4

Don't Pass Over Peter Massing's Powerful Paintings at Nau-haus Art


^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The big talkers at Peter Massing's new Nau-haus Art show are his involved carvings -- wood blocks with images of tricksters and wizards carved into them -- and their resulting red, blue and green ink prints. It's understandable; the poppy prints are fun to look at and compare the block to its flipped paper counterpart. And it's an admirably laborious process, involving the time-tested practice of reduction printing -- see, even I can't help but talk about them. But in the printmaker's second solo show at the Heights gallery in four years, his collages and prints are really the works to behold.

One piece in particular is a big collage that's primarily two blocks of blue scattered with engravings and random images -- mainly a couple of old doilies and cartoonish images of two little boys playing. Untitled, the name doesn't give you much from which to infer, but it's an extremely emotional work. There's a sense of nostalgia, like artifacts from a half-remembered childhood. I was left with an overwhelming sense of sadness, but also sweetness.

Another strong piece is the screen print "Marriage/Some Kind of Institution." The main image is an orange sapling, with eyes glowering at you from its leaves. Along the bottom are the words "marriage/some kind of institution ... you can't even marry a tree."

If you think this might be some comment on the controversial piece "The Art Guys Marry a Plant," it'll help to know that Massing is the brother of Jack Massing, who is one half of The Art Guys. Though what that comment is, exactly, is a bit unclear to me.

The image of the tree is flanked by floating heads of Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy -- two civil rights defenders, so there's that -- as well as bordered by alternating blocks of crude stencils of people, portraits of women that are reminiscent of works by classical and impressionist painters, and photographic-like flowers --it's as if the piece is putting the Art Guys' performance in art history, though I'm not sure if the marriage of institution, or art, is what fails. Ambiguity aside, I was enthralled.

"Peter Massing: Time and Time and Time Again" at Nau-haus Art, now through January 28. For more information, call 281-615-4148 or visit the gallery's website.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.