April brings some complex, political, and provocative visual art shows and exhibitions to Houston. Yet, spring is definitely in the air with several outdoor, nature-inspired installations and murals.
From Earth Day murals to buggy sculptural nights — and with a bit of poetic inspiration along the way, this blooming month of art is sure to surprise and stun.
"Threading through the Territories," at Anya Tish Gallery (now through May 15)
This two-person exhibition weaves textile paintings by Bumin Kim with a thread installation by Luisa Duarte. Through the commonality of material, both female artists use thread as a metaphorical armature to explore the nature of the line and the potential held therein, abandoning two-dimensional restrictions of painting, and challenging the viewer’s visual and tactile perception.
"Consequential Journeys” at Archway Gallery (now through April 29)
This exhibition showcases new paintings by Beck Soria that depict the human figure from within. Using abstractions of language, color, and texture, Soria portrays the evolving woman figure throughout the ages for the Earth as goddess and mother.
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts 2020-2021 Artists-in-Residence Spotlight events (April 17-25)
After a year of virtual conferencing, in-person visits, collaboration, adaptation, and improvisation from artists Brandon Ballengée, Marisa Morán Jahn, and Shaun Leonardo, the CWMC and UH Blaffer Art Museum set out to showcase how these artists have produced projects with lasting impact on the campus and community.
This special exhibition and series of public events will introduce the trio of artists in this year’s CWMC residence program. Along with the limited-time showcase, look for public programming, virtual and in-person. From artist talks and panels to an evening bug-watching party at Ballengée’s installation Love Motel for Insects in the UH Fine Arts Courtyard, there’s plenty of art to see.
"Color Story" at Spring Street Studio (April 17-May 8)
This exhibition of pairs visual artists with poets for a unique show of poetry inspired work. "Color:Story 2021" features collaborative work of 20 Houston artists using local, national, and international poets’ words. Each piece of visual art in the exhibit is inspired by and contains words of the poetry of a single writer.
The opening event on Saturday, April 17 features live poetry readings from local poets and authors, including Houston’s own Outspoken Bean.
“Hostile Terrain 94 / Detention Nation” at Blaffer Art Museum (April 17-May 16)
The Department of Comparative Cultural Studies (CCS) at the University of Houston, Public Art of the University of Houston System, and the Sin Huellas Artist Collective collaborated on this double exhibit of these power and provocative art installations.
For “Hostile Terrain 94” is a participatory art project composed of over 3,200 handwritten toe tags representing migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019.
Tags are geolocated on a wall map of the desert, showing the exact locations where remains were found. Detention Nation is a multi-media installation that consists of video, audio, detainee letters, cyanotype body prints, and plaster body casts huddled in Mylar emergency blankets.
Earth Day Celebration at Discovery Green (April 18)
Along with short film screenings, exhibitors, and a panel discussion both in-person and virtual for this day devoted to our planet, Discovery Green is also hosting a live and earth-friendly art competition.
Thirteen artists, chosen from 111 applicants for their designs, will work to complete murals for the park. Though with very different visions, the Houston artists will all work from Discovery Green’s art call “to envision the Houston we want to see and inspire us to create that shared future together.”
The completed mural by Melissa Aytenfisu, Betirri, Hannah Bull, DUAL, Empire, Max Guarnaccia, Kill Joy, Gelson D. Lemus (w3r3on3), Chelsea Mariah, Renee Martinez, Meenr, Amol Saraf, and Usagi Wasabi will remain on display at the park through October 2021.
"The Bayou Beacon" at Sawyer Yards’ Art Alley (April 23-25)
For one weekend, we can experience this environmental light sculpture installation designed by Falon Land Studio, a Houston-based interdisciplinary practice in public art and landscape architecture. History and ecology become art with this light sculpture that animates the data from Houston’s recent floods.
The animation pulls from White Oak Bayou’s stream gage data, then renders swarms of water droplets that express the cubic feet per second of water flowing past a single point in the Bayou Beacon.
"Withstand: Latinx Art in Times of Conflict" at Holocaust Museum Houston (April 30-September 27)
Highlighting local artists, this newly HMH organized juried exhibition explores themes of social justice and human rights through 100 artworks of Houston Latinx artists. With a hope to empower social change through art, the HMH wants to provide a platform for local artists to examines issues that impact the community and fosters dialogue on difficult questions.
The art featured in the exhibition touch on a myriad of themes and issues including “border relations, gender roles, domestic violence, the immigrant experience and social and political turmoil,” according to HMH.
“When we put out the call to Latinx artists to join the conversation on art as a catalyst of change, we knew Houston’s vibrant art community would show up in force,” said HMH CEO Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga, in a statement. “We were overwhelmed with submissions and are delighted to feature the artwork of such talented artists.”