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Arts / Galleries

Heroic Environmental Images Headline Houston’s Vaunted FotoFest

Saving the Planet Through Art?

BY // 03.03.16

Besides the Dallas Art Fair, Texas heats up this spring with another international convergence. Photo collectors, critics, curators and artists from across the globe journey to Houston for FotoFest, the 16th International Biennial of Photography and Mixed Media Arts. Mark these dates: March 12 through April 24.

The acclaimed biennial kicks off on Friday, March 11, with a high-voltage evening focused upon the 34 headlining artists in the FotoFest-organized exhibition, which examines a global hot topic. “Changing Circumstance: Looking at the Future of the Planet” ambitiously brings together photo media artists from nine countries (four continents) to probe planetary problems and propose solutions. FotoFest founders Wendy Watriss and Fred Baldwin, joined by executive director Steven Evans, do the curatorial honors. Expect to hear the term anthropocene, referring to our age of human habitation and its consequences, effecting a litany of environmental issues.

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Gina Glover’s Titan Crane, Hotellneset Coal Harbour, Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Norway, 2012, from the series “The Metabolic Landscape,” 2011-2016, at FotoFest. (Courtesy the artist)

The action begins at the historic warehouses of the Washington Avenue Arts District — The Silos at Sawyer Yards, Silver Street Studios, Winter Street Studios and Spring Street Studios — as well as Galleria skyscraper Williams Tower Gallery. Must-sees among the “Changing Circumstances” group exhibition (the equivalent of the Venice Biennale for the photo world) include a 30-year survey of Canadian lensman Edward Burtynsky’s heroic images documenting the global march of industrialization and a trio of photographers who have examined conservation issues for National Geographic : David Doubilet, David Liittschwager, and Joel Sartore. Closer to home, among the Americans in the lineup is University of North Texas professor Dornith Doherty; this 2016 Texas State Artist honoree (also a Guggenheim fellow) photographs the world’s beautiful but endangered seed banks in a body of work that melds art and science and activism.

On a more droll note, U.S. collaborators Barbara Ciurej  and Lindsay Lochman mix humor into their photographic dioramas. (The miniature landscapes are formed from foodstuffs such as Fruit Loops cereal.)

For more, as well as our picks from the nearly 100 accompanying exhibitions organized by museums, nonprofits, galleries and other participating spaces, tune to our arts channel.

FotoFest 2016 Biennial, Opening Night, Friday, March 11, exhibitions March 12 – April 24 (participating spaces show dates vary. Click here for all the details. 

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