"Ladies First"

Lauren Kelley usually works with video, but her contribution to the “Ladies First” group exhibit at Art Palace is a photographic still from a video work. Kelly, who has received the Artadia Houston Prize and was a fellow in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Core Program, says, "[I'm] trying to find ways to kind of tell these narratives outside of a moving image." Kelley has often used Barbie dolls to illustrate the black woman's struggle with body image, but here she explores power issues with topiary animals - the animals, in different sizes and on pedestals of different heights, appear to be staking out their territories. That may sound like a complete shift of subject matter, but Kelley says the dots definitely connect. "A constant thread has always been this desire to...claim one's own turf - whether it's black woman, whether it's woman, whether it's individual in a larger territory," she says.

The roster of other artists participating in "Ladies First," Art Palace's first group exhibition, is impressive. Elaine Bradford’s strange hybrid creatures made from ordinary craft materials, Margarita Cabrera's hand-embroidered soft sculptures, Ali Fitzgerald's dioramas and other small works, Jessica Halonen's imagery exploring the impact of genetically modified plants, and Bari Ziperstein's site-specific sculpture will all be on view. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Through May 1. 3913 Main. For information, call 281-501-2964 or visit www.artpalacegallery.com. Free.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Starts: March 12. Continues through May 1, 2010

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