Art League Houston (ALH) is pleased to present Flying Solo, a group exhibition organized by ALH’s Visual Arts Director Jennie Ash. This exhibition highlights seven emerging and un-represented artists who are on the rise; making major contributions to the Houston art scene but not represented by a commercial gallery. The show features works in collage, sculpture, painting, and photography by artists; Daniel Anguilu, Chuy Benitez, Lovie Olivia, Fernando Ramirez, Emily Sloan, Patrick Turk, and Ann Wood. The opening reception is Friday, November 16, 6 - 9 PM in the Art League Project Gallery with an artist talk at 2PM, Saturday 17, 2012.
Identified as the nation's single most ethnically and culturally diverse metropolitan city to live in by Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research, and rated by the Huffington Post as the most moved-to city in America for people ages 25 - 34, Houston is currently in an exciting state of flux. This is especially true for Houston’s art community, which is continually reinventing itself; growing in size and strength. According to Guidestar, Houston has the largest number of small to mid-sized nonprofit arts organizations in Texas (35) with Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin all coming in under 20. If you look at that on a per capita basis; Houston in terms of density of art organizations is closer to New York city with a total of 163 small to mid-sized nonprofit art organizations.
With such a strong network of support specifically for emerging artists in Houston, why is there a growing phenomena of artists who, despite making extremely progressive work, are not represented by a commercial gallery? One answer is that many of today's emerging artists are choosing instead to become free agents; using social media tools to market their work in exhibitions/performances at nonprofit, alternative and commercial galleries, as well as their studios. As a result, an increasing number of these emerging artists are rejecting local gallery representation for out-of-state representation, as a way of having more control over their work locally, and reaching a wider audience of people outside of Houston. Meanwhile, there is also a burgeoning group of emerging artists in Houston who are extremely eager to find local representation, but have been unable to find an interested gallery. This reflects a growing need in Houston for a new generation of commercial galleries that specifically focus on showcasing strong, local, edgy, emerging and under recognized talent.
Artists include: Chuy Benitez is a leading digital panoramic photographer in Houston, and is best known for his ability to capture spontaneous and flowing action within the panoramic scenes he captures. Daniel Anguilu is one of Houston's leading street artists whose powerful murals are changing the landscape of Houston; blurring the boundaries between contemporary street art and fine art. Houston native Lovie Olivia has mastered a unique fresco technique incorporating layers of plaster, paint and printmaking, to explore powerful themes of racial and cultural identity. Fernando Ramirez creates highly detailed works that explore feelings of cultural rootlessness; inspired by cartoons, art history, lowrider art, and the web 2.0 generation. Emily Sloan, is one of Houston's most prolific multi-disciplinary artists. Her recent projects include ShadeCloud at Art League Houston; Southern Naptist Convention, The LoneStar Performance Explosion, and The Kenmore at Box13Artspace/SKYDIVE. Patrick Turk produces incredibly detailed three-dimensional collages that incorporate electronic sound and light components. Ann Wood’s installations combines animal decoys with yarn, pom-poms, faux flora and fauna, puffy paint, rubber, resin, push pins and sequins to create a friction between themes of beauty and decay.
Flying Solo is a new initiative hosted by ALH to specifically tap into and nurture the growth of Houston’s most exciting emerging artists by providing an exhibition platform where unrepresented talent can be showcased and supported. The exhibition will create a place for artistic discovery that can spotlight a new generation of artists, dealers, and collectors in Houston. ALH is Houston’s oldest nonprofit arts organization. Since its inception in 1948, ALH has served as a multifaceted art space providing a dynamic range of exhibitions from local, national, and international artists, as well as an adult art school lead by leading art practitioners in Houston.
Daniel Anguilu started painting graffiti at an early age. Mostly using freight trains and walls as his canvases, his art is increasingly visible around his hometown of Houston, Texas. Anguilu has been invited and traveled to many cities in the US, Mexico, Peru, Spain, and Italy to paint graffiti and to participate in graffiti art exhibits. He has also visited Asia, Africa, and Central America to enrich his knowledge of pre-colonial art and the cultures in those regions. Anguilu’s style is deeply inspired by his Mexican heritage, and mostly manifests itself as large scale, aerosol murals. Anguilu strongly believes in freedom of expression and the need to use this expression to decorate public spaces. Anguilu’s recent projects include Famous Monsters at Lawndale Art Center, Houston TX (2012), and has participated in group exhibitions at The Station Museum, Houston TX (2012), Cardoza Fine Art, Houston TX (2012); the Orange Show, Houston TX (2011); Mexican Consulate of Houston, Houston TX (2007); Aerosol Warfare Gallery, Houston TX (2005), and the Poissant Gallery, Houston TX (2001). Currently, Anguilu is focusing on painting public spaces in the Houston area and working in collaboration with local business and homeowners. Through his many conversations with Houstonians over the years, Anguilu has noticed that many people, whether involved in art or not, support his efforts to bring his art to our public spaces.
For almost a decade, Chuy Benitez has been a leading digital panoramic photographer and is best known for his ability to capture spontaneous and flowing action within the panoramic scenes he captures. He is originally from El Paso, TX, now lives and works out of Houston, TX, teaches Photography at St. John's School, and is the new Chair of Publications at Houston Center for Photography. Chuy Benitez was voted Best Photographer by the Houston Press (2011), and was also described as one of Houston's biggest artistic players by Houston Modern Luxury magazine (2012). He was recently showcased as a leading creative contributor to Houston's art economy by the Houston Art Alliance (2012). Chuy Benitez's work has exhibited alongside Paul Strand's Mexican Portfolio at Aperture Foundation Gallery in NYC (2011). His work has also been exhibited in Washington D.C's Newseum (2009); the Austin Museum of Art (2008); The Dallas Contemporary Museum (2008) El Museo Vito Alessio Robles in Saltillo, Mexico (2008); Houston Center for Photography (2007), and El Paso's Centennial Museum (2006).
Lovie Olivia is a native Houstonian and visual artist who employs painting, printmaking, and installation to create her works. Although her past includes some formal artistic training, including graduating from Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, she mostly relies on her independent studies of art, cultures, music, literature, and history to influence her work. She has exhibited at M2 Gallery, Houston TX (2012); Houston Museum of African American Culture, Houston TX (2011); Houston’s Community Artist Collective, Houston TX (2010); Arthello Beck Gallery, Dallas TX (2009); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston TX (2008), and Project Row Houses, Houston TX (2008). Olivia participated in a
collaborative show at the Lawndale Art Center called DARe to go FURther (2010) and had a solo exhibition Thrice Removed at SPACETAKER ARC, Houston TX (2010). Olivia’s work hangs in numerous private and public collections and her decorative interior and restorative painting applications can be found in many homes and businesses throughout Houston. In addition to her multifaceted approach to visual art, she enjoys teaching painting at High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where it all started for her. Olivia is a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant Award (2010), which is funded by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
Fernando Ramirez was born in Houston, Texas. He earned his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri in 2009. Fernando’s drawings and paintings rely heavily on his cultural studies and examining his own rootlessness as an American. Influenced by the history of cartoons, art history, lowrider art, and the web 2.0 generation, Fernando is creating work about the middle-moments in our lives or what he terms as “MIDE” or “middle-moment-drawing”, which he defines as rendering the moments in between the beginning, and end of his daily life. Fernando’s drawings are a spectacle of line, color, figures, and dense landscapes of meticulous stillness. He recently had a solo exhibition, Heavy Traffic, at El Rincon Social, Houston TX (2012), and has participated in group exhibitions at Art League Houston, Houston, TX (2011); Colton & Farb Gallery, Houston, TX (2011), and Paz: Art & Music Fest II at Walter’s, Houston, TX (2010).
Emily Sloan is a Houston-based artist who received an M.F.A. in sculpture from the University of Houston (2009) and a M.A. in Painting and Sculpture from Stephen F. Austin University (2006). Her site specific installations include ShadeCloud, Art League Houston, Texas (2011-12); Wooden Waves, Children's Aquarium, Dallas, Texas (2010); Sabine Street Bridge Lamp, Buffalo Bayou Artpark, Texas (2009); To Whom It May Concern, Lawndale Art Center, Houston Texas (2008) and Burning House, between Seven Oaks and Leggett, Texas (2007). She has completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont (2009), La Pocha Nostra Intensive in Los Angeles, California (2012), Labotanica (2010), The Many Mini Residency at SKYDIVE, Houston TX (2011), 14 Pews, Houston TX (2011), Box 13 ArtSpace, Houston TX (2009-2012) and Darke Gallery, Houston TX (2012). She has exhibited the Texas State Fair (2008, 2009), the Cotton Bowl (2008), The Dallas Contemporary (2006), Lawndale Art Center (2007, 2008, 2009), Gallery 1724 (2008), the Vermont Studio Center (2009), Redbud Gallery (2010), the LoneStar Performance Explosion (2012), the Venice Beach Biennial (2012, and the Southern Naptist Convention (2011, 2012). Sloan is currently the Curatorial Director of The Kenmore, a small, cold exhibition object measuring 36 x 24 x 24 located at SKYDIVE ARTSPACE in Houston TX, the Regional Editor for Contemporary Performance, and also the Artistic Director for Houston International Performance Art Biennial.
Patrick Turk is a self-trained, Houston-based artist from Galveston, Texas. He is currently the artist-in-residence at Lawndale Art Center, Houston TX and has been in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Houston including Texas Contemporary, Houston TX (2011), Art League Houston, Houston TX (2011), Lawndale Art Center, Houston TX (2011), Koelsch Gallery, Houston TX (2011), Rudolph/Projects/Art Scan, Houston TX (2009) and Art Storm, Houston TX (2008). Patrick's works are in
numerous private and corporate collections and have been featured in the Houston Chronicle, 29-95, The Front Row radio series, CultureMap and 002 Magazine.
Ann Wood was born in Sacramento, California and raised in Eureka, California. Wood received a BFA in art with an emphasis on painting from California State University at Chico (1996). She earned a MFA in painting from the University of Texas at San Antonio (1999). Her installations, sculptures, and two-dimensional work have been included in exhibitions at venues across Texas including the Anya Tish Gallery, Houston TX (2011); the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, Dallas TX (2004); San Antonio College Visual Arts Center Gallery (2004); Arthouse, Austin TX (2002), and The University of Texas at San Antonio Gallery (2002). Recent solo exhibitions of her work have been shown at Women and Their Work, Austin TX (2012); the Galveston Arts Center, Galveston TX (2011); San Jacinto College South, Houston TX (2011); Lawndale Art Center, Houston TX (2010), and Three Walls Gallery, San Antonio, TX (2012). She has been interviewed on the Front Row radio series (2010). She lives and works in Galveston, Texas.