Monday, July 27, 2009

Box 13 Bullet Points

Box 13 is a storefront artspace with studios. Located on Harrisburg near the corner of Wayside, it seems physically far from the Houston art world (the Frenetic Theater is relatively close by, though). Harrisburg is lively and urban, but decidedly working class and Mexican-American. I wonder what Box 13's neighbors think about them.

Box 13 exterior

So when I heard they were displaying a Stephanie Toppin painting, I went to check it out. I liked her work in $timulus.

Stephanie Tobbin piece
Oneself by Oneself, Stephanie Toppin, 2009
  • The piece is huge.
  • Evidently, the piece at Diverse Works and this one are part of a single larger piece.
Stephanie Tobbin detail 3
Oneself by Oneself detail, Stephanie Toppin, 2009
  • The bigger piece is a "self-portrait" in the form of a timeline.
  • It might be better to call it a "memoir".
  • But of course, no one would be able to figure out the subject of this large abstract work by looking at it.
Stephanie Tobbin detail 2
Oneself by Oneself detail, Stephanie Toppin, 2009
  • Instead, one sees a brightly colored abstraction that rewards close looks.
Stephanie Tobbin detail 1
Oneself by Oneself detail, Stephanie Toppin, 2009
  • Her handling of paint and colors remind me of early Melissa Miller.
  • I love this work.
picket fence
Black and White Picket Fence, Emily Sloan, 2009

  • Emily Sloan had three pieces that I thought were cool.
  • The show was somewhat lacking in identifying labels, so I don't know what they were called.
  • One could call them "Picket Fence," "G Cone," and "Castors" I guess.
  • Update: I have titles for her pieces, as you can see beneath the photos.
yellow & black piece
Traveling Bauhaus R, Emily Sloan, 2009

  • These sculptural works kind of belong to the category of works that can be described thus:
  • No Artistic Talent Was Required to Make Them
  • But They Are So Intriguing and Visually Interesting, They Must Be Art
G and cone
Turf, Emily Sloan, 2009

  • This is not meant as an insult.
  • After all, Duchamp proved that this approach could be art back in 1913.
  • It becomes incumbent on the viewer, aided by contextual clues, to decide what is art.
  • Postmodernism contended that this was always true.
  • See for example 'La Mort de l'auteur'* by Roland Barthes.
  • And in my eyes, Emily Sloan's work is cool.
bufaloes from below
Stampede, Kia Niell, 2009

  • I guess the same could be said about the flying buffaloes of Kia Niell
buffaloes from above
Stampede, Kia Niell, 2009

  • I liked how the shape of the piece changed as you walked up the stairs.
styrofoam tower
from "Zen and the Indulgence of Environmental Destruction," Anthony Day, 2009

  • The notion of building things out of the interesting "negative" shapes of styrofoam packing material is not a bad one.
  • But with the weak coloring (stryrofoam is notoriously hard to paint) and scattershot approach, Anthony Day's totems have little impact.
Box 13 back area
back yard of Box 13

  • Remember Kathy Kelly? I think Box 13's back yard might be her studio.
  • All in all. Box 13 is one hell of an art space. I'm embarrassed that I had never heard of it before this weekend.

*That's French.

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