Courtesy of Donna Huanca
Beyonce' by Donna Huanca

Donna Huanca's Clean Start

Local artist Donna Huanca found out her show "2012" was canceled six days before it was scheduled to open. Huanca, a 26-year-old University of Houston graduate who has shown in New York, California and Argentina, was set to display her signature portraits made from scraps of clothing at the G Gallery when it axed the exhibit, she says. This was after Huanca spent a year planning the show and printed and mailed 3,000 invitations. (We called G Gallery owner Wayne Gilbert and he said he was unable to meet Huanca's specific requirements for the show.) However, she didn't panic, she relocated.

"I'm just like, 'Fuck this, I'm just going to do it at the cleaners,'" Huanca said, referring to her family's business, A-1 Dry Cleaners. Her art now hangs on the walls of the place, which has also served as her studio since last May, when the building that housed her old studio was converted into Urban Lofts. She also quit her job as a museum curator at the Station to concentrate on her art. She makes ends meet by working at the family business.

"It's quite strange for me to do this," Huanca says. "I was working at this museum for like five years, I was a curator and I'm just like, not used to dealing with normal people -- What's your last name?" she asks a dry-cleaning customer who apparently has been standing there during our phone conversation. When she isn't "dealing with normal people," Huanca is creating her textile portraits. Beyonce' is a likeness of everyone's favorite Destiny's Child pieced together from felt and other fabrics. Like most works shown in "2012," it looks strikingly similar to its subject.

"I just use clothes like paint," Huanca says. "I use it to form shape and shadows and all the properties of 3-D realism." Huanca is also offering her services to anyone who wishes to have their own or a relative's likeness recreated using scraps of clothing (preferably something worn by the subject). Just bring a picture as well as clothing to the show. Also featured in the exhibit is 40-foot Warscape, a mural created from fabric scraps, and a collection of what Huanca describes as "puppets playing instruments."

The show runs through -- well, Huanca says "like mid-January." -- Dusti Rhodes

For information, call 832-419-5337 or visit www.ruaminx.com. Free.

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