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Mirrored and Obscured


Mirrored and Obscured Adela Andea D e b r a Ba r e r r a Michael Bise J am e s D r a k e S h a r o n Ko p r i va La u r a La r k Law r e n c e L e e M a ry M c C l e a ry S h e r ry O w e n s Sam R e v e l e s S h a u n Ro b e rts R u st y S c r u by G a e l Sta c k Kat h y Va r ga s J o n at h a n W h i t f i l l A n n Wo o d X i ao z e X i e

Januar y 18, 2014 – May 11, 2014 Art Museum of Southeast Texas


Acknowledgments Mirrored and Obscured: Contemporary Texas Self-Portraits examines the contemporary and ever-changing aspect of self-portraiture in the visual arts through the eyes of 17 contemporary Texas artists. Self-portraits are a universal subject artists have addressed throughout history in many creative disciplines. Self-portraiture offers a window into the soul; a glimpse of self-examination through the visual medium; an autobiographical chapter in the lives of these artists. Self-portraits draw curiosity from the viewer but also a desire to look introspectively and so, this theme is self-sustaining, self-perpetuating and enduring. Our gratitude goes to the artists who agreed to participate in this exhibition – many who created a new self-portrait specifically for this exhibition. The variation of scale, medium and color makes one realize the abundance of creative talent that is ever changing and evolving on the Lone Star visual stage. This exhibition would not have been possible without the generous funding from the Edaren Foundation, the City of Beaumont, the Wesley W. Washburn, M.D. and Lulu L. Smith M.D. Endowment Fund, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the late Dorothy Anne Conn, Helen Caldwell Locke and Curtis Blakey Locke Charitable Trust, and the C. Homer and Edith Fuller Chambers Charitable Foundation. The continuous and steadfast support of the Board of Trustees under president, Colleen Burns is what allows this museum to continue to progress and grow under visionary strategic guidance. Thank you to Caitlin Hanson, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections for out doing herself once again by organizing another provocative exhibition. Fiercely independent and highly organized, she quietly but systematically executes her vision. Thanks to Donald Bullock, registrar and Bryan Castino, building and grounds supervisor and preparator, also known as the “AMSET road warriors” for trekking all over Texas to pick up the artwork for the exhibition. The rest of the museum staff is an excellent team that pulls together to make an exhibition of this magnitude achieve our mission by providing education, inspiration and creative vision throughout Southeast Texas.

Lynn P. Castle Executive Director

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Express Yourself Mirrored and Obscured features self-portraits by 17 contemporary artists with a connection to Texas: Adela Andea, Debra Barerra, Michael Bise, James Drake, Sharon Kopriva, Laura Lark, Lawrence Lee, Mary McCleary, Sherry Owens, Sam Reveles, Shaun Roberts, Rusty Scruby, Gael Stack, Kathy Vargas, Jonathan Whitfill, Ann Wood and Xiaoze Xie. There are many forms of self-portraits and throughout art history self-portraits are an enduring facet of self-expression. Artists often use themselves as models for the characters portrayed in their artwork. A self-portrait can also be an expression of self and not resemble the individual creating the artwork physically, but in another way through: emotion, interests, or metaphor. A self-portrait may be a direct study of the artist and be presented purely as a naturalistic reflection. It can take the form of autobiographical pieces that represent different events in the artist’s life or the use of materials could be related to those events. The artist makes these decisions; as a result, self-portraiture featured in this exhibition includes abstract forms, objects, and naturalistic portraits. The notion of self-portraiture is explored through literal and non-literal means. The media in this exhibition ranges from the traditional roots of oil painting found in Shaun Roberts’ Come And Take It, to the modern manipulation and assemblage of flex neon, plastic and computer fans in Hyperion by Adela Andea. The artwork shows a slice of the diversity that is found in Texas today. Self-portraits adapt and are transformed creating alternative expressions of self with new media and technology. The advent of social media has created an avenue for self-portraiture that is infectious. The introduction of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and others has increased the ability to share photos and video with a vast audience instantly. Xiaoze Xie, well known for his paintings of stacks of newspapers and neglected books in libraries, has recently painted a show of Weibo paintings or Chinese micro blogging, capturing the instant images of current events communicated via photo sharing instead of newsstands. For this exhibit, Xie captures the familiar profile with his oil painting on aluminum panel, Self-portrait: Facebook. Many of these contemporary works have a strong sense of narrative. Michael Bise’s drawing Sleeping Man is part of a series of work that captures the autobiographical event of receiving and recovering from a heart transplant. The title Sleeping Man initially implies peace and rest, but the image of the artist attached to all the wires and tubes assisting his recovery stir up anxiety and the many worries and potential outcomes of such a procedure. Ann Wood’s Near Grandmother’s House takes on the familiar form of Little Red Riding Hood with a nod to the tale’s theme of foreboding. Red casually gazes through shades while holding a dead bird with a stench strong enough to attract flies. The prismatic colors and fairytale frame obscure the lurking danger. Lawrence Lee constructs a world of characters chronicling the life of a kidnapped prince sold into slavery. Metaphors found in the artwork echo aspects of the artist’s excursion through life. Two of the artists created self-portraits of themselves as children: James Drake, Self-Portrait in Guatemala part of the suite Birds of Paquime (New World Dispensation) and Rusty Scruby, Self-Portrait, 2011. Scruby makes a connection with the process of reconstructing a photograph to memories of his grandfather creating intricate lace with a series of knots and loops. Interweaving a familial history into the art, the photograph used was taken in the 1960s by his father. Debra Barrera’s sculpture Parties on Earth at first glance appears to be a tempting interactive sculpture that would

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attract children and result in the explosion of confetti and glitter. This anticipation and potential is one side of the narrative. The other is this feeling of joy and expectation associated with childhood treats and the connection with memories of her father. Childhood experiences and memories inform and shape many artists’ artwork. Several artists created new work for the exhibition and are not typically known for self-portraiture. Jonathan Whitfill recognized for his objects created with assembled books, used the exhibition title for inspiration and created a portrait that requires closer inspection. The “mirrored” image of Whitfill in Angle of Incidence constructs wonderful patterns in the artist’s beard and mustache that do not occur in nature. Sharon Kopriva acknowledged for her wonderfully disturbing sculptures and paintings of priests, cardinals and nuns created a two-dimensional portrait incorporating photography, pastel and mixed media capturing the artist suspended in midair traveling through time. Her threedimensional piece, When the Crows Come Home incorporates papier-mâché, steel and mixed media. Sherry Owens created a new work for this exhibition transforming ordinary crepe myrtle branches into contemporary sculpture with her ingenious assemblage in Twirling Like a Seed in the Wind. Laura Lark creates larger than life portraits painstakingly rendered with a sharpie in a pointillist fashion. Top Depart! (Powder) represents the countless glossy magazine images of models and actors that young girls, women, and society idolize for their beauty and media-ready figures. The tortuous process Lark endures to recreate these images at a gigantic scale amplifies the senselessness of the obsession to become one of these idols. Artists create portraits that embody the senses and expose the fleeting nature of memories and vitality. Mary McCleary references the incarnation and five senses (smell, hearing, touch, sight and taste) in her multilayered collage Allegory of the Senses. Gael Stack is well known for her layered paintings and drawings illustrating the voids in the consciousness and memories with fragments of words and images. Forty-one Songs #31 (for Adrian) is part of a series created in memory of a friend. San Antonio native, Kathy Vargas includes a hand-colored gelatin silver print from the series “The Living Move”. The portrait of Vargas captures a moment of her existence. The Living Move also represents the certainty of the same print becoming a memento of someone no longer with the living. Other artists craft works that have a sense of place or environment familiar to the creator. Sam Reveles was awarded two artist residencies in Ireland in 2011 and 2013. The northern landscape found in Balleycastle informs Reveles’ abstract landscapes capturing the energy of a location distinctively different from his native El Paso. North III is part of a series chronicling Reveles’ experience abroad. Artists participating in the exhibition were born, resided or educated in Texas. Most continue to live and work in the state today. Many have a connection to the Art Museum of Southeast Texas through previous exhibitions or are part of the permanent collection. All artwork created by an artist is a self-portrait in and of itself chronicling the sweat, energy, ideas, materials and expression of each individual.

Caitl in Han so n Curator of Exhibitions and Collections

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Mirrored and Obscured C A T A LO G UE OF WORKS


Adela Andea

ADELA ANDEA Born: 1976, Timisoara, Romania Currently lives in Conroe, Texas Education: 2012 Master of Fine Arts, New Media, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 2009 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

The usage of light in my work, as a medium, provides a personal psychoanalytical introspection of my childhood and adolescence years in Romania, between 1976 and 1998. Due to rationing imposed on each individual household during the final and harshest years of communism, the standard of living was lowered below any technological progress claimed by the system. At the age of 13, I was a direct witness to the bloody Romanian Revolution of 1989 which started in my hometown and ended up with the overthrow of the totalitarian regime in Romania. I experienced the Revolution from a physical and traumatic psychological perspective. Becoming an adult under the rapid westernization in Romania and the optimism provided by the democratization of digital technologies during that decade (1989 to 1999) had a tremendous influence on my choice of embracing the latest technology as my artistic medium. The meaning of my work comes from revealing and exposing the role of certain technologies in the formation of the person as a cultural framework of the post self, by analyzing this idea in contemporary coordinates, of time and place. My work also emphasizes the role of different types of materials as objects of various industries with social and cultural implications. However, I decontextualize their original meaning and reassigned them with my personal interpretation in the artistic process.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT RELATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

Hyperion, as a sculptural object, incorporates the latest computer technology and it is built around a computer source that controls the entire sculpture. The medium seems to be lit through the use of Cold Cathode Fluorescent Light and computer fans with LEDs, however these consumer electronics come with an overwhelming amount of cables and auxiliaries, which are all incorporated and exposed as part of the artwork. By revealing the scale of personal expressiveness through the use of new technologies, I question aesthetic discourse and provide a commentary on the individual interaction, as a theoretical discussion of the post-traditional self. How are certain technologies embedded in our culture? Technical equipment or objects carry meaning, in the form of signs, which are social constructs. These signs define the purpose of certain activities, and/or facilitate new types of communication. Hyperion is a construction of the self through an infusion of technology. 

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

The reification of my ideas starts with the process of a continuous search for new materials, review of websites and visits to a variety of electronic stores. I am bound by the technological developments of the hardware industry and the availability on the market of these products for mass consumption. The rapid changes at these levels, manufacturer and distributors, are engaging as well. Some products are getting better and some are only transient and experimental. Finding and gathering my “art supplies” is a constant shifting ground, a reflection of dynamic moment. There is a certain type of aesthetic in the plastic, artificial, and synthetic materials. I am interested in the plastic, manufactured look, of the latest computer gadget, the artificiality of light produced with different technologies, as they provide a glamorous and seductive look, but have a subversive message as technology also reflects consumerism. The visual impact of the consumer electronics like CCFL, LED and EL wire, dictates and affects the way I design and build the structure for each sculpture or installation.

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Hyperion, 2012, cold cathode fluorescent lights, computer power source, LED computer fans, flex neon, plexiglass, various plastics, 96 x 36 x 36 inches, loan courtesy of the artist and Anya Tish Gallery, Houston, Texas 9


Debra Barerra

DEBRA BARRERA Born: 1984, Corpus Christi, Texas Currently lives in Houston, Texas Education: 2010 Master of Fine Arts, Painting, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 2006 Bachelor of Arts, Painting, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 2006 Bachelor of Arts, English, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

When I was a child my father would pick me up from school and drive me to the gas station to get snacks on the way home. He would get a drink and I could get anything I wanted to eat. This moment was full of anticipation, excitement, and joy. Oftentimes I would rip open the packaging so fast the candy or food would fall all over the floorboard of my father’s car. Even now I have a tendency to rip open bags and spill their contents everywhere.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT RELATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

My current body of work revolves around concepts of exploration and anticipation. Through making this piece I physically explored my own city along with mentally exploring a set of memories and my current idiosyncrasies. Altogether the bags are strangely tempting and anticipate what can occur upon opening.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

Creating this sculpture was very odd. I found myself hating the flavor of most of the foods encased in these bags, which I loved as a kid. Once, after taking out the bread from one of the bread bags I squished the entire loaf in between my hands like an accordion. That act was very satisfying, like squirting out an entire tube of toothpaste. Despite the strange rituals I undertook making this piece, overall, the process was one that helped me remember what it felt like to be around my father as a child. After he passed away when I was fourteen, I often have trouble remembering what it really felt like to be around him. Photos help with imagery but the moments spent with someone are harder to recall. 

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Parties on Earth, 2013, bags, glitter, confetti, streamers, 65 x 24 x 18 inches, loan courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas

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Michael Bise

MICHAEL BISE Born: 1976, Flagstaff, Arizona Currently lives in Houston, Texas Education: 2005 Master of Fine Arts, Painting and Drawing, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 2001 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting and Drawing,  University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

This self-portrait is an image of myself after I received a heart transplant and before I regained consciousness.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT REL ATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

It is an important part of a series of works called Love in the Kingdom of the Sick, an exhibition at Moody Gallery that focused exclusively on the narrative surrounding my heart transplant.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

I generally prefer not to describe the process in too much detail - objects should remain mysterious. But generally, it is a graphite drawing on paper.

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Sleeping Man, 2012, graphite on paper, 14 ½ x 19 Ÿ inches, loan courtesy of a private collection, Houston, Texas

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James Drake JAMES DRAKE Born: 1946, Lubbock, Texas Currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico Education: 1972 Master of Fine Arts, Painting, Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, California 1970 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting, Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, California

Manuel with Paper Hat

Rather than write a narrative associated with my self-portrait I have written a short poem: Spoken to a friend Who understood the incompleteness of mathematics And the handling of snakes Escalators of speech Drove the sacred object of language   They carefully constructed Many worlds of interpretation Shadowy marionettes Dancing to each other’s tunes   Little strings Threaded through plated eyelets Pulled by unseen fingers Playing a private song   A continuous note A simple game

Birds of Paquime (New World Dispensation), 20032005, charcoal on paper with collage and tape, suite of 13, 24 x 14 1/2 inches each, loan courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas

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The Tattoo of La Malinche

Dancing in the Louvre

Delacroix and Géricault with Beto Juárez


The Pig’s Spittle

Self-Portrait in Guatemala

Death Mask of Brunelleschi

Vincent

Good Luck Freddy

Carl

The Demon’s Jewelry

The Demon’s Lawyer

Lisa (Sueños) 15


Sharon Kopriva

SHARON KOPRIVA Born: 1948, Houston, Texas Currently lives in Houston, Texas and Hope, Idaho Education: 1981 Master of Fine Arts, Painting, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 1970 Bachelor of Science, Art Education, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

Most of my life I have avoided confronting my physical image. In Visual Arts, personal appearance rarely was a part of self-expression. Throughout my career, I recall making only one work intended as a mirror image. Many say every piece of art is a portrait of its originator. With the effort taken, and the trials and tribulations of working through the creative process, I often feel I have given birth to works that reveal my inner most thoughts – and sometimes my soul – entirely without inclusion of my physical image. Fate finds me emerging from a 30-year survey exhibition. It has become a time for reflection. In this same period, I find myself becoming more conscious of my physical condition. In November 2011, I hired a physical trainer and have become more fit. In February 2012, with the guidance of a wonderful cardiologist, I undertook a 180day program toward healthier eating habits. I am now more than 360 days into this endeavor. When I was invited by the Art Museum of Southeast Texas to participate in the exhibition Mirrored and Obscured: Contemporary Texas Self-Portraits, I decided for the first time in my life to address my physical image in my art.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT RELATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK? In Time Traveling I visualize myself in a cocoon, comfortably wrapped in and protected by my past, but not inhibited by it. The threads surrounding my body are in colors from Terra to Verde, representing my own history of art. I am fetal, floating, and about to awaken and continue my life-long journey. The drawing is an acknowledgement – rather than a continuation – of my current work. It represents the start of a new phase in my personal history. Time Traveling has become the first in a small series exploring my physical self. When the Crows Come Home is one of the most recent.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

To begin this work, I staged multiple photographs. I chose poses I thought would reveal both my inner and outer self. I selected a single image, which was flipped back-and-forth, enlarged, altered and printed on paper. Then, for about three weeks, I worked on it with pastel and Prisma color, layering, over-layering and applying spray fixative. The layering process allowed me to conceal some aspects of myself, while highlighting others. The result is Time Traveling.

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Left: When the Crows Come Home, 2013, papier-mâchÊ, steel, mixed media, 84 x 48 x 24 inches, loan courtesy of the artist

Time Traveling, 2013, pastel, photo, mixed media, 26 x 40 inches, loan courtesy of the artist

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L aura L ark

LAURA LARK Born: 1962, Tucson, Arizona Currently lives in Houston, Texas Education: 2002 Master of Fine Arts, Painting, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 1989 Master of Arts, Creative Writing, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 1987 Bachelor of Arts, English, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

Fashion photography has always represented a firsthand source of both inspiration and admonishment—a fantasy that might be attained if only one had the right accessories and stood perfectly still in the proper light. I attempt to mirror popular imagery by employing an analog, hand-rendered pointillist technique. This method, at once an earnest and painful attempt to faithfully recreate the image, also emphasizes the futility of the obsession and the inability to fully concretize my desires. The resulting pictures are the stain of ephemera: the ghost of countless thumbed-through magazines that have permeated the psyche. These works are on Tyvek, an industrial material chosen for its lightweight quality and material kinship to a magazine page.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT REL ATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

This “self-portrait” is like any other piece in my body of work: an exploration of how we see ourselves and how powerful the “gaze” is in our relating and projecting one’s self to others. I grew up thumbing through fashion magazines. Each time, it was like a mini manifest destiny: by the time one reached the end, the promise of an amazing transformation would surely await. By blowing up a conventional magazine page to gargantuan proportions, I illustrate just how much “real estate” the subject matter occupies in my brain.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

As mentioned earlier, I take a series of “drab to fab” pages from any popular periodical aimed primarily at women. I then Xerox the pages, adjusting the lights and the darks on the Xerox machine, and then copy the images onto transparencies. I then project them onto a wall and, with a sharpie marker, I proceed to make tiny dots. The larger pieces take over a month of 8 to 12 hour days to complete. Like the original imagery, the final outcome can be beautiful, but the process is torturous and the subject – conceptually, me – is chained to the work, much like Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus. There is always a monumental level of expectation. Like most expectations, it is unrealistic, and rarely fulfills dreams the way one thinks that they will.

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Top Depart! (Powder), 2004, ink on Tyvek, 96 x 72 inches, loan courtesy of the artist and Devin Borden Gallery, Houston, Texas 19


L awrence Lee

LAWRENCE LEE Born: 1978, Denton, Texas Currently lives in Cedar Hill, Texas Education: 2010 Master of Fine Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland 2002 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

My narrative occurs in another world and consists of a central story about a kidnapped prince who is sold into slavery; but many of my drawings involve characters and scenes that occur as peripheral narratives or events that don’t relate at all to the prince. I enjoy the freedom of defining the world I am creating as these different stories unfold on paper.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT REL ATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

My current body of work as is all of my work is a developing self-portrait. It is a reflection of myself. A couple of years ago, I had an exhibition in Dallas. A few months before the show I had proposed to my now wife while I was preparing work for the show. A viewer at the gallery said, “this drawing looks as if you had fallen in love...” I liked the way so much of myself had transferred to the work without any effort on my part to do so.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

I started the process by assessing where my work was going. I have been recently drawn to vehicles. I often think about how the vehicle is a metaphor for our journey and that we eventually become one with what motivates us. I wanted the drawing to be a reflection of that truth. The car in the drawing is me, the people in it are me as well. The loneliness and longing and joy of my journey are things I hope are reflected in the drawing. After I finish any drawing I imagine myself in the scene. I ask myself what I would think, hear, and see there. I write down those thoughts in and around the images. 

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We are those who ever fly at night‌, 2011, graphite and ink on paper, 30 x 29 7/8 inches, loan courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas and Barry Whistler Gallery, Dallas, Texas

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Mary McCleary

MARY MCCLEARY Born: 1951, Houston, Texas Currently lives in Nacogdoches, Texas Education: 1975 Masters of Fine Arts, Printmaking, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma 1972 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Graphics, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

This collage, Allegory of the Senses, was done for the exhibit “Broken Beauty” at Laguna Art Museum in California; a show that included art work reflecting a Christian view of the body. There are references to the incarnation throughout the collage. It is a celebration of embodiment and the senses, but also reminds us that the material is not permanent. Each sense is represented- smell by the lilies sitting precariously on the table about to fall; hearing by the boy on the phone; touch by the woman petting the dog; sight by the man with the book; taste by the wine and matzo. There are also some kitschy one-inch plates with reproductions of some Fragonard paintings of the senses on the mantel. The picture on the wall is from an Audubon of blackbirds, a bird usually associated in art history with a warning about the pleasures of the flesh. The sculpture hand on the table cannot pick up the pencil- the limits of art. The small plane is flying low outside the window appearing as though it could crash through. Text from scripture as well as the song, “Dancing in the Dark”, are embedded in the image.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT REL ATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

I am continuing to explore this collage process and similar themes in my current work.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

I often use friends or family as models, and in this collage, they are my husband, my son and myself. The images are based on numerous photos of us, edited and combined as I work out the composition. I draw this on thick watercolor paper and then work out value changes and details in a transparent acrylic wash. Then comes the gluing. When the surface is totally covered, I usually have to go back to repaint areas so that the forms and space have the illusion of being 3-D. The collage materials are often symbolic or make reference to the story.

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Allegory of the Senses, 2002, mixed media collage on paper, 48 x 72 7/8 inches, loan courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas

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Sherry Owens

SHERRY OWENS Born: 1950, Mt. Vernon, Texas Currently lives in Dallas, Texas Education: 1972 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Art Education, Minor in Sculpture, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

Constant motion is a state of being I engage in everyday. The earth is spinning and each of us has our own way of whirling either alone or within the circle of friends we choose. This piece is about that activity of bringing energy and purpose to our lives. I feel like I have roots growing out of me that reach in all directions. I am suffering from chaos and overstimulation. I like the idea of being a seed because seeds form at the beginning of life. Twirling is a way to scatter one small seed for recharging and renewing all that is vital.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT REL ATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

Late in the year after the leaves have blown away, I become very interested in the trees. I primarily work with crepe myrtle trees, drawn to the sensual qualities in the way they grow and because they are so locally available. Twirling Like a Seed in the Wind is very much a continuation of what I do. The content of my work is derived from personal stories and memory to more environmental issues. The investigation into the loss of nature and her resources is an ongoing dialogue in my work. I am particularly interested in the disappearance of the North American prairie and man’s effect on the changing environment. Inspired by observations in nature, I construct with lines from the crepe myrtle tree to create both dense chaotic shapes and open drawings in space.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

I recycle piles of pruned branches that I find by the side of the road, rescuing them from the chipper and imbuing them with a new life. The process is long and laborious from gathering and collecting the sticks to transporting and sorting them, stacking and hanging, leaving them to dry for months, and freezing any life out of them before clipping and snipping and deciding which ones to carve and combine into a new construction. Because this is a self-portrait, I wanted to incorporate an actual part of me in the piece. Several years ago I was making pieces with bronze parts – bits of me that I guess you could say were all self-portraits; they included my hands, hair, eyes, mouth and ear. It is during this time that I cast my feet; I just had not used them in a piece until now.

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Twirling Like a Seed in the Wind, 2013, bronze, crepe myrtle, dye, wax, 75 x 25 x 24 inches, loan courtesy of the artist

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Sam Reveles

SAM REVELES Born: 1958, El Paso, Texas Currently lives in El Paso, Texas, but has been dividing his time between El Paso and Ireland in the last two years Education: 1987 Master of Arts, Painting, Yale School of Art and Architecture, New Haven, Connecticut 1985 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas 1981 Environmental Design, School of Art and Design, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

I have been interested in the idea of “northern” landscapes for a very long time; generally those European lands whose latitude falls north of the United States. I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and I am at home in the West Texas desert but I am drawn to the contrasting landscapes and weather patterns of these northern lands.  In the last two years, I have had the privilege of exploring Ireland for extended periods of time and immersing myself in the land and culture.  I remember as a young child reading a geography book and being especially intrigued by a chapter on Norway titled Land of the Midnight Sun.  I found the photographs of the fjords with steep forested cliffs leading right up to the water very mysterious; especially the light of the midnight sun, and remember wondering if I would ever see such lands.  I have yet to visit Norway; Sweden being the closest I have gotten, but some of Ireland’s weather patterns are not dissimilar even if not as far north, especially the quality of light.  The geography is markedly different though no less dramatic, with a strong connection to the sea as well.  I find the experience of the elements in a northern context exhilarating as they highlight my own in West Texas.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT REL ATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

The current body of work is directly inspired by my time in Ireland during the last two years. Several artist residencies I have been awarded have been crucial in developing and conceptualizing this new work.  “North III” is the last of a group of three large paintings all dealing with the idea of a northern landscape and in several ways can be seen as the culmination. 

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

After being primed, the canvas is divided into sections or a grid.  Each section is taped off individually and I start applying a series of Roman numbers, one on top of the other, which becomes the underpainting.  The paint used for this underpainting is an acrylic color derived from observations of the northern landscape.  There are two series of Roman numbers painted onto each section; one to fourteen, and so in the end, there are 24 layers of painted numbers per section.  This underpainting is what creates the space that I then start to inhabit and ‘move around in’, so to speak, and start to mark and measure and make notations using oil paint.  The oil color is, again, derived from elemental aspects of the landscape.   

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North III, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 64 x 107 1/2 inches, loan courtesy of the artist and Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, Texas

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Shaun Roberts

SHAUN ROBERTS Born: 1986, Lufkin, Texas Currently lives in Nacogdoches, Texas Education: 2012 Master of Fine Arts, Painting, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 2010 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

My work is influenced by my experiences growing up in East Texas, my working class background, and traveling and working with my father who was both a magician and a musician. I work from a mixture of direct observation and photos.  Most of the paintings are narrative scenes or genre paintings. The narratives are packed with blends of pathos, humor, and violence. My work is based on the culture and social strata that I grew up around.  

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT REL ATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

Since a lot of the ideas in my work are based on my own experiences, it is only natural that I would end up in some of them. I include myself in many of the narratives.  Stylistically I relate to Renaissance and Baroque painters in which it was common practice for the artist to use themselves as a model.  

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

After coming up with the initial idea, I looked to many outside sources such as paintings and films to help mentally build a more solid image of what I wanted to paint. Then I did compositional and color studies to help decide what scale and dimensions to work. After building the structure, I started by drawing the image with vine charcoal. The first coat of paint was thin and washy, and then I started working thicker. Between each layer I would scrape areas and then paint over thickly. The process is both additive and subtractive.

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Come And Take It, 2013, oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches, loan courtesy of the artist

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Rust y Scruby

RUSTY SCRUBY Born: 1964, Oregon City, Oregon Currently lives in Dallas, Texas Education: 1988 –1990 Studied Music Composition, North Texas State University, Denton, Texas 1983 –1987 Studied Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

When I was young, my grandparents would come to visit, but my grandfather would sit and not say a word for hours. He would always be tatting with a shiny silver shuttle passing back and forth between his hands… creating intricate lacework. I would sit in his lap and try to understand what he was doing and thinking. As I grew up, I knit a lot and felt that working with my hands and creating objects was a way to connect to things that were incommunicable. As an adult artist, working with family photos of myself that my dad took, and weaving them together into objects, I’m working with multiple layers of inter-generational connections. Because my work involves relationships, “Self-Portrait, 2011” is also about the relationship between the smooth pixilated areas versus the textured circular area. The pixilation speaks more to an intellectually constructed internal world whereas the textured weave represents the intellect trying to break into the physical 3-D world.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT REL ATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

I grew up living very much inside my head. I tried to memorize the world around me and recreate it by my own rules. Much of my artwork is an attempt to bridge that internal world to the real one. I have been using my family photos from the 60’s as source material for a little over a decade. I see myself as ‘distilling’ these images through math and music, revealing their iconic nature. Although my artwork spans many media from drawings to grocery product boxes and playing cards, it usually involves a grid. Within each cell of the grid, I put specific amounts of visual information. Sometimes, each cell contains overlapping sections of a photograph creating a blurred effect. I use specific amounts of overlap to create a specific “visual frequency” for each piece. In “Self-Portrait, 2011”, each cell is a hexagon, and the amount of visual information is reduced to a single color. In my photo-based works with a visual frequency, I’m defining my inner world. With textural pieces such as “Self-Portrait, 2011”, I’m looking much closer to the physical world. The weaving of the texture blends the pixels of color as they start to become 3-D.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

When I’m working with an image of myself, I often feel more freedom to experiment with my techniques and will take larger risks. In “Self-Portrait, 2011”, I began with an image of myself from my family photo albums. I spent about a week working in the computer, sampling colors and transferring them into my worksheet templates for printing. I print the artwork on a wide format Epson printer using Ultra Premium Photo Paper with a luster finish. Then I spent about 6 months hand-cutting the individual circles and tabbing with scissors, continuously weaving these into the growing paper fabric. All the pieces are circles, but are expressed as either circles or hexagons depending on the pattern of the weave. If I bring the tabbing forward, circles will be visible. With the tabbing in the back, hexagons are left. I view this as similar to knitting with knit and purl stitches.

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Self Portrait, 2011, 2011, photographic reconstruction, 53 x 76 inches, (detail bottom left and right), loan courtesy of the artist and Cris Worley Fine Arts, Dallas, Texas

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Gael Stack GAEL STACK Born: 1941, Chicago, Illinois                                                       Currently lives in Houston, Texas   Education: 1972 Master of Fine Arts, Painting, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois 1970 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT? HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT REL ATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK? DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

No narrative. I see all of my work as a kind of self-portrait in that I make it, but the specific drawing in the exhibition is the only actual self-portrait I have ever made. It is a current piece, part of a series of 41 drawings (41 Songs) that acknowledge the loss of a dear friend.  I imagined the series somehow required this drawing from me. The title of the body of work references W. H. Auden. Further discourse seems to call to mind only the refrain in one of W. H. Auden’s most poignant poems.  “If I could tell you, I would let you know.”

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Forty-one Songs #31 (for Adrian), 2010, ink, graphite, oil, colored pencil on vellum, 10 7/8 x 8 ½inches, loan courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas

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Kathy Vargas

KATHY VARGAS Born: 1950, San Antonio, Texas Currently lives in San Antonio, Texas Education: 1984 Master of Fine Arts, Photography, University of Texas San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas 1981 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photography, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

In viewing Daguerreotype images I noted the difficulty subjects faced in holding still for long exposures: proof of life at the time of the exposure for subjects now long dead. With that came the realization that all subjects face the same outcome: photograph as memory of the once living. I began a series called “The Living Move” to explore this phenomena and included myself as a part of the ‘living.’ However, I felt it was also necessary to contemplate the eventuality I will someday share with the Daguerreotype subjects: my stillness in death. So I photographed myself under the ground with grass half-covering my face.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT RELATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

All of my work is about time, both within the exposure and as a measure for the passage of time through the creation of a photographic memento. This image deals with two periods in time central to photography: life, at which point most photos are made, and death, when this image will be both a remembrance of what was and a realization of what was lost. For me, that’s at the core of photography.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

The image is a double-exposure made in a 4x5 view camera: the first exposure was a re-photographed self-portrait I’d made of myself specifically for this image; the second exposure was of the grass. Then a print was made in the darkroom; selenium splittoned to provide the first layer of coloring: burgundy/blood-red with blue-gray; and finally hand colored with oils and pencils.

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The Living Move, 1995, hand-colored gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 inches, loan courtesy of the artist

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Jonathan Whitfill

JONATHAN WHITFILL Born: 1977, Plainview, Texas Currently lives in Lubbock, Texas Education: 2006 Master of Fine Arts, Sculpture, Minor in Printmaking, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas 2000 Bachelor of Science, Biology, Minor in Chemistry, Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, Texas

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

When I was approached to take part in this exhibition I immediately started to generate ideas of how my current practice of sculpture could be used to manifest a self-portrait. I haven’t actually created a self-portrait in nearly ten years, and only then in pastels on wood.  It was nice to think out of the box I have so neatly placed myself in for the last five or six years to generate ideas... yet, I wasn’t very pleased with my results.  Then I decided to stop thinking about a self-portrait, and think about what the title of the exhibition could mean to me, and almost immediately I knew what to do.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT RELATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

Ultimately self-portraiture in general, and this piece specifically have very little relation to the bodies of work that I employ. In my current studio practice I have slipped into a process orientated method of working that yields formal objects.  I enjoy a repetitive motion in order to improve upon my own efficiency, and then place individually made units together into larger compositions.  The majority of these pieces is circular in nature and is created from found objects, mostly books.  This piece was a nice mental departure from my current work, and I believe in relation to the vision of the exhibition, that it was successful. 

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

Even though photography is not my primary medium, it seemed appropriate to the theme of the exhibition - and it is always exciting to express concept through differing modes. A portrait was taken, then manipulated to mirror one side of my face and matched with the same side.  It is an actual mirror image duplicated vertically symmetrical, however my true likeness is obscured by the process.  Also, in order to enlarge the image to the display size, I scanned the image at a very high resolution to obtain yet another degree of separation from my original likeness.  This is an analog copy of a digitally manipulated image of my likeness.

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Angle of Incidence, 2013, digital print, 25 x 36 inches, loan courtesy of the artist

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Ann Wood

ANN WOOD Born: 1973, Sacramento, California Currently lives in Galveston, Texas Education: 1999 Master of Fine Arts, Painting, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas 1996 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Art and Design, California State University, Chico, Chico, California

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT?

My work is influenced by reoccurring images, iconography, and themes in pop culture, literature, and art. Because of my particular interest in feminist interpretations of fairytales, I chose to put myself into one of those roles for this portrait. Most protagonists in fairytales are girls with common themes of lurking danger (if girls stray from the path the boogey man will get us); learned helplessness (girls must endure any situation while waiting for Prince Charming to rescue/marry us); and family betrayal (evil stepmother). That fairytales generally involve pastoral, but booby-trapped, backgrounds is also appealing to me. I am especially drawn to the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale where the wolf may be interpreted as a metaphor for losing one’s virginity (via a sexual predator) as a punishment for straying from the prescribed path. In some stories, Little Red Riding Hood stops on her journey to pick flowers, which gives the Big Bad Wolf time to break into Grandmother’s house, eat her, assume her identity, and lay in wait for Little Red Riding Hood. Subtext to girls: stay on the path OR ELSE. Ultimately, we are taught that EVEN grandma’s house isn’t safe if the rules aren’t followed.

HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT RELATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK?

Although Near Grandmother’s House uncharacteristically includes the human form, I remain true to the process and content of my recent work in many ways. For example, this piece is a “matched set” of two and three-dimensional work, which is an idea I have been exploring lately. I am intrigued by the ideas attraction/repulsion, decadence, over-indulgence, and foreboding. While this piece is not overtly ominous, it does possess a sickly-sweet characteristic that is simultaneously alluring and menacing. Historical references are common in my work. The two-dimensional image reflects portraits of women in which they are “caught” staring directly out from the canvas, making eye contact with the viewer and unknowingly challenging their traditional position in art as object. The inclusion of a dead bird in the two-dimensional work serves as homage to my love of historical still life and as a connection to my “normal” subject matter of dead animals displayed a la Spanish/Dutch still life. The three-dimensional piece references an object that might be found on display in a Baroque apothecary or life-sized cabinet of curiosity—the Big Bad Wolf is subdued on a pedestal and displayed to be gawked at. I wanted the sculpture to be furniture-like and, when paired with the two-dimensional piece, to reference how historical decorative artifacts would be displayed in a museum.

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

I decided early in the process to create a traditional self-portrait with Historical references. I began by sorting through photographs of myself until I found one that had the perfect pose, including a hand gesture reminiscent of those seen in many historical portraits. Because I am constantly framing things in terms of myths and fairytales, I immediately thought of Little Red Riding Hood (the source photograph was taken about forty miles from my grandmother’s house and I was wearing a hoodie). Next, I created a gesture drawing of the source photo and projected that onto my canvas. As with most of my work, I relied on methods that referenced “women’s work.” I embroidered the image and layered strips of scrapbook paper with poured plastic, puffy paint dots, glitter, and push pins. After completing the two-dimensional work, I realized that I was simultaneously working on a wolf sculpture. It became clear that they belonged together and were indeed one piece. I created the sculpture in typical fashion, layering colored foam with insulation board to create cake-like layers. I placed an injured looking wolf taxidermy form on top to serve as the “topper” and then decorated the “cake” with artificial flowers, push pins, and AstroTurf. 38


Near Grandmother’s House, 2013, embroidery thread, puffy paint, scrapbook paper, glitter, collage, poured plastic on canvas, taxidermy form, foam, push pins, artificial flowers, 2-D: 54 inch diameter, 3-D: 54 inch round base, loan courtesy of the artist and Avis Frank Gallery, Houston, Texas

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Xiaoze Xie XIAOZE XIE Born: 1966, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China Currently lives in Palo Alto, California Education: 1996 Master of Fine Arts, Painting and Drawing, School of Visual Arts, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 1991 Master of Arts, Mural Painting, Central Academy of Arts and Design, Beijing, China 1988 Bachelor of Architecture, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT? HOW DOES THIS SELF-PORTRAIT RELATE TO YOUR CURRENT BODY OF WORK? DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF CREATING YOUR SELF-PORTRAIT.

Facebook, the popular social platform, is a kind of canvas on which one paints a self-portrait today. With interactivity and instantaneity, it is at once earnest and playful, intimate and distant, revealing and concealing, all on the neutral grey of the computer screen framed by the metallic surface. “Self-portrait: Facebook” is a painting on aluminum panel based on a screen shot of my Facebook page. The snapshot was taken under the high-voltage power-lines in the Song Zhuang district of Beijing, an eastern suburb where artists set up their studios removed from commercially desirable areas. The background image from my Facebook page is a wall of books made for my video installation “Transience” in 2010. To me these books stand in for history and knowledge. Chinese characters of my name overlap and partially obscure the English spelling, while the words “Between Two Worlds” hint at my life in constant negotiation and struggle between different countries and cultures, between the intellectual world and social realities.

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Self-portrait: Facebook, 2013, oil on aluminum panel, 12 ½ x 19 5/8 x 2 inches, loan courtesy of the artist

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Mirrored and Obscured

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Exhibition Checklist ADEL A ANDEA

Hyperion 2012 cold cathode fluorescent lights, computer power source, LED computer fans, flex neon, plexiglass, various plastics 96 x 36 x 36 inches loan courtesy of the artist and Anya Tish Gallery, Houston, Texas

DEBRA BARRERA

Parties on Earth 2013 bags, glitter, confetti, streamers 65 x 24 x 18 inches loan courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas

MICHAEL BISE

Sleeping Man 2012 graphite on paper 14 ½ x 19 ¼ inches loan courtesy of a private collection, Houston, Texas

JAMES DRAKE

Birds of Paquime (New World Dispensation) 2003-2005 charcoal on paper with collage and tape suite of 13, 24 x 14 1/2 inches Individual titles: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Manuel with Paper Hat The Pig’s Spittle Self-Portrait in Guatemala Death Mask of Brunelleschi The Tattoo of La Malinche Vincent Good Luck Freddy Carl Dancing in the Louvre Delacroix and Géricault with Beto Juárez The Demon’s Jewelry The Demon’s Lawyer Lisa (Sueños)

loan courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas images courtesy of Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas photo credit artwork: Tom Dubrock photo credit portrait: Colleen Drake, originally printed in James Drake, published by the University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas, 2008

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SHARON KOPRIVA

Time Traveling 2013 pastel, photo, mixed media 26 x 40 inches loan courtesy of the artist When the Crows Come Home 2013 papier-mâché, steel, mixed media 84 x 48 x 24 inches loan courtesy of the artist

L AURA L ARK

Top Depart! (Powder) 2004 ink on Tyvek 96 x 72 inches loan courtesy of the artist and Devin Borden Gallery, Houston, Texas photo credit artwork: Britt Ragsdale

L AWRENCE LEE

We are those who ever fly at night… 2011 graphite and ink on paper 30 x 29 7/8 inches loan courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas and Barry Whistler Gallery, Dallas, Texas

MARY MCCLEARY

Allegory of the Senses 2002 mixed media collage on paper 48 x 72 7/8 inches loan courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas

SHERRY OWENS

Twirling Like a Seed in the Wind 2013 bronze, crepe myrtle, dye, wax 75 x 25 x 24 inches loan courtesy of the artist photo credit portrait and artwork: Harrison Evans


SAM REVELES

North III 2013 oil and acrylic on canvas 64 x 107 1/2 inches loan courtesy of the artist and Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, Texas image courtesy of Talley Dunn Gallery photo credit artwork: Kevin Todora photo credit portrait: Heyd Fontenot

SHAUN ROBERTS

Come And Take It 2013 oil on canvas 24 x 24 inches loan courtesy of the artist

RUST Y SCRUBY

Self Portrait, 2011 2011 photographic reconstruction 53 x 76 inches loan courtesy of the artist and Cris Worley Fine Arts, Dallas, Texas

GAEL STACK

Forty-one Songs #31 (for Adrian) 2010 ink, graphite, oil, colored pencil on vellum 10 7/8 x 8 ½ inches courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas photo credit portrait: Christopher Minor, originally printed in Gael Stack, published by the University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas, 2011

KATHY VARGAS

The Living Move 1995 hand-colored gelatin silver print 20 x 16 inches loan courtesy of the artist photo credit portrait: April Taylor

JONATHAN WHITFILL

Angle of Incidence 2013 digital print 25 x 36 inches loan courtesy of the artist

ANN WOOD

Near Grandmother’s House 2013 embroidery thread, puffy paint, scrapbook paper, glitter, collage, poured plastic on canvas, taxidermy form, foam, push pins, artificial flowers 2-D: 54 inch diameter, 3-D: 54 inch round base loan courtesy of the artist and Avis Frank Gallery, Houston, Texas photo credit artwork: Larry Horn photo credit portrait: Ian Kasnoff

XIAOZE XIE

Self-portrait: Facebook 2013 oil on aluminum panel 12 ½ x 19 5/8 x 2 inches loan courtesy of the artist

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5 0 0 M a in S t r eet , Bea u m o n t , TX 7 7 7 01 ( 4 0 9 ) 8 3 2 -3 4 3 2 w w w.a m s et .o r g


500 M ai n Street, Beau m o nt , T X 7 7 7 01 (409) 832- 3432 w w w. a m s e t . o r g

Mirrored and Obscured  
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