San Francisco, CA -- FFDG is pleased to present Philadelphia based painter Jim Houser in his first solo show with the gallery entitled “Night Got Quiet - Not Quite Light” featuring 15 new mixed media paintings and site-specific installation works. The pieces feature his familiar concepts of visual story telling, using and repeating symbols, stylized figures, hand-drawn typography, symbolic words, visual sensations, and geometric shapes, creating his own iconography. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, July 11th (6-9pm). Beer and wine will be available. Jim Houser will be present.
Using his signature color palette, the shades of sky blue, turquoise, baby blue, dark red or burgundy, Jim Houser gives his work an innocent almost naive feel. The paintings narrate stories about moments, experiences and emotions from the artist’s life in an unique way, using both graphic elements and symbols, and literal words. Skateboards, books, fish scales, arrows, portraits, ramps, waves and written words, are some of his favorite elements, all presented in cluster like forms and are often created using collage, acrylic, found objects, wood or fabric, blurring the lines between flat images and sculpture by forming highly textured pieces.
Jim Houser was born in 1973 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city where he currently resides. He is a self-taught artist and an honorary member of the Philly-based artist collective Space1026. In 2005, Gingko Press released a monograph entitled Babel: Jim Houser. In 2010, Houser released a vinyl record of instrumental music composed to accompany his installations; the songs are currently available on iTunes. Houser’s collages, paintings and installations have been exhibited in institutions such as the Laguna Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as galleries in Los Angeles, New York, Milan, Paris, Sydney and São Paulo. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
So, what have you been up to lately?
This year I've been seriously strapped down in the studio preparing for my next big solo "Cushion of Memory" opening in September at Library Street Collective in Detroit. This will be my biggest solo in a couple of years, so I've been putting in the hours. I have a few other things in the works after that, but nothing I can divulge at this time.
Have you been to Detroit before?
Yeah, I have. My mom lived there in the nineties for a few years. I've also been reading a lot about it lately; very interesting cultural renaissance going on there right now. I think what's so interesting to me about Detroit, is that it's a lot like Pittsburgh where I grew up. They have similar stories—thriving industrialized city gone bust—with the same sort of gritty character, so I can relate. I'm actually really excited to go back to explore it and most importantly, to show in the city for the very first time.
How is the art scene there in Detroit? Is there a growing gallery scene and are locals buying work?
I'm not quite sure about the whole scene, but the gallery I'm working with, Library Street Collective, is doing some amazing stuff to bring art to Detroit. Not only are they putting on great gallery exhibitions, they recently finished a huge public project in collaboration with Detroit entrepreneur/real estate mogul, Dan Gilbert, called “The Z” where they commissioned 23 artists from all over the world to paint murals in a new parking garage in the heart of downtown (link). I think the locals are really into it. When it comes to locals buying my work, I guess we'll have to see what happens in September.
Any "summer time" plans? You know, swimming, camping and the like?
I'll def be in the river. Up here (Three Rivers, CA.) it's the only reprieve from the heat. I'm also looking forward to spending some more time exploring trails in Sequoia National Park—there's almost a half million acres of insane beauty up there.
What artists are you excited about? Seen any good shows lately you would recommend?
I've been really digging what Revok's doing lately, and JR's work with the NYC Ballet is incredible, needless to say. Also been enjoying the work of Ahmed Alsoudani, Maike Freess, Martin Kippenberger and Thomas Houseago. The last truly amazing show I saw was Alexander Calder at the LACMA in LA, which runs through July if you're down this way.