The exhibition curator has taken her own leap of faith assembling what appears on first glance three very different artists. Yet the organizing principle in FOUND is to showcase artists who discover, reimagine, or manufacture their own materials.
Longhui Zhang ferrets out all kinds of materials to use as the components for his art: disused suitcases, travel identification tags, abandoned clothing, and luggage straps. Originally from China, Zhang’s art uses the immigrant or the tourist as his lodestar. By repurposing the paraphernalia associated with travel Zhang allows us to reflect and imagine who is traveling, why they are moving their belongings and at what cost—emotional and otherwise. His iconic installations are evocative and sentimental monuments devised to consider the movement of people and the inevitable clashing of cultures.
The only artist not residing in Texas, Robert Larson, adopts a literal meandering as his ethos. Essentially, he goes on urban walkabouts gathering and recycling all kinds of rubbish in order to make his collage and tiled paintings. Best known for his use of cigarette packaging, Larson creates grids of repeated images, which harken back to Warhol’s commercial imagery. Highly attuned to painterly concepts such as shape, value and pattern Larson grafts his democratically familiar materials into elegant arrangements transcending their humble origins as discarded trash. The subtleties he provokes from his found materials give his art a taut visual impact.
For Zhang, Terry, and Larson the act of finding is a means to gather or fashion the components for their art. Yet, like Rebecca Solnit suggests in her book A Field Guide to Getting Lost, being lost and finding something is also a process. Wandering is connected with wondering, and wonder is a driving force in making art. To create something is to find something—and like these three artists, offering it back to the world is a gift.