Arts / Galleries

Houston Galleries Make a Splash at the Windy City’s Art Extravaganza — a Little Texas Blows Into EXPO Chicago

Plus, a Chance the Rapper Moment

BY // 04.20.23

The 2023 art fair season is in full swing. With the Dallas Art Fair kicking off this Friday, April 21, New York’s Frieze Art Fair coming in May and Basel beckoning in Switzerland in June, the art world calendar is packed. EXPO CHICAGO, the Windy City’s own internationally acclaimed art exposition, drew a crowd of 32,000 art lovers and collectors from all over the globe to celebrate its 10th anniversary — and three Houston galleries made a splash.

Foto Relevance, the Houston-based gallery making waves with its focus on contemporary fine art photography and photography-based work showcased three talented female artists while making its second appearance at EXPO Chicago. The Foto Relevance booth featured work from Alia Ali, Daisy Patton and Karen Navarro, putting three unique perspectives on portraiture at the forefront.

Artwork from gallery artist Pelle Cass was selected to be part of Chicago’s OVERRIDE Billboard Project which featured his work at 21 locations across the city.

Karen Navarro, Tom Ford
Karen Navarro was featured at Houston gallery Foto Relevance.

Foto Relevance co-founders Bryn Larson and Geoffrey Koslov appreciated being a part of the Chicago art excitement for the second straight year.

“We were fortunate to make new connections with private collectors, interior designers and art advisors,” Larsen notes. “And we were excited to place work in museums and corporate collections following the fair based on interactions in Chicago. Prior to participating, we underestimated the breadth of the draw that EXPO has.

“We were fortunate to ship work all over the country and internationally following our sales in 2022.”

Introducing Pêche

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Foto Relevance was even recognized by ARTnews senior editor Max Durón. He selected the work of Karen Navarro at Foto Relevance as one of The 8 Best Booths at Expo Chicago.

“For those visitors who are unfamiliar with Houston, it is also an amazing opportunity to introduce our gallery program and to represent a sliver of the art scene in Houston which continues to be an exciting and vibrant community,” Larsen tells PaperCity

Foto Relevance had Houston company also spreading the Bayou City word.

Houston’s Inman Gallery presented a selection of abstract works from three women artists from the Midwest. Works by Dorothy Antoinette (Toni) LaSelle, Jana Vander Lee and Emily Joyce adorned the booth, presenting an exploration of the natural and spiritual worlds. Each of these women artists utilizes the formal language of geometric abstraction to further their understanding of those worlds.

A collection of photos from Chicago artist Patty Carroll drew visitors to Houston gallery Catherine Couturier Gallery’s booth. The vibrant photographs are part of an ongoing “Anonymous Women” series being showcased in the Bayou City.

EXPO CHICAGO 2023 5_Photo Credit_ Justin Barbin
EXPO CHICAGO 2023 celebrated its 10ht anniversary in the windy city. (Photo by Justin Barbin) 

The three galleries from Houston had Texas company at EXPO Chicago.

Known for working with early-career artists of all media Martha’s Contemporary, a spunky Austin gallery, showed seven new works on canvas and paper from Austin-based multidisciplinary artist Moll Brau.

NINO MIER GALLERY, which has a presence in Marfa, showed large-scale oil paintings from Belgian artist Pierter Jennes. 

— To promote a new residency in the Marfa outpost of the gallery, Gallerie Max Hetzler debuted Indoor Paintings, a solo exhibition of works from Grace Weaver created during her residency in the West Texas arts mecca. Weaver’s signature characters lounging in even more modern domestic environments are some of her most captivating large-scale paintings yet.

All were part of this unique Chicago arts extravaganza. Top galleries, showing new and notable artists, drew crowds for a week full of art programming. One of the highlights? A buzzy conversation between Chicago native Chance the Rapper and famed conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas.

Yes, these Texas creatives fits right in.

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