Art League Houston (ALH) presents four new exhibitions including Here, Ahora (a group show curated by Reyes Ramirez), Miriam Medrez, Liyen Chong, and Molly Koehn opening Friday, March 22, 2019, from 6-9 p.m. with artist talks kicking off at 6:15 p.m. The exhibitions will be on view through May 4, 2019.
Here, Ahora: Houston, Latinx, Queer Artists Under 30
Curated by Reyes Ramirez
Participating Artists: Leticia Contreras, Jessica González, Romeo Harrell, Ángel Lartigue, Trevon Latin, Moe Penders, Isaac Reyes
Artist & Curator Remarks: 6:45 PM I Main Gallery
Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present Here, Ahora: Houston, Latinx, Queer Artists Under 30 curated by Reyes Ramirez and featuring artists Leticia Contreras, Jessica González, Romeo Harrell, Ángel Lartigue, Trevon Latin, Moe Penders, and Isaac Reyes. Houston boasts the fifth highest concentration of Latinxs in major American cities, proving itself as fertile grounds for diverse Latinx art. This exhibition, in conjunction with Latino Art Now! (LAN) highlights a particular aspect of the Latinx identity: young, LGBTQ artists of color working within Houston who show amazing potential to shape and innovate Latinx art and discourse, for Houston and beyond, in the years to come.
Latinx's are being dehumanized in our political climate. Latinx artistic discourse needs to be highlighted because our work acts as a counter spell to the political discourse that labels them as murderers, rapists, and drug dealers; we are poets, writers, and artists. More than that, Latinx identity is fluid and far-reaching. Latinxs can be men, women, gender-fluid, black, indigenous, LGBTQ, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Honduran, Dominican, Peruvian, etc., many at the same time. However, American artistic discourse has barely scratched the surface of Latinx art. This exhibition illuminates the many intersections that fall within the Latinx identity, culturally and aesthetically.
Here, Ahora features some of Houston’s most talented emerging artists who represent different aspects of Latinidad and work in different media and practices. Featured artists include the following: Ángel Lartigue, a Mexican-American and queer artist, who works in sculpture, photography, painting, performance, etc.; Trevon Latin, an African-American and homosexual artist, who works in craft, fashion, and painting; Moe Penders, a Salvadoran and queer artist, working in photography; Isaac Reyes, a Mexican and queer artist, working in sculpture, installation art, performance, and drag; Romeo Harrell, a Latinx and bisexual artist, who works in photography, film, and digital media; Jessica González, a Honduran/Salvadoran American artist, working in sculpture and mixed media; and Leticia Contreras, an Afro-Chicana and queer artist, working in craft, performance, etc.; etc. This exhibition highlights LGBTQ artists working in photography, multimedia, sculpture, performance, fashion, etc. who identify as Latinx, Black, and much more. Here, Ahora seeks to progress Latinx identity, art, and discourse.
A reading in conjunction with Here, Ahora, will be presented at a later date, featuring LGTBQ, Latinx writers from Houston and beyond in response to the visual art.
Miriam Medrez: What Your Eyes Can’t See
LO QUE TUS OJOS NO ALCANZAN A VER
Curated by Mariana Valdes
Artist & Curator Remarks: 7:15 PM I Front Gallery
Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present in conjunction with Latino Arts Now! (LAN) What Your Eyes Can't See · LO QUE TUS OJOS NO ALCANZAN A VER by Mexico based artist Miriam Medrez, curated by Mariana Valdes. This exhibition features seven life-size, figurative works that are corporal in their physicality and sculptural installation, focusing on Medrez’s explorations in feminism and the female body. Her use of fabric and embroidery, often relegated as a female and “artisanal” practice, asks viewers to reconsider techniques and the modes of contemporary art today, highlighting the historical significance of embroidery and female identity. Visually, Medrez’s embroidered figures draw comparisons to dolls - objects key to the formation, according to the artist, of a woman and her image. Concerned less with portraiture, Medrez views her sculptures as a collective, familial group of women.
Liyen Chong: Houston Paintings
Artist talk: 6:30 PM I Hallway Gallery
Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present Houston Paintings by artist Liyen Chong. Chong’s art practice spans a diverse range of media and practices, including embroidery with hair, photography, ceramics, graphic design and collaborative community works. In 2016, after moving to Houston from Auckland, New Zealand, repeated visits to local museum collections sparked her return to painting. Using photographic images from the book Houston’s Forgotten History, Chong’s paintings re-interpret the content of these historical images and tease out new relationships to the present through her use of color. Chong goes on to explore photographic images from other sources, including videos from YouTube and children’s encyclopedias from the 1950s. Intrigued by the unique details of life in the images, she is simultaneously repelled by the books’ patronizing captions, which used the images to legitimize a dominant view of other ethnicities, women, children, and animals. Chong’s paintings employ the use of saturated color and meticulous techniques in a bid to tease out previously unnoticed details, to highlight the construction of the source images, or to emphasize the mythological or symbolic qualities that exist in the mundane. She uses color in a non-natural way to jolt the viewer out of taking what they see for granted.
These paintings follow a line of inquiry that allows for the instability of history, and that considers arrival in a new place in dialog with histories of colonization. In her painting of Margaret Mead and Fa’amotu, Chong is drawn to their sisterly relationship and the warmth of the original encounter, even as she questions the impulse underpinning Mead’s research. Her painting of the John Henry Kirby natatorium, built in 1901, revisits a photograph taken in the space before one of the most elaborate weddings in Houston history. The space is decorated but empty, an elegiac reminder of a family’s personal history and of the absent archives of other communities. There are complex forgotten interactions meshed into our collection of knowledge and the ways in which we connect to other histories and places. “Much like paintings that focus on the archive, such as the works of Luc Tuymans, my work functions as a re-evaluation of images, bringing audiences face to face with images from different contexts presented in a different scale and in a physical body, that of painting. I’m drawn to the content and composition of the images I choose to paint and as I’m making each painting, I think both about the internal logic of the image and the historical instability of its meaning,” states Chong.
Molly Koehn: sans delineation
Artist Talk: 6:15 PM I Sculpture Garden
Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present sans delineation, a site specific installation by artist Molly Koehn. Originally from southwest Kansas, Koehn relocated to Houston in 2017. Her work, which incorporates drawing, weaving, and sculptural installation, is inspired by idealized understandings of nature. The vast expansion of Houston’s urban development is prime source material, offering infinite inspiration through the city’s landscaping and material construction.
Koehn’s installation, sans delineation, is the result of her observations since moving to Houston. Chaos and structure, symbolic of Houston’s unzoned infrastructure, are visualized through intersecting planes; our desire for idealized beauty is embodied in the hand-woven grid formed by these planes, created with fine threads of stainless steel, linen and silk. “Landscaping practices point to our idealization of nature, curating land to be what we find attractive,” states the artist. Koehn’s recent work is her response to these practices in Houston, as well as “...her own impulse to plant a palm tree, exploring why we choose to seemingly improve the aesthetic appearance of our surroundings by often eradicating the “natural” in preference of the artificial.” Koehn’s observation of her surroundings, including Houston’s gridded streets, buildings, wood, steel, and concrete, feed her creative process. “These works offer parallels between natural and synthetic, stable and decrepit, strength and fragility and embrace the temporal qualities of our fabricated environments,” states Koehn. The temporary nature of her installations stand in contrast to the stable ideals of architecture and exemplify the dualities in the constructed world around us.
For more information on the artists, curators and exhibitions visit: https://www.artleaguehouston.org/upcoming-exhibitions