Army Propagandist Turned Climate Champ HJ Bott, a Math-Minded Texas Legend, to Be Featured at Tish

'Late Current,' 2017

NEXT MONTH THE Anya Tish Gallery will present a retrospective work dating back to the 1970s of Houston-based arts legend HJ Bott, known for his interesting background — he created propaganda on behalf of the U.S. Army in Europe in the '50s — and for his colorful geometric abstracts, grown out of mathematical exploration of techniques and meant as political commentary.


"He has always been ahead of his time, sketching and melding formulas, challenging the aesthetic foundations of art, and influencing future generations," said a rep for the gallery.

The show, HJ Bott: a Baroque Minimalist, will be Tish's fifth solo exhibition of the Texas artist, who's been making art for more than 60 years. The exhibit will run Oct. 23-Nov. 27.

"Methodical yet intuitive, this body of work, stemming from a self-created system, displays the artist's signature geometrically abstract shapes of rich and textured surfaces," notes the gallery. "Making his own polymer vinyl paints, Bott's use of this industrial material gives the work an arduous layer, while color and movement give a sense of playfulness that speaks to the inventive nature of the work.

'Candy's Dandy, But…,' 2010

"Throughout his prolific career, Bott has engineered countless combinations of shapes and patterns," the gallery rep adds. "But there has always been an underlying visual system that is based in quadrants, grids, and circles.

"Bott has shown his work in hundreds of exhibitions, ranging from a bus station in Utah in 1952, to major galleries, art centers and museums in New York, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Dusseldorf and Mexico City."

In comments last year, Bott, now in his late 80s, explained that calling himself a baroque minimalist "is not a contradiction of terms." The artists noted that the concept goes back to his early days as a young artist "exploring techniques, materials, color, light, textures, and themes, always steeped in political rants."

He said the work ultimately about "making marks, most specifically about our disregard of environmental damages to air, water and the planet."

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