Just After: Ann Wood

1953 Montrose Blvd.
  • Presented By: Art League Houston
  • Dates: 1/18/2020, 1/25/2020, 2/1/2020, 2/8/2020, 2/15/2020, 2/22/2020, 2/29/2020
  • Location: Art League Houston
  • Address: 1953 Montrose Blvd.
  • Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Price: FREE
  • Admission: FREE
  • Area of Town: Montrose
  • Free Admission: Yes
  • overview

    Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present Just After, a new, site-specific installation by Galveston based Artist Ann Wood. Incorporating aesthetic elements of Rococo and Baroque excess combined with Gothic style funerary monuments, Wood’s installation visually recalls Victorian figurative grave markers found throughout Galveston’s historical cemeteries. In the summer of 2016, Wood’s parents died within six weeks of each other. She is an only child and sat with both of them as they passed. Wood recalls that it was not peaceful like she expected from watching movies and reading books – it was messy and gross and heart wrenching. Then, instantly, she owned another house in a different state, two more cars, a small dog, and a lot of stuff – boxes and storage units and closets and attics full of stuff. Wood lived her entire life not knowing that most of that stuff existed, and suddenly had to know what was in every box and drawer. Then she had to deal with what was in every box and drawer. “Should I keep it? Should I shred it? Should I sell it? Does someone want it? This experience has shaped my recent creative work,” states Wood. “I have always been interested in domesticity, death as an abstract idea, decadence, decay, and attraction – repulsion as a reaction to visual cues. I have combined those interests with a Rococo and Baroque aesthetic, but since this personal experience, I have become increasingly interested in domestic objects and their potential to be sculpture. I have been thinking of the stuff, the process of dying as I have now personally (not abstractly) experienced it, and how we commemorate that experience.” Other major influencing factors in Wood’s work are words and phrases. As she works, Wood frequently gets a phrase from a book, poem, or song stuck in her head. Sometimes she comes up with her own short phrases. She will pin these to the studio wall and live with them as she works. Sometimes they influence the work, but recently they have started to visualize into actual pieces. Process and materials are also important to the concept and aesthetics of her work. Both her two- and three-dimensional works rely heavily on embroidery, scrapbooking materials, thread, and kitsch “craft-store” objects like fake flowers, sequins, pom-poms, fake jewels, and puffy paint. In the spirit of dichotomies, she often contrasts these “female” items with “masculine” industrial materials like rubber, plastic, foam, hunting decoys, and taxidermy mannequins. Using embroidery and other craft store items as her media, her two-dimensional work reinterprets male-created historic painting into a contemporary and feminine tapestry. Her “frosting” coated, large-scale sculptures twist the idea of monument into feminine super-cakes. ABOUT THE ARTIST Ann Wood was born and raised in Northern California, and currently lives and works in Galveston, Texas. Wood received a BFA in Art with an emphasis on painting and drawing from California State University at Chico, Chico, California. She earned an MFA in painting from the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas. She works consistently in both two and three dimensions, including site-specific installation. Wood’s upbringing in Northern California plays a large part in her work. Her mother was a florist for the San Francisco flower market and her father’s family owned and ran one of the largest ranches in Northern California. Nature and the cycle of life and death were a big part of her early, formative years. In college she developed a passion for art history – specifically Rococo and Baroque works. In her current work, these two influences combine with a guilt-ridden love of craft store kitsch. Wood has exhibited at institutions across Texas and the United States including The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, Dallas; The University of Texas at San Antonio Art Gallery, San Antonio; Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio; and Anya Tish Gallery, Houston. Recent solo exhibitions include exhibitions at Big Medium, Austin; Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont; Galveston Arts Center, Galveston; Lawndale Art Center, Houston; Women and Their Work, Austin; The University Art Gallery at Dartmouth, Massachusetts; and Kirk Hopper Fine Art, Dallas. She featured site-specific installations at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair in 2012 and 2013. In 2018 she was invited to participate in Sculpture Month Houston at the Silos at Sawyer Yard where she installed a site-specific working fountain. She has shown internationally at Centro Cultural Border in Mexico City. Wood has been reviewed in several publications and online forums including Glasstire, The Austin Chronicle, The Houston Chronicle, and The Dallas Morning News. She was interviewed on NPR’s The Front Row arts radio show in 2010, and she was one of 6 Houston artists featured in the Houston publication PaperCity Magazine as up and coming creatives to watch in 2013. Her exhibition Violent Delights at Women and their Work was declared one of the top 10 art moments in Austin by both the Austin Chronicle and the Austinist in 2012. In October of 2018, her exhibition Quick and Quiet at Big Medium in Austin was featured on Glasstire’s Top 5 list as one of the top 5 exhibitions in Texas for that period. In December of the same year, Quick and Quiet was declared one of the top 10 art events in Austin by the Austin Chronicle in 2018.

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