Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A Message To... Houston

Charley Peters: A Message To... Paul Neal 'Red' Adair

Peters' piece of work is inspired by the legendary firefighter 'Red' Adair (1915-2004) who, during his career extinguished and capped oil well blowouts, both on land and offshore. The project involved collaboration between Peters and TBC's Laura Davidson, based on Davidson's interpretation of a set of instructions supplied to her with relating to a series of drawings made for the project. The instructions to Davidson and Peters' drawings - made from folded paper, reminiscent of flame forms - are below.

  • I have made six drawings out of folded paper.
  • The drawings are now on the wall of my studio in London.
  • On sheets of white paper I have recorded each fold as a line, thereby producing six new line drawings.
  • I have given these line drawings to you and they are to be taken to Houston, Texas.
  • In Houston the lines should be turned into folds and the original drawings recreated.
  • The six recreated drawings should be burned and their ashes scattered on Houston Heights, the area where Red Adair spent his childhood, to commemorate his career extinguishing hazardous oil well fires until his retirement at the age of 77.

On the 25th of August the works were recreated and scattered along the park in the middle of Heights Boulevard, which divides the lanes of traffic travelling across town. 

Beverley Bennett: A Message To... Ima Hogg

Some persons create history.
Some record it.
Others restore and conserve it.
She has done all three.

Allan Shivers former Governor of Texas

Ima Hogg (1882 - 1975) known as "The First Lady of Texas" was an American philanthropist, patron and collector of the arts and one of the most respected women in Texas throughout the 20th century. Hogg donated pieces of  avant-garde European art to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) during the 30s and 40s. Additionally she donated the Bayou Bend property to the MFAH in 1957 and it now showcases American decorative and fine arts from the 17th to 19th centuries. Even in death she is a key figure of art patronage in Houston, which the home of some of America's most important collections. Works donated by Hogg and other collectors during her time are still loaned to museums and galleries internationally. Evidently Hogg's role in giving Houston a rich cultural heritage impacts on the popularity of the Museum District today. 

Bennett based her drawing on the Eastern Massachusetts Easy Chair, (1760-1800) a gift from Ima Hogg to the MFAH. The geometric needlework cover served as an inspiration for Bennett's drawing. The crosswalk beside the MFAH also touches on the Glassell School of Art and the Contemporary Arts Museum. This was an ideal location to install Bennett's work as often the lamp posts here are used to promote other cultural events in the city.

Laura Davidson: A Message To... Terry Hershey

Terry (Therese) Hershey (1922- ) is a well known and celebrated American conservationist. In the Houston area she is most closely associated with 6 miles of Texas parkland that bear her name. The Terry Hershey Hike and Bike Trail would not exist if it were not for her relentless campaigning to stop the Buffalo Bayou from being paved. In the 1960's the bayou was to be stripped of vegetation, straightened and filled in with concrete, a government sponsored project that set to use this method of engineering as a flood prevention measure. Hershey, who lived in the area at the time, campaigned with the proposition that this would lead to flood transference rather than flood prevention. Her fight was eventually taken to the then Congressman George H. W. Bush who eventually succeeded to Hershey's hypothesis that there is a better way to control flooding than destroying the natural habitat. She would then go on to establish environmentalist groups throughout the Houston area and become a founding member of the National Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. She is still actively involved in conservation to this day.

For A Message To... Davidson constructed a small paper boat to be floated along the Buffalo Bayou, buoyed by the natural meander and current of the river. Prior to folding up the boat, a drawing was produced on the paper. Drawing and the botanical have a long history together and with that in mind Davidson undertook research into the endangered plants of Harris County the area, which the Buffalo Bayou dissects. The geometric shapes of the Texas Trillium were chosen to be imprinted on the boat, which glided down the Buffalo Bayou in homage to Hershey.

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