The First 100 Days: Artists Respond

The election of Trump to US president was hard for me to process. In expressing this to friends, I was told “you should do an art show, Matt!” That’s all I needed to hear and I set out to do exactly that. This was the largest group exhibit I have executed on my own (with some great friends helping, too!) outside VAA. Pulling on all my experience, this happened.

From the call for entries:

By all accounts, the inauguration of Donald Trump was historic. Following that, his administration’s actions have been unprecedented. His supporters continue to support him and his detractors continue to object.

Historically, when these sorts of events happen, artists respond. This is actually one of the most important roles artists have played throughout history. Already, artists are applying their skills to this national debate in many ways but there hasn’t been a central location for all the events to be coordinated.

Join  the voice that will be heard on Trump’s 100th day as president. April 29, 2017 is when both sides are going to acknowledge their progress. On that day, artists should have their voices heard by holding exhibits, shows, reading, performances, etc. This is the time for artists to reflect on what is happening in the world using their art!

Art work from “either side of the aisle” is welcome and should be created since January 20, 2017.

From the exhibit guide:

This exhibit is comprised of 59 artworks by 45 artists. Works were selected on artistic merit in conjunction with the artist statement. Although most are from Houston-area artists, there are four from out of state.

The call for entries was very clear in saying that ANY political perspective was welcome; the driving force of the exhibit was to allow artists to respond to what’s happening in their world at this time. This is, and always has been the primary purpose of art! Only one artist inquired asking, “I’m pro Trump. May I submit my work for consideration?” The answer was, “Yes, the works will be considered on their artistic merit, not their political perspective.” Sadly this artist did not enter work. Nor did ANY other artist with a “pro Trump” stance.

Article on CNN is here.

Articles from the Houston Press are here and here and here.

Article in The Leader is here.

The press release is here.

The website is here.


New collages of mine

Collaging is something I’ve done for years. Honestly, it was not an intentional endeavor but I just kept coming up with different ways of collaging within Photoshop using photos I took. From the Unexpected Neighbors series to Homage, I just kept altering images as I saw fit. It then occurred to me to try “old school analog” collaging. Instead of a computer and keyboard and software, I switched to books and scissors and glue. Now, at the tender young age of 46, I reminisced about elementary school and didn’t take myself seriously. I actually did not intend to show this work to anyone when I started. However, some friends changed my mind and here are some for you to see!

Aldon Mines: Pythagorean Nightmares exhibit

Aldon Mines is both a creative artist and skilled craftsman. People like him have the ability to create work that stands apart from classic art forms such as oils, acrylics, photography and pottery. Part carpenter, part abstract watercolorist, his constructs combine heavy, masculine materials, with delicate, light watercolors.

His process begins with the creation of abstract forms on paper by using watercolor inks. Then, pen work is applied in structured abstract forms that “grow” out of the uncontrolled, watercolor work. In doing this, he is using his subconscious to find structure where there is none. Therefore, he is classified as a Modernist.

Other artists have done this kind of mixed media work, of course. However, Aldon has more to say than just putting ink on paper and calling it finished. Much more. Separate from the work on paper, he invents complex, dynamic shapes consisting of clusters of acute triangles. This is a very easy concept to envision, however, making such complicated shapes a reality in wood and plexiglass is the king of things nightmares are made of.

The exhibit is at Heritage Plaza Gallery (1111 Bagby St., Houston, TX 77002; M-F, 7:00 am to 6:00 pm) through August 22.


VAA’s 5th Juried Invitational Exhibition

I’m very happy that all for of the digital drawings I submitted for consideration by juror Michael Guidry, Curator of Public Art, University of Houston, were accepted into this exhibit.

Being designated as one of Houston’s “100 Creatives”

The Houston Press has selected me as one of Houston’s “100 Creatives” for 2013. I’m quite flattered an honored to be on this list. I credit Visual Arts Alliance and Arts Brookfield for a lot of where I am today. Here is some of the article:

If you’re looking for a fight on who qualifies as a “real” art curator, you won’t find one with Matt Adams. That’s not because he doesn’t have any thoughts on the issue, he does. He just doesn’t think the debate is worth the effort. “There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years because anyone can call themselves a curator. I just choose not to engage in those discussions because it’s pointless.
“There’s not an industry standard to be [an art] curator. If you’re going to be a hairdresser, the state will issue you a license saying you’re a hairdresser. So there’s a definition for that industry. If you’re going to be a CPA, that industry has a definition, a standard you have to meet before you can say you’re a CPA. Art doesn’t have that.”
Adams, a digital artist and president of the Visual Arts Alliance, didn’t study to become a curator — at least not in a classroom. “When I joined the VAA, it was already 22 years old. There was lots of experience there and people were very generous and showed me how to put a show together, what worked, what didn’t.” Later Adams became president of the organization and as such, liaison to Brookfield Properties, a property management company that includes arts programming in its public spaces. After working with him on other VAA projects, Brookfield approached Adams and asked that he take over visual art programming in its Houston buildings. Adams agreed and officially added the term curator to his resume.
“There’s a lot of prejudice out there against people [like me] by people who do have the formal education. ‘You know, Matt, you can’t call yourself a curator unless you have a degree in art history, unless you have an MFA. How dare you call yourself a curator?’ I get it. I recognize I came into this … in a very unconventional, non-academic, non-formal … way. but I don’t know what other term to use [for what I do] than curator, and that annoys some people. “

You can read the entire article here.

> 20 Square Feet Exhibit

This is a group exhibit of large artworks; each piece is at least 20 square feet in size. This is the first group exhibit devoted to large works of art in Houston. Additionally, many of the artists are participating in the first-time-in-Houston “Buy The Square Foot” program. These (daring) artists are willing to let collectors select an area of their work, say 1, 2 or 4 square feet and the artist will cut out the selection at the end of the exhibition.

“This is a unique way for art collectors to purchase artwork – and “unique” is a word that doesn’t apply very often in the art world. By giving collectors the opportunity to select whatever area they want, they are provided the opportunity to engage an artist’s work in a new way” says the curator, Matt Adams.

Matt Adams, an independent curator and President of the Visual Arts Alliance, selected 19 Artworks by 19 artists from 60 artists that submitted 171 pieces. Media includes painting and photography and subjects range from abstract to realism.

The artists are Homer Allen, Comusina Celan Bouillet, Adam Brackman*, Terry Crump, Tatiana Escallon*, Sandy Ewen*, Elisa Gomez, C. Ellen Hart, Anne Jensen, Clara K. Johnson*, Geoffrey Koslov, Monica Melgar*, Tracey Meyer*, Eric Ockrassa*, R. Michael Reed*, Gerald online casino Syler, Regina Verani*, Dandee Warhol, Adrienne Wong (*–Participating in the “Buy The Square Foot” program).

All sales are handled directly by the artists who receive 100% of the sales price.

Arts Brookfield presents exciting, world-class cultural experiences to thousands of people for free each year in both indoor and outdoor public spaces at Brookfield Office Properties’ premier buildings in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Toronto, Perth and Sydney. From concerts, theater and dance to film screenings and art exhibitions, Arts Brookfield brings public spaces to life through art.

Over the next year, Arts Brookfield celebrates its 25th Anniversary through an interactive initiative, Art Set Free. The public is invited to submit original artworks of all kinds for display at Brookfield’s properties around the globe and on

Where: 1600 Smith Street Gallery (1600 Smith Street, Concourse Level, Houston, TX 77002)
When: November 25, 2013 to January 31, 2014 (Mon. – Fri. 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM), Artist reception on Friday, December 13, 2013

Denise Liebl exhibit at Total Plaza Gallery

I have the pleasure of showing the work of Denise Liebl at Total Plaza Gallery.

Curator’s Statement

Approaching Denise Liebl’s work may likely begin with thinking, “oh, that’s pretty.” While that is not a terrible introduction, it would be a loss to the viewer if left at that. Denise’s work contains two distinct components – still life and abstract expressionism. The result of this combination is the presence of implied narrative in her works.

Still life compositions have attracted artists and patrons for hundreds of years. The artistic interpretation of everyday items can be quite intriguing when an artist has a particularly interesting style such as Willem van Aelst. His work from the 1600’s was hyper-realistic in both texture and color. In the days before photography, this style was highly valued and respected. However, in the 1900’s with photography well established, painters began to express themselves with fast, harsh, erratic but controlled brush strokes. This form of expression through abstract painting contrasted significantly with the realistic paintings done up to that time.

Denise’s work bridges these two artistic endeavors. Another modern concept she uses is collage. Denise is not afraid of placing more than one subject within one artwork. For example, in “Light and Shadows – Sticks” she has placed a grid in the bottom right area which is not part of a standard still life composition. In that way, she is a modernist with classical roots.

Her artistic risks succeed and the viewer benefits greatly.


Artist Statement

A simple still life using small found objects and a fragment of nature, is the beginning of my large watercolors. Currently I am intrigued with a small wire basket, an old wishbone, a delicate paper wasp nest, and crisp white azaleas. Most often the set up represents the juxtaposition of the mass produced element and the fragile temporary structure of nature.  The direct light that creates the shadow on the white surface of the table is often the most important part of the work. The distorted image often reveals more about the objects than what the viewer is expecting.


Cheeseburger Cheeseburger, The Sequel

Today, the Paul Horn/Solomon Kane production known as Cheeseburger Cheeseburger, The Sequel happened. It was a pop-up art show in the party room of a McDonald’s here in Houston. Paul/Solomon invited various artists to participate by wrapping some of their work in birthday paper and bringing it to the McDonald’s at 3611 North Main St. I wish there had been a price list of all the works because there were some very impressive pieces including a Jeff Koons piece valued at $20,000. So now I can say I was in a show with Jeff Coons. And:

Sharon Englestein

Mark Flood

Laura Lark

Aaron Parazette

Sharon Kopriva

Some more digital drawings

I continue to enjoy making these drawings and want to post some new ones.

Installation of Marlene Llanes work at Total Plaza Gallery

Now on view at Total Plaza Gallery is the amazing work of Marlene Llanes. This is amazing work and since there’s no commission to the artist, the works are quite affordable.


I am interested in the concept of perception and how this determines the way reality presents itself differently to each of us. Therefore, at a first glance my paintings include objects and settings that may attract the viewer by their simple beauty or the sense or recognizing what he sees, however, on a closer look the viewer may find himself questioning what he truly sees. My paintings are an attempt to bring to the surface what the eye doesn’t see in normal life experiences. On a more personal level, I intend to connect my past, my present, and my future, all in one instance.

One could say my paintings have a Surrealistic touch combined with influences of Impossible Art. The nontraditional images I create contrast with the traditional oil-on-canvas techniques I mainly use.

Marlene Llanes, 2013


The surrealism movement began as a response to Sigmond Freud’s theories of the subconscious mind. This occurred during WWI; during a time that artists were making statements about war. The surrealists proposed that, in order to improve the world, people needed to begin by changing themselves from within. This attention of the subconscious formed the basis of the surrealism movement. The works made by Breton, Ernst, Dali, et al. gained popularity and validated the movement. Marlene Llanes’ work lies comfortably within the history of surrealism and is well worth mention and exposition.

Llanes paints using oils on canvas and challenges the viewer with captivating imagery. Her mastery of oil work is evident in her depictions of color and texture. This clean, seemingly effortless style is directly indicative of René Magritte, one of the masters of surrealism. Like Magritte, Llanes communicates through the language of the subconscious. The subjects she has in mind as she paints are not immediately apparent to the viewer. As a matter of fact, you may never figure out the idea she started with; I have been quite surprised to learn what some of these works are actually about.

Finally, Llanes is in a minority of artists that has specific stories to tell, tells them well, and that demonstrates precise technique. It is her outstanding technique that creates a clean and determined aesthetic, thus allowing her to tell stories so effectively.

– Matt Adams, 2013


My new ‘digital drawings’

Here are my first digital drawings. “What’re Matt’s ‘digital drawings'”, you ask? It’s my latest step in digital imagery that reflects on traditional materials and methods. I am using nothing but Photoshop to make these drawings but will only make one copy of each (no editioning here!). They are all archival prints on enhanced matte paper and are 15″ x 15″. Two of them (Untitled 14 and 15) have already been accepted into a juried exhibition. I enjoy this process and will continue…



Announcing Digital Drawings

This photo shows two of my digital drawings that were accepted into the VAA 3rd Juried Invitational Exhibition. “What’re Matt’s ‘digital drawings'”, you ask? It’s my latest step in digital imagery that reflects on traditional materials and methods. I am using nothing but Photoshop to make these drawings but will only make one copy of each (no editioning here!). Though what you’re seeing isn’t an ideal presentation, I wanted to share this new work of mine.


Presentation at Bellaire High School

I was invited to talk to art students at Bellaire (Texas) High School. I modified the presentation I did for the Houston Photographic Society and spent 1.5 hours talking about the importance, and difficulties, of creating an artistic voice and presenting it to the world!

Exhibit at Galeria Regina

My collaboration with R. Michael Reed, known as “Mongrel” had an exhibit at Galeria Regina.

Exhibition at Wade Wilson Art

Wade Wilson mounted an exhibit of work culled from the winners of the 29th Juried Open Exhibition which he juried earlier this year. Since Mongrel (Mike Reed and me) received 2nd place, we were able to participate in this exhibition. I’m thrilled about this.

Installation of Sherry Tseng Hill’s work at Total Plaza Gallery

Today was installation of work by Sherry Tseng Hill. I know of her work from VAA Juried Exhibitions and Archway Gallery. The body of work I chose to exhibit is titled “Unfolding Dreams And Memories”. Click here to read her artist statement on this body of work.

Sherry Tseng Hill’s body of work portrays an artist with an impressive range of technique and medium. Ms. Hill speaks with many voices, all engaging, illuminating and pleasing to the mind and senses. There is a precise, delicate power to her work that demands to be viewed.

For this exhibit, I chose Ms. Hill’s acrylic on canvas graphic, neoclassical style that I believe expresses wonderfully ethereal thoughts in the great tradition of the surrealists.

On first approach, one appreciates the intelligent use of shape and hue. Then, a glow of satisfaction begins while contemplating the bold composition, thoughtful color choices and free flowing lines.

As the eye is drawn expertly about the canvas, slowly, effortlessly, a personal meaning softly unfolds from the subconscious, to the conscious, delighting our thoughts, urging further contemplation.

We catch of glimpse of the artist’s subconscious playground as it reflects our own.

Accepted into VAA 30th Juried Membership Exhibition

I entered work of my own and with Mike Reed (as Mongrel). My image titled “Growing Up” received an Honorable Mention as did Mongrel’s piece titled “Imbrido 12”. I’m very proud to have received TWO honorable mentions! This exhibition had a 15% acceptance rate.

VAA 29th Juried Open Exhibition

On May 24, 2012, the opening reception for the VAA’s 29th Juried Open Exhibition occurred. Wade Wilson was the juror and I had one of my digital quilts selected (The Nike one). In addition, my collaboration with Mike Reed, known as “Mongrel” had two pieces accepted. Wade selected 16% of submitted work for the exhibit. I’m very proud to have three pieces in an exhibit with such a low acceptance ratio.

Live Oak Art Center 2012 Juried Art Exhibition

Today was the opening reception for the Live Oak Art Center 2012 Juried Art Exhibition. I am happy to say that two images from my series A Story Of . . . were accepted. Also, all three submitted pieces from my collaboration known as Mongrel (with Mike Reed) were accepted.

Installation of Patrick Palmer’s exhibit

Today I installed the next exhibit at Total Plaza Gallery. This time, Patrick Palmer is featured.

Patrick Palmer’s visual sophistication is the result of a life-time commitment to the visual arts. His consistent and concentrated efforts are reflected in his paintings which contain certain common threads such as the presence of human faces, subtle layering of paint, incorporation of fictional text and various elements such as volcanoes and crowns. For the viewer, there should be a significant degree of admiration for the skills and talent required to express this level of personal, narrative content within a single piece of artwork. The visual universe he has created is immediately inviting and reveals more to the astute observer. He is so at ease, in this universe of symbolism and personal revelation, that he comfortably follows his day-to-day flow of emotions and thoughts to which anyone can relate. This results in  paintings that range in tones of seriousness and levels of oddity.

Well known for his figurative work, he not only is an artist but also is committed to sharing his expertise with others through community involvement and education. Patrick’s devotion to the arts is also demonstrated by his educational path. As a student, he began at University of California, Santa Barbara (Drawing and Printing split major), continued to Arizona State (MFA received), and then San Francisco City College (instructor). Currently he is at the Glassell School of Art, Houston (instructor and now Faculty Chair/Dean).

Accepted into juried exhibit with VAA & Wade Wilson

I received notice that one of my digital quilts (Homage: I Love Nike Shox) was accepted into the 29th Juried Open Exhibition by Wade Wilson. The acceptance rate was 16% so I am, of course, very happy about this.

In addition, two of the pieces submitted by my collaboration with Mike Reed known as MONGREL were also accepted. This will be the second (‘world premiere’) of MONGREL work in a juried exhibit! We are both very happy about this, to be sure!

Accepted into juried exhibit at Live Oak Art Center

I received notice that two of my submitted pieces (from my series “A Story Of…”) were accepted for admission into the 2012 Juried Art Exhibit at the Live Oak Art Center.

In addition, two of the pieces submitted by my collaboration with Mike Reed known as MONGREL were also accepted. This will be the first (‘world premiere’) of MONGREL work in a juried exhibit! We are both very happy about this, to be sure!


“Family Ties” opens at Next Wall Gallery

Curated by Clint Willour, this FotoFest-related exhibit brings together my body of work titled “Homage” and Leticia Huckabee’s work. It was great to work with Clint to make this exhibition look fantastic.


Next Wall Gallery exhibit for FotoFest

Clint Willour came to lay out the exhibit last week and now the work is installed. This is a preview image for you in the hopes you can come see the real thing at the reception on March 19 (6-9PM) or March 24 (6-9PM).


Exhibition of work by Mongrel

I have been collaborating with Mike Reed and creating pieces that blend my imagery with his painted plexiglass constructs. Our name is “Mongrel” which references the blend of two typically disparate artistic mediums (not to mention our personalities!). We’ve made 8 pieces so far and they are at the Live Oak Art Center, Columbus, TX.

Help-Portrait event is tomorrow

For the third year, Houston is participating in Help-Portrait. This inspirational, one-day event occurs worldwide and I’m one of three people returning for the third time. There are a total of about 25 people who promised to participate. It is sure to be a wonderful day! I’ll let you know later.


More information is at

Award presented by Michael Guidry

I entered my Kaleidoscopic Followings series into the Visual Arts Alliance 29th Juried Membership Exhibition. Being club President doesn’t matter since the juror, Michael Guidry, is not provided with the artists names so I’m quite honored to receive an award from him.

iPhone Invitational: It’s In The Intent

I put out a call for entries for art photographers who use iPhones and received submissions from 5 states. The final collection includes 39 images from 9 artists representing 4 states.

Curator’s Statement for iPhone Invitational

The reception is Friday, November 4 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

From the Neon Boneyard

A couple weeks ago, I was in Las Vegas and went to the Neon Boneyard. It’s almost a visual cliche of a subject but I’m having fun with the shots nonetheless. So, here is one:

Neon Boneyard, Las Vegas

Photo shoot for The Manichean

Here is an image I made on a contract job for The Manichean which is a Houson-based band. If you are familiar with my series, “Our Willful Battles“, you’ll see a familiar face here.

One of my images for The Manichean

© Copyright Matt Adams Imagery