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Three simultaneous solo exhibitions open at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Amy Blakemore, Miss Goodner, 1996. Chromogenic color print, edition of 10. 19 x 19 inches. Courtesy the artist and Inman Gallery, Houston.

HOUSTON, TX.- The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston presents three simultaneous solo exhibitions by Houston-based artists Amy Blakemore, Thedra Cullar-Ledford, and Susie Rosmarin. The presentations are part of the museum’s ongoing series Right Here, Right Now, which celebrates our region’s vibrant creative community. Its second iteration showcases the work of three Houston-based artists with decades-long practices here. CAMH’s Director Bill Arning, Senior Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, and Curator Dean Daderko respectively selected Cullar-Ledford, Rosmarin, and Blakemore.

Blakemore’s, Cullar-Ledford’s, and Rosmarin’s works are visually and conceptually diverse. These artists create moodily poetic photographs, wry and confrontational figurative paintings, and vivid, optically luscious abstractions.

“We know that Houston is a great place for young artists to be based while establishing their practices—a fact we highlighted in the first edition of Right Here, Right Now in 2014. For this second edition, we considered artists who have been long-time contributors to our city’s cultural landscape and have established important practices here” says Bill Arning, Director. “We found first-rate artists whose work had blossomed in Houston’s rich cultural ecosystem, and this exhibition highlights work by three of them.”

Amy Blakemore’s photographs capture perfectly affective moments. Her ongoing exploration of the familiar photographic genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life has resulted in a body of fascinating photographs marked by telling difference. Full of hazy focus and quotidian awkwardness, Blakemore’s photographs draw viewers into suggestive atmospheres.

Blakemore is an inveterate collector, and the desire to collect informs this exhibition’s organizational structure. Common subjects that have passed before Blakemore’s lens over nearly three decades are gathered together. The thematic groupings People, Cars & Buildings, and Flowers demonstrate Blakemore’s unique approaches to portraiture, landscapes, and still life. The groups Sculptures and Junk offer evidence of the artist’s more personal passions.

Whatever her subject matter, Blakemore creates uniquely beautiful images. With an artistic vision that is by turns painterly, elegiac, humorous, and suffused with melancholy, Amy Blakemore might be called a painter’s photographer. She balances the erratic effects produced by cheap plastic cameras with remarkable darkroom precision. Blakemore is a gifted colorist who appreciates the everyday dramatics of light and shadow dappling a stuccoed wall, dusky shadows, or apples mouldering on the grass beneath a tree. These groupings of photographs offer viewers the opportunity to compare and contrast images, and to be drawn deeper into Blakemore’s world.

Amy Blakemore (b. 1958, Tulsa, OK) received a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Art from Drury College (now Drury University) in Springfield, MO, and an M.F.A from the University of Texas at Austin. She has lived and worked in Houston since 1985, when she arrived in the city to be an Artist in Residence at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Core Program. Blakemore’s photographs have been seen in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2006 biennial exhibition Day for Night. Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (2009), the Seattle Art Museum (2010), and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (2011). Art League Houston honored Blakemore as the Texas Artist of the Year in 2015. Blakemore has exhibited with Inman Gallery in Houston for more than two decades.

Thedra Cullar-Ledford has been one of the biggest personalities and presences on the Houston scene for over a decade. A quintessential bad girl, Cullar-Ledford pairs humor with aggressive feminist statements and explorations of the perversity of Texas’s masculinist iconography. Her work has been widely exhibited and collected. But in 2013 things got real when in her attempt to donate a kidney to a friend she was found to have a form of breast cancer and required a double mastectomy. Suddenly, she found herself learning a social political landscape in which a largely male medical establishment was telling women patients what to do, think, and feel about their bodies. She encountered a community of breast cancer activists who, in the words of the artist, felt no compunction to surgically reconstruct their bodies to allow others the freedom to not think about cancer.

In Cullar-Ledford’s first solo museum exhibition featuring sculptures, photographs, video, and performance, in addition to her bravura paintings, we see the young artist present her first mature works about Texas, made while she was attending Christ Church in Oxford, England.

Thedra Cullar-Ledford was born in Abilene, Texas. She received her B.F.A. in Painting from California College of Arts and Crafts in 1992 and her M.F.A. in Printmaking and Sculpture from Oxford University in the UK in 1994. Her solo exhibitions include Drawing the Eye to Nothingness (2015); Small Stains, Big Problems (2013); Living Dolls (2012); Domicile (2003); Biometrica (2002); Other People’s Lives (2000); Encase: To Wrap Up in Something Solid (1998); Contain, Order, Move: The Box as Fundamental Form (1997); and Cradle to the Grave (1993).

Group exhibitions she has participated in include Powerful Babies: Keith Haring’s Impact on Artists Today (2015); Confluence (2014); Hullabaloo: Holiday ShaBang! (2013); Spring Introduction (2013); 10 Houston Artists: An Invasion of Space for 2011 Contemporary Art Month (2011); H2O Houston to Hyderabad (2011); Five Texas Artists: A Portrait Series (2010); among others.

Susie Rosmarin’s paintings are born out of strategies to defy the twodimensional frame. Her ability to achieve the dynamism of optical illusions is rooted in her extraordinary talents to affect movement with both color and composition. Her use of mathematical formula in the creation of her paintings and sculpture enables her to create by hand layered patterns and color that seem machine generated.

While her work has been appropriately situated within the spectrum of Op Art, she is a methodical landscape painter whose abstract compositions echo traditions of light and color. This exhibition brings together works created at various stages of her career, allowing audiences to experience the evolution of her craft. Envisioned as a mini-survey, the exhibition spans a thirty-year period but focuses on Rosmarin’s early work in painting, sculpture, and photography from 1988 to 2000. Additional works from subsequent decades, including the artist’s most recent digital generated works, are featured in the exhibition.

Susie Rosmarin was born in Brownsville, Texas in 1950. She received her B.A. from University of St. Thomas in Houston in 1973 and her M.F.A. from Pratt Institute in New York in 1981. Her solo exhibitions include Pop-Up (2013); Some New Paintings (2013); and Paint By Numbers (2002).

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