an interactive, peformative installation combining art, music, dance and language
Tony Feher is known for creating strikingly beautiful sculptures out of seemingly mundane objects. For this experiment, DiverseWorks invited the artist to consider how his sculptural work might inform, relate to, or translate into live performance – a discipline largely unexplored by Feher to date. Encompassing the main gallery space, Feher will create multiple spaces out of simple materials which will then be activated by several Houston-area composers, choreographers, and writers over the course of the exhibtion. These artists have been chosen by Feher and are creating new work in direct response to the installation and each other.
Participating collaborators and performers are Daniel Adame & Shanon Adams, Lisa E. Harris, John Pluecker & Autumn Knight, Leslie Scates (with jhon r. stronks, Spencer Gavin-Hering, Kristen Frankiewicz, and Thomas Helton), Erin Reck, Damon Smith (with David Dove, Sandy Ewen, Nick Hennies, Rebecca Novak and Chris Cogburn), Urban Souls Dance Company & Harrison Guy, Harbeer Sandhu, and music composition students from Rice University and the University of Houston (Phillip Elder, Mark Buller, Mark Hirsch, and Nigel Deane).
About the artists
Tony Feher was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1956, raised in Corpus Christi, Texas and received a BA from The University of Texas in 1978. Since 1980 his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. He has had solo presentations at Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas; Artpace, San Antonio; Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts; Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas; Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; and Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, among many other venues. Feher’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including Everyday Things: Contemporary Works from the Collection, Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; Economy of Means: Toward Humility in Contemporary Sculpture, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona; State of Play, Serpentine Gallery, London; Poetic Justice, 8th International Istanbul Biennial; and Me gusta el plastico, MUPO, Oaxaca, Mexico. Tony Feher, a twenty-year survey organized by Claudia Schmuckli is currently on view at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum and will travel to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York. Previously it was presented at the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa. He is represented in Houston by Hiram Butler Gallery.
Shanon Adams has performed in a wide variety of roles, including zombie, gypsy, cyberpunk, dandelion, hallucination, glitter kitty, manic-depressive, Japanese circus performer, house imp, dream, sewer rat, mirror breaker, and balloon popper. She has worked with a wide variety of artists in all disciplines, including Leslie Scates, Amy Ell, Daniel Adame, Ashley Horn, Stephen Koplowitz, Tino Sehgal, Jim Nolan, Linda Post, and Sarah Draper. She has performed wtih Freneticore Dance Theater, Catastrophic Theatre, and Suchu Dance. Shanon has shown her work at the Frenetic Fringe Festival, The Houston Artery, The Foundry, Venturing Out, and The Peace Festival.
Daniel Adame is a performing and visual artist from Houston. He has performed and presented his work at venues such as Lawndale Art Center, DiverseWorks, the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, Barnevelder (via Big Range Dance Festival), The Houston Artery, and the Southwest School of Art. He has worked with many different artists and companies including Shanon Adams, Kristen Frankiewicz, Ashley Horn, Jim Nolan, Linda Post, Leslie Scates, Jennifer Wood/SUCHU, Lori Yuill, and Catastrophic Theatre.
Chris Cogburn is a performer and curator based in Austin. Primarily working in the field of improvised music, Cogburn has collaborated with many of the premiere international artists in contemporary music, including: Pauline Oliveros, Joe McPhee, John Butcher, Lê Quan Ninh, Tetuzi Akiyama, Joelle Leandre, and avant-rock outsider Jandek. Current projects include NINA, an electro-acoustic trio with avant-vocalist Liz Tonne and Baltimore electronic musician Bonnie Jones; Arena Ladridos, with New Orleans saxophonist Bhob Rainey and Bonnie Jones; LUCRE, a trio with electronic musicians Bryan Eubanks and Vic Rawlings; and Towards Curation, an interdisciplinary work/practice with New York City dancer/choreographer Maggie Bennett. Since 2003, Cogburn has hosted and curated an annual festival of improvised music, the No Idea Festival. No Idea events have been held in Austin, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio, New Orleans, Mexico City and Mérida, Mexico.
David Dove is a trombone player, composer, improviser, and educator. He has collaborated with some of the top national and international artists in contemporary music. As the founder of Nameless Sound, he has presented important concerts of world-class contemporary music and has pioneered an innovative approach to creative music education based on creativity, diversity, and improvisation. In 2003, The Houston Press named Dove “Best Jazz Artist.” In 2004 he received an artist fellowship from The Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County. In 2011, Dove and Nameless Sound were presented with The Houston Press’ “Mastermind Award.” Teaching and performing residencies have included events with The Exploratorium (Berlin, Germany, 2009, 2012), UNAM (Mexico City, 2010, 2012), NoEstacionarte (Mérida, Mexico, 2011), Ch’ak’ab Paaxil Festival (Mérida, Mexico, 2008), The National Children’s Theater (Hanoi, Vietnam, 2007), and The Greater Easterhouse Arts Company (Glasgow, Scotland, 2005, 2006). He has performed with (or in the ensembles of) renowned artists such as Pauline Oliveros, The Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Cooper-Moore, Marilyn Crispell, John Butcher, and Joe McPhee, among many others.
Sandy Ewen resides in Houston and has performed music throughout North America as a collaborative improviser and as a member of The Weird Weeds. Lately, Ewen has been focusing on her visual art, frequently presenting it alongside experimental music. In 2012, Ewen released a duo LP with guitarist Tom Carter, a trio CD with bassist Damon Smith and drummer Weasel Walter, and a rock LP with Austin’s The Weird Weeds.
Harrison Guy, Founding Artistic Director, USDC Harrison Guy is a native of La Marque, Texas, and began his dance training at Ruth Elgin Studios and continued his studies at Prairie View A&M University under the artistic direction of Kenneth Epting and Paula Williams. Guy received full scholarships to study at Energy Source Dance in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Houston Metropolitan Dance Center. He then studied dance at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas. In 2004 he unveiled the Urban Souls Dance Company. With passion as his driving force, Harrison is committed to utilizing dance and movement-based theater to tell real-life stories emphasizing the importance of individuality. Some of his noted creations include The “N” Word, Scarlet Situation, and Our Deepest Fears.
Lisa E. Harris is a new opera composer/performer, filmmaker, and community organizer. The Texas based producer of many talents – writer, songwriter, storyteller, lyricist/ composer, filmmaker and director – she formally studied Opera/Vocal Performance at the Mannes College of Music (BM) and the Manhattan School of Music (MM). She has performed as a soloist at Lincoln Center, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston Grand Opera and Aspen Opera Theatre Center. She has exhibited her original works/compositions at Paul Rogers Gallery (NYC), The Ensemble Theatre (TX), The August Wilson Center (PA), L’Opéra Nationale de Paris (FR), The Houston Museum of African American Culture and the W.E.B. du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture (GH). In 2011, she received an Individual Artist Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance, which supported the creation of her latest work, Cry of the Third Eye, a new opera film.
Nick Hennies is a percussionist and composer currently based in Austin. His work is primarily concerned with redefining and re-purposing the role of traditional percussion instruments through repetition, meditation, and immersion. He received his M.A. in percussion from the University of California-San Diego in 2003. He currently performs with The Weird Weeds, Waco Girls, and the Austin New Music Co-op. Notable appearances include the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Blanton Museum of Art, Festival Agora (Paris), and the LA Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series.
Autumn Knight is a Houston-based performance artist. She received training in acting, community art practices, and arts management in Brazil, England, and the US. Knight received a BA from Dillard University and an MA from New York University. Her performance work has been included in shows at DiverseWorks and Art League Houston. She is currently producing a performance lab series, Futz: A Research Method with Project Row Houses.
John Pluecker is a writer, translator and co-founder of the language justice and literary experimentation collaborative Antena. His work is informed by experimental poetics, radical aesthetics and cross-border cultural production. His texts have appeared in journals in the U.S. and Mexico, including The Volta, Mandorla and Aufgabe. In addition, he has done textual improvisation with experimental musicians and performance artists, and work at the intersections of visual art and poetry. He has translated numerous books from the Spanish, including most recently Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border (Duke University Press, 2012). His most recent chapbook is Killing Current (Mouthfeel Press, 2012).
Erin Reck been produced by Joyce SoHo, Danspace Projects at St. Marks Church, Dance in Union Square, Main Event/Dancenow Festival, Weekend of Contemporary Dance, Pink Ribbons Project, and the Big Range Dance Festival. Teaching credits include Sarah Lawrence College, Rice University, University of Houston, Sam Houston State University, and High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (Houston). She received her BA from the University of Washington, and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently teaching at Sam Houston State University and creates work under the name Recked Productions. Her first evening of dance in Houston will premier in February at the Photobooth on Montrose.
Rebecca Novak received a Bachelor of Music from DePaul University, Chicago and a Master of Music from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She performed as an orchestral and chamber musician on French horn for a decade in Chicago. Her mentors included hornists Gail Williams, Dale Clevenger, Norman Schweikert, Jonathan Boen, and William VerMeulen, as well as tubist Rex Martin. After relocating to Houston, Novak studied sculpture, painting, and drawing at the Museum of Fine Arts Glassell School, where she began to seriously develop cross-disciplinary interests in visual art, social sculpture, and improvisational music and sound. Recent work includes performances with the all-female ensemble formerly known as Gooseberry Marmalade and performing original Scratch Orchestra scores in collaboration with Keith Rowe. Her work has been shown at Lawndale Art Center, Project Row Houses, labotanica, Houston Community College, and Winter Street Studios.
Leslie Scates is a Houston-based independent choreographer, dance educator, and active movement artist/performer with Lower Left Dance Collective, Sandra Mathern-Smith, Rebecca Bryant, Sarah Gamblin, Erin Reck, and Jordan Fuchs Dance. Scates collaborates with experimental sound composers and leads the monthly HTOWN Contact Improvisation Jam in Houston. Scates has performed with Sarah Irwin Physical Theatre, Core Performance Company, Psophonia Dance Company, Travesty Dance Group, Hope Stone Inc., Teresa Chapman, Isadora’s Dish, John Box, Tiffany Couser, and Molly Gochman. She has been commissioned to make works for Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, InterActive Theatre Houston, Core Performance Company, Chrysalis Dance Company, Sandra Organ Dance Company, University of Houston Dance Ensemble, Rice Dance Theater, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Hope Stone Kids, and Houston Community College Dance Ensemble.
Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and had lessons with Bertram Turetzky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser, and others. His research on the “sonic palette” of the double bass has led to a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. Very influenced by visual art, film, and dance, Smith has worked with director Werner Herzog (soundtracks for “Grizzly Man” and “Encounters at the End of the World”) and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. He has collaborated with a wide range of musicians including Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra´s Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Birgit Ulher, Fred Frith, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann, and Peter Kowald. Previously based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Smith currently lives and works in Houston, Texas.
Urban Souls Dance Company (USDC) Deeply rooted in the community, Urban Souls Dance Company (USDC) believes in challenging views that separate us. USDC believes in thinking differently, taking the position that art transforms people, and people transform the world. Challenging divisive views, USDC creates and presents a spectrum of artistic works that promote diversity, love, and understanding. Employing the art of dance to advocate for the use of creativity to inspire, engage with all of society, USDC bridges the gap between art and life throughout local and global communities. Since the company’s founding in 2004, USDC has received numerous accolades and awards including Dance Houston’s Best Artistic Acheivement honors for The “N” Word (2005) and Scarlet Situation (2006); and Best Choreography and the Audience Pick Award for Across the Waters (2008). USDC was also awarded Best Choreography from the Houston Black Dance Festival (2008).