"Le Merle Noir" by Jeffrey McGee

How different does Houston look to natives verses recent transplants? What pockets of Houston's unique asphalt beauty can be transmuted into other forms of expression? Those are some of the questions asked in Mapped: A Survey of Contemporary Jewelry and Metalwork, currently on display at the Houston Community College Central Art Gallery.

Mapped: A Survey of Contemporary Jewelry and Metalwork
Thru April 8 (closed March 14-22)
Houston Community College Central Art Gallery
central.hccs.edu

The show features works from 17 local artists, including 5 faculty members at HCC, and the materials, from wood to feathers, showcase the diversity of experiences for those living in the Bayou City, whether natives or recent transplants.

“We knew we wanted to put on a show that focuses on metalwork, because we hadn't seen one in a while,” said Jessica Jacobi, co-curator and adjunct professor of metalsmithing at HCC.

Robert Thomas Mullen

“We decided on the theme of place because, like metal, it's versatile, yet it connects us all. It's about both the familiar and unfamiliar.”

Jacobi's co-creator is Demitra Thomloudis, a former adjunct at HCC who is now a visiting full-time professor at University of Texas at El Paso. As the two started pooling artists for the show, each artist had another artist to recommend, Jacobi said.

“I think that's indicative of the support in the art community.”

Various pieces in the show represent different aspects of Houston's personality. One work of Jacobi's, which resembles a set of brass knuckles with large-gauge syringes sticking out of it, calls to mind the Med Center. A set of pieces by Edward Lane McCartney is made from reclaimed wood of teardown houses in Houston's Third Ward.

Edward Lane McCartney

Ackelmire said she found the theme of the show challenging. The full-time faculty member at HCC moved to Houston from St. Louis five years ago. Her piece in the show juxtaposes the parakeet feather, which she found in her neighborhood, with a fragment of her first Texas driver's license.

“I think of Houston as a very practical place,” she said. “I just don't think of it in aesthetic terms. But I was never into birds until I started living here.”

Mapped will be on display through April 8, though the gallery will be closed for spring break March 14-22.

 

 

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