What she does: "Can we be simultaneously happy and sad with our lives? Can we feel love and hate for our family and possessions?" This is what Mary Magsamen, Houston video artist and curator, explores through her art. Magsamen both curates for the Aurora Picture Show and collaborates with her husband, Stephan Hillerbrand (Hillerbrand+Magsamen) to create short films, photography, and installations. "Our work is autobiographical. What we do is set up situations that express ideas about our family and our relationships. Our work is about being a middle class suburban family and we present that in video and photography."
In April they screened Stick 'Em Up, a documentary about wheat pasting - an inner city art form in Houston.
Why she likes it: Magsamen lived in New York for nine years with her family after receiving a residency with her husband from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Her decision to move to Houston four years ago initially alarmed her friends. "There's a huge amount of culture in Houston that people don't really expect it to have. My friends in New York said, 'You're moving to Texas?' but it has a lot of cultural richness. What makes it different is that the people are friendly and accessible."
What inspires her: When she is creating art with her husband, who also teaches at University of Houston, Magsamen is motivated by the supposed trivialities of suburban family life. "Our every day lives inspire us. We take something that someone may see as a boring activity and try to make it interesting or slow it down and focus in." When she's working at the Aurora Picture Show, Magsamen explores other people's work based on specific themes or topics. "I like seeing the different ways people are approaching media and how artists are conceiving ideas."
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John Harvey, theater Bret Harmeyer, visual artist Joel Orr, puppet master Rodney Waters, photographer and pianist Jeremy Choate, lighting designer Chuck Ivy, visual artist Tra'Slaughter, visual artist Jen Chen - visual art, designer Howard Sherman - Painter Nancy Hendrick - Founder of Dance Salad Misha Penton - Opera Singer and Theater Artist Ben Tecumseh DeSoto - Photojournalist Tracy Robertson aka Batty - Goth Fashion Designer Tierney Malone - Creative Type Dolan Smith - Painter Jenny Schlief - Mixed-Media Artist David Eagleman - Writer Anna Sprage - Painter Philip Lehl - Actor Andy Noble - Choreographer David McGee - Painter