Installation at McColl Center

Versions of Loose Ends, Soft Targets, and Wavelet at McColl Center for Art + Innovation this summer through August 24th.

While there wasn’t a lot of down time outside of installing, finally noticing Jung’s, right across the street from the Center, gave me a small thrill. So did pretending I was moving to town with nothing but my suitcase and a sewing machine.

Forever grateful to everyone else who captures shots and shares them. Other artists in this show, curated by Marisa Pascucci, are John W. Love Jr. and Hollis Hammonds, shown here looking casual.


My last project of the year was an on-site installation of a series of custom wall sculptures for the soon-to-open AC Hotel in Los Angeles. These abstract, dimensional pieces belong to a family of other work made of laser-cut plywood offcuts and display some different curling and forms. Setting up for a day by the entrance meant that the installation was the focal point of everyone going in and out of the building, and elicited all the typical curiosity and words of encouragement reserved for a woman on an 8-foot ladder with nails in her mouth.

commission from    Kevin Barry Fine Art

commission from Kevin Barry Fine Art

While I was only in town for a moment, other highlights included finally getting to meet Olivia Ciummo’s recent human creation and having an afternoon visit to Hauser & Wirth with Betsy Seder. A Zoe Leonard photo show was one of the exhibitions on display, which was a treat to get to see and chew on with a photographer before dashing through the classic southern California sunshine back to the airport. In more ways than one, I spent this solstice above the clouds.


This week I deinstalled my temporary contribution to this year’s Heights Boulevard Sculpture Project, a chore that I estimated would take a couple of hours. I was so convinced of the ease and promptness of the task, that I didn’t even bring a bottle of water. Going to find a restroom will just slow me down, I thought.

Nine hours later, with night falling, and three trips to the neighborhood CVS behind me, I would have laughed at my hubris, had my entire body not been throbbing in pain from crouching over in the median all day.


Earlier that morning, when my spirits were still high and I was able to smile at the cluster of walkers who lamented my position and posture, I’d reveled in noticing fungi implanted on and among the plastic pieces. A good portion of the work was also totally invisible under a layer of fallen leaves when I began and I was disturbing a plentiful population of worms, ants, and grubs in the removal process.


So I reached out to an artist friend, admittedly first with mushroom identification questions, and subsequently out of concern that my art project had inadvertently damaged to this small piece of ecosystem. This irony that would have stung, considering all the noise I make about my practice being reverential to the environment. Falon assured me that I was merely aerating the soil, and as a licensed landscape architect, I do trust that she was not just trying to make me feel better.


If I learned anything from the experience, besides the confirmation that it’s better safe than sorry on the mushroom tip, it’s that it never hurts to bring a refreshment. I also feel pretty sure that I never need to do anything like this again. And by that I mean place thousands of individual things somewhere that I later have to remove. For anyone else, this would not be much of a proclamation. Since I’ve spent much of the last decade building an art practice that more or less follows this formula, however, it feels big. And I’m as curious as you are to see what that means visually and physically for forthcoming projects…


WhileI knew that the opening would be in the evening, I was nevertheless surprised and extremely delighted to be able to introduce this piece to people at night. Though it was not obvious to me when I was putting it together in the studio, finalizing the work in the garden made me feel at certain, transcendent moments like I had made something dark and a bit ominous that was capable of piercing the sky. Even though most of the time I see rolled film tubes arranged in a tiered, circular cluster, the fleeting moments where I’m able to become aware of something beyond the material are the ones I treasure.

images © Alex Barber courtesy of Art League Houston

images © Alex Barber courtesy of Art League Houston

Upcycled plastic installation on view for the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series

A section of my much larger installation work, Loose Ends, is on view through Saturday, October 13th at the Houston Museum for African American Culture in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series—which I never would have known about had The Jealous Curator (aka Danielle Krysa) not given it a shout out at some point last summer on her highly informative Instagram account, @thejealouscurator. It never ceases to amaze me how much comes into our lives through random internet browsing: from the impulse purchase; hometown exhibition opportunity; or new, real life friend.


While installing the work, the HMAAC exhibitions manager (and ultimate competition winner!) Dominic Clay asked me what this work was about. I told him that I always feel compelled to make the random pieces of material I collect connect, my way of making sense of all of the stray things I bring into the studio.

Someone else I talked to about the piece didn’t realize that, in fact, I’d made each and every one of the component shapes out of single plastic widgets, thousands of discarded plastic garment display hooks sourced from the Reuse Warehouse.


So allow me to elaborate here: this is what each of the some 3,000 pieces looked like when I found them!