Arts / Museums

Wild Lights Transform Houston’s Orange Show Into a Sanctum of Wonders — This is No Ordinary Art Auction

Boosting DiverseWorks While Honoring Two Powerful Texas Artists

BY Caitlin Hsu and Vivian Phillips // 06.20.22
photography Alex Barber

The Wild Light Dinner and Auction, held at Houston’s Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, was an illuminated evening that honored artist James Surls and Charmaine Locke, two of the founders of the Texas contemporary scene as we know it. The evening benefited DiverseWorks’ production of “A Gift From the Bower,” an outdoor multidisciplinary exhibition that will be unveiled during Earth Day Weekend in 2023 — coinciding with James Surls’ 80th birthday.

The exhibition will be presented at Splendora Gardens, the former home and studio of Surls and Locke, and will feature all the artists from Wild Light.

Long, elegant dinner tables await guests (Photo by Alex Barber)
Long, elegant dinner tables await guests (Photo by Alex Barber)

Upon arrival, guests were immediately blown away by the exquisite light fixtures that filled the cavernous Orange Show warehouse. Wild Light took its title from these sculptures, which were offered in the silent auction by 13 talents with ties to Texas. The artists chose between donating 50 percent, 70 percent, or 100 percent of the sale of their piece to DiverseWorks. All the artworks found new homes, putting more than $120,000 in the DiverseWorks coffers for the project.

Isha and Steve Santamaria acquired Sherry Owens’s Wild Roost, while Doug Hickman and Fiona McPhedran walked away with James Surls’s Lighted Eyes and John Calaway’s Starry Tower. Patrick Renner’s swamp blossom went to Mahenou Ilahi, and Lina Dib’s Bowers and Birds was scooped up by Amy Moen.

Guests enjoyed an exquisite dinner under a canopy of these light fixtures. Assembly HTX served a multi-course vegetarian feast consisting of blistered Shishido peppers, wild greens, wild mushroom and olive oil cake. Hailing from the Third Ward, Chef Shakti Baum, the owner of Assembly, is a regular guest chef on KPRC’s Houston Life TV show.

FYI: The Orange Show, an art installation created by the late Jeff McKissack in honor of oranges, his favorite fruit, was generous enough to lend the venue. Created solely from found objects and simple building materials, The Orange Show has grown into one of America’s most iconic pieces of performance architecture and proved to be a stunning setting for Wild Light.

DISCOVER

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  • Laura Rathe Fine Art
  • Laura Rathe Fine Art
  • Laura Rathe Fine Art
  • Laura Rathe Fine Art
  • Laura Rathe Fine Art
  • Laura Rathe Fine Art
  • Laura Rathe Fine Art
  • Laura Rathe Fine Art
  • Laura Rathe Fine Art
  • Laura Rathe Fine Art

The evening was accompanied with live music by vintage rock and country cover band Seven’s Edge, led by Rick Paulson and synth musician Guadalupe Rocha, also known as Epul Roch.

Guests take in the Wild Light fixtures (Photo by Alex Barber)
Guests take in the Wild Light fixtures (Photo by Alex Barber)

PC Seen: DiverseWorks executive director Xandra Eden; creators and their artworks Leticia Bajuyo‘s Let There Be Light, Susan Budge‘s Star Light, John Calaway‘s Starry Tower, Carlos Canul and Rachel Gardner‘s Dwell, Lina Dib‘s Bowers and Birds, Ronald Llewellyn Jones Souls of Black Folks [Deposited Into a Construct], Sharon Kopriva‘s Female Fetish Lantern, Charmaine Locke‘s Disturbance in the Gulf Coast, Jack Massing‘s Illuminated Waste Stream, Sherry Owens Wild Roost, Patrick Renner‘s swamp blossom, James Surls‘, Lighted Eyes, and George Tobolowsky‘s, Light in the Sky; and more acolytes of art Catherine and Brian James, Heidi and David Gerger, Thedra Cullar-Ledford, Alton DuLaney, Tara Tomicic, Nancy Johnson, Kelly Provine, Sahar Tahir, and Kirston Otis.

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