“Friend of a Friend” at Reeves Art & Design

Participating artists hail from California to New York and include Natalia Arbelaez, Austyn Taylor, Ryan Travis Christian, Mike Lee, Judith Supine, James Jean, Mark Dean Veca, Taylor Lee, Ron DeFelice, Wendy Park, Jake Clark, Jeffry Mitchell, AP Shrewsbury, Taylor McKimens, Peter Nguyen, Robert Mackenzie, and Dan Mandelbaum. Nguyen, an accomplished artist himself, is excited to introduce these talented artists to the Houston community.

Reeves Art & design presents “Friend of a Friend,” a group show curated by Houston native Vincent Di Nguyen. The exhibition showcases over twenty different artists from around the country and features a diverse range of art forms and mediums, including painting, sculpture, mixed media, and digital art. “Friend of a Friend” celebrates the connections we make through art and the power of collaboration in the creative process.

“Friend of a Friend” will also feature work by several established and emerging local artists, such as Ben Peterson, Mark Flood, Yeonsoo Kim, and Jihye Han. Yeonsoo and Jihye have both recently been artists in residence at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. The exhibition will be on view May 12th, 2023 through June 3rd, 2023. The opening reception, which will feature several of the artists in attendance, will take place on May 12th, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

The Emperor Has No Clothes!


I don’t get Stanley Whitney’s painting. Does the emperor have no clothes? I see nothing in this work….not even a good bed sheet or table placemat for your summer cottage in the Hamptons.

So if you reference your painting to a song, a person, or some societal event or disaster then it can be a weak painting as long as you reference something else to it. This is an editorial illustration at best….not a painting.

The gallery circuit seems to be driven by curators and collectors with somewhat questionable abilities to reference the complex history and genre of picture-making. If a curator has some clout and wants to promote an artist then that artist will get noticed even though what they produce lacks basic pictorial constructs, skill, craft, historical reference, or depth of visual acumen.

If art has no intrinsic value except what museums, curators, and collectors assign to it, then let’s put our coffee grounds under glass and let the art world come up with why it has value. What about basic pictorial elements: surface, depth, line, weight, atmosphere, ambiguity, tension, suggestion, nuance, form, shape, hard, soft, etc., etc. The varied and sometimes contradictory elements of any story are what keep the audience intrigued. This is certainly applicable to the visual story intrinsic to painting.

Any object of physical value and presence will take significant time and effort to construct and execute. The “New Thing in Painting” is propaganda in the art world.  When approaching a canvas any reasonably experienced artist can not ignore the history of painting, the methodologies, the formal or pictorial constraints, and a multitude of visual variables at their disposal. Do musicians get up on stage without being able to play an instrument or understand an arrangement?

But this takes work, creativity, invention, and discipline. The Emperor has no clothes.

— Toby Rosser