January’s art gallery shows give us the rare opportunity to indulge (nearly) all the senses. From conceptual works that can be perceived as mirthful or menacing to a multifaceted exploration of France’s most famous female writer, there’s a lot to examine.
You can look, listen, and even smell. But remember not to touch!
“The Mythology of Love,” Celia Eberle at Cris Worley Fine Arts
Reception: January 9, 6-8 pm
Exhibition dates: January 9-February 13
Dallas-based multimedia artist Celia Eberle has a reputation for dark subject matter, yet her exploration of one of the strongest human emotions can almost be perceived as whimsical. At least until you take a deeper look.
An inaugural recipient of the Nasher Sculpture Center artist microgrant, Eberle uses the likes of horses, bats — even little lambs —to explore the subterranean aspects of our psyches.
“Her work is truly magical for the most part,” says gallerist Cris Worley. “The best thing about Celia’s work is it has such layered complexity. There’s a definite playfulness to it, but when you dig, some of the inquiries are into the darker parts of the human experience.”
To reveal the concept of l’amour as fully as possible, the artist has created four signature perfumes sold separately from her sculpted bottles topped with poodles or two-headed kittens. A few works have musical components, trilling the likes of “Moonlight Sonata” or hits by Elvis. One little lamb sculpture with its throat slit is a play on both the wedding and sacrificial altar.
“My basic philosophy is anything that isn’t hard science or math is a myth,” Eberle explains. “That leaves the door open to all sorts of imagery or ideas. I take an oblique approach to a concept just to give you a different perspective on the usual thing.
“I am into the subconscious and the things we try to deny within ourselves, and I think humor and playfulness mitigate that.”
“Tubers. Tablets. Turfs. Tails.” Sharon Kopriva at Kirk Hopper Fine Art
Reception: January 9, 6:30-8:30 pm
Exhibition dates: January 9-February 27
For Houston artist Sharon Kopriva, it’s easy being green. Taking an organic approach to her paintings, sculptures, and drawings, she creates work that literally spills off the walls with a lush and lively verdancy.
Drawing on her Catholic upbringing, her connection to the natural world, and her love for her pet Peruvian hounds, Kopriva settled on the four themes of tubers, tablets, turfs, and tails to tell her story.
“The show is more than just green things; it’s different ways I’ve been working,” she explains. “To me it’s about growth. Nature doesn’t have boxes; it grows beyond the limit of your flower bed, wherever it has decided is a place to be.”
Balancing her epic canvases with undulating sculptures hung with rope, refreshed tiles from the Canton flea market, and delicate drawings, she embraces her various media in a way that’s supernatural, indeed.
“Becoming Colette,” Colette Copeland at Reading Room
Reception: January 16, 6-9 pm
Exhibition dates: January 16-February 20
Author of such works as Chéri and Gigi, Colette embodied the lush lifestyle of the Belle Époque like no other author. Similarly monikered artist Colette Copeland couldn’t help but be intrigued by the French writer’s life and achievements, significantly because of the multiplicity in both of their practices.
“When I was younger, I was compelled to investigate my namesake for potential characteristics we might have shared,” Copeland says. “She was a controversial figure who ruptured social mores, refusing to conform to roles subscribed to females of the time.
“Her writing speaks to gender inequities among Parisienne middle and upper classes. My own work often deals with gender roles and subverting social norms.”
Copeland traveled in France last summer to document the sites where Colette lived, worked, and played, a practice that resulted in a performative journey shared through the artist’s videos, prints, and postcards. Both revealing and obscuring the writer, the works include an original sound work composed, performed, and arranged by Dallin B. Peacock fused with a 1960 recording of Colette reading excerpts of her most famous novels in French.
Although the exhibition is an homage to the writer, there’s no required reading (no pun intended) to attend. “I hope the work inspires people to read or reread [the books],” Copeland says. “But ultimately the work is personal. It's an homage, but also an exploration of self through place and history.”
There will be conversation between Colette Copeland and Glasstire’s Richard Bailey on February 20 at 4 pm, the last day of the exhibition.