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.
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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