Posts

Going Public

Art patrons often open their homes to the public. Frequently, they even build museums to house their bountiful and historically relevant collections. Such famous collections include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (opened in 1903), The Frick Collection in New York (opened in 1931), and of course, the Menil Collection in Houston (opened in 1987). In recent years, more collectors, including some in Texas, have taken to displaying their collections publicly, and as contemporary collections continue to grow in size and scale, exhibitors’ need for more space is providing the public with unexpected opportunities to see and experience art.…

‘Soft Walls’

While textiles and fiber materials are at the heart of Akiko Kotani's practice, inspiration for her latest installation first arose from noticing interlaced steel walls. These walls pushed the artist to think about the juxtaposition of the fluid appearance of the steel with the inherent strength of the material. This idea exerts a major influence on "Soft Walls," a large-scale installation consisting of two walls draped with over 150 sf of crocheted plastic bags. The artwork is on view at the Women & Their Work Art Gallery in Central Austin until August 29.  Working with a minimalist palette — an approach used consistently throughout her long career — Kotani…

Soto: The Houston Penetrable

The first question I ask myself when walking into (and I mean into) Jesús Rafael Soto’s "Houston Penetrable" is, “What would Mies think?” Granted, I ask myself that a lot, having spent a good deal trying to think as Mies van der Rohe did; however, in this case, with the work installed inside Cullinan Hall, the van der Rohe-designed addition to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Caroline Wiess Law Building, the question truly makes sense. It is necessary to walk through the work, experiencing the piece from all angles. The PVC tubes gather around your body, tangling up and hanging onto you…

Plastic Effects

While advances in digital technology have made many designs look sleeker, there is a continued desire to move “off the screen.” With this in mind, the marriage of materials with production has come to the forefront of design. For many architects, including Austin-based Igor Siddiqui, materials are capable of great transformation and should be considered early in the stages of the design process. Siddiqui, an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and principal of ISSSStudio, is drawn to specific materials, such as rubber and bioplastics, that are flexible, pliable, and allow themselves to be…

Seher Shah’s “Constructed Landscapes”

Artist Seher Shah (b. 1975, Pakistan) discusses the intersection of architecture and drawing in her work. With degrees in art and architecture, Shah’s areas of interest include overlapping historical and geographical elements, reconstructing modernist architecture and urban monuments, and examining futurist landscapes. Austin's AMOA-Arthouse (now The Contemporary Austin) presented Shah’s first solo exhibition, “Constructed Landscapes,” earlier this spring. You attended the Rhode Island School of Design for both visual art and architecture. How do your overlapping degrees translate into your work? I am interested in the effects of rendering a space and how various mapping constructions can be represented through architecture,…