Messin’ With Texas

Seven award-winning contemporary artists from Houston debut work in Chicago in the exhibition Messin’ with Texas. All of the artists included are recipients of the 2010 Houston Artadia Award given to artists who demonstrate innovative and notable art practices.

The Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, IL and Diverseworks Art Space in Houston, partnered for an exchange of artworks between the two cities. In conjunction with Messin’ with Texas, the work by Chicago-based 2008 Artadia award-winning artists Melika Bass, Juan Angel Chavez, Jim Duignan, Theaster Gates, Kelly Kaczynski, Dutes Miller & Stan Shellabarger, and Kim Piotrowski were presented in The North Wind and the Sun at Diverseworks from March 11 until April 12, 2011. The exhibitions were initiated through the Artadia Exhibitions Exchange connecting art in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco.

  • June 12, 2011 – September 11, 2011
  • Kanter McCormick Gallery

Messin' with Texas

Featured Artists

David Aylsworth, Bill Davenport, Augusto Di Stefano, Nathaniel Donnett, J Hill, Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher, and Nestor Topchy.

Messin’ with Texas included vibrant artwork in a variety of media, ranging from large painted foam sculpture to detailed graphite drawings, representing the truly diverse outcome of the Artadia Award process. The untraditional mixed media assemblages by Nathaniel Donnett incorporate plastic and paper bags to compose images of crossword puzzles and maps. The images address how racial identity is learned through childhood games and the American educational system. Augusto Di Stefano creates psychologically fragile pencil drawings and geometric paintings of buildings that raise questions about the effects of the architecture (prisons, childhood houses) on the people who inhabit them.

David Aylsworth is the most traditional painter in the show, using oil paint on canvas to create mid-sized colorful abstractions titled with lines from famous showtunes. Bill Davenport is, at heart, a purveyor of oddities. As an artist he sculpts then paints everyday objects out of foam, sponge or wood. Though created larger than scale, the artworks blend nicely into the miscellaneous items he sells in his junk shop. A more spiritual approach to life is provided by Nestor Topchy, who uses pigments on gesso over cloth over wood to make elaborate Pysanky eggs. For the Art Center, Topchy created an mystical installation suspending eggs with ornate mystical patterns from the ceiling and wall over a child’s school desk.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the artist duo Jon Fisher and Jeff Shore blend drawing, sculpture, video and sound in their 20 foot long installation. Cliff Hanger delights and surprises viewers with an enthralling short cinema noir-style video. An installation of boxes, wires and computer chips reveal how the videos are made using multiple mini video cameras recording in real time.

Lastly, J Hill‘s mobile welcome wagon toured Chicago via bicycle to greet both travelers and longtime natives with a program of surprise acts of generosity and hospitality. Hill enlisted artists to make use of the wagon in a way relating to their artwork. When it was not parading around town, the wagon was on display in the Art Center’s lobby to receive visitors.

About DiverseWorks

DiverseWorks is a non-profit art center in Houston (TX) with a strong reputation for presenting a significant program of contemporary visual art, performing art, and literary art for over 25 years. It is a unique and progressive space that encourages artists to test out new ideas a public arena and works hard to build, educate, and sustain audiences for contemporary art.

The Artadia Exhibitions Exchange is a ground-breaking exhibitions initiative to foster dialogue and exchange between artists, peer organizations, and arts communities around the country. By exhibiting Awardees from one Artadia city in another program city, the series of five shows in 2010-2011 provides vital exposure for Artadia Awardees, partner communities as cultural hubs, as well as new avenues for curatorial enrichment. The Artadia Exhibitions Exchange is made possible through lead funding from The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts. Additional support is provided the two anonymous family foundations, Judith Alexander Foundation, The Graue Family Foundation, Houston Endowment Inc., National Endowment for the Arts, and many generous individuals.

About Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue

Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue Artadia’s mission is to encourage innovative practice and meaningful dialogue across the United States by providing visual artists in specific communities with unrestricted awards and a national network of support. Founded in 1997 as the Art Council, Inc., Artadia is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Artadia Awards are determined through a jury process that engages nationally prominent curators, artists, and critics.

Since its founding, Artadia has awarded over $2 million to more than 200 artists in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2009 Artadia has run a residency program that brings Artadia Awardees to New York for a three-month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP). In 2010 Artadia inaugurated an exhibitions exchange program that shows Awardees from one city in another Artadia city, giving artists crucial exposure outside of their local communities. This winter Artadia launched its first national publication featuring two years of Artadia Awardees alongside critical essays, guest edited by Franklin Sirmans. Artadia also presents over 50 events annually around the country that demonstrate not only the tremendous creativity in partner communities but also facilitate exchange and dialogue nationwide.



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