True North 2022: For the Love of Art
“Sphericity” by Art Fairchild. Photo Credit: Kolanowski Studio.
Take a cruise down Heights Boulevard, and you’ll see some awesome artwork displayed along the esplanade. Houston’s creators have come together again to feature works that make viewers ponder nature, beauty, and culture. Keep reading to learn about True North 2022 and what projects you can take a peek at in the Heights this year!
“Everybody Me” is composed of medium steel and traffic yellow paint. It represents all of humanity with its iconic form decorated with “tattoos” that remind us of our connectedness. To McCloud, art provides a mechanism to spark change and to process and preserve identity. This work prompts viewers to reflect on themselves and others as well as society at large.
Recent works by this third-generation Houston artist include a monumental mural commissioned by the Station Museum of Houston. Like this sculpture, the mural highlights social justice concerns.
McCloud has also been commissioned by the City of Houston to craft installations for historic neighborhoods as well as to create four exterior column murals for the Malone Park Renovation Project. The projects highlight Houston’s vibrant history and cultural legacy.
Robertson joined the Army after graduating from his Houston high school. After spending two years in Vietnam, he returned to the U.S. and earned his BFA and MFA. Beginning with painting and drawing, his works have been featured in museums and galleries – including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts!
However, Robertson became drawn toward sculpture, and in the early 1990s took metal-working classes to experiment with found objects and steel. His works typically begin with a starter piece and evolve from there. “Zig Zag” was constructed using welded steel and eye-catching teal enamel paint.
Themes to keep an eye out for in Robertson’s art include animals, weapons, surreal vehicles, and architecture. What themes do you see in his True North 2022 installation?
Larson obtained his BFA in sculpture at Kansas City Art Institute. He later returned to Austin, where today he runs an architectural steel fabrication business in addition to producing art. He has had works installed in Austin and San Antonio and has worked with artists like Bill FitzGibbons and Bob “Daddy-O” Wade. Larson’s love for metal stands out in his True North 2022 installation.
“The Sun Will Always Find You Here” is crafted of steel with a natural patina. In his works, Larson often utilizes light and shadow to create movement in structural pieces. You’ve probably seen this concept applied in sundials. Larson’s sculpture sits on an axial tilt so that its shadow indicates the sun’s position.
A tenured professor of art at Midwestern State University, Siguru Hiraide is an expert in sculpture and metals. He grew up in Japan and moved to the U.S. in 1993, where he then received his BFA and MFA. His works have been featured across the globe, including in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, and Tokyo.
His True North 2022 project “Maneki Cat Altar” is a tall stainless steel and aluminum sculpture that turns with the wind. The maneki cat’s paw is solar-powered, drawing visitors in. It symbolizes good fortune in Japanese folklore, and to add some humor to the piece, Hiraide westernized the maneki cat by having it beckon visitors with its palm facing inwards. The artist is known for creating subtle, playful tweaks like this in his works. See if you can spot the change for yourself!
Gardner has a special passion for the environment and has concerns about the degradation of our natural world. Her artistic themes explore humanity’s connection to nature during a time that is often devoted to industrialization, technology, and progress. She’s known for bringing the wild to the suburbs through life-size wolf sculptures and works that integrate found objects from nature and papier-mâché. Currently, she is an assistant professor of sculpture at Houston Baptist University and runs a mixed-media studio located in the Heights. Her works have been featured throughout the country and internationally.
“Night Hare” was crafted using foam, metal, rubber, resin, and plaster. The oversized creature looks like it has come straight out of a dark fairy tale to ask viewers to question their roles in protecting the wild.
“Cumulus” by Elizabeth Akamatsu reflects the artists’ Japanese heritage and celebrates nature. The ultra-precise sculpture was crafted using steel, stainless steel, an eye-catching white powder coating, and the latest fabrication technology. It reminds one of laying on the grass as a kid and looking up at puffy white clouds. Akamatsu’s works have been featured throughout the U.S. and internationally, and it is a treat to see one displayed in the Heights.
This artist has a love for creativity and engineering, both of which make their way into his works. Fairchild pursued art in college and later built a trade show design and production business that utilizes his creativity and craftsmanship skills. Today, he works full-time as an artist in his Dallas studio. Viewers of his works are often greeted with themes of joy, truth, and wonder.
Fairchild’s designs incorporate shape and balance to perfectly contrast simplicity and complexity, so it should be no surprise that there is often quite a lot of repetition involved. The sculptor also takes advantage of mathematical arrays to make his kinetic pieces come alive.
Head to the 1300 block to check out Fairchild’s True North 2022 sculpture “Sphericity.” It was built with over 350 linear feet of 3.5” steel tubing and rotates on a vertical axis.
Houston-based artist Guadalupe Hernandez received his BFA and MFA from Houston Baptist University. His projects explore Mexican culture through his own childhood memories of Mexico and have been included in numerous museums throughout Houston and beyond.
Hernandez’ True North 2022 piece “La Pesqueria” is inspired by the artists’ cut paper works and captures an everyday experience of workers in a Mexican fishery. The work uses a brightly-painted waterjet-cut steel design that interacts with natural light to project the image. Since the work is illuminated at night by a solar-powered light, visitors can enjoy the piece at any hour.
We are so lucky in the Heights to have such great access to art!
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