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Arts / Museums

When Edgy Art Moves

Houston Collective Goes From a Decaying Warehouse to the Cube

BY Catherine D. Anspon // 07.23.15

When work migrates between an artist studio and a gallery or museum, it’s often a surprise.

In the case of some artists with polish and a museum/collector pedigree, the work may move from one pristine environment to another. In contrast, very edgy work sometimes looks too raw and unfinished coming straight from an emerging talent’s studio to a high-profile solo exhibition.

Cue El Rincón Social — aka ERS — a tight, yet organic collective whose home base is a rough, decaying 1930s warehouse (a former mattress factory/once railroad-car assembly plant) on Houston’s rapidly gentrifying East End. Curator Theresa Escobedo, assistant director at Deborah Colton Gallery, and one of the few female studio occupants of ERS, began thinking about what might take place when seven members of the collaborative came together in the white cube of her workplace.

El-Rincon-Social,-an-artists'-lair
The cavernous, 14,000-square-feet interiors of the building that houses the collective — El Rincón translates as “corner” in Spanish — are the ultimate incubator for collaboration and experimentation. Image: David Adam Salinas.

The result, the group exhibition “Collective Solid,” which opened on July 18 and defied my expectations.

The raw emotion of the work — encompassing sculpture, painting and photography — remained, but, extracted from its industrial birthplace, the talent and promise of the artists really came into clearer focus. Follow our slide show for some of the best of show. Any one of these works would be at home in a contemporary collector’s home, such as the one belonging to Lester Marks.

“Collective Solid,” curated by Theresa Escobedo, on view through August 22, at Deborah Colton Gallery.

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