Relentless Sun: The Images of Clarissa Tossin

Brazilian artist Clarissa Tossin explores poverty with images of heat and earth.

On the back wall of the gallery, Ladrão de Tênis (Sneaker Thief) (2009) brings in the steps and bodies of others. It's a wall piece with Plexiglas shelves featuring 36 Hydrocal casts from the inside of secondhand tennis shoes. In a talk, Tossin said the piece was influenced by the rise in the early 2000s of young Brazilians murdering each other for status sneakers. The casts convey the shapes of the shoes but also something of the shapes of the individual feet that broke them in. Bits of fabric (and probably DNA) cling to the casts, giving them a forensic quality. The plaster also calls to mind death masks.

Brasília by Foot (2009) shows the lines made by people walking.
Clarissa Tossin
Brasília by Foot (2009) shows the lines made by people walking.

Location Info


Sicardi Gallery

1506 W. Alabama St.
Houston, TX 77006

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Montrose


"Window into Houston: Clarissa Tossin: Blind Spot"

Through July 24 at 110 Milam. 713-743-9521.

"Clarissa Tossin: Study for a Landscape"

Through June 29. Sicardi Gallery, 1506 W. Alabama, 713-529-1313.

Tossin has done some interesting work in the past. I particularly remember a video she showed at Sicardi in 2011 about workers in Brasília continually scrubbing the white marble of the Niemeyer-designed Federal Supreme Court Building — trying to maintain the pristine modernism and utopian promise of the aging structure. It was a seemingly simple video that spoke volumes. Tossin's current work at Sicardi has flashes of that same succinct eloquence, but she's a young artist who is still figuring things out. She just finished her MFA at CalArts in 2009, spent two years in the Core Progam and is going on to San Antonio for an Art Pace residency. She's on a fast track, but I get the sense that she's struggling a bit to meet the demands of the opportunities offered her. I don't, however, doubt she will regain her balance.

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