Spider Women: A Tribute to Louise Bourgeois

Although I missed posting this for the opening, Darke Gallery is showing a selection of the work from Spider Women: a Tribute to Louise Bourgeois in the upstairs gallery until November 6th. See the press release below and thank you to everyone who came to the opening. It was a great night!

Distillation I, II Mixed Media, 2010

DARKE | gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Spider Women: a Tribute to Louise Bourgeois, a group exhibition of Houston artists Dixie Friend Gay, Tara Conley, Rebea Ballin, Kia Neill, Debra Barrera and Anne J. Regan. An opening reception for the artists will be held on Friday, September 10, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. The exhibition continues through October 6, 2010.

French-American artist Louise Bourgeois passed away last May at the age of 98. Listed as one of the 25 Most Influential Artists of the 20th century by Art News, Bourgeois was perhaps best known for her spider structures, titled Maman, which resulted in her being nicknamed the Spiderwoman. Although wholly autobiographical, for decades her work has ignited the imaginations of younger artists. The six women featured in this exhibition all feel a strong personal connection to Bourgeois’ work.
Artist Rabea Ballin says, “I am most connected to Louise Bourgeois’ ongoing exploration of personal memories, the female body, and identity. I am an avid collector, I prompt questions about female experience through my exploration of specific hairstyles, and I think of them as sculptures. Her early drawings and pioneering of organic form, discovery of self, and personal memorabilia is what I hope to capture”.

Also exhibiting for the first time, Kia Neill is interested in how domestic craftwork can evoke escape through preoccupation and how the crafted object functions as an artifact for sentiment and gesture. The repetitive procedure of activities such as knitting, quilting, embroidery, etc, paired with a partial level of concentration such monotonous processes require, can induce a form of meditation. Drawing from craft processes, home décor and the ritual of collecting natural relics and kitsch items, Neill aims to give surreal form to cultural desires and anxieties, while signifying an evolving mutated interpretation of nature.

Tara Conley states, “I’ve had an affinity and connection with both the forms and significant emotion that make her work what it is. Nothing seemed to stop her from expression, she allowed materials to expand her work, not hold her back. I was honored to have my “Bronze Bunny” placed in the Lafayette Square by the Sculpture for New Orleans project. And I am always pleased to have people remark on the connection they see in our work.”

Dixie Friend Gay has focused on public-art projects and museum exhibitions since 1998. Her work explores the mystery and power of nature. Her art has been featured in galleries and museums including the Bronx Museum, Allan Stone Gallery, and COFA Gallery in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis. Her focus on public art projects includes a 25 foot tall metal spider entitled “Arachnophilia”, which straddles a hike and bike trail in Austin, Texas. Spider Women will feature Gay’s paintings, drawings and sculpture, including works never before seen.

Gallery favorites and new Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Houston, Debra Barrera and Anne Regan, return to exhibit new bodies of work.

Now in its fourth year, the newly enlarged DARKE | gallery exhibits contemporary art of the finest quality, with a focus on emerging and established artists with Texas ties. Located at 320 B Detering @ Feagan, the gallery is open noon to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment. For more information call 713-542-3802 or visit www.darkegallery.com.