'ShadeCloud' Gets Renewed Lease on Life

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Most Christmas decorations will be coming down post-New Year's, but you can still expect to see at least a few lights shining bright all night long in Houston trees over the coming weeks.

Art League Houston in Montrose recently extended "ShadeCloud," an outdoor installation in its sculpture garden that features varied, off-white lampshades woven together into four, as the name suggests, cloud-like shapes that are then suspended from the surrounding trees. During the day, the "clouds" provide a light, cool mist and shade for those seeking relief -- though this was more of a priority when it was first installed back in the heat of late August -- but at night, it's gloriously lit up like an orange, blue-tinged flame.

"ShadeCloud" is the brainchild of Houston-based artist Emily Sloan, who, when not dreaming up lovely sculptures, is co-founder of Gallery 1724 and an artist-in-residence at 14 Pews. You may know her from her prior public works, such as "Burning House," on Highway 59 in Polk County; the "Sabine Street Bridge Lamp" at Buffalo Bayou Art Park; and "To Whom It May Concern," on a private lot next to the Lawndale Art Center.

No two projects are alike, and "ShadeCloud" seems to be Sloan's most beautiful yet. To fully experience the piece, it's worth seeing both during the day and at night -- it's almost like two completely different works. If there's some wind during the day, it really allows the piece to move and come alive (you'll get some sense of this in this video). And then once the sun goes down, it's like moths to the flame, wowing passersby on Montrose.

"ShadeCloud" initially was set to come down on December 31, but Art League has extended its run until February 24. So don't miss your chance to see this incredibly unique artwork, if you haven't already.

"ShadeCloud" at Art League Houston, 1953 Montrose, now through February 24. For information, call 713-523-9530 or visit www.artleaguehouston.org.

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