Five Sculptors

Opening October 28 (Friday) from 6 to 8 pm Five Sculptors

In conjunction with Sculpture Month Houston, we are pleased to announce a group exhibition of gallery sculptors, part of a continuing series of five person exhibitions celebrating the fifth anniversary of Devin Borden Gallery at Isabella Court. Please join us October 28 (Friday) from 6 to 8 pm.  Also opening Sarah Sole New Hillary Paintings.

Clark Derbes

Sharon Engelstein

Paul Kittelson

Matt Messinger

Kaneem Smith


 Kaneem Smith “Crashland” wax, fabric, wood 16 x 14 x 12″

Sarah Sole

Opening October 28 (Friday) 6 -8 pm: New Hillary Paintings

Sarah Sole is a visual artist, born and raised in New Orleans, LA. She received a BA in Mathematics and Fine Art from Rice University in Houston, TX and a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Houston. Upon leaving an academic career, she earned an MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in NYC.

She is a recipient of a 2005 Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a 2006 Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center and a 2008 Alumni Scholarship Award from the School of Visual Arts. Her work has shown in art fairs and galleries in New Orleans, Miami and New York City, and is currently on view at Mark Borghi Fine Art, NYC and the Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck, NJ. She lives and works in New York City. This is her first exhibition with Devin Borden Gallery.

In 2008 Sole began a series of portraits of Hillary Clinton which evolved into a relationship with her subject, albeit one-sided. She has said about her personal evolution that, “the last eight years there’s this thing I’ve noticed with my mind. I’ve lost my math mind. And I’ve developed a relationship with the world that I’ve never had before. I am much more attuned to who I am and what I want and my relationships with people, with women in particular, are phenomenal and I credit Hillary. I thank her because we had a great relationship. We still do. But I understand now that it is an aspect of me that I needed to bring to form. I had to use Hillary in a way, like a narrative device, to tell myself a story, not just about who I am, but who I am in the world, who we are, everything, I mean, it was huge.”

The works in the exhibition are part of a series based on well known images of U.S. Presidents. Simultaneously familiar and odd, original sitters’ clothing and hair are maintained with Clinton’s visage, subverting connections between power and masculinity in traditional portraiture.

Please join us Friday for both openings plus openings at all Isabella Court galleries.Also opening works by Five Artists as part of Houston Sculpture Month: Clark Derbes, Sharon Engelstein, Paul Kittelson, Matt Messinger and Kaneem Smith.

Josh Bernstein

Moon Finger

Artist’s Reception August 19 (Friday) 6-8 pm


On view through October 4, 2016 Extended through October 22, 2016

Moon Finger comprises two related series, both charting the space above Bernstein’s head. The first is a group of kites made from second-hand clothes. The second is a series of drawings made in conjunction with animals living in the attic over his studio. When he heard sounds above him, Bernstein commemorated the incidents with ink and pencil rubbings from his ceiling after pinpointing the location of the late-night scratches. Both the kites and the drawings are functional attempts to render visible the forces – be they wind or rodent – operating unseen just above us. Josh Bernstein received his Masters in Fine Arts from Rutgers University (2008) after attending Amherst College and Brandeis University. His work has recently been included in exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2015) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2012).  This is his first exhibition at Devin Borden Gallery.

Russell Prince

Hand Me Down

Artist’s Reception May 20 (Friday) 6 – 8 pm

Russell prince: assemblage with vintage frame 35 1/4 x 41 1/2″

On view through July 1, 2016

Russell Prince, a hometown talent who has exhibited at the Menil Bookstore and the Jung Center, solos at Devin Borden Gallery, presenting recent collages which could pass for works by a mid-century master.  Formed from disassembled, re-purposed book jackets and spines, they exude a post-cubist, geometric vibe and often bear subtle text fragments.  Stoic and handsome, Prince’s timeless collages allude to the palpable presence of the past.

Catherine D. Anspon, Papercity, May 2016


russell prince: assemblage with vintage frame 30 1/2 x 24 1/2″

Richard Nix

New Radius Drawings

Artist’s Reception May 6 (Friday) 6 to 8 pm

richard nix: ink on paper 50 x 50″

Richard Nix makes intricate drawings generated from musical scores.  Visual patterns echo sounds revealed as shifting colors.  Contours of posing dancers or grappling Greco-Roman wrestlers are rotated and repeated to create textures seemingly woven from thread. Trained as a sculptor, Nix completed his MFA at the University of Houston (2010) and has previously had solo exhibitions at Lawndale Art Center (2013) and Devin Borden Gallery (2014).  His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions  in Houston including Skydive, The Joanna and Project Row Houses, and at Holly Johnson Gallery in Dallas.  Please join us for an artist’s reception May 6 (Friday) from 6 to 8 pm.

richard nix: ink on paper 30 x 22″ each

Julia Brown

Skin Trade

Artist’s Reception April 8 (Friday) 6 – 8 pm

Artist’s Talk April 9 (Saturday) noon

Julia Brown’s works are based on photographic and textual documents of subjects apprehended in acts of transgressing the boundary between the human and its others. The series Skin Trade explores scopic and haptic surfaces of desire. Comprised of oil paintings on linen and panel, and gouache and ink drawings, the works engage in hiding, collecting, and exposing; in commerce and voyeurism; in the illicit.  

Painting trades in flesh.  Its skin is the nearest safe distance to the other, for stalking frozen prey, and touching by proxy; for knowing.  – JB

Julia brown “Lucy” 2016 oil on linen on panel 20 x 24″

Julia Brown (b. 1978) creates paintings, videos, and works on paper exploring the politics of looking, the body as a site of cultural conflict, and the problems of representation.  She has exhibited in New York at Cabinet, Brooklyn, Ogilvy + Mather, Art in General, The Kitchen, Scaramouche Gallery, Harvestworks Media Festival, Talman + Monroe, LMAK Projects; in Los Angeles at LACE, Public Fiction, and Supersonic at Barnsdall Gallery; in Houston at Project Row Houses and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; in Dallas at McKinney Avenue Contemporary, the Pollock Gallery at SMU, and Forth Worth Contemporary Arts at TCU; The Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita; The Frye Art Museum, Seattle; Real Art Ways, Hartford; internationally at The Gallery Apart, Rome, Via Farini, Milan, Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, Form Video, London, and Blank Projects, Cape Town.  This is her first exhibition at Devin Borden Gallery.
Brown received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2006 and her BA in studio art from Williams College in 2000.  She was a 2010 recipient of the Epson Prize and the 2006 recipient of the Dedalus Foundation MFA Painting Award.  She has attended numerous residencies including The Core Program, The Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, The Whitney Independent Study Program, the Fondazione Ratti, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and was a two time Visual Arts Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center.  Brown is currently an Assistant Professor of Painting at George Washington University in Washington D.C.  Through May 6, 2016.

julia brown (l to r) “collection” 2014 “the Paper” 2013 “curator of exotic artists” 2014 oil on panel each 14 x 12″

Artists’ Talk: Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin

March 26 (Saturday) 3 pm – Please join us for coffee and wine; Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin will discuss the current exhibition in the context of their 50 States Project and lend fascinating insight into the rare and little-known nineteenth century novel Norma Trist.

Central to their current exhibition, Where the Ranch Actually Was, is a installation by Nick Vaughan and Jake Marolin entitled Spiritus: Norma Trist as a Volume of Captured Breath. The components of this work include a modest and dated desk, chair and microform reader displaying text, spools of yellow and white thread, and a cluster of translucent plastic bags prominently suspended from the gallery ceiling.  More bags are loosely assembled into a pile in a nearby corner , a gathering place for those which have been similarly inflated but not yet been added to the suspended mass.  Clues point to a logical order of assembly, but some explanation is necessary.

The installation is an ongoing performance; the components ultimately remain as the relics of the relatively simple act of reading aloud and thus exhaling into the bags, filling them as the title states with “captured breath.”  The microform displays scans of pages of a nineteenth century novel which bears the unwieldy name Norma Trist; or Pure Carbon: A Story of an Inversion of the Sexes.  Written by John Wesley Carhart and published in 1895, the book is recognized for this early portrayal of a central protagonist who is without ambiguity or reservation same-sex oriented.  With unflinching directness she declares, “My love…is according to my nature; therefore, God-given and right.”  And make no bones about it, Norma Trist has acted upon her desires.  Equally stunning is that these words were written in the cultural backwater of La Grange, Texas, perhaps best known as the location of the infamous Chicken Ranch bordello, but also squarely within the Victorian era.

Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin have made a series of such Spiritus works during the past few years, including Spiritus: John Wayne, in which his complete dialogue from eighty-four films has been similarly captured.  As part of an ambitious opus called the 50 States Project, Where the Ranch Actually Was is the partial unveiling of the Texas portion of the greater work which will be exhibited in New York this fall.  It follows closely 50 States: Wyoming exhibited earlier this year at Art League Houston.  Readings from Norma Trist will continue throughout exhibition, which also features SpiritusLawrence v. Texas, the fifty-odd pages of oral arguments in the landmark Supreme Court case, and a series of mesmerizing found road maps which the artists cut by hand to reveal hidden images.  At 3 pm (following the exhibition walkthrough of Casey William’s exhibition at Art Palace) join us as Vaughan and Margolin lend intriguing insight into the place of Norma Trist in GLBT and Texas literary history.

Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin

Please join us February 26 (Friday) from 6 – 8 pm for an artists’ reception.

Where the Ranch Actually Was

image: Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin “The Wagon Wheel” found road map 2015

Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin are interdisciplinary artists and a married couple.  Currently they split their time between Houston and Tulsa, Oklahoma where Vaughan is an inaugural fellow in the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. They are developing a series of distinct installations, one for each American state, in response to recently uncovered and not well-known nineteenth century lesbian and gay historical figures, events and cultural artifacts.

Where The Ranch Actually Was includes a series of maps overlaid with images of what now stands at the site of historic LGBT bars and nightclubs across the state of Texas. These elaborately hand-cut road maps evoke cardiovascular systems and provide frameworks connecting geography to lost histories which created them.

The exhibition will also include sculptural remnants of performance actions in which the artists read aloud into inflatable bags, capturing their breath as a physical abstraction of the words they are reciting.  For this show they are creating breath abstractions of the landmark 2003 Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decision making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory, and the little-known 1895 novel Norma Trist; or, Pure Carbon: A Story of The Inversion of the Sexes.  Written in La Grange, Texas by a medical doctor and published in Austin, Norma Trist features astonishingly progressive views and an unabashed lesbian protagonist.   Several performances will occur during the run of the exhibition including a recitation from this novel during the artists’ reception.

50 States: Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma will be exhibited in New York in September 2016 at the Invisible Dog Art Center.  Vaughan & Margolin received a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for their works on paper, and were resident artists at New York’s HERE Art Center (HARP) from 2010-2013.  50 States: Wyoming is on view at Art League Houston through February 27, 2016.

Through April 30, 2016

Clark Derbes

Please join us January 8 (Friday) from 6 to 8 pm for an artist’s reception

Square Dance

image: Clark Derbes “Dracula’s Wedding” carved polychrome silver maple 2015

Clark Derbes (b. 1978) is an emerging artist who lives in Burlington, Vermont.   He is known for painting and his sculptures created from found wood.  Initially carved using a chainsaw into a form known as a hypercube (a twelve-sided rectangular solid which Derbes stumbled upon in his quest for shaped surfaces on which to paint),  these forms are further refined using a succession of mechanical and hand sanding to differing degrees of smoothness.  Layers of synthetic gouache in freehand checkerboard patterns are applied with an improvisational spirit with a range of outcomes, some restrained and others vibrant and chaotic.  The current exhibition combines a series of free-standing works, wall mounted reliefs and paintings on canvas.  Derbes studied at Louisiana State University (BFA) and has had solo exhibitions in Massachusetts, Texas, Louisiana, Vermont and Georgia and was recently included in a group exhibition at the Fleming Museum in Burlington, Vermont.

Through February 22, 2016


Paul Kittelson

Please join us January 8 (Friday) from 6 to 8 pm for an artist’s reception

Falling Skies

Image : Paul Kittelson “Falling Skies”

Paul Kittelson (b. 1959 South Dakota) has called Houston home for thirty years. He received his BFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1982) and his MFA from The University of Houston (1985).  His work is in the permanent collections of The New Museum, New York, the Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  He has served on the faculty of the University of Houston since 1992.  His varied conceptions range from the storied life-sized Stegosaurus which once lurked near Montrose Boulevard, the lighted Beacons marking the passage of Buffalo Bayou near Sam Houston Park, and a recently opened Metro station on Houston’s eastside.  Two hallmarks distinguish his work: a boundless variety of materials and good humor.  Kittelson gathers traditional and unusual media for his current exhibition. Alongside pencil and paper drawings, free-standing and wall-dependent sculptures include concrete, aluminum Con-tact paper, vinyl, charcoal briquettes and even a rubber chicken. Easy wit informs each piece, reflected in guileless depictions of suburban yards and Home Depot displays.  With titles which are wry but rarely biting, Kittelson’s work simultaneously critiques consumer culture (and ensuing environmental destruction) and moribund traditions of still life and landscape.

Through February 22, 2016