Arts / Galleries

Two Art Auctions Bolster the Healing Arts and Fresh Arts in Houston — Making a Difference With Beautiful Works

What's Available — and How to Make Your Bids Count

BY Vivian Phillips // 01.23.22

It’s time to help support the art community in the greater Houston area. There are two worthy art auctions going on right now. One benefits newcomer The Future is Unwritten — Healing Arts Houston, the other longtime stalwart Fresh Arts.

Art can be found in surprising places — even the medical field. The medical humanities, which emerged as a field in the 1970s, calls upon medical practitioners to consider a more holistic approach to health care.

Rather than simply a prescription, the art of medicine is built upon the relationship between a doctor and their patient. In recent years, particularly with the rise of mental health concerns in part due to COVID-19, standard medical practices have embraced the humanities as a new frontier in health care.

As a globally renowned center for both medical innovation and visual/performing arts, Houston is the ideal environment to explore and expand upon how these fields interact. Enter The Future is Unwritten – Healing Arts Houston, a global initiative that explores how the arts can improve medical prognoses when incorporated into centers of healing. It was founded under the patronage of the United Nations Decade of Action, in collaboration with the World Health Organization Arts and Health Program

An online auction curated by Houston gallerist Barbara Davis is supporting the cause. It runs from January 21 through March 20. Proceeds will directly benefit the Artists Response Fund, which provides financial resources to artists whose work contributes to physical, mental and social well-being, including funding a project by a Houston talent. Some of the artists whose work are featured in this auction are profiled below.

Starting bids begin at 50 percent of retail value. Click here for more information about Healing Arts Houston’s mission; register to bid here.

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Fabiola Jean-Louis

An artist of many mediums, Fabiola Jean-Louis has an interest in uncovering greater depths that lie beneath surfaces. Finding inspiration in history, folklore, science fiction and Afro-uturism, Jean-Louis is not only an artist of many mediums but also many genres. Her Marie Antoinette is Dead (see the photo a the top of this story) is part of the series entitled “Rewriting History,” which first debuted as a solo exhibition at DuSable Museum of African American History and Smithsonian affiliates, among other museums.

Agnès Bourély

A painter immersed in a family of musicians, Agnès Bourély seeks to capture the sonic in the visual. Movement is the focus of much of her work, which oscillates and echoes across her paintings much like waves of sound. Having received her BA in painting from the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in France, Bourély has since lived in seven countries and is now based in Houston.

Andrea Bianconi

Sculptures, video, performances, paintings and drawings are just a few of the mediums that artist Andrea Bianconi employs to express his artistic visions. Living in both New York City and Vicenza, Italy, Bianconi’s work has been featured at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C.; the Film Society Lincoln Center, New York; and the Museu do Meio Ambiente in Rio de Janeiro, among other esteemed locations.

New York based artist Anton Ginzburg’s ORRA_4C_01, 2017
New York artist Anton Ginzburg’s ORRA_4C_01, 2017, at The Future is Unwritten — Healing Arts Houston Auction

Anton Ginzburg

Both an educator and an artist, Anton Ginzburg devotes his time to creating and teaching methods of craft. Modernist form has a heavy influence in much of his work, which often reflects his interest in architecture, moving images and graphic art. Columbia University, the Pratt Institute and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts are just a few of the institutions where Ginzburg works as a visiting artist and lecturer.

Brett Weston

Apprenticed to his artistically acclaimed father, Edward Weston, at the age of 13, Brett Weston grew up enveloped in a world of art. Cited as one of the first photographers to use negative space as the subject of his work, Weston is known for groundbreaking abstract pieces that are sharp in contrast.

Danny Rolph

Danny Rolph is a prolific London artist who has produced more than 30 solo exhibitions and 120-plus group exhibitions in his lifetime. Backed by his BA from the Winchester School of Art and painting MA from the Royal College of Art, Rolph was recently awarded the Mark Rothko Residency in 2020.

Interdisciplinary artist Robert Hodge’s I Guess, Next Lifetime, 2021
Interdisciplinary artist Robert Hodge’s I Guess, Next Lifetime, 2021, at The Future is Unwritten — Healing Arts Houston Auction

Robert Hodge

Much of Houston native Robert Hodge‘s work explores themes of memory and commemoration. Though he acquired his art education in Atlanta and New York City, he returned to Houston shortly after to begin his career. “Two and a half years: A Musical Celebration to Spirit of Juneteenth” and “The Beauty Box” are two of Hodge’s current projects.

Eduardo Portillo

Eduardo Portillo’s work is a subversion of the traditional canvas. Combining aspects of sculpture and painting, his collections play with depth, lines and borders. Portillo often shapes his canvases with smooth curves or geometric patterns, expanding 2D art into 3D space. The Lawndale Art Center in Houston and Blue Star Contemporary in San Antonio are just two of the many locations where Portillo’s work has been displayed.

Justin Berry

Justin Berry pushes the frontier in virtual art with his newest collection, “Road Trips,” which features photography taken within video games. Unlike traditional photography, the perspective of the avatar within video games becomes the camera itself. This reduction of filters through which visuals are captured eliminates the traditional issues of translation between what is seen and what is caught on camera.

Abinadi Meza

Visual and sonic artist Abinadi Meza is interested in topics including politics, temporal perception and transformation. He serves as a professor of interdisciplinary practices within the art department at the University of Houston.

Klamath/Modoc interdisciplinary artist Natalie Ball’s Bang Bang, 2019
Klamath/Modoc interdisciplinary artist Natalie Ball’s Bang Bang, 2019, at The Future is Unwritten — Healing Arts Houston Auction

Natalie Ball

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Natalie Ball focuses on indigenous contemporary art. In 2018, she received her MFA in painting and printmaking from the Yale School of Art. She has received many fellowships and awards, including the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation’s Oregon Native Arts Fellowship, and the Betty Bowen Award.

Preston Gaines

Taking inspiration from 1960s mod, bright floral prints and the very-now concept of biophilia, Preston Gaines’ work combines the geometric and the natural. His background in architecture and design (Gaines has an M.A. in Architecture and has worked at major firms PGAL and Gensler) is highlighted in the intricate body and frame of his chairs. His love for the cultivation of foliage is visible in the vibrant print that coats their cushions.

New York-based interdisciplinary artist Ye Qin Zhu’s Release is not for waiting, 2020
New York interdisciplinary artist Ye Qin Zhu’s Release is not for waiting, 2020, at The Future is Unwritten — Healing Arts Houston fundraising auction

Ye Qin Zhu

Ye Qin Zhu seeks to bridge the material with the spiritual. Having received his MFA from Yale University, Zhu is based both in New Haven, Connecticut, and New York City. Currently he is working with New Haven’s Department of Cultural Affairs to create a COVID-19 memorial. Zhu seeks healing through his work and defining moral values within his studio.

Keeping It Fresh

Fresh Arts is devoted to providing opportunities and resources for Houston’s pool of creatives. But with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Fresh Arts’ annual Unbelieve-A-Ball fundraiser had to be postponed. The omicron safe solution is the So Unbelievable Auction Pop Up online, which runs through next Saturday, January 29, funding Fresh Arts and participating artists.To learn about the artists featured, read on.

To participate, check out the auction online or in person at Houston locations that include The Arts District Houston Welcome Center, MKT Bar, Magpies & Peacocks, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. and Frost Bank East End Financial Center.

Anthony Pabillano's Don't Throw Me Away, I Have Worth, 2020
Anthony Pabillano’s Don’t Throw Me Away, I Have Worth, 2020, at the Fresh Arts So Unbelievable Auction Pop Up

Anthony Pabillano

Anthony Pabillano’s whole life has been populated by art. In 2016, he decided to dedicate more of his time to his craft and has since been featured in exhibitions across the United States. Although he creates art using traditional materials such as paint and pastels, Pabillano has a passion for paper, which he cuts and layers to create designs of three-dimensionality.

Outspoken Bean

Born in New Jersey, Houston-based Outspoken Bean has loved the arts since a young age. In 2021, he was named Houston’s Poet Laureate — a title he will hold until 2023. Bean is interested in multi-media creativity and enjoys experimenting with unexpected art forms. He was the first poet to perform with the Houston Ballet and is currently working with VICE to create a national campaign on diversity.

Renee Victor

Taking inspiration from geometric shapes and electric colors, Victor’s work is intriguing and sharp. A fusion of technology and nature, his works are often based on pictures of caves taken on his iPhone that he traces, then saturates with color. He also enjoys playing with monochromatic color schemes and text art.

Houston-based painter Edgar Medina's LIVE' Series, 2022
Houston-based painter Edgar Medina’s “LIVE” series, 2022, at the Fresh Arts So Unbelievable Auction Pop Up

Edgar Medina

Favoring expressive colors and patterns, self-taught artist Edgar Medina’s work can be characterized by the word “bold.” The Houston-based artist, who was born in a small town in Mexico, finds his inspiration in aspects of American and Mexican cultures, as well as the vibrant hues of nature. His work has been featured in fairs in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami and Santa Fe.

Tony Paraná

Born in Brazil, Tony Paraná is a self-taught artist whose preferred mediums are oil painting, sculpture, mosaic and mixed media. Much of his work is saturated with bright colors that reflect the vibrant characteristics of Brazil. Paraná’s art has been displayed in Austin, Los Angeles, Albuquerque and New York City, among other cities.

Fresh Art Unbelievable Auction Pop Up runs through next Saturday, January 29. Bid here.

The Future is Unwritten – Healing Arts Houston Auction runs through March 20. Proceeds benefit the Artists Response Fund, and will directly fund a project by a Houston talent. Healing Arts Houston information can be find here. Bid here.

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