HOUSTON, TEXAS - FotoFest and the Houston Center for Photography present a new exhibition Nowhere Near Here: New Lens-based Work from Texas, featuring 14 multi-disciplinary artists from across the state. Nowhere Near Here is the fourth exhibition in the Talent in Texas series. It is a participating exhibit in the statewide Texas Biennial 2011. The exhibition is curated for both spaces – FotoFest Headquarters Downtown and Houston Center for Photography in the Museum District. The exhibition opens with two coordinated receptions: Thursday, March 10 at FotoFest and Friday, March 11 at the Houston Center for Photography.
Toby Kamps, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Menil Collection and Michelle White, Associate Curator, Menil Collection are the invited curators. Nowhere Near Here is the fourth in the Talent in Texas series, started by FotoFest in 2004 to showcase younger artists and curators working in Texas. Nowhere Near Here is the second collaboration with the Houston Center for Photography. The exhibition showcases a diverse range of contemporary work from video and three-dimensional installations to black & white and color photography. The works are both conceptual and documentary. The exhibition title, Nowhere Near Here, references the specificity of location with each of the selected artists speaking of a place that is familiar or foreign. The artists themselves are native Texans as well as transplants to the state from Japan, Colombia, Canada, Mexico and other regions of the U.S.
Chris Akin (Houston, TX)
Chris Akin’s quiet and quirky photographs of Northern California are a statement on the current and difficult state of affairs in "The Golden State" and how contemporary reality compares to romanticized expectations.
The artists are:
Adam Boley (Georgetown, TX)
Even as environmental activists remind the general public of the importance of small, family-run farms, these farms continue to disappear at an alarming rate. Adam Boley documents this threatened way of life with photographs of his own family’s farm in Texas and the people that still live and work there.
Logan Caldbeck (Marfa, TX)
Logan Caldbeck, has traveled and photographed cowboy hunters and hunting culture in West Texas desert communities. Her two documentary projects are undertaken without judgment but are informed by her own "back to the land" upbringing, without running water or electricity, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Santiago Forero (Austin, TX / Bogotá, Colombia)
Santiago Forero was born and grew up in Bogotá, Colombia and came to Texas as an M.F.A. student. His project, A Story about Gnomes, juxtaposes photographs of the artist’s four-year old niece with photographs of the artist, who is a dwarf. The work reveals ambiguous relationships between the figures of the two people and explores their common scale and identity.
Mimi Kato (San Antonio, TX / Nara, Japan)
Japanese-born, Texas educated Mimi Kato makes large, wall-sized digital collages of cartoon-like street scenes that are contemporary interpretations of subjects and genres of historic Japanese art. The scenes are populated by a wide array of multi-generational characters – each portrayed by the artist herself. The scenes’ narratives reference Japanese theater, especially traditional Kyogen and the contemporary and controversial Butoh.
Ivete Lucas and Otis Ike (Austin, TX)
Outside the Green Belt is a photography and video installation by U.S. photographer Otis Ike and his wife, Mexican filmmaker Ivete Lucas. Made in Ivanhoe, Virginia, the work documents an Appalachian community that has survived the hardships of ecological transformation and industrial abandonment.
Wura-Natasha Ogunji (Austin, TX)
In her performance videos, the artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji, trained as an anthropologist, explores her connections to place, land, history and memory. Her works portray the journey of a Nigerian Ife head sculpture searching for her descendents in the Americas. Her stop-motion animation techniques give the character a sense of strained and staccato flight that is marked by truncated breathing and cacophonous sounds.
Nancy Newberry (Dallas, TX)
Nancy Newberry documents the tradition of the Texas "Homecoming Mum," inextricably tied to high school football. Deeply rooted in Texan culture, the mum tradition is said to be unique to the state and has evolved into an institution as highly regarded as the game itself.
Mike Osborne (Austin, TX)
Mike Osborne’s documentary photographs are a meditation on the brute materiality of the urban environment and on the phenomenal labor of maintaining it. The pictures describe the contemporary vernacular - the diversity of buildings, road systems, power grids and the communication infrastructure.
Walker Pickering (Austin, TX)
Walker Pickering is full of wanderlust, engaged in a perennial search for a new place, exotic and different from where he finds himself. His photographs portray places of solitude and temporary escape in his endless quest for the "archetypal West."
David Politzer (Houston, TX)
Atlantic Giant Pumpkins commonly yield fruit in excess of 500 pounds. David Politzer photographs the oversized pumpkins in ways that make them seem anthropomorphic. The pumpkin rinds take the appearance of rolls of human flesh. The sensual, mildly abstracted images are juxtaposed with more documentary photographs of the proud pumpkin farmers.
Kelly Sears (Houston, TX)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston CORE Fellow Kelly Sears’ animated video, The Body Besieged, explores a seemingly possessed psychic space occupied by distorted and ecstatic figures whose frantic and flailing forms animate their daily workout routines.
Clarissa Tossin (Houston, TX)
The white marble floors of the Brasilia’s Federal Supreme Court building, designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1957, are cleaned every day. Clarissa Tossin’s video explores this daily ritual, choreographing it as a wasteful process that maintains the monumentality of the structure and the utopian promise of the city’s plan.
With the exhibition, there will be four Saturday afternoon artist and curator talks, free to the public. The first artist talk takes place Saturday, March 12, 2pm at the Houston Center for Photography. Subsequent talks take place Saturday, March 26 and Saturday, April 9, 2pm at FotoFest. A special tour by the exhibit’s curators is scheduled for Saturday, April 16 beginning at FotoFest and continuing at Houston Center for Photography.
Additional public events and programming will be announced on the FotoFest and Houston Center for Photography websites - www.fotofest.org and www.hcponline.org. Nowhere Near Here is a participating exhibit in the Texas Biennial 2011 – a new state-wide project in April/May 2011 that features exhibitions of Texas artists in 21 Texas cities. Information on the Texas Biennial 2011 may be found on their website at texasbiennial.org. Nowhere Near Here continues through April 23 at FotoFest and Houston Center for Photography.