A Collective Thing

The launching pad: Montrose Art Society expands its reach with new exhibits, artists, iPad drawings

The launching pad: Montrose Art Society expands its reach with new exhibits, artists, iPad drawings

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The Montrose Art Society brings art lovers together. Photo by Julie Knutson
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Artist Tina McPherson shows her new portrait series, Soft Lace. Photo by Julie Knutson
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Roberto X. Torres-Torres, Untitled, 2011, rollerball on paper. Courtesy of Montrose Art Society
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Lauren Luna discusses her work. Photo by Julie Knutson
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Adam Romero, Yugoslavia, 2011, oil on panel. Courtesy of Montrose Art Society
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The Montrose Art Society (MAS) unveiled its newest batch of talent at the Caroline Collective, showcasing five artists whose diverse perspectives clearly mark a dynamic turn for the group. Featuring work ranging from graphic design to oil paintings to iPad drawings, the exhibition opening Friday night drew a sizable crowd eager to discuss the pieces with the artists themselves.

The MAS has maintained an ambitious schedule since its founding in February 2010, staging more than half a dozen exhibitions and events. Created as a launch pad for emerging Houston artists, the group enters its second year of operations with plans to expand its public programming and community outreach.

 McPherson spent most of the evening discussing her work with guests — a requirement for all MAS participants that helps the organization to retain close ties to its followers.  

“Our goal is to promote art at multiple levels,” explained graphic design artist Tina McPherson, who joined the MAS two months ago, “whether through workshops, teaching, or curating events like these.”

Like the rest of the new members, McPherson spent most of the evening discussing her work with guests — a requirement for all MAS participants that helps the organization to retain close ties to its followers. 

“I was looking for a collective to help push my work in new directions,” she said with regard to her autobiographical triptych, Soft Lace. “This is a highly personal work that wouldn't have happened without the support I've received from the group.”

Across the room, digital artist Juliana Alonso-Olarte described a collection of eight brown and green drawings made from sketches on an iPad. She had already sold half of her pieces an hour into the reception.

“These are pictures made from memories of my childhood,” she said, pointing to images of a living room and boxy 1980s television set. “I remember sitting with my grandmother on the sofa watching Sesame Street.”

Lauren Luna — who recently moved from Cleveland, Ohio to join the group — offered a collection of cityscapes painted after relocating from New York to the Midwest several years ago. Luna works in a variety of mediums, she told the crowd, including custom footwear design.

Roberto X. Torres-Torres showed a new series of ink drawings designed to be viewed from multiple orientations. In one drawing, an image of a smiling blowfish could be flipped upside-down to show a frog in a hot tub (not kidding).

Adam Romero displayed a group of dark, yet intriguing portraits. One portrayed a figure with tears streaming down its face, an effect created using paint thinner, Romero explained. Another portrait showed a child surrounded by an abstracted architectural element taken from a war memorial in the former Yugoslavia.

The Montrose Art Society will be at  the Caroline Collective again Tuesday night to create collaborative portrait pieces for their next group show at War’Hous starting Nov. 5 (see the MAS website for details). Guests are invited to bring art supplies and help with the project.