Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Acquisitions--Carrie A. Dyer, Jeff Forster and Marie Weichman at the Box 13 Raffle

Box 13

Last night was the Empty Box fundraiser for Box 13. I knew it was going to be a raffle, and I knew there were quite a few artworks being raffled, but I wasn't sure how it was supposed to work. The way they did it was rather clever. The key was that a lot of artworks were being raffled. Dozens of pieces. The work varied wildly in style. So when you bought your raffle tickets, instead of putting them in one big bin, you actually chose the works you liked and put your ticket into a little box beside the work in question.

Box 13

That way, you could be certain that you were buying a chance to win only works you like.

Kathy Kelley
Kathy Kelley, our histories flow yesterday into tomorrow, tubes, bailing wire, wood, 2010

This was one of the pieces I selected, but I didn't win it (alas). Obviously, the more popular an individual piece was (and I think this one by Kathy Kelley was definitely popular), the smaller the chance you had of winning. But you could game this a little. You could shake the box and try to determine if anyone else had put in a ticket. If not, you could be virtually guaranteed to win that piece. That was not my approach, though. I bought a bunch of tickets (not out of a desire to win artwork, but in order to support an institution that I really love) and spread them to a variety of pieces that I liked. For instance, this photo:

Ben Ruggiero
Ben Ruggiero, Suspended Letter B, Austin, Texas, archival inkjet print

(I didn't win this one, though.) Or this pair of cuties by Jed Foronda:

Jed Foronda
Jed Foronda, Household Name, ink on paper, 2010

(I didn't win these two, either.)

The real fun began at 9 pm, when they started do drawings. It was a real Christmas-present opening atmosphere.

Box 13

And in the end, I came home with four pieces. I paid a decent amount for my tickets, but the fact is that if I had bought any one of these pieces at a gallery, I would have paid more--much more depending on the piece. So for the many raffle winners, Empty Box was a bargain. I think this fundraiser is annual. For selfish reasons, I'd like to keep it small and intimate. But really, if you are a collector on a budget, it is well worth it to come out. And, as I said, what makes it work is the staggering amount of artwork contributed for the show. Houston artists support each other.

So here's what I got.

Jeff Forster
Jeff Forster, Object of Ceremony, wood-fired stoneware, 2009

You might recall Jeff Forster had a very interesting piece at Poissant Gallery a few months ago. That same piece is up at The Big Show right now. This aptly-named piece is very different, though.

Marie Weichman
Marie Weichman, Washclothes, stained porcelain slip drip fabric, 2008

I literally walked right by these at first. I though Weichman (an artist with whom I am not familiar), in a conceptual statement of some sort, had hung old chamois cloth and a pink rag. Then someone mentioned to me that they were ceramic. In a way, I had to ask myself why that makes a difference? This tension was, itself, attractive to me. So I dropped my ticket in and now they're mine. And I love them.

Carrie A. Dyer
Carrie A. Dyer, descendants of the clouds one, digital print, 2008

Carrie A. Dyer
Carrie A. Dyer, descendants of the clouds two, digital print, 2008

I liked these two pieces by Carrie Dyer. What appealed to me was the combination of digitally produced effects (which were fairly subtle) and hand-drawing. I know nothing about this artist (beyond what's on her website.) But one interesting coincidence--she is an assistant professor at Central Arkansas University in Conway--a town I occasionally visit for business.

The Empty Box was a really fun event, and I ended up with some really nice artworks. I'll definitely be there next year.

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