Light from Water: Heidi Howard & Esteban Cabeza de Baca, with Liz Phillips
August 19 – November 26, 2023
Glyndor Gallery at Wave Hill
Light from Water presents new works by Heidi Howard and Esteban Cabeza de Baca that share a deep-seated connection with the natural world. Featured in the exhibition are collaborative works by both artists, as well as Cabeza de Baca’s layered landscape paintings, Howard’s portraits that incorporate plant life and natural settings and a Wavetable sculpture by sound-art pioneer Liz Phillips. Inspired by the views and vegetation of the Aquatic Garden, several works on display were created at Wave Hill this summer. The spirit of collaboration is integral to the work of the artists in Light from Water, acknowledging the greater communities within which they feel a sense of belonging. Howard’s portraits are informed by dialogue with family members and loved ones, and their installations and self-portraits show a holistic embrace of our environmental surroundings. Cabeza de Baca’s scenic paintings and sculptures portray the land itself as kin or ancestor, influenced by Indigenous views and cultural ways of knowing.
Of Indigenous Chicano ancestry, Cabeza de Baca was raised in California near the Mexico border, while Howard, the child of two artists (Phillips is Howard’s mother), was born and raised in New York City. Currently, Howard and Cabeza de Baca live and work together in Long Island City, Queens. Their individual art practices retain distinct approaches and styles; however, they have spent most of their time painting together since meeting in 2012 as graduate students in Columbia University’s MFA program. In the last two to three years, they have also been making collaborative work together as they have gradually influenced each other’s creative practices. Howard has incorporated plein air, or outdoor observational painting, in their work, and Cabeza de Baca has introduced more figurative elements into his landscape views and sculptural work. As the exhibition title suggests, Light from Water contemplates reflection and refraction, seeing in and through, while casting back. This exhibition asks us to reimagine our relationship to nature—to see ourselves as part of, rather than separate from, the living and non-living elements in the world’s collective ecosystem.
Light From Water is organized by Gabriel de Guzman, Director of Arts and Chief Curator, with Rachel Raphaela Gugelberger, Curator of Visual Arts.
October Vogue https://www.vogue.com/article/plein-air-pandemic-painting
drawn: concept & craft
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art September 2020 - January 2021
SECCA proudly presents DRAWN: Concept & Craft, an expansive exhibition featuring more than 200 works by a wide array of artists including LeRoy Neiman, Kara Walker, Fab 5 Freddy, Kiki Smith, Kambui Olujimi and Buckminster Fuller. DRAWN brings together the diverse works of over 60 artists from around the world in an exhibition that provides a rare, revealing look into the creative process and artists’ unique relationship with the art of drawing.
DRAWN is curated by project founder TOMAS VU and SECCA Curator WENDY EARLE with the assistance of BRIAN NOVATNY.
Forgotten Sketchbooks Ask Fascinating Questions
The concept of DRAWN began with the discovery of several sketchbooks that no one knew existed, excavated from the late LeRoy Neiman’s New York studio after the artist’s passing. The stark difference between the drawings covering the pages of a sketchbook compared to the characteristically jocular and proud imagery of Neiman’s paintings is jarring. In these sketchbooks, gone are the bright and impressionistic illustrations of celebratory moments. Instead, we find weighty depictions of struggle and pain in the visages of Malcolm X, Cassius Clay and James Baldwin, revealing a completely diverging, hidden side of the famed artist.
This discovery led Tomas Vu, founder of DRAWN, to then ask, "how many more of these kinds of artists sketchbooks are out there? And, where does the artistic mind go in the absence of outside pressures, expectations, and interpretation?"
DRAWN expands the very idea of drawing. What began with the beautiful simplicity of two-dimensional works has now evolved to include animation, video projection, sculpture, collage, and cut-paper. “Every work of art in this exhibition is the artist’s direct or indirect answer to the question of ‘What does drawing mean to you?’” says SECCA Curator Wendy Earle. “For some it’s about process, for others it’s about form. Some artists are additive, and some are subtractive.”
While the works seen in DRAWN may have moved beyond the intimacy of hidden sketchbooks, a common thread is apparent between past and present exhibition iterations. DRAWN brings into focus the inescapable moment of putting pen to paper, literal or figurative, whether for a casual sketch or the beginning of something larger.
Drawn to the South
Since its inception in 2014, DRAWN has engaged audiences in galleries and museums around the world, from Beijing and Dali City to the Philippines and Serbia. The exhibition is unique in that each presenting institution curates local artists to present their work alongside the existing collection. What once started with a handful of artists has grown into a robust collection of more than 60 artists and 200 works.
“The history of Black Mountain College in North Carolina really drew me to the idea of exhibiting this show with the community at SECCA,” says Tomas Vu. “One of my favorite artists in this show, Buckminister Fuller, emerged from combining craft and conceptual art in a way that speaks to the mission of Black Mountain and the work of the local artists in the show.”
DRAWN: Concept & Craft ARTIST LIST:
Ghada Amer & Reza Farkondeh
Esteban Cabeza de Baca
Fab Five Freddy
Leigh Ann Hallberg
Trenton Doyle Hancock
Ali Van & Wang Xu