August 25, 2011

SPIN 7: Look Forward One-Night Exhibition & Dance Party

SPIN 7: Look Forward One-Night Exhibition & Dance Party
Friday, August 26, 8:00 – 11:00 PM
at Houston Center for Photography, 1441 West Alabama

All of us at HCCC are thrilled that Houston Center for Photography (HCP) invited us to partner with them this year for the event, Spin 7: Look Forward.  This is the 7th annual Spin “friend-raiser” at HCP, and this year’s theme, Look Forward, is fitting for both organizations, as HCP celebrates its 30th anniversary and HCCC celebrates its 10th. 

The one-night exhibition and dance party is a fantastic opportunity for the organizations, their audiences and the Houston community to mix and mingle, celebrate the summer, and participate in the creation of an interactive experience. 

In 2008, I had the pleasure of volunteering at Spin 4: Lens Libs, a party inspired by the word game, “MAD LIBS.” That evening, my responsibility was to go around the gallery and rotate photographs in and out of the giant “MAD LIBS” games that decorated the gallery walls from ceiling to floor. We used the photographs that people had submitted in advance or that partygoers brought with them to “fill in the blanks” on the walls, which created a sensational communal experience. I am sure this year’s event will be just as imaginative and amusing!

For Spin 7, party guests are asked to bring photos that reflect their personal outlook or opinion on the future of photography and/or craft. These photos will be exhibited for one night only.  In addition, artist Lori Hepner is designing a light-and-motion installation, which will respond to participants' tweets regarding the future of photography. A DJ, photography-based games, interactive photo booth, cold beer, and delicious food will round out the party. We hope you will join us tomorrow to celebrate the bright futures of HCCC and HCP!

--Ashley Powell, Curatorial Assistant at HCCC

Ticket prices:

**HCP and HCCC members: $10

Advanced purchased (on HCP's website): $15

General Admission/at the door: $20

** In order to purchase discounted tickets online, HCCC members should email Marina Lewis at to receive your online code.

Get your tickets online here.

August 19, 2011

Crafting Live(s): Ten Years of Artists-in-Residence -- Spotlight on Fiber Artist, Greg Rubio

Guest Curator, Keelin Burrows, writes about past artist-in-residence Greg Rubio and his work in Crafting Live(s): Ten Years of Artists-in-Residence. The exhibition is on view at HCCC through September 3, 2011. Burrows is currently the Windgate Charitable Foundation Curatorial Fellow at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Greg Rubio, a Texas native, obtained his BFA from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi in 1996 and his MFA from the University of Delaware in 1998. As an accomplished painter and draftsmen, he has made an impact on the Houston and international art scenes, earning a Fulbright scholarship to study in Mexico in 1999 and a Cultural Affairs Grant through the United States Embassy to study in Spain in 2005. His cross-relationships and interests in Latin, Hispanic, and American cultures have influenced his work, constantly driving him to re-examine his natural and constructed surroundings.

Rubio was a resident artist at HCCC from September 2007 to August 2008.  At that time, he was creating functional archery targets from old clothes and sheets, which he tore, cut, assembled and sewed into compositional arrangements. He enjoyed the process of destroying and mending recycled materials into something of beauty and personal significance.  Apple Barge Archery Target and Mayan Snake Square with Japanese Flowers Archery Target, both from 2006, are examples of his early fabric works. 

Greg Rubio. Apple Barge Archery Target. Photo by Christopher Zaleski.

Greg Rubio. Mayan Snake Square with Japanese Flowers Archery Target.
  Photo by Christopher Zaleski.

Drawing from his family heritage of archery and sewing, Rubio created compositional narratives through iconography, color fields, and stitching. Each target expresses a personal story or moment of self-inquiry.  Apple Barge portrays imagery and subject matter of the seaport along the Texas Gulf Coast, where the artist grew up and currently lives and teaches. Mayan Snake Square with Japanese Flowers represents cultural traditions and rituals learned through personal history and travels abroad via a more abstract composition.

For Crafting Live(s), Rubio built upon these past themes and narratives, creating Rope Dart.  Consisting of various knotted ropes and a railroad spike, the sculpture at first appears to be a vast departure from his earlier work.  However, upon closer examination, the process of cultural exploration through material and technique becomes apparent. Maritime life, a defining feature of coastal Texas, literally and figuratively ties together the community of Corpus Christi.  Rubio, having learned various knotting techniques from his father, who was a fisherman and a sailor, incorporates several knots into his work.  Some of these include a seizing bend knot in the main yellow coil; a blowline knot that secures the two ropes together; and a snelling knot, which holds the railroad spike in suspension.

Greg Rubio. Rope Dart. Photo by Jack Zilker.

During his residency at HCCC, Rubio attended the Chung Tai Chan Center, where he learned and practiced tenets of Zen Buddhism.  Although Rubio learned to make rope from a basket weaver during his residency, he chose to use found ropes from the local fishing community of Corpus Christi.  These objects are “attachments” that carry personal and cultural associations for the artist, referencing an industry that defined his upbringing and sustained his home town.  Additionally, the metal railroad spike, a remnant found along the tracks near his studio, also carries personal significance and associations with the evolving industrial landscape of his local community. The spike, referred to as dart, circles back to Rubio’s personal and family history with archery and sewing.

Corpus Christi Marina. Image courtesy Greg Rubio.

Kingsville rail road tracks. Image courtesy Greg Rubio.

Perhaps, most interesting is the way in which Rope Dart, and Rubio’s work in general, complicates categorical distinctions.  Knotting, when viewed in the context of manual labor and fishing, is often situated as a “folk” tradition in Western cultures.  However, when viewed through the ideological lens of other cultures, such as those in ancient China or Japan, where the distinction between art and craft did not exist, the practice and tradition of knotting is elevated to an art form.  From a Western perspective, knotting today might be viewed as a “studio craft,” due to an original emphasis on functional value and process.  Regardless of terminology, Rubio draws from this knotting tradition, weaving together personal and cultural meanings, and establishing artistic significance through material, technique, and concept.

August 12, 2011

What are the current AIRs up to?

This week, we stopped by the Artist-in-Residence studios to find out what they’re working on. Next time you visit us, make sure to stop by to meet the artists and learn about their current and upcoming projects! 

After a great feature in the Houston Chronicle last month and the jewelry she displayed at our Martini Madness! Kickoff Party at ROAK, metalsmith and mixed-media artist, Kristi Rae Wilson, has been very busy.  Recently, we caught her carefully soldering an armature for the piece pictured below.

Kristi Rae Wilson working in her studio at HCCC.

Kristi Rae Wilson soldering silver.

Part of Kristi Rae Wilson’s studio at HCCC.
The soldered armatures above are attached to the pink piece in the

Ceramic artists, Marcia Erickson and Jamie Diaz, have been with us for just a couple of months, but they have jumped on board quickly and are busy making martini glasses for our upcoming Martini Madness! 10th Birthday Bash on September 22! Marcia told us she has been implementing new patterns and colorful glazes into her work, and every time we walk by Jamie’s studio, she’s working on the wheel!

Ceramic artist Marcia Erickson 
in her studio at HCCC,
showing us 
her handmade martini glasses.
Look at the colors and textures!

Jamie Diaz in her studio at HCCC, working on the wheel…

Jamie Diaz making martini glasses for Martini Madness!
We’re looking forward to seeing the finished pieces!

We found metalsmith and jewelry designer, Lisa Wilson, working on one of her latest pieces outside, in the Craft Garden.

Lisa Wilson finishing up a commissioned 
piece made of copper.

Jessica Dupuis has been working on a new piece for this fall’s Artist Hall show, In Residence 2010, in which 2010 artists-in-residence will display new works.  Join us on September 30 for the opening reception, where you’ll see all of our new fall exhibitions, including Beyond Useful and Beautiful: Rethinking Domestic Craft and Soundforge.

Jessica Dupuis working on her latest piece.

To learn more about our current Artists-in-Residence and the AIR Program, click here. To find out more about our Martini Madness! 10th Birthday Bash, follow this link.

All photos courtesy of HCCC.

August 4, 2011

Soundforge: In Process (Update #3)

This fall, HCCC will premier Soundforge, a work two years in the making. In the fall of 2009, while he was an artist-in-residence at HCCC, metalsmith Gabriel Craig began collaborating with Houston-based music composer Michael Remson. Their project, Soundforge, will be an interactive, multimedia installation that explores forging metal as both a means of fabrication and an act of percussion. Gabriel Craig has graciously agreed to give us regular updates from his studio on the fabrication of the project. You can read update #1 here, and update #2 here

Still image from Soundforge Preview Clip

While work continues in the studio on the armatures, I thought in this installment I would share a sneak peek at the video component that will be part of the work. Click here to see the video.