Just a bit southeast of downtown Houston in the 3900 block of Main Street sits Isabella Court, a historic Spanish Colonial Revival style apartment building that houses several very hip and happening art galleries and businesses at street level. Inman Gallery anchors one end with the new Devin Borden Gallery holding down the opposite end. Bryan Miller Gallery, Kinzelman Art Consulting, and Art Palace are holding down the fort in between.
I first visited Art Palace's booth several years ago when they participated in the Aqua Art Fair in Miami, one of my most favorite of the hotel satellite fairs. I attempted to visit Art Palace in 2009 when they were still in Austin, but they were not opened on that summer day and it appears that they were in the process of moving to Houston at that time. I visited their booth in October during the Texas Contemporary Art Fair. This week I finally had the opportunity to visit the gallery itself, and my timing was perfect. Their end of the year exhibition opened last week on Black Friday as they presented works by gallery artists with most pieces priced well under $1K and many under $100.
Elaine Bradford Beer Koozie
Pictured above is the first Elaine Bradford to join my collection. It's a modest start, but my finances are a bit lean this year. Bradford first came to my attention as she was named Jurors Choice in the Texas Biennial in 2005. Since then, I've been seeing her work at art fairs, such as Cirrus Gallery at Aqua Miami in 2005, and reviewed on Glasstire. Bradford has been crocheting sweaters for a wide range of objects over the years; taxidermy animals, trees, rocks, bottles, and more.
I was definitely too late to acquire one of these miniature taxidermy deer heads! Her work seems to give a cozy warmth to objects that might not seem to warrant such extensive labor. In an art statement I found online, Bradford states: "The newest work embraces oddity, often full of abnormalities and absurdities. Antlers stretch across rooms, necks extend to the floor, and heads melt together creating these freaks of nurture. It is as though Grandma was playing mad scientist, reincarnating animals into a life of bizarre coziness, nurturing them into oddity. Like a circus sideshow, my sculptures are both sad and amusing, straddling the line between strange reality and comfortable, warm nonsense. Like a simple magic trick, this surreal illusion is all held together by a single strand of yarn." I hope that I can commission her one day in the future to transform the many dead deer heads I'll probably inherit one day!
These Red and Green Discs, Set of 3 by Debra Barrera were the impetus for my stopping by Art Palace on this day. Debra is the new assistant to the director at McMurtrey Gallery. We had just dropped off Rusty's new works and in speaking to Barrera I found that she has this work for sale at Art Palace as well as a two person exhibition at Lawndale Art Center. We were on our way to Lawndale, but stopped in at Art Palace first.
Allison Hunter Portrait of a Dead Bee #4, #5, #6, and #7. Hunter and Rusty were in a group exhibition together in 2008 titled "Stretching the Truth" at the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Wisconsin. We met her at Rusty's opening last year at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. This was a pleasant surprise to encounter her work once again at the Art Mart show.
Dennis Nance Beefside Pillow. This piece caused me to consider "what if Francis Bacon had made 3D plush art toys".
These silkscreen prints by Michael Sieben were seriously contending for my meager bucks. Very reasonably priced, colorful and engaging.
Jason Villegas. Top Fabric drawings: Michael, MJ, Cash, Andy and Roy. Middle: Self Portrait as Garan and Self Portrait as Hair. Bottom two: Genie #1 and Genie #2. These are all going on my "after re-employment wish list".
High fire works in the background by Chris Campbell and high and low fire works in the foreground by Michael Merritt. I enjoyed the graphic scraffito images on both of these sets, and I was happy to see ceramics in a gallery show.
A group of watercolor drawings by Daniel Heimbinder. His works are now added to my "wish list" also.
Tim and Suzette Walker's Vaya con Dios. They are the owners of Neon Gallery which is on W. Alabama near Montrose in Houston. This seemed very well priced to me and I am also adding them to my wish list because Rusty and I have discussed having some neon art work made for our kitchen. Someday...
Until then, this seems an appropriate image to end this post and get ready to move on to the next.