Carbonate of Copper

Group Exhibition

Exhibition: May 19 – Aug 28, 2022


Carbonate of Copper features international and Texas-based visual artists and scholars who work in varied media to examine questions of circuitry, flow, foundation, and cultural inheritance, particularly in relation to infrastructure, the environment, and geological time. The exhibition sits in company with the award-winning poem and forthcoming volume Carbonate of Copper by Houston-based writer Roberto Tejada. Featured artists include Gwenneth Boelens, Anna Mayer, Kate Newby, George Smith, Josie Ann Teets, and Roberto Tejada. The use of the poem is one of a conductive thread, establishing a unique counter-response to the writing’s exploration of vibrant matter – objects alive in their complex interrelationships, entanglements, and tendency for open-ended change. In the poem and exhibition, labor and extractive processes are positioned in contrast to our everyday experience of being used, of using, of residue, squandering, of constraint, of rebuilding, and preservation. 

The artwork in Carbonate of Copper evokes deeper thought by requiring closer contemplation of material and process. Artpace alumni artist Kate Newby’s installation, I love you poems (2018-2022), for example, investigates the way  material interventions are made in response to a site’s particular temporal, physical, and geographical conditions.

Jennifer Teets told Artpace, “Carbonate of Copper considers what we inherit and its inextricable connection to socio-environmental shifts in Texas and at large. The exhibition is a transdisciplinary experiment focusing on the cross-pollination of the visual arts and humanities, with unpublished and rare works by both writers and artists. Dr. Tejada’s conversation with Dr. Cecilia Balli will undoubtedly be an important public forum to share thinking around material culture and border politics in the now.”

Sponsors

This exhibition has been made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Artpace Pacesetters and by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Artists

Kate Newby

Floresville, Texas, USA / Auckland, New Zealand

Kate Newby was born in Auckland, New Zealand and lives and works in Floresville, TX. In 2015, she graduated with a Doctorate of Fine Art from the Elam School of Fine Art at the University of Auckland.

Kate Newby creates sculptures and installations using a variety of media including ceramics, glass and textiles. By incorporating discarded everyday objects (cigarette butts, coins, broken glass), she magnifies the prosaic by giving it new form and space, from the minuscule to the monumental. Her interventions are unique and site-specific, playing with their luminosity, their spatiality and their original use. The artist interferes in these places with handmade works, transforming raw materials into bricks, match sticks or windows and invites the spectators to come closer to better (re)discover their textures and details.

Her work has been shown at the 21st Biennale of Sydney in 2018, as well as in various institutions and galleries around the world: at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Villeurbane (2019), Kunsthalle Vienna (2018) and Index, Contemporary Swedish Art Foundation (2017). In 2012 she won the Walters Prize, New Zealand’s largest contemporary art prize. In 2019 Kate was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors grant.

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Gwenneth Boelens

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Gwenneth Boelens’ work is concerned with touch, thought and capturing time. Throughout her work she is moving towards an understanding of our response-ability. The porous boundaries between what is internal and external are where her art takes shape. An entwinement can be sensed through abstract forms that often carry a metaphoric charge, whether by the choice of material or of subject matter. The work focuses on how we, and things, move, circulate, distribute, and the blockages that come with that movement; travelling the land, moving the body and mind, movement in communication. This movement is fleeting, like liquid, fluid. She tries to materialize the carriers or vessels of that distribution. The work is a proposal for a momentary solidification, a space between thought and its expression.

Gwenneth Boelens (1980) works and lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. A visual artist since 2003, she also teaches at Art&Research, St. Joost School of Art and Design, Breda and practises Ayurvedic Medicine. Boelens was educated in photography and fine arts at Royal Academy of Art in Den Hague and was a resident artist at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam in 2006-07. Her work has been exhibited at MIT List Centre, Cambridge (US), Shimmer, Rotterdam (NL), KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (DE), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (NL), C/O, Berlin (DE), ACCA, Melbourne (AU) amongst others. Her work is represented by Galerie Klemm’s, Berlin.

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Anna Mayer

Houston, Texas, USA

Anna Mayer’s art practice is sculptural and social, with an emphasis on hand-built ceramics and another molten material: bronze. Her methodology emerges from site-specific analogue firing projects and critical engagement with pre- and post-petroculture. Mayer revels in the fact that ceramics historically have been used to create highly functional items as well as intensely symbolic objects. Her work is part of this lineage, with equal concern for the future and a dramatically shifting climate—ecological and political.

Mayer recently had solo exhibitions at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (2021) and the Jung Center (2022), also in Houston. Other recent solo exhibitions include A-B Projects, AWHRHWAR, and Adjunct Positions, all in Los Angeles. Other exhibitions include Hammer Museum (CA), Glasgow International (UK), NCECA’s 2021 Annual (invited artist), Ballroom Marfa (TX), Commonwealth & Council (CA), and Kendall Koppe (UK). In 2021 Mayer was invited by UK organizations Arts Cabinet and the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society to be part of a research residency, for which she was paired with an engineer from the Hazelab at Imperial College, London.

Mayer has a 16-year collaborative practice with Jemima Wyman called CamLab, which has exhibited at MOCA Los Angeles and Hammer Museum. CamLab’s feminist and collective practice models a horizontal and intimate relationship, which they believe is necessary in a culture that tends to devalue compassion, communal concerns, the mental health of women, and radical care. Mayer was Assistant Director of the LA-based Institute For Figuring from 2009 – 2018. Currently she is Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the University of Houston.

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George Smith

Houston, Texas, USA

George Smith is a contemporary artist who lives and worked in Houston, Texas. He is known for his steel sculpture and oil on paper works which reference the Dogon aesthetic and the expressive power of African geometry. For the past forty years, he has created works in metal, steel and paper that evoke a powerful and spiritual quality, grounded in the very essence of the material itself. Smith’s use of steel references the Buffalo Steel Industry, where his father worked in a local mill. The personal significance of this material combined with the primordial qualities of steel and fire, produce a lingering source of strength and endurance in the work that not only speaks to the contemporary experience but also acknowledges a symbolic vocabulary of the past. 

Born in Buffalo, NY, Smith received a B.F.A. in Sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969. In 1972, he received an M.A. in Sculpture from Hunter College, New York where the artist worked with sculptor Tony Smith. Additionally, Smith met and studied under curator and arts advocate James Harithas, who at that time was a Professor of Art History. He has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants including a National Endowment Planning Grant (1980); National Endowment Individual Grant (1977); two New York State Council on the Arts Grants (1976, 1973); two Cultural Arts Council of Houston Grants (1975), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1971). Smith has been featured in solo exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States including Nicole Longnecker Gallery, Houston, TX (2018, 2020); O’Kane Gallery, University of Houston/Downtown, TX (2016); Project Row Houses, Houston, TX (2014); Burchfield-Penny Art Center, the Museum of Western New York Arts, Buffalo, NY (2001); Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (1980): Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY (1979): Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY (1972) and Whitney Museum, New York, NY (1970).

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Roberto Tejada`

Houston, Texas, USA

Roberto Tejada is the award-winning poet and author of art histories that include National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment (Minnesota, 2009) and Celia Alvarez Muñoz (Minnesota, 2009); a Latinx poetics of the Americas, Still Nowhere in an Empty Vastness (Noemi, 2019), and catalog essays in Now Dig This!: Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980 (Hammer Museum, 2011) and Allora & Calzadilla: Specters of Noon (The Menil Collection; Yale, 2021). His poetry appears in the collections Why the Assembly Disbanded (Fordham, 2022), Full Foreground (Arizona, 2012), Exposition Park (Wesleyan, 2010), Mirrors for Gold (Krupskaya, 2006), and Todo en el ahora (Libros Magenta, 2015), selected poems in Spanish translation. Tejada’s writing spans method, discipline, and form to address the political imagination and impurity of time in shared image environments. Awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Poetry (2021), he serves as the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston where he teaches Creative Writing and Art History.

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Curator

Jennifer Teets

Houston, Texas, USA / Paris, France

Jennifer Teets is a Houston-born curator and writer based in Paris, France, since 2009. Working at the intersection of science studies, literature, and performance, she is interested in the “backstory” of matter and its conditioning as both natural and cultural. Within her work, she addresses the roles of consumption and contamination as an embodiment of thought which then performs, spores, and proliferates. She has curated numerous exhibitions and talks since the early 2000s with artists and thinkers worldwide and is the director/convener of The World in Which We Occur, an independent research-based entity that explores themes concerned with artistic inquiry, philosophy of science, and ecology and its associated study group Matter in Flux. She is editor of Electric Brine (2021), published by Archive Books, Berlin, and is currently a 2022 Senior Scholar in Residence at the University of Texas’ Casa Herrera in Antigua, Guatemala, for her forthcoming title to be published by Spector Books in 2023.

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