Elizabeth Rhodes
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work by Lindsea Varisco


Young artists often struggle to find a venue for their works, but thanks to the advent of more small-scale art spaces such as Blank Check Gallery, showcases for such artists are becoming a more common occurrence. Opening at Blank Check Gallery on Friday, “(A) Diluted Dichotomy” is a collaborative exhibition with 20-year-old Lindsea Varisco and 26-year-old Mia Cugasi. As only the gallery’s second exhibition since opening on February 27 with The Forward Facing Nature of Time — a collaborative exhibition between similarly young and talented artists Hayden Wright and London H — the gallery may have found a niche for hosting the newest generation of Houston’s contemporary artists.

Prior to their opening on Friday, I had the chance to sit down with the artists to gain some insights on the exhibition.

FPH: Have you had any exhibitions in Houston prior to this one?

Mia Cugasi: This is my first showing of any kind of artwork in Texas. My first art show was in Atlanta — that’s where I’m from — and I have a BFA from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver. I moved to Houston a year ago.

Lindsea Varisco: It’s not my first showing, but to me, I’m basically hitting the ‘refresh’ button inside of my head and saying that it is my first showing because I feel like it’s the only one that I’ve been really, 100 percent excited about and feel confident about. Everything I’ve done before has been group shows.

FPH: Can you talk to me some about your portions of the exhibition?

Cugasi: It’s going to be samples of a couple different projects I’ve been working on this year. A lot of test runs were happening last year, but virtually all of the work has been made this year. It’s completely fresh, but it was a lot of things I’d been dabbling in last year, like mixing media, a lot of ink drawings. I was really trying to focus on line, but I was doing it a couple different ways. So, it’s a sample of about four different series.

Some of my artwork is maybe a little provocative, but it’s mostly just illustrations and experimental drawing. A lot of the drawing I did in college was really academic. I graduated about a year and a half ago, so in that time, I’ve been wanting to do something bizarre and provocative and maybe in some ways sexual.

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work by Mia Cugasi


Varisco: Mia and I had a conversation when talking about this show and a few keywords we’d talked about were “dreamlike,” “deluded,” “fuzzy.” That led me to create kind of amorphous shapes and that gave me the pretext of what I wanted to explore within my own work. I picked materials which had that same effect. The way that I work is very material based, so I sat down with my materials and let them do their own thing and I mess with them and they give me the direction. I don’t plan my work when I sit down to make something, I don’t have an idea of what I’m doing, I just use the materials that I would like to use and then see how they interact and that gives me the pathway for each piece. Then I start gathering the idea of what I want it to form.

Cugasi: I think we’re both going to be surprised as to how the shows going to come together because we had only met once before we found out about the show. We met when we found out to discuss the show. Like (Varisco) was saying, we found some descriptive words and thought about what our work has in common. It still worked, even though we’re totally separate. Lindsea is very much the form and I’m a little more literal with line drawings. I think it’s going to be a different environment.

The opening reception for “(A) Diluted Dichotomy” takes place on Friday from 8 pm to 12 am at Blank Check Gallery (1834 1/2 Westheimer).