Posted October 24, 2017 in Press Releases

Head Gear
November 17, 2017 – January 21, 2018
Artist Hall
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
4848 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002

Hours & Admission
Open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday, 12 – 5 PM. Holidays: Closed Easter, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is free.

(HOUSTON, TX) October 24, 2017 – This fall, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is pleased to present Head Gear, featuring three artists who use masks and portraiture to perform, interrogate, and subvert constructed identities. Inspired by the historical uses of armor and veils, Kate Clements, Arielle DePinto, and Matthew Lambert explore the implications of concealing and revealing oneself through ornament. Through a combination of objects and accompanying studio portraits, the artists experiment with classic archetypes like beauty queens, brides, widows, athletes, and soldiers to create entirely new and complex identities.

Kate Clements’ crystalline glass headdresses reveal the fragility in the construction of idealized feminine identity. Merging the preciousness of kiln-fired glass with cultural signifiers, such as bridal and widow’s veils, beauty queen tiaras, and royal crowns, she addresses the ways in which these objects transform identity and perform an idealized femininity that is ultimately fabricated and unattainable. Arielle de Pinto, meanwhile, explores a darker vein of feminine identity through expressive, crocheted chain masks, which unite material luxury with grotesque bodily forms. Reminiscent of chainmail armor, her gold vermeil and silver pieces drape and sag across the wearer’s face in a way that is equally monstrous and luxurious.

By using a visual vernacular of male sport, trophy, armor, and fetish to create his masks, Matthew Lambert investigates masculinity, as well as queer and non-binary identities. The artist combines large-scale portraiture and performance with masks, ranging aesthetically from intricate fringed veils and metal headpieces that resemble protective fencing gear to leather masks with antlers that evoke hunting trophies.

HCCC Curatorial Fellow, Sarah Darro, commented: “As one of the most transformative objects in material culture, a mask can protect, conceal, empower, and free its wearer. Masks are duplicitous—they hide one face and reveal another, they horrify and beguile, they disrupt and reconstruct. They bring layered, hybrid figures to life. As the artists in Head Gear subvert existing social constructs, they also offer more nuanced possibilities and ways in which to perceive, perform, and navigate identity.”

Head Gear is curated by HCCC Curatorial Fellow, Sarah Darro.

About the Artists

Kate Clements holds an MFA degree in glass from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and a BFA degree from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited across the nation, in venues including the Bellevue Arts Museum, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Sherry Leedy Contemporary in Kansas City, and Bullseye Glass Gallery in Portland. She was the recipient of the Academic Award from Bullseye Glass Emerge in 2014, as well as a university fellowship from Tyler School of Art. She was an artist-in-residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and has had her work featured in Vogue Gioiello magazine.

Arielle de Pinto holds a BFA degree from Concordia Fine Arts. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in venues including the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Museum of Modern Art Arnhem for Arnhem Mode Biënnale in the Netherlands, PPOW Gallery in New York, and Barrister’s Gallery in New Orleans. Her work has been featured in national and international publications including Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, i-D, Dazed & Confused, and Metalsmith.

Matthew Lambert holds an MFA degree in metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art and, from Wayne State University, a BFA in metals, ceramics, and printmaking and a BA in psychology. Lambert’s work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL; Craft Council of British Columbia Gallery in Vancouver, Canada; Handwerkskammer für München und Oberbayern in Munich, Germany; the Collective Design Fair in New York, NY; the Queer Culture Center in San Francisco, CA; and Platina Gallery in Stockholm, Sweden. He was the 2017 recipient of the Next Generation Award from the Surface Design Association and was the 2016 and 2017 recipient of the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s program for visual artists and designers.

About Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is a nonprofit visual arts center dedicated to advancing education about the process, product and history of craft.  HCCC provides exhibition, retail, and studio spaces to support the work of local and national artists and serves as a resource for artists, educators and the community at large.

Located in the Museum District at 4848 Main Street, HCCC is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday, 12 – 5 PM. Holidays: Closed Easter, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. Free parking is available directly behind the facility, off Rosedale and Travis Street. HCCC is three blocks south of Wheeler Ave. MetroRail station on Main Street.

HCCC is supported by individual donors and members and funded in part by The Brown Foundation; Houston Endowment, Inc.; the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance; Texas Commission on the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kinder Foundation; the Morgan Foundation; Windgate Charitable Foundation; and the Wortham Foundation. HCCC is a member of the Houston Museum District and the Midtown Arts District.

For more information, call 713-529-4848 or visit Find HCCC on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @CraftHouston.