Perry House Retrospective at Art Car Museum

It's not often that an artist gets an opportunity to collect his or her work of the past quarter-century and hang the output on a gallery wall.

Along with an art exhibit, there's another reward that happens before the pieces are hung just right on a freshly hammered nail. Specifically, an opportunity for a creative type to see how his or her style has grown, changed and shifted over the years.

This applies to Houston artist veteran Perry House, whose "Elegance/Violence" exhibit opens to the public next month at Art Car Museum.

"Stylistically, it changes all the time. Conceptually it has stayed the same -- the fine line between horror and humor," says House. "Different concepts require different paint applications -- I never wanted a signature style."

House's "alternate reality landscapes," according to Art Car Museum, are "neo-expressionist, straddling the line between abstraction and realism with their nearly recognizable forms and figures."

There's usually a point-counterpoint in House's paintings -- which have been shown at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Davis/McClain Gallery and Inman Gallery -- ranging from subject matter to mood. The same goes for the exhibit title of "Elegance/Violence," which House explains revolves around his 2001 to 2006 series "Southern Dinners."

"It's my perception of the South as a Southerner," says House, who adds that his first major creative influences (Von Dutch and Gorky) have stayed the same for years and years.

Along with a prolific output, House had taught art classes at Houston Community College for "I think 32 years. I never considered I would stay this long," says House, who recently made plans to retire so that he can continue to crank out paintings for future art exhibits.

Perry House's "Elegance/Violence" debuts with an opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at Art Car Museum, 140 Heights Blvd. The exhibit is scheduled to hang through August 12. For gallery hours, check out the Art Car Museum Web site.

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