Elaine Bradford Images from the Sidereal (Procyon Besheret I), 2009 Archival Digital Print 20 x 30 inches Courtesy the artist and Art Palace, Houston Elaine Bradford Labyrinth of Frozen Clouds Diorama, 2009 (detail) Mixed media Courtesy the artist and Art Palace, Houston

April 6 – June 22, 2011 – Blaffer Art Museum – 110 Milam Street in downtown Houston

In spring 2011, Blaffer will debut a new exhibition series, Window into Houston, at 110 Milam Street in downtown Houston. Window into Houston is dedicated to showcasing the work of Houston artists in a unique and highly public setting that allows for focused two-part installation in the windows of a historic building located near the University of Houston-Downtown and Market Square. Blaffer Art Museum has a long history of supporting emerging and established Houston artists through exhibitions and programs including the University of Houston’s School of Art Annual Student Exhibitions and Master Thesis Exhibitions and the Houston Area Exhibition. Window into Houston is a new platform for the presentation of recent work made by artists in the community, many of whom had their museum debut at Blaffer and have gone on to develop careers nationally and internationally. Located in downtown Houston and viewed from the street and sidewalk, Window into Houston highlights the most recent developments in Houston’s artistic landscape and reaches out to a broad and diverse audience to engage them in a dialogue about contemporary art made in Houston.

Window into Houston debuts with Elaine Bradford: The Sidereal, the artist’s first solo presentation in a Houston museum. For her exhibition at 110 Milam, Bradford will reimagine the windows as dioramas displaying the habitats of her crocheted creatures, a collection of animal specimens “discovered” by the fictitious fringe scientist Dr. Thomas Harrigan during his explorations into a dimension known as “The Sidereal.” It will be an extension of Bradford’s multi-venue project “The Museum of Unnatural History.”

Elaine Bradford Images from the Sidereal (Procyon Besheret II), 2009 Archival Digital Print 16 x 20 inches Courtesy the artist and Art Palace, Houston

ccording to Bradford, “One window will feature a pair of bears (Procyon besheret) in their forest habitat. These forest-dwelling mammals display an unusual mating ritual. Individuals spend years wandering the forest in search of a mate with matching coat color and pattern. Once this mate is discovered, the bears together dig a burrow large enough to accommodate both of them. They then nest inside, pulling the soil in to cover their bodies. What takes place inside the burrow is unknown, but the two emerge ten days later with their tails fused. The other window will be an arctic cave filled with Lepus microphagus, or cloud hares. These hares are found throughout the tunnel network of arctic caves, both near the entrances to the caves and also deep within them where there is no light. The rabbit-like creatures are able to exert incredible suctional force with the ends of their extended limbs. Using these modified paws, they attach to rocks, literally vacuuming up microbes that live in tiny air pockets within the strata. The suction cups on their paws are hyper-sensitive, capable of detecting the presence of microscopic life as the hares feel their way through the darkest caves.”

Elaine Bradford lives and works in Houston. She holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (2003) and a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin (2000). Her work was recently included in group shows at Gallery Homeland in Portland, Ore.; Cole Art Center at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas; and Centre Culturel Aragon in Oyonnax, France. Bradford is represented by Art Palace Gallery in Houston. She is a founding member and president of Box 13 ArtSpace, an innovative artist run studio and gallery space in Houston. She is on the Artist Board of DiverseWorks, Houston and on the Programming Committee of Lawndale Art Center, Houston. Bradford was the recipient of a 2008 Individual Artist Fellowship Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance. She was a resident artist at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in 2010. She just completed a Civic Art Commission for the City of Houston permanently installed at Vinson Neighborhood Library.

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