KCAM – Contemporary Art Museum Fort Bend features artist Felipe Lopez as he delves into charted waters after the Houston Floods to uncover color, concept, and redemption, and conception in the solo exhibition I Come From The Water
I Come From The Water
Solo Exhibition by Felipe Lopez
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 – Sunday, July 10, 2016
Saturday, May 14, 2016
5:00pm – 7:00pm
KCAM Contemporary Art Museum Fort Bend
805 Avenue B
Katy, TX 77493
Katy, TX: KCAM – Contemporary Art Museum Fort Bend is pleased to announce the anticipated solo of Felipe Lopez occurring this summer. I Come From The Water eloquently expands upon the creative concepts wading in the artist’s Hook series. Throughout this series and into this show, Lopez collects elements from his Cuban heritage, his love of fishing, and his infinity for psychology. In addition, the artist grapples with the loss of years of work to the recent Houston floods and the renewal of materials. Reeling out these concepts into five new bodies of work, this exhibition takes viewers on a thought-provoking journey, wading in today’s cultural questions, the creative class struggle, nature vs. man, and the dicey political climate.
This Could Be You
In this series, Lopez examines the current political tensions in regards to Syrian refugees. With opinions across the spectrum, many in this country lack acceptance towards Syrian refugees wishing to migrate. Based on the current political election, the impending refugee situation, and other social elements, many in the United States
believe that they could easily migrate to another nation based on their distain and disgust of what is happening in their home country. Lopez believes that these potential ex-pats may find themselves in the same position as the Syrian refugees. What if other cultures and countries exhibited the same anger and outrage to them moving to their homeland? In the artwork, Lopez uses multicolored silhouettes in formation melting amongst other figures.
“The colors and visual plain tell a tale of mixed emotions from the refugees: freedom but with the unsettling feeling of being trapped…”, states Lopez. “The silhouettes also reveal a net like pattern that suggest the people in the nets could be anyone in this world and that thought is surreal.”
Between Perception and Conception
Using canvas, color, and fishing material Lopez manipulates canvas to ride between the visual stimuli and the conceptual backing in a minimal and material aspect. Canvas infused with color or absent of such is the vessel for rips and tears by the smallest hooks leaning into the notion on how this gray area continues to capture us on a social, ecological, and political level.
With just a few drops of water and ink, the artist has created droplets traveling down a wall with a realistic hand. These Rorschach-esque paintings give three points of perspective while combining abstract and realism amongst psychology and the concept “If I waste water in my art, is it really for the benefit of art?”
From skeletons of rafts to the idea of over sized fishing lures, this sculptural series shows the historical aspect of human migration. The subtle movements of colors fade into each other over the steel that changes with the atmosphere around it. “One of the feature pieces in the exhibition, Boat Over Stoned Faces, features the construction of a boat frame of many colors floating across the imprints of ancient faces of concrete…”, says Lopez. “…these faces signify the lives lost in the water of those attempting to reach new lands along with the ruins of ancient civilizations that live in the deepest waters.”
This body of work is based off the natural destruction of the last 5 years of Lopez’s artwork during the recent April floods in the greater Houston area. Pieces that were featured locally and abroad, including work previously featured at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, were ravaged by floodwaters while in storage. While reflecting on
this loss of time, talent, and material, Lopez noted that artwork and cultures are constantly being disturbed either by nature, man, or both. "The growth of what resurfaces from the wreckage is evolution...", states Lopez. “…currently, I am salvaging pieces from the damaged art to incorporate new pieces signifying loss and growth."
I Come From The Water is on view at the KCAM – Contemporary Art Museum Fort Bend Wednesday, May 4, 2016 – July 11, 2016. The opening reception for the artist is Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm at the Kcam located at 805 Avenue B Katy, TX 77493. The opening is a free event where as admission to the museum during regular hours is $2, children under 5 free.
An additional special event is planned for International Museum Day on Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 featuring a wine tasting by The Cellar Door from 6 to 8pm. Admission to the museum will be free this day. For more information on this exhibition and about the museum, please visit www.katycam.com
ABOUT FELIPE LOPEZ
Felipe Lopez is a Multi-Dimensional self-taught visual artist based in Houston, Texas. Born in New York, Lopez's career began with his mixed media drawings & paintings shown at MECA and Prairie View A & M University. Since then he's branched off into installation video work projected on his paintings and sculpture working in unison based on neurology and science experiments based on the brain. Lopez continues to connect science through art while exhibiting in various venues while creating works in 2D and 3D including instillation, photography, large-scale monoprinted sculptures, and video art.
Felipe is also an avid supporter of the art community in Texas and recently has been featured in multiple solo shows in the Houston area. In the July 2013, Felipe's work was included in two large exhibitions at prestigious institutions: the Exposure 2013 photography exhibition in Long Island City, New York and the 2013 African American Artist Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. His first major solo exhibition was mounted in August 2013 at the Houston Arts Alliance Gallery. His second solo exhibition in less than a year took place at Peveto Gallery in March 2014 featuring his Synesthesia Sound series along with interactive musical performances based on the work.
In the fall of 2014, Felipe expanded on new multimedia works along with a new series of paintings and sculptural works including his Hook series. In December 2014, Felipe exhibited work at Art Miami 2014 through his newly acquired gallery representation PSH Projects :: La Paz. The year 2015 brought exhibitions and featured pieces at the 2015 African American Artist Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Houston Fine Art Fair, Texas Contemporary Art Fair, and the KCAM – Contemporary Art Museum Fort Bend. Combining the trade of welding along with his expanded skills in visual art, Lopez has developed his Hook series into various sub series in sculpture, mixed media, figurative work, and complex painting. His solo show in May 2016 at the KCAM – Contemporary Art Museum Fort Bend looks to be the most encompassing exhibition to date.
ABOUT THE KCAM - CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM FORT BEND
Established in 2013, the KCAM is a not-for-profit institution in Katy / Fort Bend, Texas, dedicated to presenting the contemporary art of our time to the public. The KCAM provides an interchange for visual arts of the present and recent past, presents new directions in art, strives to engage the public and encourages a greater understanding of contemporary art through education programs. The KCAM occupies a white concrete building in the heart of Katy's Museum District. The prominent and recognizable building was originally designed and
built for the Ray Woods Lumber and Supply Company in 1953 and later housed several other businesses. This building is supposed to have been the very first poured concrete building built in Texas. We are located on the corner of Avenue B and First Street in downtown Katy - right across from the Katy Railroad Park and Tourist Center. Admission is $2.
In 2011 the Katy Culture & Arts Alliance was established by a group originally called the Katy Cultural Council. This alliance was founded to provide the fast growing Katy area with an umbrella organization for the arts. All members of this original council became the alliance's first board of directors. Two years of art events and exhibitions for the Katy area and a growing membership convinced many that a permanent exhibition space was important to the growing community and that art education was vital to cultural development. The availability
of the 805 Avenue B building was the best option because of its prime location, immediately across from the Katy's Railroad Park Museum and Tourist Center, with a recognizable design and mid-century modern look, and with easy access to Interstate 10. Our mission is making tomorrow's history by bringing fundamental cultural change, inspirational aspirations and ideals to the Katy and Fort Bend areas, leaving a legacy of social and cultural transformation.
The Kcam serves a large area and population which includes but is not limited to: Fort Bend County and its many cities, West Houston and Harris County, Waller County and Austin County. KCAM is a private museum supported almost entirely and thanks to memberships and donations. Less than 7% of its funding comes from governmental entities. These government funds are pulled from monies raised through county charitable fundraisers and city hotel occupancy taxes designated for the arts. The KCAM is in Fort Bend County and is its only art museum. For more information about KCAM - Contemporary Art Museum Fort Bend, please visit: www.katycam.com
Cuban-American artist Felipe Lopez has been making fine art for six years and displays a significant mastery of a variety of mediums, especially given that he’s only 24 years old. Lopez’s solo exhibition, I Come From The Water, will be shown at KCAM Contemporary Art Museum Fort Bend, a non-profit institution that’s helping bring contemporary art to Katy, where Lopez is also the artist in residence.
FPH: You lost almost all of the artwork in your studio after the recent flood.
Felipe Lopez: Everybody is familiar with the flood that happened a few weeks ago. It was really interesting because I had so much artwork that I would never paint over, I wouldn’t do it, so in a weird aspect it’s like losing everything allowed me to finally begin on something new. So now everything that’s in the museum show is work that I’ve completed, with the exception of some works in my house. The studio got nine inches of water, nothing was hung up and the majority of stuff is at ground level. It’s a cleansing process, but it’s also one of those times when I was telling one of my friends, “I feel like a part of me has been — in the most brutal way — evicted.” There was nothing I could do.
FPH: How long have you been making fine art?
Lopez: I’ve been doing professional art for six years now. So, when [gallerist] Wade Wilson picked me up, I was 18. That was a big deal. One of the pieces in the show was shown at Wade Wilson [Art] at my very first debut with the gallery and it’s titled “Underwater Lab Rats Practicing Religion.” Out of all the pieces [that I lost in the recent flood]; well, I had put that piece in a plastic bin — even though nothing else [in my studio] is in plastic bins — and it saved the piece from the 9 inches of water that essentially destroyed the studio and I have yet to go through the rubble. It saved that piece, along with a couple other pieces, so I thought, “This has to go in the show.”
I dropped out of high school half-way through my sophomore year. School wasn’t my thing, I preferred to learn on my own. My mother put me in this non-profit called MECA [Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts] and which is still kicking ass. My first art mentor, Diana Muniz, could have been the next teacher who wrote me off, but instead she was more interested in how I was conceptualizing artwork. Once she felt like the conceptual backing was there, it was time to really crack down on the aesthetic aspects, the art history aspects, along with just being a well-rounded artist, between color theory and being able to draw basic figures. A few months later, I was completely sold. I realized that this is what baseball didn’t give me at an early age.
FPH: At some point, you had to make the choice between pursuing a career in professional baseball or one in art?
Lopez: That was crazy. It’s a sport that I love so much. I was being scouted, but after Wade Wilson picked me up, I was like, “Okay, cool, I have an awesome gallerist and I’m going to try the baseball thing again,” so I went out [to Florida] and was working out eight to 10 hours a day. Since I hadn’t been paid to play and I hadn’t gone to college or used any of my UIL [University Interscholastic League] years that I could use, so I had come back to Houston for a little while and go back to Miami to do a summer program, go to school and play over there. Baseball got down to a very simple question internally. Baseball is like a physical game of checkers and there’s a finite amount of possible moves. Art isn’t that way at all, not even in the slightest. Just when you thought you’ve reached the outermost limits of art, you realize that you could change one percent of it and then, boom, you have a whole new equation and all new possibilities. With baseball, you’re living with eight dudes and when you’re the only one saying, “Let’s go to Tampa and watch the ballet,” you kind of getting looked at really weird by dudes that just want boobs, babes, beaches and baseball. Let me tell you, that gets old quickly when that’s all you’re doing and all you’re about. That wasn’t me. I put in the work, I played hard, but that was physically intensive, I needed something mentally intensive.
FPH: How did you end up with your residency at KCAM?
Lopez: I was introduced to Ana by a woman who’s a collector and dealer. I was in the midst of welding school last year for combination welding and we had tried for over two months to sit down all together and do this. Having this show planned since last September and coming up with a title a month and a half before the flood actually occurred — “I Come From The Water,” this aspect of renewal, release and getting rid of the majority of this shit that you force yourself to horde. It’s been a great bond between Ana, the museum and myself. She’s given so much back and all the sales that come from this show, per our agreement, means that I’m giving back 50 percent of all sales [to KCAM] to put on more shows like this. I don’t think people realize that she’s privately funded the KCAM.
The opening reception for “I Come From The Water” takes place on Saturday, March 14 from 5 to 7 pm at KCAM (805 Avenue B) and the exhibition is on view through July 11.
By Elizabeth Rhodes. For the full article, CLICK HERE