The word "NUDE" is understood to mean uncovered, unadorned, undraped. Far beyond these meanings, and the obvious sensual and erotic connections, there is an implied transparency, a blending of self with one's environment and time, grounded in the reality of form. The body is the core of our individual life experience, it is the receiver with which we gather and disseminate our knowledge, our presence and our progeny, it is us. As Kenneth Clark says, "it is ourselves and arouses memories of all the things we wish to do with ourselves; and first of all we wish to perpetuate ourselves."
The new work presented by Hester and Spencer features the centuries' old practice of depicting the human body to represent individual and collective paths and our impact on the world. Working collaboratively and in their respective private studio spaces, the artists have created new figurative works which explore the contextual relationships of humans with each other and in their environments. They have used the fluid transparency of art glass, the solidity of clay and the brilliance and plasticity of paint to craft a body of work which is informed by the body of humans.
In conjunction with the opening and usual run of the exhibit, the gallery will host two figure drawing events. The sessions will be held on Friday, February 7, and Friday, February 21 from 7-10 PM each evening. Participants must be at least 18 years of age. Participants should bring drawing pads or paper and materials. Tables and chairs will be provided by the gallery. Reservations are advised and a small donation will be requested to assist with model fees. Refreshments will be served. To register, call 713.898.6568 (Liz) or 713.522.2409 (Archway Gallery).
Liz Conces Spencer grew up in the refinery town of Pasadena, Texas and is a 1975 graduate of the art program at the University of St Thomas. Intrigued by the visual tangle of urban/suburban life, she began to visually interpret what would become a lifetime study of figures and patterned landscapes. This reflection has crossed media lines from traditional painting to printmaking, sculpture and glass. She has shown her work extensively since 1979 in gallery, group, festival and competitive venues. Spencer has completed commissions for the Houston Arts Alliance, the Houston Public Library, the City of Houston, Silver Eagle Distributing, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Talento Bilingue of Houston, the Cool Globes Project and Habitat for Humanity, as well as corporate clients and individuals. She frequently collaborates with other artists, notably Hester of Genesis Art Glass.
A teaching artist with Young Audiences of Houston, Spencer has been active in art education since 1979, serving on the board of City ArtWorks and teaching in public and private schools. She has worked for ad giants McCann Erickson and J Walter Thompson since 1996 in broadcast production and talent management.
After receiving a B.A. in 1970, Gene Hester joined the Peace Corps and served two years as an elementary teacher on the island of Borneo in Malaysia. Upon his return to the U.S., he went back to school and received a B.F.A. in ceramics in 1974.
Purchasing an antique stained glass window prompted Hester's move to Houston in 1975 to learn how to make the necessary repairs. He was then hired to work in the same glass studio until he and three other employees decided to open their own teaching studio in the summer of 1976; thus was born Genesis Art Glass Studio and in 1977, Hester became its sole proprietor. Hester has created commissioned stained and leaded glass panels for residential, commercial and liturgical installations and repaired numerous antique windows and a wide variety of artifacts for more than 37 years.
He has grown to love the fused glass process, producing sculptural and utilitarian items such as bowls, platters and boxes sold at outdoor art festivals and galleries such as Archway. On a larger scale, Hester has created fused panels for the Chevron Texaco headquarters, the Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia and light fixtures and wall sconces for several restaurants. His resume of corporate commissions and installations is broad, international and diverse, with completed projects too numerous to mention.
In 2007, Hester started collaborating with Spencer to design and produce works of interest to both artists. The Chapel at Camp Aranzazu in Rockport, Texas reveals the legend of our Lady of Aranzazu across five floor-to-ceiling exterior panels. The steel and fused glass Flores Public Library public commission project in Houston's Second Ward was awarded to Spencer and Hester by the Houston Art Alliance and installed in 2010. They collaborated on the national touring Cool Globes project, brought to Houston to celebrate clean energy. Today, their sculpture stands in front of the corporate headquarters of Silver Eagle Distributing. Currently the team is working on fused glass back-lit donor panels for the Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism.