Meghan Hendley-Lopez
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Visual Vernacular: Cindy Lisica Gallery at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair

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Catherine Colangelo, “Black-Eyed Shield,” 2016 (detail)

Leon casino,  

Continuing our look at the local layers added into the Texas Contemporary Art Fair kicking off this Thursday, we tie in another gallery from the concrete art fortress known as 4411 Montrose: Cindy Lisica Gallery. Nearly 50 galleries from across the globe including an extensive list of cultural partners will be present for the four-day fair. A plethora of extracurricular activities during the fair include our city’s leading journal of literature, art, and critical art writing, Gulf Coast, presenting their scholastic program of artist talks, critical writing discussions, and panel on the fair’s focus section The Other Mexico, featuring Rebecca Tejada, Rachel Cooke, and curator Leslie Moody Castro.

Another highlight of interest includes a special talk by renowned restaurateur and lifelong artist Mr. Chow in conversation with Eric Shiner, former director of the Andy Warhol Museum. The legendary Mr. Chow has hosted and served the revered artist population such as Keith Haring, Mick Jagger, Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Madonna, David Bowie, Bruno Bischofberger, and more.

Prior to Thursday’s opening night preview, Cindy Lisica talks with Free Press Houston about her gallery’s plans for the art fair along with her ties to this special talk.


Terry Boyd, “Trying to Feel Human Again,” 2016


Free Press Houston: What work will you be presenting at the fair? How will this particular work represent your gallery?

Cindy Lisica: I’ll be presenting the work of a fair favorite from last year, Terry Boyd, and his captivating embroidered paintings on linen. His upcoming solo is up next at the gallery, opening on October 14. I’m also incredibly pleased to be featuring a remarkable large-scale painting by Michael Chow [Mr. Chow] aka Zhou Yinghua. He is an invited speaker along with my former boss and colleague Eric Shiner [the former Director of The Andy Warhol Museum and current Senior Vice President of the Fine Art Division at Sotheby’s in New York].

Ron Ulicny is making the trip to Houston from Los Angeles to install large sculptural works from his “Xylotheque” series, which were selected as special installations at the fair. I’ll also bring the work of artists that have previously shown with me or are about to bring solo exhibitions in coming months, including Deborah Nehmad, whose exhibition earlier this year at the Honolulu Museum of Art further solidified her established presence as an important figure working in printmaking. Houston-based Catherine Colangelo, who has an exhibition opening January 6, 2017, is a Parsons and Cooper Union graduate who’s been featured in Art in America, New American Painting, and several other national art magazines and local publications.

She is a two-time Hunting Prize finalist and will give us a taste of her sophisticated studio work primarily using gouache on muslin. Paintings reflecting exciting textures, architecture, and pop sensibilities by Jamie Earnest, the young art star from Carnegie Mellon and Yale, will also make an appearance in the booth. We’ll also bring some teasers for the current show by Jennifer McClish and her playful and colorful — but labor-intensive — mixed media sculptures and paintings. My focus on artists has a tendency toward hybrid material practices rather than the formal or traditional.


FPH: What type of dialogue do you hope your gallery and the work will add to the conversation of the fair?

Lisica: I’m really excited to participate in all aspects of the fair, not only with my booth, but also the media, events, talks, and tours, with special appearances and specifically-featured artwork, as well as the collaborative elements with the other partners who have reached out to respond to the artwork and artists that my gallery is bringing. It’s all rewarding emotionally and intellectually to be constantly engulfed in my passion and sharing it with others.


Jamie Earnest, “Home Like a Film,” 2015


FPH: How does your participation in this art fair help to grow your gallery?

Lisica: As last year was my first foray into the Texas Contemporary — participating as my former gallery, Revision Space, which was in Pittsburgh — it served as an introduction for me to the art scene here, and vice versa. Since then, Cindy Lisica Gallery opened at the start of 2016 and has proved popular in Houston. We have a larger and more familiar presence now and have been working hard to bring top-notch curatorial presentations of artists that are promising and interesting to both local and wider audiences. Everything has been building and gaining momentum.


FPH: How has your time been in Houston in comparison to having a gallery in Pittsburgh so far?

Lisica: It’s sort of a strange comparison because it’s a different region and population entirely, but the time I spent there was important. I had just returned to the US after I finished my PhD and left my job at the Tate in London. I had been out of the country for over 6 years, so it was a new start. I had been working in galleries, museums, and as an independent curator for a decade prior to moving back, and Pittsburgh totally pulled me in and struck me with opportunities. I made links with other cities through curatorial collaborations and art fairs, and also served the local art community, artists, and collectors by providing quality exhibitions and functioning as a commercial gallery.

We quickly became known and were even awarded in the Best Art Gallery category by the Pittsburgh City Paper in our second year of existence. The city has a rich history and cultural fabric, including major universities and the Carnegie Museums, where I worked and traveled with the collections of The Andy Warhol Museum for nearly five years. I’ve previously lived in Los Angeles, Paris, and London, and spent a fair amount of time in China, Japan, and Taiwan throughout my professional career in the arts. I think the curatorial and research experiences in those places have a notable impact on my current gallery practices. The world of contemporary art is vast and varied!


The Texas Contemporary Art Fair opens at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) this Thursday, September 29, 2016 with an Opening Night Preview from 6 to 10 pm. Public fair hours are Friday, September 30 from 11 am to 7 pm, Saturday, October 1 from 11 am to 7 pm and Sunday, October 2 from 12 to 6 pm. You can purchase tickets here.

Receive a complementary VIP Pass that will get you in opening night 8 to 10 pm, as well as all other fair times.