Skydive Presents Art From the Studio and (Way) Beyond
Rosane Volchan O'Conor works on Sinapses, a wall-mounted sculpture installation, in her studio at Skydive, an artist-run alternative art space.
In October, the last time we looked in on the proprietors of Skydive, one of Houston's newest scrappy artist-run spaces, they were cleaning up Hurricane Ike-related damage and gearing up for their first exhibition.
Eight months later, founders Sasha Dela and Ariane Roesch have launched a workshop series called Saturday Free School of the Arts, in which "teachers become students and pupils can become teachers" on subjects ranging from building green homes to alternative models for artist-generated projects; hosted Sunday Soup, a community meal that functioned as a grant-funding process; and, of course, kept mounting shows.
In keeping with their multitasking ways, the Skydivers have two exhibits going at once. Or eight, depending on how you do the math.
At 5 p.m. today, Rosane Volchan O'Conor, the latest artist to set up shop in one of Skydive's studio spaces, presents Studio Open House, a two-hour exhibition of monoprints on paper and wall-sculpture installations. Many of the works on view will soon travel to O'Conor's hometown of Rio de Janeiro for a solo exhibition at the Centro Cultural dos Correios.
Volchan O'Conor has long done monoprints, but moving into her new studio space gave her the chance to branch out into installation, she said, adding that her printmaking influences her sculptural work and vice versa.
Skydive's other exhibition, Sisyphus Office, is organized by guest curator Jonn Herschend and involves 10 artists, most San Francisco-based, presenting work at seven locations, some of which might rank among the last places you'd expect to see an art show. That's a big part of the show's concept.
In addition to Skydive — where viewers are encouraged to stop first to pick up a manila folder stocked with a "memorandum" providing an overview of the show, a map and details about the artists and locations — venues include NE'A House of Beauty, Copy.com, Aurora Picture Show, KPTF 90.1 Pacifica Radio, Caroline Collective and the Decorative Center Houston.
According to Herschend's memo, participating artists Joe McKay, Ryan Thayer, David Keating, Alice Shaw, Brion Nuda Rosch, Susan O'Malley, Alex Clausen, David Fullarton, Lindsey White and Elysa Lozano are required to "work within the businesses in a collaborative way. Both the artist and the members of the office are working to create the piece. The only exception to this will be the works placed within the Decorative Center, where the artists will be placing their works in reaction to the space itself."
One of the concepts the show celebrates is romantic capitalism — the opposite of market research-driven corporate capitalism, Herschend writes — in which an "individual has the dream and invests his or her life into making the vision true" — long odds be damned.
"Houston, the city itself, is a metaphor for this," Herschend writes. "The city is free form and has no zoning law. Stores exist in family living rooms, offices are found in trailer parks, galleries in office buildings."
Case in point: Skydive itself, which occupies office space on the ninth floor of a 10-story building.