Perry House "Enigmatic"
Houston based artist Perry House opens "Enigmatic" the first Saturday of May in 2015. The exhibition offers elements of House's earlier Happyville and Helter Skelter series while also drawing on elements of his pop-mystic imagery dating back to the 1980's. "I'm just painting now, mixing it up, and not working for a show necessarily." House is known for working long years on bodies of work wound around the confines of very specific trains of thought, but not this time. "That was then this is now. Now I'm just painting, what the Hell - you know?" Oddly enough Perry House doesn't think of himself as a "PAINTER" per se, and says so frequently.
On the occasions of Happyville and Helter Skelter (the exhibitions at Nau-haus and his first show at d. m. allison) the artist referenced the tradition of Vanitas, a style popular in the Netherlands in the early 1600's. Vanitas works, popular at the time, would contain collections of objects symbolic of the inevitability of death, and the transience of vanity, earthly achievements, and pleasures. Oddly, while Perry House evokes the afternoon melancholy of Giorgio de Chirico and his Metaphysical Town Square' series (think of The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon) in his interior scenes, he evokes a kind of glee and jubilance about the entropy of everything in Happyville falling apart, collapsing, and generally floating off in all directions.
"My art has always been about some particular opposites. Elegance and violence, humor and horror, the sacred and the profane. Things are sectioned, distorted and exploded. That's been my artist's statement as long as I can remember. I have it tacked to the wall" House quotes the late great and boisterous Los Angeles artist of the 1950 and '60's John Altoon. " I'm drawing a picture in my mind of what's on your mind. I'm a little confused in my mind, but your mind is coming in clear as hell."
His work often strips away decoration, narrative, sex, politics, and traditional perspective, while at the same time evoking the passage of time, weight, depth, and our mortal coil. In the late 1970's painters of Perry House's generation, like other Houston based artists, Dick Wray, Don Foster, and Lucas Johnson, were hanging out together, hanging work together, and hanging tough in what probably seemed to them a cultural backwater lapping at the edges of the national art scene. They were the few, but remained undaunted until the Houston art scene caught up.
Born in Orange Texas in 1943, Perry House graduated from the California College of Arts, Oakland, CA in 1970, and has been living and working in Houston for the last 30 years. As Houston's art scene was coming of age, House was one of the early pioneers of abstraction, showing with some of the most historically notable galleries in Houston, including William Graham, Davis/McClain, Barbara Davis, Inman, and McMurtrey galleries. In the collection of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the artist received an NEA fellowship award in 1990 and mounted solo efforts at Diverse Works in 2000, curated by Susie Kalil, and 2004 at the Galveston Arts Center curated by Clint Willour.
Monograph available May 2, 2015, 90 pages; forward by Catherine D. Anspon, with excerpts from articles about the artist written by Rory Gary, Sara Kellner, Tom Moody, Susie Kalil, Paricia Johnson, Robert Boyd, Randall Watson, Anne H. Roberts, and Elizabeth Ward.
Available Works 2015 / acrylic on paper & canvas
Instalation Views and Historical Context
acrylic on paper 36 x 36 inches
acrylic on canvas / 20 x 20 inch panels / groupings /
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