Perspectives 181: Human Nature

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© Courtesy of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Perspectives 181: Human Nature
Curated by: Rachel Cook

5216 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, TX 77006
March 1st, 2013 - June 9th, 2013

United States
Tuesday 10AM-7PM, Wednesday 10AM-7PM, Thursday 10AM-9PM, Friday 10AM-7PM, Saturday 10AM-6PM, Sunday 12PM-6PM


The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's Teen Council is pleased to present Perspectives 181: Human Nature, a group exhibition featuring work by Houston area teen artists. The exhibition explores conceptions of humanity: what it is to be human or inhuman. The exhibition features work by 49 teens in a variety of media ranging from photography to video and sculpture.

Human Nature is the 8th biennial youth art exhibition organized by the CAMH's Teen Council. Drawing from an open call, the Teen Council received over 300 submissions responding to the questions: Is there a universal human experience? In order to explore human nature, must we examine our base animal instincts? Or does that which makes us human originate from a higher order? 

Says Jamal Cyrus, Education Associate at CAMH, "From ideas about the material connection between mankind and nature to those of body image, consumerism, and social control, the artists featured in Perspectives 181: Human Nature take aim at the show’s theme from a variety of perspectives and stances.”

Photography figures prominently in this year’s exhibition. Clinton Elliott’s Untitled is a series of ten 5 x 7 inch photographs of portraits of people. In each of the photographs, however, the subject’s face has been obscured with objects ranging from banana peels to fruit loops and Christmas decorations. Cory Jo’s black-and-white image Truth shows a young racer, completely covered in racing jumpsuit and helmet, reading the obituaries. Many of the artists fuse human and nature together such as in Ashley Lawhorn’s Redwoods digital photograph that shows a female figure with the head of a blue jay wearing a dress and leaning against a redwood tree. Zoie Brown’s sculpture Treefingers depicts human fingers growing out of tree branches.

Human Nature is a meditation on human nature—its appearance and character—from the perspective of those who will shape the next iteration of humanity. The exhibition reminds us that where there is dark, there is also light, and it is this dualism that makes us human.