Vincent Valdez, “The City II,” 2016
Launching this Thursday, the Texas Contemporary Art Fair opens its doors at the George R. Brown Convention center for their sixth year. Transforming the hall of the convention center into a modern art platform, the fair features Texas-based galleries along with galleries from around the world. Those from our creative city include Inman Gallery, Barbara Davis Gallery, Moody Gallery, Art Palace, Zoya Tommy Contemporary, Gallery Sonja Roech, Devin Borden Gallery, and McClain Gallery.
In addition to the general visual fare, the Texas Contemporary is featuring special collaborations and presentations including a collaborative performance taking place opening night between Houston Ballet’s Oliver Halkowich and artist Chris Doyle represented by Catharine Clark Gallery. The art of language will also be on display, as Inprint will present Poetry Buskers, an installation offering an interactive and responsive poetry session.
One of Houston’s newest galleries at the fair is David Shelton Gallery. Cross-pollinating themes of both the social and cultural nature, owner and visionary David Shelton is known for presenting work that is both fierce in content and momentous in technique. His booth will contain an array of work from previous and present exhibitions along with other pieces in step with the gallery’s mission.
The gallery’s work at the fair includes Houston-based artist Vincent Valdez, whose work has caused the bevy of conversations based on the content featuring the Ku Klux Klan painted in a haunting and chilling hyperrealism fashion. Shelton spoke about his plans for the fair along with the waves his participation will create for the gallery along with the Houston arts community.
Free Press Houston: What was the journey of your gallery that landed you in Houston? What types of works do you mainly display?
David Shelton: As background, we opened in San Antonio in 2009, relocated to Houston in 2012 and moved into our new space at 4411 Montrose at the beginning of 2016. Through the strength and relevance of a personal and visual narrative, our focus is on presenting a vigorous program that transcends contemporary social, cultural and gender issues. Initially, our artistic focus was regional, but we have since expanded on a national level and are now very fortunate to work with a diverse group of emerging and established talent that has developed over time.
FPH: What kind of work will you be presenting at the fair? How will this particular work represent your gallery?
Shelton: Our approach to art fairs is to treat our presentation as an exhibition. We have selected specific works by five artists: a painting by Houston-based Vincent Valdez, whose exhibition, titled The Beginning is Near (Part I), is currently on view at the gallery along with paintings on paper by San Antonio-based Joey Fauerso, who has an exhibition opening at the gallery next month. We are also featuring some unstreteched canvases by Houston/LA-based Rodrigo Valenzuela, who had an exhibition at the gallery this spring. In addition we have drawings by Brooklyn-based Irena Jurek, who will have her first exhibition in Houston with us next year and some collage works by LA-based Matthew Craven, who was the inaugural exhibition in our new space in January.
Our presentation is driven by both the technical quality of the works and the delivery of a diverse narrative. It also considers the importance of materiality and the ‘hand-made’ that is inherent within each artist’s practice. Utilizing varied mediums, including painting, drawing, collage and photography, as well as the ephemeral and temporal, each of these artists employs incisive and nuanced choices that enhance their visual dialogues.
While informed by disparate experiences, their works touch upon relevant social, cultural, political, class and gender issues contextualized through references that transcend current and historic boundaries, with occasional humor. These artists’ works are distinctive and aesthetically complementary to one another, and we hope to provide a balanced visual and textural contrast that creates a provocative engagement for the viewer.
FPH: What type of dialogue do you hope your gallery and the work will add to the conversation of the fair?
Shelton: Overall, we strive to contribute to the quality of work presented. The Other Mexico, organized by Leslie Moody Castro and in its second iteration this year, is an important component of the Texas Contemporary that really distinguishes it from other art fairs. It helps broaden the conversation of the fair in general by introducing new artists and spaces to Houston, while also emphasizing important historic, cultural, artistic and economic ties between our city and Mexico. We hope to add to this conversation through works that resonate within and beyond this dialogue.
FPH: How does your participation in this art fair aid you in growing your gallery?
Shelton: We are still fairly new to Houston and a lot of people don’t know who we are or what we do. It takes quite a lot of time and effort to firmly establish a gallery program. The Texas Contemporary is a great venue for us to meet a large group of people, and at the same time, to introduce new works and new artists, alongside some familiar names, to people we do know.
The Texas Contemporary Art Fair opens this Thursday, September 29, 2016 with an Opening Night Preview from 6 to 10 pm. Public fair hours are Friday, September 30 from 11 am to 7 pm, Saturday, October 1 from 11 am to 7 pm and Sunday, October 2 from 12 to 6 pm. You can purchase tickets here.
Receive a complementary VIP Pass that will get you in opening night 8 to 10 pm, as well as all other fair times. The Texas Contemporary takes place at the George R. Brown Convention Center located at 1001 Avenida De Las Americas Houston, Texas 77010