[Organizer's description:] The Galveston Arts Center will present two solo exhibitions featuring Texas artists: Vital Signs by Margaret Smithers-Crump and The Habit of Being II by Mari Omori. Vital Signs includes intricately sculpted Plexiglas and paintings on Plexiglas. The upstairs galleries feature a site-specific installation by Omori, in which she re-examines the “everyday” with a minimalist yet poignant perspective. The overall aesthetic of both shows is one in which materials and the artistic process become an important focus for understanding the intrinsic meaning of the work. The opening reception will be Saturday, April 16th from 6:00-9:00pm. Talks by both artists in concert with curator Clint Willour begin at 6:30.
Exploring notions of water and the oceans as both source and resource for all living beings, Vital Signs by Margaret Smithers-Crump, is an installation of sculptural pieces and paintings on Plexiglas created specifically for the Galveston Art Center. As a port city with an often turbulent relationship with the sea, Galveston makes a perfect setting for this body of work. Like many artists who were exhibiting or living in Galveston during Hurricane Ike, Smithers-Crump suffered the loss of damaged artworks that were submerged in water. Salvaging these paintings, the artist restored and created new artworks to be exhibited for the first time in this exhibition. Painted and drawn on both the front and reverse sides of Plexiglas sheets, luminous translucent surfaces depict water as both tranquil and threatening.
The three dimensional artworks in this exhibition expand upon these approaches to water, providing a very different experience. Utilizing both wall, ceiling and floor, these installations are made with hundreds of hand cut, shaped and painted Plexiglas forms that are chemically bonded together. Often evoking vast ecosystems and life forms such as coral, kelp, plankton and algae, these glass-like artworks underscore the fragile state of all living things and the vital necessity of healthy water on our planet.
Upstairs, Mari Omori presents The Habit of Being II, a multi-media exhibition featuring paintings, sculpture, and installations that examine the everyday and the overlooked. How the materials were chosen or collected and the type of materials used like tea bags, soap, cochineal ink – a traditional Mexican dye made from insects – are essential to understanding the work, each with a unique history and story intrinsic to the deeper understanding of each piece. While a seemingly quiet exhibition, The Habit of Being II is thick with philosophic and contemplative undertones.