PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston March 2021

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22 ART NOTES O n Our Radar: In keeping with our monthly focus on a singular art space, w e h i g h l i g h t C o m m u n i t y A r t i s t s ' Collective, co-envisioned by long- standing executive director Michelle Barnes and Dr. Sarah Trotty of TSU in 1985. Officially chartered in 1987, CAC began its bold exhibition program that year, spotlighting Black artists, then rarely shown in museums, nonprofits, or galleries nationally or in Texas. Flash forward four decades, and this art space in Bermac Arts, 4101 San Jacinto Street, is a must-stop for a prescient dialogue about being Black in America. This month, one of Houston's own, HSPVA grad Ricardo Osmondo Francis, returns to showcase his paintings that respond to the historic year that just passed. For the show entitled "2020", curated by Miles Payne, Francis — a curator, activist, and gallery director at Leonides Arts, NYC, one of this show's sponsors — creates expressionistic canvases that are humanistic and haunting. Inspired by Roman poet Ovid's Metamorphoses, Francis crafts work that is both specific to our time and elegiac: depicting George Floyd and his family, a nurse on the front lines of COVID, and an ambitious banquet scene featuring a former political leader that reads as a cautionary meditation on greed and vanitas. There's lush, lyrical painting at play here, as well as elements of surrealism and collage. Ultimately, Francis leads us towards the beautiful light of redemption. Through March 27, Catherine D. Anspon Ricardo Osmondo Francis with his canvas 8.46,2020, at Community Artists' Collective COURTESY THE ARTIST AND LEONIDES ARTS, NEW YORK; PHOTO JEAN SONDERAND, ARCHIVE CULTURE A t press time, news reached us that curator, patron, and the ultimate a d v o c a t e f o r Texas art and artists — the inimitable Clint Willour — had passed away from cancer. Approaching 80, the greatly beloved glue of the Houston art world made his mark at the Galveston Arts Center where, for more than a quarter century, he curated some 460 exhibitions and set 4,000 Texas artists on their path. Then there was Clint the collector, who acquired seminal works often early on in an artist's career, gifting 1,300 acquisitions to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as well as 2,500 volumes to the MFAH Hirsch Library. Those two roles, however, cannot describe Clint's outsized influence: He paid attention, did thousands of studio visits, served on boards and committees, juried countless nonprofit and open- call exhibitions, spoke on panels, contributed essays, and led gallery walk-throughs, ferreting out insights that artists revealed under his patient guidance. The intuitive Willour was always the first through the door at an exhibition (clad in his signature Hawaiian shirt) and made it his calling to see every show in town. He was observant, often wry, and indefatigable. We'll always think of Clint with his best friends, gallerist Betty Moody and founding MFAH photo curator Anne Wilkes Tucker — a triumvirate that has enriched our art world and made Houston's scene the queen of the state. Fortunately, Clint was fêted and acknowledged in his lifetime, honored by Art League Houston as Texas Patron of the Year (2006) and, most recently, by Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (2019) at their annual luncheon, fittingly chaired by Moody and Tucker. As artist Prince Varughese Thomas said on his Instagram: "All art curators and museum directors should look at his example and strive to be as active, as humane, and loving as he was to us all in the arts." Catherine D. Anspon CHAMPION OF TEXAS ART SAYING FAREWELL TO A COURTESY THE ARTIST Left: Sarah Fisher's Clint, 2018

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