Puerto Rican artist Ibsen Espada in the group show “Abstract Dialogues” at William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art, Houston-Texas

PRART NEWS - By the late 1960s, Houston was already a hotbed of Abstract Expressionism when an aspiring, young Ibsen Espada moved here from his native Puerto Rico to study painting and printmaking at the museum’s Glassell School.  There, Espada fell under the inspired direction and mentorship of Dorothy Hood and Dick Wray, two giants of the Houston art scene and prominent counterparts of the Glassell’s largess.  Working first as an assistant to Hood and then subsequently as protége to Wray, Espada played on personal genius parleyed with his super-charged interactions with two maestros to develop and refine a powerful personal style of abstract painting.  This show considers Espada’s bold and kinetic abstractions, showing them for the first time in proper context and dialogue with a selection of paintings and drawing from his distinguished mentors, Dorothy Hood and Dick Wray.

Ibsen Espada, Avalanche, 2015 , Mixed Media on industrial canvas, 24 x 24 in

Ibsen Espada was born 1952 in Queens, New York. He grew up in Puerto Rico and studied under Cuban muralist, Rolando Lopez Dirube. He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan. After relocating to Houston, he continued art studies at the Glassell School of Art under Dorothy Hood. Espada worked with Hood as her studio assistant and she encouraged him to develop his first portfolio of work.
During the 70’s Espada was a favorite among The Houston School, a collection of alternative artists experimenting with new methods and materials.  His works hang in Museums across Texas, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Texas Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and his work has toured museums and galleries across the US from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to P.S. 1, New York, NY.

Ibsen Espada, Modern Quilt III, 2000, Painting mixed media on paper on canvas, 60 x 48 in

After receiving his BA in Fine Arts from the University of St. Thomas, Mike Hollis has built a well-respected and much admired reputation as a favorite among Houston artists.  Merging West Coast concepts with geometric abstraction, Hollis has created an easily recognizable body of work that is both cerebral and emotive. He creates his paintings utilizing various methods, blending various painting techniques with new technology.

With works found in major collections including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The Chase Manhattan Bank, NY, Hollis has held solo exhibitions including in Santa Fe, NM, New York, NY,  and here in Houston.  As well, he has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including at Blaffer Gallery, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and the Glassell School of Art. Hollis lives and practices here in Houston.

Ibsen Espada, Hidden Treasure, 2016 , acrylic on industrial canvas, 24 x 24 in

Abstract Dialogues:  The Artful Interactions of Ibsen Espada, Dorothy Hood and Dick Wray will be on view September 2-24, 2016 at William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art with an opening reception Saturday, September 10th from 6-8:30pm. The following Saturday, September 17th from 2-4pm, the gallery will host an artist talk featuring Ibsen Espada.