Exhibition Dates: January 19, 2019 - March 2, 2019
Opening Reception: January 19, 2019, 7 - 9 PM
Location: 2315 Union Street, Houston, Texas 77007
The Union is pleased to announce Prima Materia, a two-person exhibition featuring artworks from Houston artists Darwin Arevalo and Grace Zuñiga. Prima Materia will open with a public reception on Saturday, January 19 from 7 - 9 PM, and is complemented by an artists’ talk on Saturday, February 16 from 2 - 4 PM.
Prima Materia, whose meaning refers to a formless primeval substance regarded as the original material of the universe — essential to alchemical processes, shares recent works from process-driven artists Arevalo and Zuñiga, whose scope, subject matter, and content in art-making include personal investigations around ideas of memory, migration, and mortality via the transformation of matter and material.
By establishing the creative genus from which these artist contemporaries come, this exhibition juxtaposes visual parallels and experimental material processes to question creative impetus, the subconscious nature of the creative act, and the fundamental,invisual qualities with which both artists imbue their artwork.
Artworks from Darwin Arevalo presented in Prima Materia are products of the artist's deeply exploratory and process driven art-making practice. The results of Arevalo’s artistic experimentation are rooted in material exploration and applied processes that exploit the unpredictable intersections of materiality and form as each of his artworks, in the first place, are reactions unto themselves. His impulse in constructing, combining, and reconstituting found and industrial materials determine the outcome of each piece, respectively. Detectable in this body of work, through the lens of an intense study of the formal advancements in painting throughout art history, is the heavy influence of the nuanced socio-political Latin American experience that color the artist’s life.
Through her creative process, Grace Zuñiga explores the embodiment of memory, narrative, and intention through the methodical manipulation and interweaving of artificial substances with raw materials. By creating powerfully emotive yet minimalistic compositions, she superimposes a visual cosmology upon her artworks and in doing so, defines for herself what is sacred in objects and establishes personal geographies and a sense of time. Zuñiga finds inspiration in natural processes and attempts to emulate nature through the concerted manipulation of material. Each of her compositions conjure the visceral and evoke a palpable sense of the sacred, offering viewers a moment to immerse themselves in an act of reflection, meditation, and devotion
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Darwin Arevalo was born in San Salvador, El Salvador and migrated to Texas at the age of four. He received a BFA in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute and has since exhibited in numerous venues in the Texas region and nation-wide.
Grace Zuñiga was born in Corpus Christi, Texas and in 2007 received her BFA from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, with a focus in photography. In 2010, she studied printmaking and papermaking in the UGA Cortona Program in Cortona, Italy, and in 2012, she received her MFA in studio art, with a focus in printmaking, from the University of Georgia, Lamar Dodd School of Art in Athens, Georgia. Zuñiga has exhibited both nationally and internationally. In May of 2014, she completed a nine-month residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and currently works at Sawyer Yards as the Creative Director.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Theresa Escobedo is a multi-disciplinary artist and curator living and working in Houston, Texas. As the manager of The Union and the active Director of Main Street Projects, she curates, coordinates, and executes programs and projects designed to activate public spaces and to give artists the opportunity to impact neighborhood experiences through creative place-making and social inquiry. Prima Materia marks the second exhibition presented at The Union under her leadership.
ABOUT THE UNION
The Union is a newly launched exhibitions and events venue in Houston’s Old Sixth Ward which hosts community programs in an effort to showcase the work of local and regional artists. Housed in a restored Victorian bungalow, this fresh addition to Arts District Houston endeavors to activate community engagement and to provide a forum through which creatives can engage with the thriving arts community in Houston.
Please join HCCC for a reception celebrating the openings of our Winter/Spring shows: Tom Loeser: Please Please Please in the Main Gallery and To Be of Use in the Front Gallery. The evening will also include open studios by the current resident artists. Beer generously provided by Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.
Art League Houston (ALH) presents Fruit Series, a site specific installation by Las Girls Collective, a Houston-based collaboration between artists Daniela Antelo and Brenda Cruz-Wolf. The exhibition continues the artist’s interest in the relationship between the urban landscape and the female body, and features a series of visually-rich videos using various colorful fruits to playfully interact with the body against a series of backgrounds that seeks to transform the visitor's perception and experience of the ALH hallway gallery. “We are very interested in the choreographic relationship between the objects, the body, and the physical landscape,” say the artists. “These videos configure sensory universes that are minimal and intimate yet produce a complex aesthetic that is both humorous and surreal.”
About the Artists
Artists Brenda Cruz-Wolf and Daniela Antelo have collaborated together for the last few years on various site-specific performances, creating experimental dance films. Their collaborative work merges the strength of their individual practices together by combining experimental movement/performance with video production. Together, they succeed in using the raw elements of each site to produce immersive installations that collapse the boundaries between abstract movement, the viewer and the physical space.
Art League Houston (ALH) presents a heel is half a rock, a slab is a slice, an installation of new sculpture and photograms by LA-based artist Karen Lee Williams.
Because they represent places far beyond our direct experience, images and artifacts of space exploration always have a surreal quality. The gap between the advances of astronomy and the public's understanding creates a void where doubt and imagination flourish. Lee Williams makes tactile proxies for those ideas and observations just beyond grasp. The work is inspired by moments when mainstream science and scholarship are infiltrated by superstition and mysticism.
Norman Mailer, while covering the first moon landing, bemoaned the loss of the moon’s mythic aura in the cold analytical hands of scientists and engineers. In search of some profound meaning in putting a man on the moon, Mailer projected all of his longing on a small piece of moon rock. Through an installation of mixed media sculptures that evoke charts, graphs and rock samples, Lee Williams plays to our collective desire for both truth and lore. By contradicting and disrupting supposedly objective methods of measurement, she opens up the potential for other epistemological approaches. The works on view rely on the senses to excavate the potential metaphorical power of objects while acknowledging the absurdity in always trying to reconcile reason with gut feeling. The exhibition draws on the physical and historical connection Houston has with the moon and references some of the city’s artworks that consider the monolith as a symbol of mystery.
About the Artist
Karen Lee Williams (b 1980 Los Angeles) makes sculptures and photographs that prolong the process of translating sensory information into understanding by engaging with and undermining certain assumptions about perception, natural phenomenon and materiality. Lee Williams has had recent solo exhibitions at Equity Gallery, NY and Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles. Her work has been presented in galleries and artist-run spaces including Albada-Jelgersma Gallery, Amsterdam; September, Hudson; Scott Charmin, Houston; and Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles. She received an M.F.A. from SUNY Purchase and a B.A. from UCLA. Lee Williams lives and works in Los Angeles.
Art League Houston (ALH) presents In the Shadows, an installation featuring sculpture, textile and video by Chicago-based artist Jade Yumang. The exhibition is part of an ongoing body of work by the artist exploring the queer aesthetics of Film Noir. The work in this exhibition considers how film noir is constructed stylistically and narratively to disorient the audience to generate a level of uncertainty and deception, not just in its story arc, but more so on how queer characters implicitly and explicitly surface.
“My work primarily focuses on the concept of queer form,” says the artist. “I use a variety of techniques to convey notions of phenomenology, affect, and "queer" as a process, as a verb rather than a quality. My current work addresses the term "queer" and its aesthetics through three-dimensional, site-specific installation, and performative work as a way to see how the body resists or submits through materiality and technique vis-à-vis obsessive acts, strict parameters, repetition, and forms of discipline. This direction is guided through the tracing and summoning of historical amnesia, by means of myths, scandal trials, obscenity laws, and filmic tropes. I filter these procedures through meticulous techniques and create abstract shapes that initially come from a corporeal form. My compulsiveness to place things in order in reality breaks into pieces that expose the pressure placed on non-conforming bodies and their values.”
Using the materiality of costuming, lighting, and queer affect, the installation in ALH’s main gallery features a series of effigies of queer characters that emerged and navigated the strict movie moral codes in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. Additionally, the installation includes a looped video projection featuring clips from eight films that have been configured to only depict the scenes when queer characters are represented. Furthermore, the video is projected onto, and through, a large-scale abstract sculptural form in the center of the gallery, producing a distorted effect across the gallery walls, echoing the uncertainty that is built into noir’s central narrative. Most of characters' sexuality in the films are formulated through crime scenarios where gay men are portrayed as deviant dandies and lesbians as menacing sadists. These depictions, although contemporarily outdated, were important at that time, since these queer characters seep through the shadow and glare at the instability of heterosexuality as they act as a harbinger for the LGBTQ rights movement in the 1960s.
About the Artist
Jade Yumang was named after his mother’s beauty salon and from an earlier age has been obsessed with beautiful, yet slightly off things. His work primarily focuses on the concept of queer form through sculptural abstraction, installation, and performance. He received his MFA at Parsons School of Design with Departmental Honors in 2012 and his BFA Honors in University of British Columbia as the top graduate in 2008. He was born in Quezon City, Philippines, grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, immigrated to unceded Coast Salish territories in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and lives in Chicago, IL, USA. He is part of a New York-based collaborative duo, Tatlo, with Sara Jimenez and is an Assistant Professor in the department of Fiber and Material Studies at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Opening reception: Friday, January 11, 2019 from 6 – 9 p.m. with artist and curator remarks at 6:30 p.m.
Exhibition on view through March 16, 2019
Since the early 1990s, the Los Angeles-based artist Rebecca Morris has explored the vast visual language of abstract painting. Inventing an extensive array of original forms, compositional rules and improvisational associations, Morris creates highly considered images that simultaneously construct and disassemble themselves. Varying widely in scale and density, her paintings are both unpredictable and precise, often featuring an ebullient cacophony of hues, patterns, layers and gestures. This exhibition, Morris’s first solo U.S. museum presentation since 2005, features 10 major paintings that survey the range of the artist’s recent practice.More information at http://blafferartmuseum.org/rebecca-morris/.