Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Clorox Bottles: Play of Light and Shadow

For three weeks I've been working with June Woest and her classes at Houston Community College on the Clorox bottle chandelier. It's been a really pleasant experience working with the students. They've been intent and on task and some of the patterns they carved into the Clorox bottles are whimsical and sophisticated.

I certainly wouldn't have thought of all the permutations that resulted from this collaboration. We talked one on one about the process of making decisions and how one cut out can lead to others - or a change of course. We discussed making random patterns or focusing on repetitive clusters, which can look random. We talked about how to salvage a pattern gone awry just by adding a little here and a little there. Suddenly the design or pattern is coherent. we showed how more and more hole punched dots can unify disparate elements.

See what these students are doing.

As they finished, we strung a few Clorox bottles from the table cloths that Sonya Gonzalez sent me months ago. I am learning that there will be many variations as these bottles begin to hang on these soft rope-like rolled up table cloths. I am thinking about adding real clothesline rope and clothes pins to the mix. How will all of that fit together?

On another note, June herself is working on an exhibition that opens within weeks. She just emailed me a press release about the work and the artists who are part of the project. I wish I had a photo to include here. June collected hundreds, if not thousands, of prescription bottles and is uisng the bottles to create a grove of 'bamboo' stalks. From a distance, they may look like tall and mysterious plants. And then you discover that each stalk is constructed of pill bottles. How many pills do folks imbibe, anyway? What's the fateful message?

Here's what June writes:
Houston, TX - March 9, 2009 The outdoor art exhibition Human Nature
Planted in Russ Pitman Park will explore the human handprint in the
natural world and how it positively and negatively influences our
environment. Russ Pitman Park is located at 7112 Newcastle, Bellaire,
TX, and the exhibition runs from April 4, through May 2, 2009.

The 4-acre park is a nature conservancy and has a pocket prairie of
early Texas coastal plants, a bog, and walking trails. Like people,
the mixture of native and non-native plants in Russ Pitman Park have
learned to manage their natural habitat and negotiate reserves such as
nutrients in the soil, rainfall for root stimulation, and sun and
shade for natural air conditioning. Twelve Texas artists will install
their sculptural installations while considering growth patterns of
urban flora to generate their own creations. They will introduce man-
made materials into the garden to show the beneficial or destructive
forces at play when competing for natural resources.

Participating artists are Amie Adelman, Andis Applewhite, Lucinda
Cobley, Michael Crowder, Nathaniel Donnett, Orna Feinstein, Kathy
Hall, Keith Hollingsworth, Kathy Kelley, Jason Dean Moul, Mari Omori,
and June Woest. Each artist has experience investigating the
relationship between human behavior, human health, and the
environment. Their mixed-media sculptures will be site specific and
will ponder how humans assimilate and possibly dominate plant habitats.

June Woest, founder of Urban Artists studio, and assistant Claudia
Franco are coordinating the park exhibition in conjunction with the
Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire. One of the missions of Urban
Artists is to create sculpture that is community aware and
environmentally conscious. They work cooperatively with communities
via exhibition, research, and collaboration.

Meet the artists at the opening reception in Russ Pitman Park, free to
the public from 5-7 pm, on Saturday, April 4, 2009. Park hours are 8
am - 9 pm every day. The show ends Saturday, May 2, 2009.

There's plenty of art being made in Houston. 'Second Seating' and the sculptural installations in a natural outdoor setting are but two.

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