich found himself on the wrong end of a punch thrown by L.A. Laker Kermit Washington.
Kamps feels theres an artistic energy thats distinctively Texan, and in his eight months living in Houston, hes felt it. Its an amazing mixture of really cosmopolitan and really down-home, says Kamps. Its very fertile soil for good art. You can get a pickup truck and a decent studio and do your thing. And maybe theres something about the larger-than-life Texan mythology that breeds independent go-getters. Theres a great tolerance of characters and eccentrics and individuals. An artist is an entrepreneur, and if nothing else, Texas gets that.
Aug. 18-Oct. 21, 2007