There's no need to wonder what regional artists have been up to over the past year. Get a look at new works by Texas contemporaries with these visual art openings this month in Houston. From explosions of color (Adela Andea) to nature (Rona Lesser, T. Smith, Julie Heffernan) to small scale works (G Spot, Hardy & Nance) — and even some forbidden porn collages by Bob Schneider — here's our take on eight "can't miss" art exhibits in the Bayou City.
Old school acceptable meets forbidden taboo when Austin-based singer, songwriter and visual artist Bob Schneider merges Currier and Ives prints with circa 1960s porno in "The Life We Live Here." It's fascinating to think that models who posed nude for "under the counter" or homosexual pornography 50 years ago have been time-shifted into these mixed media collages and oil paintings to create new works that elevate the source materials "out of the muck." Schneider keeps it enigmatic by adding colored balls or confetti to the collages, but is being tight-lipped about their meaning. Get an eyeful at the opening reception January 4 from 6-9 p.m.
January 4-29, noon-5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, Redbud Gallery, 303 East 11th, 713-862-2532, redbudgallery.com.
Jewish Arbor Day, or the New Year for Trees, is later this month and in celebration of Tu B'Shevat, Rona Lesser is exhibiting landscape and nature paintings in "How Great Are Your Works Oh God!" The paintings have been paired with biblical and other Jewish texts that were selected by Lesser and Cantor Diane Dorf. Dig deeper at the artist reception with wine and snacks on January 30 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
January 4-February 14, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays, Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, Deutser Art Gallery, 5601 South Braeswood, 713-729-3200, erjcchouston.org/arts/deutser-art-gallery.
Tommy Gregory and Casey Arguelles Gregory are exhibiting "The Most Recent Work Ever" over at GSpot Contemporary Art Space and, as coordinators of this show, they've invited artists with Texas roots. We'll view small scale works by Antarctica Black, Elaine Bradford, Jimmy Castillo, Mat Kubo, Aaron Muñoz, Kyle Olson, Gissette Padilla, Pablo Gimenez Zapiola and Felipe Zapiola. Tommy Gregory is a big reason that Texas artists are so well-represented at Houston's three airports; the former Houston Airport System curator also is co-founder of Sculpture Month Houston. View the importance of detail and craft in small artworks during the opening reception on January 5 from 6-8 p.m.
January 5-27, noon-5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, G Spot Contemporary Art Space, 310 East 9th, 832-807-6988, gspotgallery.com.
Vegetarians might not dig "Sentient Meat," but these new works on paper by T. Smith demonstrate the next chapter for this Patternist who uses graphite on paper to illustrate the flesh of both man and animal, though it helps to imagine nature's topographies instead. The Houston Press has followed the career of this former Hunting Art Prize finalist, naming her one of Houston's top ten painters (2014) and one of our 100 Creatives for 2014, while also featuring her work in the curated show, Artopia. These new works are a marked change for T. Smith, who already is known for large-scale oils on canvas. The fun starts with an opening reception on January 5 from 5-8 p.m., with an artist talk at 6:30 p.m., but be sure to stay for an informal after party with the artist from 8-10 p.m.
January 5-31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays, Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy, 713-522-2409, archwaygallery.com.
Technology bends to Adela Andea's will with her massive, colorful and multi-sensory sculptures. She's lighting up Anya Tish Gallery again with her fifth exhibition there, "Passage Through the Frozen Dusk." Incorporating 3D printing technology, moving light projectors, ultrasonic foggers and LED lighting, Andea's Vatnajökull sculpture was inspired by her experience climbing the largest freestanding glacier in the world. Other works echo the extreme, remote landscapes of the rugged Icelandic terra: lava fields, glaciers, monochromatic beaches and the enchanting colors of the northern lights. Meet this amazing Houston-based artist during the artist reception on January 11 from 6-8:30 p.m.
January 11-February 9, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturdays, 4411 Montrose, 713-524-2299, anyatishgallery.com.
"Color:Story 2019" celebrates those who refuse to be pigeonholed. Artists Marlo Saucedo and Leslie Gaworecki, in a collaboration with Writespace, selected works by 17 local authors and created a visual representation of that essay or poem. Participating authors were chosen last summer: Emanuelee Bean, Rachel Massey Browne, Anjola Coker, Raie Crawford, Brandon R Dillon, Ayokunle Falomo, Catherine Gentry, Kelli Hines, Adam Holt, G Paris Johnson, Jen Stephan Kapral, Lisa Levy, Jake Anant Miller, Robin Reagler, Lisa Toth Salinas, Ellen Seaton and Holly Walrath. The opening event on January 12 from 5-8 p.m. features a reading and poetry slam in Gallery 200.
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If your bank balance is a little low after December's shopping frenzy, then never fear because it's time for Hardy & Nance Studio's annual 10" x 10" Art Show, bringing together 2D and 3D works by area artists all priced at $125 or less. Artists can choose any theme or subject — so expect a few surprises — and feel good knowing that the creators aren't required to pay a commission fee to the gallery, helping them avoid the stigma of "starving artists."
We can all moan and groan about environmental disasters but Julie Heffernan's personal response to these threats is to explore imaginative scenarios and alternative habitats through paint. In "When the Water Rises: Recent Paintings by Julie Heffernan," the artist envisions a world where the ice caps have melted and humans are found living in trees or on rafts. She doesn't shy away from political topics either: Subjects include the ISIS destroyed Palmyra Temple and embarkation points for Syrian refugees. The exhibition has been organized by the Louisiana State University Museum of Art and the resulting landscapes remind the viewer of Hieronymus Bosch. An opening preview reception is scheduled for January 23 from 5-7 p.m.
January 24-March 21, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m.-noon Fridays, University of Houston -Clear Lake, Bayou Building, Atrium I, Level 1, 2700 Bay Area Boulevard, 281-283-2060,