Buddha & Mandala, Visions, and Learning Curve: Three Exhibitions Opening at HCP

Bill Armstrong (New York, NY), Buddha 704, 2013, From the series Buddha & Mandala Chromogenic print mounted on Sintra.Courtesy of the artist and Robischon Gallery (Denver, CO).

Bill Armstrong (New York, NY), Buddha 704, 2013, From the series Buddha & Mandala Chromogenic print mounted on Sintra.Courtesy of the artist and Robischon Gallery (Denver, CO).

HOUSTON—Houston Center for Photography presents three dynamic exhibitions exploring the realms of color, perspective, contemplation, and education. On view February 27th through April 26th, HCP Gallery displays a variety of artistic interpretations of photography, opening up dialogue and discussion amongst the exhibitions. Bill Armstrong: Buddha & Mandala depicts luminous images of the artist’s interpretation of Mandalas and Buddhas. Nodding to certain themes in the Buddhist religion, Armstrong alters the depiction of the cosmos and life through his use of abstraction and alteration. Through the use of his technique and the pulse of color, the artist allows the viewer a chance to meditate on these spiritually centered photographs upon viewing.

In the exhibition by Ryan Bush entitled Visions, visual captures of inspiration and dreams are presented through three-dimensional photographs. Through various interpretations of visions in spiritualism, meditation, nature, and in the imagination, Bush creates a delicate narrative to be viewed with and without 3D glasses thus uncovering the layers and intensity of each piece. Both Armstrong and Bush take inspiration from Buddhism and the search for Nirvana, which completely alters our experience of the world.

Highlighting an extensive educational program, HCP presents Learning Curve 8 showcasing a variety of photography styles and mediums selected by Keliy Anderson-Staley, Assistant Professor, Photography and Digital Media, University of Houston. Offering hundreds of classes a year, HCP provides a plethora of learning opportunities for all ages. This exhibition showcases the breadth of talent from students of all ages and skill level who have participated in HCP’s educational programs.

Additional information about each exhibition may be found below. For further information on these exhibitions, visit: www.hcponline.org/exhibitions

Bill Armstrong: Buddha & Mandala

Bill Armstrong (New York, NY), Mandala 451, From the series Buddha & Mandala. Chromogenic print mounted on Sintra. Courtesy of the artist and Robischon Gallery (Denver, CO).

Bill Armstrong (New York, NY), Mandala 451, From the series Buddha & Mandala. Chromogenic print mounted on Sintra. Courtesy of the artist and Robischon Gallery (Denver, CO).

New York based fine art photographer Bill Armstrong includes works from his Infinity series for his HCP exhibition. Distilling the ideals and aspects of Buddhist paintings known as Mandalas, Armstrong alters the symbol of the mandala to reveal the spirituality through abstraction and minimalism. Central themes in Buddhism, such as the Wheel of Life or the Maps of the Cosmos, resonate in the work as the saturation of color pulsates for the viewer. Using his camera’s focusing ring set on infinity, these images capture the celestial and meditative aspects of Mandalas.

Also on display at HCP for this exhibition includes a series of images representing the iconic Buddha figure. Including images collected from books and the internet, Armstrong strings together the various visuals on different backgrounds. By photographing these new collages out of focus, the artist deconstructs the subjects in the collage to reveal new transcendental narratives that uncover layers of the spiritual world. This imaginative take in the photographs nods to the belief that the Buddha figure is an imagined being not of a real likeness. Luminous in nature, these works present a capture of aura in transcendence for the viewer.

Armstrong is represented by ClampArt in New York, Hackelbury in London along with numerous galleries in the US and Europe. His Mandala series was featured in a two-person exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2008 and he had a mid career retrospective at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach in 2010. Armstrong’s work is in many museum collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Bibliothèque National de France. He has presented work in numerous museum exhibitions including: the Smithsonian Institution; Hayward Gallery, London; Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne; Centro Internazionale di Fotografia, Milan; and FOAM, Amsterdam. Armstrong is on the faculty at the International Center of Photography and the School of Visual Arts.

Special Events for Bill Armstrong: Buddha & Mandala

Exhibition on view: February 27-April 26, 2015

Opening reception: February 27, 2015 from 5:30 to 8 pm

Bill Armstrong & W.M. Hunt Lecture “Thinking in Color”: Saturday, February 28 at 6 pm

W.M. Hunt workshop “How I Look at Photographs”: Sunday, March 1st from 11am to 2 pm

Bill Armstrong workshop “Principles of Color for Photographers”: Sunday, March 1st from 3 to 7 pm

Ryan Bush: Visions

About The Series:

Ryan Bush (Los Gatos, CA) Vision #20, 2014, From the series Visions, 20 x 20 inches, Edition of 1/15, Courtesy of the artist

Ryan Bush (Los Gatos, CA) Vision #20, 2014, From the series Visions, 20 x 20 inches, Edition of 1/15, Courtesy of the artist

California-based photographer Ryan Bush presents a unique viewing experience centered on his exploration of mystery, dreams, and visions. Three-dimensional photographs that echo monumental feelings of awe and beauty through inspiration, insight, or revelations all start from the photographer focusing intensely on a tiny part of a tree, such as a single twig or leaf. Through multiple exposures, the repetitive and meditative aspects of the pieces are constructed. The 2D multiple-exposure image is then taken a step further by adding a third dimension through photo editing. Working as a composer or seamstress would weave their craft, Bush reveals a still life that leaps beyond the constraints of a photograph.

A new world, which examines symmetry and asymmetry along with the secular and the divine, these works immerse the viewer through the use of 3D glasses. By viewing with and without the glasses, one can focus on blurred lines to details to shadows. Bush also takes the viewing experience one step further by mounting the photographs so one can rotate them, to experience them either right-side up or upside-down, which reverses the 3-D effect. His inspiration, like Armstrong, comes from Buddhism and an attempt to recreate through art the visions and experience of searching and finding Nirvana.

Creating work for more than 16 years, Ryan Bush received his BA in Linguistics and Russian from Swarthmore College in 1995, got his PhD in Linguistics from UC Santa Cruz in 2000, and speaks eight languages. Drawing on inspiration from music, everyday objects, and the sacred hidden in the mundane, Bush’s abstract photographs have been exhibited in many solo and group shows in the US and abroad. His work is included in numerous collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Special Events for Ryan Bush: Visions

Exhibition on view: February 27-April 26, 2015

Opening reception: Friday, February 27, 2015 5:30 to 8 pm

Artist Lecture: Thursday, February 26, 2015 6 pm

Learning Curve 8

Laura Hannusch (Houston, TX) Cuban Primary School, 2014, Chromogenic print, 14.25 x 19.25 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Laura Hannusch (Houston, TX) Cuban Primary School, 2014, Chromogenic print, 14.25 x 19.25 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Two of the major facets of HCP as an organization are their extensive educational programs and their gallery exhibitions. These come together for the 8th year in the exhibition Learning Curve 8. A collection of work produced by students of HCP’s classes, this juried show provides a platform for talent of all skill levels and medium. Celebrating over 1,000 lifelong learners, Learning Curve 8 proudly displays the work of students from their classes and workshops totaling over 300 a year.

This exhibition also pays tribute to the wisdom and leadership of the local professional photographers and artists who generously give of their time and talent to teach at HCP. Juror Keliy Anderson-Staley, winner of HCP’s 2014 Carol Crow Memorial Fellowship, is a Houston-based fine art photographer working in film, digital and wet-plate collodion photography and is also Assistant Professor of Photography and Digital Media and the University of Houston.

Special Events for Learning Curve 8

On view: February 27th 2015-April 26th 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, February 27th, 6 to 8 pm

Juror Remarks & Artist Talks: Saturday, March 7, 11am

About the Houston Center for Photography
Connecting People with Photography

HCP’s mission is to increase society’s understanding and appreciation of photography and its evolving role in contemporary culture. HCP strives to encourage artists, build audiences, stimulate dialogue, and promote inquiry about photography and related media through education, exhibitions, publications, fellowship programs, and community collaboration. Houston Center for Photography’s exhibition gallery, free to the public, features some of the finest works of contemporary photography. HCP also offers over 300 photography classes and workshops year-round. Varying in competency levels, these classes are all taught by esteemed renowned photographers and lecturers. HCP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving as a resource to its members and the community with programs that have regional and national impact.

Houston Center for Photography is supported by The Houston Endowment; City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance; The Brown Foundation; The Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Meyer Levy Charitable Foundation; Simmons Foundation; Julie and Drew Alexander; Patricia J. Eifel and Jim Belli; Artists’ Framing Resource; Larson-Juhl; Antonio Manega, Gazer Design; JBD Foundation; Joe Aker; Deborah Bay and Edgar Browning; The John M. O’Quinn Foundation; Sterling-Turner Foundation; Poppi Massey; Howard Greenberg Gallery; Cemo Family Foundation; John D. Chaney; Barbara and Geoffrey Koslov; Art Colony Association; Frazier King; Gardere, Wynne, Sewell LLP; Celia and Jay Munisteri; Joan and Stanford Alexander; Charles Butt; Joan Morgenstern; Burt Nelson; Jereann Chaney; James E. Maloney; Sue and Bob Schwartz; Bob Gomel; Mid America Arts Alliance; The Joan Hohlt and Roger Wich Foundation; The Wortham Foundation, Inc.; Texas Commission on the Arts; Dornith Doherty; Jessica Todd Harper; Kathryn and Tim Lee; Whole Foods Market; Susan and Patrick Cook; Elizabeth and David Anders; Howard Hilliard and Betty Pecore; Renate Aller; Ballard Exploration Company Inc.; Lillian H. & C.W. Duncan Foundation; Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc.; Wendy and Mavis Kelsey, Jr.; Stuart C. Nelson FS; Amegy Bank; Catherine Couturier Gallery; Andy Freeberg; Mariquita Masterson; Muffy and Alexander K. McLanahan; Dixie Messner; Rocky Schenck; Mickey and Mike Marvins; Nena D. Marsh; Tatiana and Craig Massey; Brad Temkin; Lauren Marsolier; Rebecca Roof; Jim Dow; Natan Dvir; Sally and John Hopper; Joel Lederer; The GE Foundation; Rubi Lebovitch; Thomas Damsgaard; Cara and Jorge Barer; Keliy Anderson-Staley; Krista and Mike Dumas; Sherry and James Kempner; James R. Fisher; Aker Imaging; Kevin E. Bassler; Cameron International Corporation; Houston Camera Exchange; Jerry Reed; Robertson-Finley Foundation; Jeremy Underwood; QUE Imaging; Frank Sherwood White; John C. Lewis; Mike Stude; Bevin and Dan Dubrowski; Vadim Gushchin; Dodie Otey and Richard S. Jackson; Bob Gulley; Azita Panahpour; Bryan Schutmaat; Paul Smead; Eddie Allen and Chinhui Juhn; Gay Block; Stanford L. Dow; Martin Elkort; Kathleen Schmeler; Susan and Steve Solcher; Scott R. Sparvero; Tamara Staples; The Beth Block Foundation; Louis Vest; William Winkler; Eric Faust; Keith Carter; Libbie J. Masterson; ExxonMobil Foundation; Christopher Ashby; Janet and Roger Durand; Kelly and Norman Bering; Laura and Tom Bacon; Donna J. Wan; Corey Arnold; Carolyn Brown; Caleb Charland; Wyatt Gallery; Judy Haberl; Henry Horenstein; Manjari Sharma; Priscilla A. Kanady; Marisa Cigarroa Heymach; John H. Duncan, Jr.; Wallace Wilson; Anne Tucker; Marcia Patrick; Shelley Calton; Randy and Laurie Allen; Susan Burnstein; Michael Crouser; Joe Levit Family Foundation; Robert L. Gerry, III; Molly Hipp and Ford Hubbard, III; Leslie and Mark Hull, Fan and Peter Morris; J. Andrew Nairn; Dee Ann Pederson; Betsy and Charles Powell; Del Zogg.

HCP is located at 1441 West Alabama in the Museum District of Houston. Hours: Wednesday–Thursday, 11 am–9 pm; Friday, 11 am–5 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–7 pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information, please call 713.529.4755 or visit www.hcponline.org.

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