Popular FotoFest Shows Continue through May: Here Are Our Can't-Miss Picks

Popular FotoFest Shows Continue through May: Here Are Our Can't-Miss Picks

Karen Navarro's 'El Lado Oculto de la Luna' (photo by Alex Barber)

THIS YEAR’S FOTOFEST Biennial wraps up on April 21, but there are plenty of participating spaces with exhibits scheduled through May and beyond.


Each year, FotoFest invites spaces across the region to participate in the Biennial and exhibit their own selections of talented photographer-artists who are doing exciting work with the medium, from traditional portraiture to wildly experimental combinations of images, sculpture, and the written word. It’s a lot to take in, so the extended dates are welcome. What follows is just a sampling of the many excellent exhibits you still have time to take in, in person, with your own eyes.

Spring Street Studios

Karen Navarro's 'El Lado Oculto de la Luna' (photo by Alex Barber)

Argentinean artist Karen Navarro was one of several Houston-based artists in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s 2020 group exhibit Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses, and she has shown widely in galleries and museums across the US and abroad. Navarro’s first site-specific installation, El Lado Oculto de la Luna (The Hidden Side of the Moon), on view through May 11 at the TANK Space at Spring Street Studios, welcomes its visitors with two left and right curtains of floor-to-ceiling braids of synthetic hair. They lead to a portrait of a young woman, her indigenous heritage made apparent in her clothing, hair and jewelry. The image is comprised of and divided into several tiles that transform unpredictably, one square at a time, through the magic of digital video-mapping, to reveal one female subject after another. Despite the potential for sensory overload, the space and projections are crafted and timed to encourage an immersive experience, not unlike what one experiences at the kitchen table, flipping through an album of family photos.

The Cultural Center

Photo by Vladimir Frumin

Houston-based photographer Vladimir Frumin’s exhibit Resilience in Exile: The Ukrainian Refugee Experience, on view at The Cultural Center – Our Texas through April 30, is a series of subtly staged, black-and-white portraits of individuals who have been displaced due to ongoing war in the Ukraine. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1955, Frumin’s empathy with his subjects, people from all walks of life, is clear, and this stately body of work is a welcome reminder of our shared humanity.

Anya Tish Gallery

Photo by Andrey Chezhin

Of Love, Pins, and Needles is the punk-rock-like title of a cross-generational group exhibit at Anya Tish Gallery through April 20. (Somewhere, Joey Ramone is smiling.) Artists Han Cao, Andrey Chezhin, and Marcella Colavecchio are each fascinated by early-20th-century darkroom processes, as seen in Chezhin’s silver gelatin sepia prints, and Colavecchio’s uncanny Polaroids (created by digitally manipulating 35mm film). Their work is defiantly irreverent, even as it pays respect to its historical antecedents.

Colavecchio is also a talented painter, and her photos offer a dramatically different aspect of her practice, with images that look like something found between the cushions of a thoroughly nicotine-stained couch in CBGBs circa 1978. In a time when so much art feels leaden with dubious, socially conscious messaging, it’s refreshing to see an imaginatively curated show that is so unapologetically sensual, even decadent.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport

Since 2019, thanks to the hard work of Public Art Program Director and Curator for the Houston Airport System, Alton Dulaney, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) has transformed itself of the city’s primo locations to experience great art in just about every medium one can imagine, including photography. From now through Dec. 31, ticketed passengers can take in Mark Menjívar’s Looking Up (Voices from Jack Yates High School), a project co-presented by FotoFest, its Literacy Through Photography Learning Program, and the Public Art Program at Houston Airports. Comprised of 28 large transparencies on the windows between Terminals C and D, Looking Up features the students’ photographs of the sky above their school overlaid with original texts describing an ideal learning environment, revealing their hopes and dreams for a strong, inclusive, and supportive community.

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