Color Field, On view October 2020 to May 2021
University of Houston
From Wilhelmina’s Grove (alongside Cullen Boulevard), Color Field winds through the UH Arts District to areas surrounding the Ezekiel W. Cullen Building, Butler Plaza and Lynn Eusan Park off of University Drive.
Color Field provides opportunities to question our perceptions while thinking about the impact color has on our lives. Featuring large-scale sculptures by six contemporary artists, this free exhibition is displayed throughout the University of Houston’s park-like campus. Sarah Braman (b. 1970), Jeffie Brewer (b. 1971), Odili Donald Odita (b. 1966), Sam Falls (b. 1984), Spencer Finch (b. 1962), and TYPOE (b. 1983) draw inspiration from Color Field painting, which is a form of abstraction that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s relying heavily on color and flat surfaces devoid of representation.. Artists associated with this art movement, such as Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis and Sam Gilliam, poured, sprayed or applied paint with rags and sponges to create clouds of color that seemingly float on the surface of the canvas. As early as 1968, Gilliam also created sculptural works by taking his paintings off their stretchers and draping them freely from the wall. The artists presented in this exhibition further extend the Modernist notion of Color Field beyond the flat pictorial field of the canvas, expanding it into the real space that a viewer occupies.
TYPOE and Brewer’s whimsical metal sculptures with simple contours show cheeky, critical reverence for modern pop culture. Fall’s Wind Chimes and Untitled (Maze) are interactive sculptures; the Untitled (Maze) will appear different over the course of the day, as some panels coated with light-sensitive paints respond to the effects of changing weather. Likewise, as light falls through the windows filled with colored glasses, Braman’s Here, created from a concrete drainage pipe, kaleidoscopic patterns of color across its interior are revealed. In Odita’s Negative Space the red, white and blues of the American flag work together with complimentary colors to both enhance and contrast each other. Lastly, Finch’s Back to Kansas sets gridded squares of color, as if a billboard or the towering screen of a drive-in movie theater. Its title alludes to the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, which begins in Kansas in old-fashioned black and white and then shifts to glowing color when Dorothy arrives in the Land of Oz. An auditory sensory soundscape by Amos Cochran (b. 1984) complements the artworks.
Color Field is the first curated exhibition of outdoor sculpture presented at UH and Public Art UHS’s second project in its Temporary Public Art Program. The exhibition is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas for Public Art UHS.
The Houston presentation of the exhibition is generously supported by The Brown Foundation, Inc.
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