PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity October 2023 Houston

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E xactly a dozen years ago we covered the arrival of Front gallery on the scene, its name taken from the intimate domestic space it inhabits in the front room of a Montrose bungalow. Front occupies a unique place in Houston's eco-system in the tradition of artist-run galleries. It's owned by Sharon Engelstein, who resides there with her husband, artist Aaron Parazette (whose day job is UH painting professor), and daughter Joy, a college freshman. Through December 2021, Engelstein had curated 50 shows at Front, mixing nationals such as Whitney-exhibited Californian Kim Dingle with significant members of the Houston talent pool including Chris Cascio, Sarah Fisher, Melinda Laszczynski, and JooYoung Choi. Then the gallerist took a pandemic break. Now Front returns, presenting Houston sculptor Garrett Griffin's "Relics," an idiosyncratic take of the artist's Arizona childhood filtered through memories of desert terrain (through October 15). Commerce Street Artists Warehouse veteran Jason Villegas — recently on view at L.A. legend La Luz de Jesus Gallery — returns from San Francisco. His performative mixed-media solo "Don't Stop Me Now" is informed by drag culture and the desire to "share my queer voice and speak with honesty, humility, and humor" (opening Saturday, October 21, 6 to 8 pm; through November 18). 1412 Bonnie Brae, Catherine D. Anspon Bungalow Revival: Front Returns Beyond Collector Alert Collage King at Koelsch JENNY ANTILL CLIFTON 66 Sharon Engelstein with Jason Villegas' Take It Easy, 2023, at Front gallery H ouston-based Karen Navarro, an internationally exhibited artist represented by Foto Relevance, departs from her usual photographic medium with a series that speaks to her roots. The Argentine-born talent recently traced her paternal ancestry to the Mapuche people. Inspired by this discovery, Navarro has embarked on a multi-year quest to photograph Indigenous people of her homeland. She plans to exhibit the completed portraits as a public-art project taking over the streets of Buenos Aires. The new text-based series, entitled "Indigenous and Beautiful" and "Indigenous and Proud," funds this endeavor. Featured artworks (in a limited edition of three) are formed from typical textiles worn by Indigenous people, alongside the talismanic materials of obsidian stone and coins. Navarro says, "These works are affirmations that remind me of my power and strength. Reconnecting with that part of my identity, for me, is a profound act of resilience, resistance, and reclamation." To be released on Indigenous People's Day, Monday, October 9; $500 each, $4,000 for set of eight; through the artist's studio, @karennavarroph, Catherine D. Anspon F all brings Lance Letscher's first show in Houston in more than a decade. This month, local art seekers are rewarded with the internationally exhibited talent's high voltage take on the retro but rediscovered art of collage. Koelsch Gallery presents "Mind's Eye," a solo that underscores the Austin-based artist's timeless dialogue with all manner of ephemera. Despite a field crowded with practitioners of the centuries- old artform, Letscher's interpretation of the medium possesses a jolt of energy informed by his intuitive and wry way of looking at the past. Before seeing the Koelsch show, check out his 2017 feature-length documentary, The Secret Life of Lance Letscher. Through October 28; artist talk Saturday, October 7, 4 pm; Catherine D. Anspon Karen Navarro's Indigenous and Proud (pink), 2023 Lance Letscher's Three Links, 2023, at Koelsch Gallery

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