Monday, January 09, 2017

McMurtrey Gallery over a year after it closed

Over a year ago, in October of 2015, one of the best galleries in Houston closed its doors. McMurtrey Gallery had a great deal of beautiful shows with their stable artists. In the aftermath of such an important gallery closing, artists have to find new venues to represent them. A positive is that new galleries are popping up around the city, the negative is that most new galleries don’t have the cache as a gallery that was open for 35 years. So, if you still want to see what McMurtrey Gallery once showed, where can you go?

I began to think about this aftermath when I saw that Sarah Williams was showing with Moody Gallery. I was not surprised to see Williams get representation, because her work speaks to so many. Her paintings are of rural homes and buildings that seem momentarily abandoned. Moody also picked up Jean Carruthers Wetta and Dornith Doherty. I also found that Laura Rathe Fine Art now represents Sydney Yeager. One advance to this move is that Yeager now has a presence in both Houston and Dallas. Catherine Colangelo’s work takes the aesthetic language of wrapping paper, wallpaper, and geometric shapes of textiles. She has found a home at Cindy Lisica Gallery. The wild world of Jules Buck Jones can be found at David Shelton Gallery.

Art galleries are not the only possibility for artist to have a presence in Houston. Ted Larsen Harriet is working with Alexander Art Advisory. In the future, I am sure you will see art by former McMurtrey Gallery artists in art centers, university galleries, and community college galleries. Unfortunately, not everyone has been pickup by a gallery or art consultant yet. Jason Webb showed in the McMurtrey micro space. Murielle White has been too busy with a mural project and a solo show the coming January at Cris Worley Fine Arts in Dallas to start seeking a Houston venue this year. However, her work is so good that I can imagine someone wanting to work with her soon. Rusty Scruby has gallery representation in Dallas, Miami, Santa Fe, and LA, so he might be a bit too busy right now to make a run at Houston again, but Houston galleries would be smart to reach out to him.

On a sadder note, less than a year after the gallery closed, McMurtrey Gallery artist Jed Foronda died at the age of 30. Foronda’s work was an excavation of color and shapes that look like earth sediments. Some works had elements of the real, but were abstracted in his waves of paint. A retrospective of his work would be a fitting tribute. I hope I get to see more of Foronda’s art in another show one day.

I reached out to several other artists on the McMurtrey Gallery list to see what each artist was up to and where they went, but I didn’t receive responses in time for this article. I hope for my own reasons I get in contact with some of them, because I want another opportunity to see their work.

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