Two Artists Cultivate Friendship from Halfway Across the Globe — and Show Their Work at a Houston Gallery
THE FRUITS OF a cross-cultural, multigenerational friendship are on display in Things Fall Apart, an exhibit across two galleries at Redbud Arts Center. The show features recent paintings by New Orleans-born, Houston-based artist Randall Mosman and Copenhagen’s Anders Moseholm; it opens Saturday, Jan. 6, and runs through Jan. 27.
Mosman first encountered Moseholm’s work in Stockholm in 2013 and was so impressed with his work he included him in a group show at Redbud alongside several other Scandinavian artists. Known for his fever dream-like paintings of urbane interiors and futuristic cityscapes, Moseholm had never visited the Deep South, and seeing the arid landscapes and fecund swamplands of Texas and Louisiana, and later, the deserts of the American West and the Grand Canyon, would have a profound impact on his work. While in Houston, Mosman put his new friend in touch with gallerists, helped him get a studio, and the two embarked upon a series of collaborative exhibits, including one at Devin Borden Gallery in 2019. Their upcoming show at Redbud is their most expansive yet, and Moseholm will be in Houston for the opening.
The show’s title refers to Chinua Achebe’s 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, and its story of pre-colonial life in Igboland, now modern-day southeastern Nigeria, and the impact of colonialism on its people and culture. While still wholly recognizable, the subject matter of Mosman’s recent paintings has been streamlined to stark effect. The rural and swampland inhabitants who once populated his work, such as the couple making love in “Under the Apple Tree,” and the crowd gathered to witness a river baptism in “The Power of Water,” are now gone. Instead, the viewer is now confronted with a veritable wasteland, along with Mosman’s trademark whitewashed houses, most of which are falling to pieces. In contrast, Moseholm’s busy multiverse paintings of city streets, bridges, and buildings are overlaid with denizens of the natural world, including plant life and animals, giving the viewer the sense they are traversing two or more dimensions at once. Whereas Mosman deals with the remnants of a collapsed system, Moseholm presents the potential for regeneration after that collapse. “It’s left for the viewer to determine is this the end or is this the beginning?” says Mosman.
Since their first meeting, the two artists have developed a brotherly rapport and watched each other’s practice and families grow. Mosman, now 41, and his artist wife Tarina Frank are now parents of a son and a daughter (“Fire and water!”), and post-pandemic, he has moved on from teaching art to more fulfilling employment with the non-profit organization Urban Harvest, who provide community garden programming, farmers markets, and gardening classes.
“Going out and helping people get access to good food and teaching people how to grow food has been important for me,” says Mosman. “It’s really fulfilling.”
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