MKG is proud to have Michael Rodriguez’s mural, ‘Space City’, in Rice Village featured in VisitHouston’s 50th anniversary celebration of Houston’s role in space exploration.
MKG ART MANAGEMENT’S Melissa Grobmyer chairs the 2015 Glassell School of Art Gala
Of course, creativity is at the heart of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Glassell School of Art and the annual fundraising event held each spring is a colorful mashup of creative talents and zany fun. But never has it been more eclectic and entertaining than Friday night when the party moved to the Texas Medical Center Accelerator TMCx.
The Glassell School is currently surrounded by road construction, so what better place to hold the “Glassell Gone Gonzo!” themed event than a former Nabisco cookie factory that now provides hip industrial space for medical start-ups.
Chairs Melissa and Albert Grobmyer oversaw the partying that found most of the 300-plus guests dressed in their disco best. Psychedelic chic seemed to be the driving fashion force behind the bold colors and giant floral prints. New York’s DJ Kiss provided the spins that had guests dancing amid the disco club setting created by Bergner & Johnson. Think neon light projections, seated lounge areas and vibrant and multicolored floral arrangements.
Focal point of the decor was a 12-foot “disco shark” floating above the DJ, the big fish created for the party by TX/RX Labs.
Adding to the kitty, which by night’s end totaled more than $376,000, was the silent auction of 50 artworks contributed by local and nationwide artists and 36 works by Glassell students.
A Fare Extraordinaire provided the party food with a serious buffet including basil roasted salmon, smoked duck confit cigars, smashed potato bar, tie dye deviled eggs and seaweed salad. For the true hipsters in the mix, the munchies bar offerd chili Frito pies, firecracker-encrusted chicken and seasoned curly fries. Rounding out the party fare were mint herbed brownies, butterscotch haystacks, psychedelic Jello shots, lime basil bars and chocolate pretzel pie wedges.
Disco queens and kings included Alfred Glassell III and Marli Andrade, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Betty and Stephen Newton, Kathy and John Orton, Hiram Butler, Susan Young, Judy and Scott Nyquist, Nancy Powell Moore, Clare andDoug Ankenman, Jereann Chaney and Kathy and Marty Goossen.
IN THE EARLY 21ST CENTURY we are more than ever inundated with information and objects, some useful for a short time, some useless from inception, and all ending up in the dustbin: whether buried in digital files, stashed away in the attic, or in a landfill somewhere outside our immediate experience. Somehow all of our human productivity, all of our inventions and grand ideas, turn to dust. Or plastic.
The average American produces 102 tons of garbage over a lifetime, tossing out an average of 7 pounds per day1…a fact that we do not consider as we order a cup of coffee, stuff a Christmas stocking, or have the tires changed on our vehicles. While as a society we continue to grapple with how to manage our productive excess, all the artists in Luxuriant Refuse utilize the byproducts of consumerism by transforming them into art.
Beginning most notably with Picasso and Braque in the early twentieth century, many artists have strived to reflect the world around them, or at least to reference it in their work. These direct references to contemporary life often took the form of collage, which began as an off-handed addition to paintings in the early twentieth century and ended up as its own art form by the 1930s.
Mid-century, Rauschenberg introduced the idea of the “combine” as the ultimate break-from-the-past statement; and collage evolved into photomontage, where meaning (or meaninglessness) was derived from the juxtaposition of unrelated objects. Rauschenberg and others strove to reflect the modernity of post war America, commenting knowingly on the exploding American consciousness.
Today’s artists continue to include references to contemporary life and our excesses. JOHNSTON FOSTER, for example, describes his work as “a direct result of my immediate environment . . . (where) I am confronted with great deals of waste and consumption.” Johnston’s response to his environment is similar to AURORA ROBSON’s process, which is to take “materials from the waste stream” and “transform something problematic—like waste or pollution—into…something that gives people space for reflection and light.”
Often, the original use of an object imbues it with a sense of personal and emotional history that the artist repurposes into a new whole. For example, SHAWNE MAJOR’s medium is “objects that come from the detritus of real people’s lives.” Major sews the objects together to form sculpture or quilts, forming colorful and tactilely complex abstractions. Not until the viewer comes close to the artwork do the individual elements become obvious, often “evok(ing) a visceral response.” Major plays with this paradigm shift, creating beautiful arrangements of color and form out of mundane, junky material.
Similarly, SARAH FROST’s computer keys form massive constellations, hinting at the eternal human condition. Each key refers to our connectedness and communication. Each key also holds the residue of repeated individual use. Some are discolored with skin oil, nail polish, and dirt. For Frost, this physical memory captures sublime aspects of our existence and our membership in a vast interconnected organism.
BETSABEE ROMERO’s tires, which she carves with native Mexican imagery, also work on several levels. The tires themselves are a product originated out of colonial rubber production in the new world. The tires also hint at the freedom and dreams that the car has allowed all of us to embrace. For Romero, these cast off tires with their traditional Mexican imagery marry the past and uncertain future, and all the hope between the two.
PAUL VILLINSKY, as well, in his glove works and beer can butterflies, transforms “simple yet evocative” objects, thrown away cans of consumed beer and gloves lost on the streets of New York, into works of art in a meditational practice that transforms yet remembers. The gloves tell a story about the person who wore them, their work and their life. Alternatively, the butterflies’ cultural associations with rebirth mirror the ultimately hopeful impetus of his art.
Individual, personal interactions also inform GWYNETH LEECH’s work. Since 2008, Leech has been drawing on used coffee cups, where she records the date, place, and occasion on the bottom of the cup. In this way, Leech captures a personal “social moment,” while “up-cycling.” For Leech, transforming the used cardboard cup into a work of art marks a personal moment and exemplifies the “irrepressively inventive” human spirit. Simultaneously, the work evidences the cumulative impact of our consumption, and illustrates the totality of is effect.
The creative process is an important part of the work of all these artists. The act of solving a problem, making something positive out of something ostensibly negative, becomes important content. For ALISON FOSHEE, using pre-printed labels in her complex collages allows for many “ah-ha” moments, where the limitations and original use of the material is overcome by the creative process and results in a “sense of play…and joy.” This meditational, transformative process of art making is also apparent in ADELA ANDEA’s work, where thousands of finely cut pool noodles recreate an organic environment of glowing light.
The impetus to rejigger consumerist waste into a work of art is common among all the artists in Luxuriant Refuse. Through their choice of medium, these artists communicate 21st century concerns about history, individuality, sustainability, and the human role in the world. With tremendous creativity, humor, and self-examination, these artists re-present the detritus of our lives, transformed and renewed. Art making requires a series of creative choices, each one impacting and informing the next. By transforming junk into art, these artists illustrate a process that is within our grasp in our daily lives, empowering us by example to make every choice count. —MELISSA GROBMYER
MKG Served As Special Advisors to the 2012 Houston Fine Art Fair
MKG Art Management’s Melissa Grobmyer and Janet Hobby served as Art Fair Advisors to the second annual Houston Fine Art Fair, which assembled leading galleries from across the United States, Latin America and Europe September 14-16, 2012 at Houston’s Reliant Center. More than 65 galleries represented approximately 10 countries and 24 cities have established the Houston Fine Art Fair as the largest in the Southwest Region.
MKG Presents Night Walks by Ann Stautberg
March 24th – April 30th, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 6-8pm
MKG Art Management
2825 Colquitt, Houston, TX 77098