best august art
7 vivid and eye-catching August events no Houston art fan should miss
August is typically a catch-up month for local art lovers. Several blockbuster exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Menil Collection, Blaffer Museum, and Moody Art Center are set to close within the next few weeks. That makes August the perfect time to head into cool galleries to catch some hot art before it leaves.
But Houston is an art city where something is always opening. With an art journey to Oaxaca in Mexico, crafty residences, young artists exhibitions, and a "Bam!" of an art market, there’s plenty of new art to see and collect.
Art League Houston School Exhibitions (now through September 9)
Take a look at the latest work from established Houston artists, as well as up-and-coming and future artists with the Art League’s annual shows.
On view in August, the show highlights the students and teachers from the Art League School through the group ALH Student Exhibition and the Instructor Exhibition. Both exhibitions feature the latest work in drawing, mixed-media, ceramic, printmaking and paintings.
The third show titled “Kill the Image” features works by young artists of their Summer Intensive For Teens (SIFT) program. Along with the individual work presented in the show, the teens collaborated on a program mural.
This year’s cohort worked under the guidance of muralist Thomas Tran and SIFT studio assistant Elisse Gachupin to design a mural that explored students’ day-to-day preoccupations, anxieties, hopes and fears as teenagers in 2023.
“The Loud Quiet” at Sawyer Yards’ Sabine Street Studios (now through September 9)
This new exhibition of landscape paintings showcases the works of Kelly Best Bourgeois, Karen Lindeman, and Nena Marsh. While the three approach the subject of landscape quite differently, all the pieces are capable of transporting us to another place.
Though static on the canvas, the scenes chosen for this exhibition resonate and vibrate with the energy and vitality of nature. Through choices in color, application, and composition, the artists hone in on the details of the moment, striking a balance between serenity and the smallness one experiences in the face of epic landscape.
“Magical and Mystical Oaxaca: Celebrating Oaxacan Art and Culture” at the MFAH’s Glassell School of Art (now through October 1)
Collaborating with Seranno Gallery, the Glassell presents three installation to showcases the vibrant art and culture of Oaxaca, Mexico.
In “Four Contemporary Voices from Oaxaca: Rolando Rojas, Didier Mayes, Saul Castro, Ixrael Montes” these four Oaxacan artists explore the complexities of identity at the intersections of the real and the imaginary, and tradition and modernity.
“Journey to Oaxaca: Visual Testimonies of an Immersive Cultural Experience” highlights the experiences and impressions of participants in the Glassell School of Art’s cultural exploration program to Oaxaca.
Meanwhile, “Women Printmakers of Oaxaca” reflects the unique perspectives and artistic expressions of women in the Oaxacan art scene. The works on view showcase a diverse range of printmaking techniques, including woodcut, etching, and lithography.
“The Iconic Portrait Strand by Nestor Topchy” at Menil Collection (now through January 21)
Using “iconic” in the traditional sense, this first museum exhibition of contemporary portraits by the Houston-based artist will include a selection of some one hundred paintings.
For these portraits, Topchy uses techniques and materials associated with religious icons for more than 800 years. He considers these contemporary portraits as a single and ongoing work of art, a corpus, that for Topchy, not only depicts his circle of friends and colleagues, but also represents and honors his community.
Topchy’s work has connections to the Menil’s important holdings of religious icons that span fourteen centuries and include significant examples of devotional objects from the Byzantine Empire and Christian Orthodox traditions.
“I began this project as a way of exploring what was innate to myself as an artist. It was a way of bringing together resonant images from my childhood,” Topchy says of the portraits. “I grew up in the Orthodox Church and was fascinated early on with the symbolic patterns of Ukrainian pysanka egg designs. I also enjoy working within the restraints of the craft of icon painting.”
Bam! Art Market at Sawyer Yards’ Silver Street Studios (August 12)
Get that holiday shopping done very early this year as once again, the First Saturday Arts Market artists join exhibitors and artists from The Market at Sawyer Yards for one Big Ass Art Market (Saturday, August 12 from noon-7 pm).
Visitors will find the best of these outdoor markets indoors and without the heat, but including food trucks, art demos, music, food and libations. The Sawyer Yards Second Saturday Open Studios will also be open 12–5 pm in Silver Street Studios and neighboring art studio buildings.
“In Residence: 16th Edition” at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (August 26-June 9, 2024)
This annual exhibition celebrates the Center’s Artist Residency Program, which has supported artists working in the field of craft for more than two decades. This year’s show features works in fiber, clay, and wood, as well as raw and recycled materials.
Look for works by 2022-2023 resident artists Bennie Flores Ansell, Margot Becker, Felicia Francine Dean, Juan Carlos Escobedo, Ian Gerson, Miles Lawton Gracey, Guadalupe Hernandez, Yeonsoo Kim, Shradha Kochhar, Lakea Shepard, and Rebekah Sweda.
The Artist Residency Program at HCCC provides local, regional, and international artists with a space for creative exploration, exchange, and collaboration with other artists, arts professionals, and the public.
“Fine Lines: Works on Paper” from the Masterson Collection at Rienzi the MFAH house museum (September 1-October 1)
We’re getting a bit of a jump on this one as Rienzi is closed for the entirety of August — and this exhibition will only be on view for a limited time when the house reopens in September.
Part of the collection of Rienzi founders Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, this exhibition showcases the Mastersons’ eyes for remarkable works on paper from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries by English, French, and Italian artists.
Highlights include works by Pompeo Batoni, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Thomas Gainsborough, and George Romney. Some of the drawings in “Fine Lines” are preparatory sketches for works in other media, offering an understanding of the creative process. Others were made as independent works of art.
Subjects range from studies of nature, places, and the human figure to literary scenes and portraiture.