Visual Arts

Vibrant Wave's Oil Paintings Drip Off the Walls at Public House

The works of Sophia Buddenhagen and Chandana Paravastu may be two sides of the same coin. At the pair's Vibrant Wave exhibit, hoisted up high on the walls of Public House, a bar and gallery in one, it initially feels like you are looking at a collection created by a single artist. Both are mainly abstract oil paintings, and the title of the exhibition is extremely apropos; Buddenhagen and Paravastu's colors are intense and alive. So alive, in fact, that each painting looks wet, as if the oils may slide off the walls and onto the beer drinkers below.

Looking closer, however, you discover the minutiae that distinguish each artist.

Paravastu's "Fuschia Field" oil on canvas painting could've been renamed "Fuschia Fields Forever," as the painting sucks you into its endless landscape with no chance of letting you out. In the middle of the piece is a circular labyrinth of mustard yellow and blue that starts on the left, with a lone yellow tail peeking out again on the right. The colors: hippy. The painting: trippy.

But, says Paravastu, don't read into it.

"Some people want to change the world," said the artist. "I just want to paint a happy memory."

Buddenhagen's pieces are a little more studious. Even though her colors are darker than Paravastu's, she incorporates circles and birds in many of her works, giving the viewer a sense of the freedom of movement. Her mixed-media piece "Pondering" features orange circles, yellow streaks and a bird perched in its lower right corner. There are also numbers hiding in the background, making the painting geometric, natural and yet cryptic, all at once.

"It's about traveling and places I've been," Buddenhagen explained.

Vibrant Wave is the third exhibition to show at Public House. Previously, a one-night-only pop-up show and the pieces of Myke Venable graced the walls.

"We want to show work from local upcoming artists," said Jennifer Vickers, curator of the venue. Vickers praises the Public House space, not for its ability to coax guests off packed Heights streets for a brew and a view but for its humble and realistic walls, walls that might be present in one's home, rather than the cold white walls that make up other gallery spaces. "This is real life, and this is what art lovers like in real spaces."

"Vibrant Wave" will be on view until September 8 at Public House, 2802 White Oak. Visit for more information.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Altamese Osborne
Contact: Altamese Osborne