In First Show From New Collective, UH Grad Students Explore ‘Emergence’

Detail of Liz Gates' 'Co-Emergence,' made of diapers and felt on wooden stretchers

LAST YEAR WAS a particularly difficult year for artists, as grants ran dry and galleries shuttered due to Covid-19. In response, Liz Gates and Doug Welsh founded G5 Collective with the mission of creating community and multi-disciplinary arts interaction for MFA candidates at the University of Houston.


"After a year of online communication, we came together due to a collective desire for in-person community building and arts discourse," says Welsh.

This week, the group will be presenting its first exhibition, titled Emergence. The show will feature the work of 15 graduate students, and will be open to the public through July 17, with a closing reception on the final evening.

This group exhibition is born of G5 Collective's summer intensive, which Gates and Welsh created in a time of limited opportunity. "As a result of Covid, it was a particularly hard year to get into summer residencies," explains Welsh. "So instead, we decided to join ranks and create our own summer arts intensive."

Mark Francis' 'Wiseman'

Mark Francis, one of the artists featured this week, presents two mixed-media drawings that are part of a larger series, combining, among other elements, colored pencils, mulberry and rice papers, ink, and gold foil, creating very textured pieces that bring life to the men represented.

"I think 'emergence' speaks more to where I am as an artist, not necessarily the work," says Francis in regards to how his work fits in with the theme of the show. "I never planned on being in grad school and now that I am, it feels like I am emerging. The work is coming from a place that I am just getting used to, but is also ever evolving."

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