a field of color

University of Houston to unveil splashy public outdoor art project

University of Houston to unveil splashy public outdoor art project

Odili Donald Odita University of Houston UH Color Field
Odili Donald Odita’s “Negative Space” will be part of  “Color Field.”  Photo courtesy of University of Houston

The University of Houston has made headlines of late with news of a cutting-edge, COVID-killing device that could be a major game changer. Now the school has announced a splashy new public art installation that’s set to open this fall.

Appropriately dubbed “Color Field,” the new outdoor sculpture installation will debut in October and is meant to embody the theme that “art is all around us,” according to a press release. The traveling show featuring seven artists — organized in partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas — will remain on view through May 2021.

The inspiration behind “Color Field” is a mid-20th-century painting style of the same name, characterized by large areas of single colors and surfaces devoid of realistic representation.

“It is an optimistic exhibition that will offer multiple touchpoints for experiencing outdoor art in an immediate and natural way,” said María C. Gaztambide, Public Art UHS director and chief curator, in a statement.

Gaztambide and the Public Art UHS curatorial team plan to place the works throughout the UH campus, starting with Wilhelmina’s Grove, the heart of the UH Arts District, which is bound by the Moores School of Music, School of Theatre & Dance, Valenti School of Communication and Fine Arts Building— all at the intersection of Cullen Boulevard and Elgin Street.

The art pieces will wind through the areas surrounding the Ezekiel W. Cullen Building, Butler Plaza, and Lynn Eusan Park—off University Drive.

Here are the seven participating artists and their works:

  • Here” (2019) by Sarah Braman is a concrete drainage pipe powder-coated with aluminum frames that allows light from the sun to project through its circular, colored glass windows.
  • Untitled (Wind Chimes)” (2014) by Sam Falls is a larger-than-life-sized, functional wind chime that make music just by a gentle touch.
  • Back to Kansas” (2015) by Spencer Finch is billboard-sized grid made out of 70 blocks of brilliant and subtle color inspired by The Wizard of Oz. Each color in the grid corresponds to a color from the film, such as “Yellow Brick Road” and “Ruby Slippers.”
  • Odili Donald Odita’s “Negative Space” (2019) is a series of 13 flags on flagpoles inspired by the American flag and its related socio-cultural dynamics. Colors such as red, white and blue, and green, black and orange work to both enhance and contrast each other.
  • Forms from Life” (2019) by TYPOE is a grouping of minimalist shapes made out of painted aluminum that resemble enlarged building blocks. It is a reference to how the basic information we learn as children forms our understanding of the world.
  • Jeffie Brewer, a Nacogdoches, Texas-based artist, is providing multiple painted steel pieces for this exhibition that he created in 2019 and 2020. “Cloud,” “Gigaff,” “Pop,” “Bunny,” “Kitty,” and “Pink Sexy” are influenced by his fascination with pop culture and a background in design. These vibrant-colored sculptures teeter between identifiable and abstract forms.
  • Sound artist and composer Amos Cochran’s “Color Field Outside/In” and “Color Field Inside/Out” (2019) allows one’s emotions to wander freely in an immersive sonic soundscape. Cochran uses traditional instruments such as violin, cello, harp and piano to produce abstract recorded sounds.

For more information about “Color Field,” visit the exhibition’s page on the Public Art UHS website.