November 24, 2018 – January 13, 2019
Opening Reception Saturday, November 24, 2018
6:00 – 9:00 PM
Artists’ talks at 6:30 PM
Kaneem Smith’s exhibition, Captive Sojourn and the Indefinite, explores the tumultuous relationship between trade, consumption, and commodities. Referencing Galveston’s location on a natural port in the Gulf of Mexico, and its historical and contemporary ties to the exchange of goods and labor, her installation contemplates the trade of natural materials, specifically cotton and coffee through textiles, such as burlap used for import/export purposes. Smith draws inspiration from a familial and historical standpoint of personal experience and the human condition. Her exploration of three-dimensional form incorporates subtle psychological ideas of corruption and its lingering effects on human anthropology and American history. As a mixed media artist and sculptor with a background in fibers, these concepts run a complex thread throughout her body of work. Smith’s exhibition challenges viewers to contemplate global concerns of ethical trade, the West’s over-consumption of natural resources, and colonialist commodification of underprivileged producers and their products.
Kaneem Smith is an artist and educator based in Houston, TX. During her undergraduate art education, she studied at the Maryland Institute, College of Art and at Rice University before receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University. Among her many accomplishments, exhibitions, awards, and residencies, Smith was the recipient of a visual arts fellowship through The Hungarian Multicultural Center Artists and Writers Residency Program in Hungary (2003), an Edward F. Albee Residency Grant (2005), Vermont Studio Center Fellowships (2006) (2008), and a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Creative Capital Foundation in New York (2008). Smith also received studio fellowships for the Atelierhaus Hilmsen Residency for Artists and Professionals in Germany (2010) (2012). In 2015 Smith co-organized the 2015 Texas Sculpture Symposium in Lubbock, TX, with featured Keynote speaker and distinguished visual artist Judy Pfaff and San Antonio sculptor Ken Little. In 2017, she received a visual artist grant award in sculpture from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and received a Houston Artadia Award through Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue. Smith exhibits with Devin Borden Gallery in Houston.
For the exhibition News vs. Nature (Gulf), Renata Lucia’s paintings reflect on the widening social divides that unfold in the current news cycle. Her works incorporate national and local newspapers, including works created specifically for this exhibition that use pages from The Galveston Daily News. Acrylic paint and drawing media are applied to crumpled newspaper pages that are selected for composition and content, resulting in a textured topographical illusion. The intimacy of reading a physical newspaper is contrasted with a detached aerial view. Lucia began the News vs. Nature series considering the organized chaos of nature reigning supreme against the psychological toll of bad news. The series shifted and took on new importance in late 2017 as an epic battle began to rage in our perception and discussion of the news. Lucia’s works consider the questions “Is the news fake or, more likely, a last bastion of truth? Is nature sublime, or does it represent the most disturbing aspects of human nature?”
Native Texan Renata Lucia is influenced by her familial heritage of outsider artists, writers, quilters, embroiderers, miniaturists, and a research scientist. She explores memory, craft, domesticity, and the current socio-political climate through multiple mediums and processes. Her subjects range from traditional quilt patterns in encaustic interlaced with photographic images of unknown persons, to newspapers that have been manipulated to resemble our natural, organic surroundings, to photographs referencing the connectivity between consumerism, advertising, graffiti.
Lucia worked as a classically-trained, professional violist in the 1980’s and ‘90s, followed by a career in technical writing. After a chondrosarcoma diagnosis in 2000, she took her first art class when she joined the Glassell School of Art, MFAH. She became the first trained artist in her family when she graduated there with a Painting specialization.
Her work has been featured twice in the periodical New American Paintings and is part of the public collection of the International Women’s Museum in Marfa, TX. Additionally, she was a resident artist at Houston’s Project Row Houses, and a recent award winner at the 2017 Lawndale Big Show and the 2018 Assistance League of Houston Celebrates Texas Art exhibition. Lucia lives in Houston, TX and works out of her home studio.
Special thanks to Garth M. Luther, Carolyn E. Cooper, and donna e. perkins for their support of this exhibition through Renata Lucia’s Patreon membership.
Threshold is an interactive video installation by Houston-based artist Lina Dib that incorporates video of waves breaking on the Galveston shore just before sunset. The shore’s infinite poetic qualities, constant ebb and flow, and collision of bodies (land and sea) features largely in Dib’s work. Threshold is a kind of homage to Thierry Kuntzel’s The Waves and to Andy Warhol’s Sunset. It is a tribute and meditation on the specificities of place and our relationship to natural systems. Post Hurricane Harvey, this piece is part of a larger series of toxic and luring landscapes. Activating 3D space, the video slows down, the audio slows to a deep rumble, and the color desaturates as viewers get closer to the screen. When the video is at a near standstill, viewers can “liquify” the image with their bodies. In a sense, the piece gestures to our clumsy attempts to push back nature and to presume we can control things so large they border on the unfathomable.
Programming: Taylor Knapps
Lina Dib was born in Montreal, Canada and currently lives and works in Houston, TX. Dib is a multidisciplinary artist and anthropologist. Her installations and compositions range from the experimental to the ethnographic and investigate socio-technical and ecological change. Dib is an affiliate artist at the Topological Media Lab at Concordia University in Montreal and TX/RX Labs in Houston, and a research fellow at the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Rice University where she also teaches. She is co-founder of Fossilized Houston and the Solar Studios. Her work has been supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council, AMIDA’s European training program, the Moody Center for the Arts, and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance among others. Recent publications include Audible Observatories: Notes on Performances (Bloomsbury); Sonic Breakdown, Extinction and Memory (continent.), The Forgetting Dis-ease: Making Time Matter (differences), and Of Promises and Prototypes: The Archeology of the Future (LIMN). Her work has been presented at venues including, Hierarchy Gallery Washington, DC; Lawndale Art Center, Houston; Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco; MOP Projects, Sydney; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Day For Night, Houston; the Whitney Biennial 2017; and at Johnson Space Center NASA.