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Arts / Museums

Three Powerful Women Rebels are Spotlighted in Houston, Proving Hometown Talent Rules

BY // 08.15.16

As part of an increasing emphasis on hometown talent, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston follows up on 2014’s well-received solos for Debra Barrera, Nathaniel Donnett and Carrie Marie Schneider in “Right Here, Right Now” and the mammoth survey of Mark Flood’s painting practice and film-making (anti)prowess. Late summer, CAMH is rolling out the second iteration of “Right Here, Right Now,” an aptly titled triple play presenting three single-person exhibitions in the museum’s expansive first-floor Brown Foundation Gallery (no longer are Houston artists relegated to the basement).

Each of the curators — museum staff director Bill Arning, senior curator Valerie Cassel Oliver and curator Dean Daderko — homes in on one artist — and this fall, they are all female. (Guerrilla Girls will be pleased.)

Arning organizes a sprawling exhibition for Thedra Cullar-Ledford, the Oxford-educated Texas-born painter/performer/breast cancer survivor/feminist known as much for her brash, warm personality as for being a den mother at the Independence Heights Studios (co-owned with her husband, artist Stephen Cullar-Ledford), where pot-luck suppers, unscripted salon dialogues and poetry readings happen around a fire pit. Watch for Cullar-Ledford’s brazen take on Barbie dolls and breast cancer.

Cassel Oliver considers the lines, grids and optical illusions of artist Susie Rosmarin, and deciphers meaning in a career that spans decades and includes well-regarded exhibitions in Manhattan. (Rosmarin’s brother was Mickey Rosmarin of Tootsies, and Susie once supervised the store’s stock room, drawing early inspiration from the riotous patterns and palette of the luxury designer threads.)

Daderko corrals a presentation for lens lady Amy Blakemore, the Glassell School of Art photography department chair, who also was Art League Houston’s Texas Artist of the Year in 2015 and has a Whitney Biennial on her résumé. Blakemore’s typologies probe the quirky, melancholy and timeless qualities present in prints made with darkroom precision, paradoxically shot with cheap plastic vintage Diana cameras.

“Right Here, Right Now,” at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, August 20 – November 27; opening night Friday, August 19, 6:30 to 9 pm; artist/curator talks Cullar-Ledford/Arning Saturday, August 20, 2 pm; Blakemore/Daderko, Saturday, September 17, 2 pm; Rosmarin/ Cassel Oliver, Thursday, October 27, 6:30 pm; camh.org

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