Seismic Atlas
Jan 10–Feb 21
Spacetaker Gallery at Fresh Arts
2101 Winter St, Studio 11
713-868-1839
winterstreetstudios.info 

It's hard to put Darcy Rosenberger's large-scale drawings into coherent sentences. I try to do as much as she gives me a tour of her work at Winter Street Studio, where she is preparing for an upcoming show, only to find myself awkwardly fumbling through an attempted description. Sounding increasingly stupid, I drone on while Rosenberger listens patiently. Finally, I cut to the chase.  

"So, um...what is it exactly?" I ask. "A neuron bundle? A reimagining of the cosmos?"

"No," she responds, laughing. "This is his hair."  

She points to a young man with a mat of unkempt hair, a companion of some sort, sitting quietly across the room. He smiles sheepishly. 

"I took a picture of the back of his head and I've been working off of that photograph," she explains. "I've been working on it a long time, for at least eight hours a day."

Though she studied sculpture at the University of Houston, Rosenberger has gravitated towards drawings like this one in recent years. Her work is methodically produced, requiring a meditative focus that Rosenberger describes as a form of escapism. And with that, a question presents itself: What exactly is the artist trying to escape? 

"My mom was a single, working-class mother," says Rosenberger, who is 26 and grew up on the north side of Houston. "I'm probably going to work bad jobs until I die. Being in that ugly cycle of crazy bills and constant labor and getting sick and having bad things happen to me—having that ugliness in my life—makes me have to create beautiful things."

Rosenberger's work, its intricacy, its obsessive lines, has a desperation to it, a tenseness, underlying its more obvious beauty. We walk over to another drawing in the studio and Rosenberger points out a series of straight lines embedded within layers of doilies so ornate they appear to be computer-generated. The lines, she explains, spell out a phrase that I can't quite decipher.  

"All my evils are necessary," she reads aloud. 

She is smiling, but I can't help but believe her. 

"Seismic Atlas," an exhibition of drawings curated by artist and curator Sapphire Williams, highlights new works by Rosenberger and fellow local artist Katie Mulholland. The public is invited to a free opening reception with the artists at 6 p.m. on January 10 at Fresh Arts, 2101 Winter Street, Studio B11, Houston, TX, 77007.  The exhibition will be on view through February 21, 2014. Free parking is available.

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