April 4, 2014 — May 25, 2014
In The Artist Hall
Friday, April 4, 5:30 – 7:00 PM
5:45 – Artist Talk
Lecture Event: Discovering Fractal Geometry in Art & Nature
Saturday, May 24, 1:30 PM
Houston Center for Contemporary (HCCC) presents Topsoil, an exhibition of work by three artists who harvest their creative sustenance from the mathematics, science, and aesthetics of the planet’s waters and terrains. As the most vibrant and rich portion of the Earth’s soil, topsoil yields the highest concentration of organic matter. This fertile ground fosters the growth and production of the living organisms that thrive on its nutrients just as it nourishes the imagination of these artists.
Houston artist and designer, Kate de Para’s trompe l’oeil fiber-based Rock Collection delightfully fools the eye. A camouflage of surface texture and form add mass to the collection, concealing the fragility of the lightweight Abaca fiber. Grains of salt mimic the gritty quality of a hard exterior, while complementing the beauty found within the layers of texture, pattern, and color of natural rock formations.
Drawing ties between earthly macrocosms and microcosms, New Orleans ceramist Sarah House interprets fractal geometry in nature to demonstrate the interconnectedness of the natural environment. This type of geometry identifies patterns found under the lens of a microscope, as well as those charted topographically. In the Ad Infinitum series, her sculptures represent waves of water that line the wall like a mountain range. In her composition of these water studies, House calls attention to the connection between fractal patterns in the minute ripples of the water’s surface, as well as the depths of the mountains.
Working in Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer’s mixed-media pieces replicate organic forms found in nature. By placing these forms in unnatural environments, she raises questions about the semantics of what is natural and what is manmade. Like a vine on a trellis, the delicate, glass root systems of Forced Roots push through Solo-cup bottoms that frame their irresistibly fine construction, demonstrating a vital resilience to their surrounding environment.
Kate de Para
Kate de Para is the owner and designer of Evens clothing and teaches Textile Science, Surface Design, and Textile Design at the Art Institute of Houston. She received an MFA in fibers from Savannah College of Art and Design (2012) and a BS in apparel, with a focus in textile science and business administration, from Baylor University (2007).
Practicing in New Orleans, ceramist Sarah House creates functional wares and sculptural installation work. House received an MFA in studio art from Tulane University (2012) and a BFA in ceramics from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art (2006). She has participated in several residency programs, including Baltimore Clayworks, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, the International Ceramics Studio, Tainan National University of the Arts, and the International Ceramics Research Center. She has received numerous awards, including the Windgate Fellowship, the Nyburg Fellowship, and the Baker Artist Award.
Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer
Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer received an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in craft and material studies (2007) and a BFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University (2003). From billboards to small glass objects, Mizer’s professional practice is eclectic and her work knows no bounds. Recently, she had a solo exhibition, My Pleasure, at Greymatter Gallery (Milwaukee, WI) and participated in a group exhibition, entitled Ambiguity and Interface, at the Taubman Museum (Roanoke, VA). Living in Richmond, Virginia, Mizer is currently the Administrative Director of the Art Foundation program at VCUarts, and she also serves on the Board of Directors for 1708 Gallery. This summer, Mizer will be a resident artist at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
Topsoil was curated by Kathryn Hall, Curatorial Fellow at HCCC.
Above: (1) Kate de Para, “Translucent Rock,” 2012. Overbeaten Abaca. Photo by Carson Sanders. (2) Kate de Para, “Salt Rock,” 2012. Overbeaten Abaca, sea salts. Photo by Carson Sanders. (3) Kate de Para, “Black Rock,” 2012. Overbeaten Abaca, graphite, salts. Photo by Carson Sanders. (4) Kate de Para, “Lavender Rock,” 2012. Overbeaten Abaca, lavender salts. Photo by Carson Sanders. (5) Sarah House, “Ad Infinitum 3,” 2012. Porcelain. Photo by Sarah House. (6) Sarah House, “Ad Infinitum 6,” 2012. Porcelain. Photo by Sarah House. (7) Sarah House, “Water Study 1,” 2014. Stoneware, glaze. Photo by Sarah House. (8) Sarah House, “Water Study 1” (alternate view), 2014. Stoneware, glaze. Photo by Sarah House. (9) Sarah House, “Water Study 2,” 2014. Stoneware, glaze. Photo by Sarah House. (10) Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer, “Forced Roots,” 2011—2012. Glass, plastic solo cup bottoms. Photo by Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer. (11) Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer, “Inorganic Ions,” 2009—2012. Glass, red oak, lacquer. Photo by Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer. (12) Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer, “Silver Nugget,” 2010. Glass, mdf, gouache. Photo by Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer.