We could all use some beauty in our lives right now, and if that beauty comes with a bit of whimsey, all the better. If you’re looking to take an art walk (keeping a six feet distance from other humans, of course) Houston Heights Association has quite the stroll or ride-by art viewing opportunity with the outdoor exhibit, "True North 2020."
Located along the 60-foot-wide esplanade of Heights Boulevard from White Oak Bayou to 20th Street, "True North 2020" features eight large-scale sculptures by some of the most acclaimed artists in Houston and Texas, including Leticia Bajuyo, Bill Davenport, Vincent Fink, Jack Gron, Joseph Havel, Jack Massing, Sherry Owens and Art Shirer (collaborating), and the late Bob Wade. From a giant head of cabbage to a working wind vane, all the works tell unique stories and blow in a lovely art breeze just when we need it.
Here’s a preview look before you go take a strolling, biking or driving view for yourself.
Big Cabbage by Bill Davenport at 900 block of Heights Boulevard
Rendered with polymer concrete and painted the perfect cabbage green, Davenport succinctly explains: "It's a cabbage, but bigger!”
Forces of Nature: Blue Skies, Slinkys, and Hurricanes by Leticia Bajuyo at 1200 block
These three steel and PEX tubing sculptures, resembling blue slinkys, were inspired by inspired both by diagrams of hurricane development and the spring movement of the slinky toys.
"Ultimately, by combining elements that affect our lives on a dramatic scale, those that occupy us in modest moments of play, and those that subterraneously quench our thirst for suburban perfection or agricultural plenty, I aimed to manufacture a peaceful, but artificial, grassy eye of the storm," Bajuyo says of her work.
Dodecahedron by Vincent Fink at 600 block
This 12-sided polyhedron with pentagonal faces of translucent acrylic glass embossed with paintings of celestial imagery, specimens and geometric orbital patterns, represents space or ether for the artist.
"From the smallest particle to infinite galaxies, all things are interconnected via Sacred Geometry; the harmony of space," Vincent describes.
Hard Rain by Jack Gron at 800 block
Constructed of fabricated aluminum and painted steel, this depiction of clouds raining down silver metal upon an abstract-formed cityscape, sure feels timely for 2020.
"I believe ultimately all art is autobiographical and throughout my career I have focused on my impressions of the times in which I live," Gron said. "Hard Rain is a statement regarding the most critical issue facing the Houston community."
On History by Joseph Havel at 1300 block
This a nine-foot bronze piece will appropriately be located prominently on the boulevard esplanade across from the Heights Neighborhood Library on the 1300 block.
"On history recognizes that all contemporary artworks are based on precedents in art, art history, social conditions and personal history. The sculpture seems appropriate for Houston Heights at this moment as the community has gone through an accelerated period of change in the past decade. In reaching forward it is important to acknowledge history.”
LOCULUS by Jack A. Massing at 400 block
A working wind vane shaped like a wrench hinged on a giant No. 1 Repair Air pencil, viewers can consult the geographic coordinates located on the sculpture's structural tower to learn exactly where they are on Earth.
"I have taken the title of this project, 'True North,' to heart and designed a piece that displays the cardinal directions and its exact location on the face of Earth,” explains Massing. “The wind vane element will allow the viewer to see which way the wind blows, which will at some point in the future be either coming from the North or perhaps blowing directly North.
Carbon Sink by Sherry Owens and Art Shirer at 1600 block
The artists sculpted discarded cuttings of the sinewy crape myrtle with hardware and carbon finished to create this most grounded environmental of the installations.
"Carbon Sink is a visual metaphor of an organic storage place for the carbon dioxide present in our atmosphere," the artists explained in a statement."This sculpture represents a depository for the greenhouse gases that affect our environment.”
El Gallo Monument by the late Bob Wade at 1800 block
Inspired by Wade's childhood fascination with "roadside stuff during long trips on those old Texas highways" this colorful pig family paying respect to a monumental gallo will hopefully bring a bit of respite joy to every passerby.
"True North 2020" remains on view along the Heights Boulevard esplanade now through December 15.