Big dreams in a small space. I happened into Houston last week on a stroll down East Pike Street, and met Matthew Clark, its ex-Microsoftie owner. From the street it's unclear as to what kind of business Houston is: a shop, a design studio, a gallery? Houston is all that and more, as Clark has created a space where a carefully curated group of graffiti artists, fine artists, furniture and graphic designers, cartoonists, and illustrators all have an opportunity to exhibit and sell their work. This multi-media pop-culture focus is supported by the extremely affordable posters, products, and publications Houston creates for each exhibition to accompany artists' original works.
Following a group show in September introducing local and national gallery artists, Houston will present the first U.S. retrospective exhibition for London-based photographer Simon Larbalestier, October 21 through November 28. Simon's dreamy photographs gained an international following when he teamed up with Vaughan Oliver, the influential graphic designer for the London-based music label 4AD. Most notably, his works appeared on the covers of the Pixies' Come on Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa, and Doolittle. The retrospective also includes his most recent series of luminous, sexy black-and-white photographs of haunting interior and exterior settings, exploring themes of isolation and mysticism. Simon is also collaborating with abstract painter Michael Eldridge, and their experimental art website, www.physikgarden.com, will be accessible on in-house computers during the exhibition.
Houston ends the year with a retrospective of Shawn Wolfe's graphic design and paintings. Clark's aggressive, off-beat programming makes Houston a spot to keep an eye on in the future.