FotoFest International at the Houston Art Fair

Lunar06 by Tom Turner
Tom Turner Still from Lunar Calendar – 2015 Moon Phase, 2015 Video, 04:59 min. Image courtesy of the artist

These Are the Vistas: Moving Image Works Featuring A.K. Burns, Huda Lutfi and Tom Turner

In the context of the Houston Art Fair, FotoFest International presents a specially curated program of projected moving image works by three acclaimed artists. Entitled These Are the Vistas, the works engage the concept of spectacle through distinct approaches. The project poses the art fair as an ideal context to critically consider spectacle and the process of looking.

A U.S. artist based in New York who works across many media, A.K. Burns shows her video work Orchid Show, 2013 that documents the annual orchid show at the New York Botanic Garden. The spectacle of the flower show is compulsively captured, reproduced and glossed over by visitors and in turn by the camera shooting the video, observing the observers, and posing a critical merging of notions of nature, display and beauty.

 

Egyptian artist Huda Lutfi is a multi-media artist whose work was included in the FotoFest 2014 Biennial, View From Inside. Her work on view, Cairo Resonances, 2013 is a visual study of the Hotel Viennoise in downtown Cairo, a city the artist has described as “her muse.” Windows swing open and shut as the camera’s gaze enters the space and we are taken on a solemn tour of the aging space. An emotional weight is communicated, reinforced by the distant call to prayer that echoes through the space.

 

Texas-based artist Tom Turner exhibits Lunar Calendar – 2015 Moon Phase. Turner writes that in this work he “investigates the cycling of the lunar calendar and how our perception of time changes by stretching the light spectrum. Through the use of appropriated lunar calendars this work confronts ownership of the celestial while disrupting our fixed perception of Moon.” In this way, Turner examines our relationship to time, nature, and phenomena.

Show02 by A.K. Burns
A.K. Burns Still from Orchid show, 2013 HD Video, 13:24 min. Image courtesy of the artist

The artists’ works demonstrate the ambition of FotoFest, its commitment to discovery, and its global range An international non-profit photographic arts and education organization based in Houston, Texas, FotoFest created the first and longest-running international Biennial of photography and new media art in the U.S.

The Biennial and all FotoFest programs exist as a platform for art and ideas. FotoFest organizes year-round exhibition and public programs, as well as a year-round classroom-based learning program, Literacy Through Photography, which uses photography to stimulate visual literacy, comprehension, writing and analytical thinking. The acclaimed FotoFest Biennial and related programs are known for their commitment to social issues and the presentation of important contemporary and historical artwork that is not widely shown by mainstream arts organizations.

FotoFest creates new opportunities for cross-cultural and international exchange through photography and new media art. In addition to its exhibitions, it sponsors one of the most respected international portfolio reviews for artists as part of its Biennial programs. FotoFest also organizes forums around art and civic issues, artist forums, workshops, events for collectors, and an international Biennial Fine Print Auction. FotoFest publishes a full-color catalogue for each Biennial, and in recent years has published a scholarly hardcover book to accompany the main thematic exhibition.

In 2016, the Biennial theme, curated by FotoFest co-founders Wendy Watriss and Fred Baldwin and executive director Steven Evans, addressed humanity’s relationship to the Earth through the exhibition and book CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES: Looking at the Future of the Planet, including 34 international artists and hundreds of artworks.

Cairo Resonances by Huda Lutfi
Huda Lutfi Still from Cairo Resonances, 2013 Video, 04:00 min. Image courtesy of the artist

FotoFest was founded in 1983 and has curated or sponsored ground breaking exhibitions on photo-based art from Latin America, China, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, Korea, Japan, England, Germany, France, the Middle East and North Africa. It has created presentations on Latino photography in the U.S., African-American women artists, new talent from Texas, artists working with digital technologies and Contemporary U.S. Photography. Exhibition programs have addressed a range of issues, including Water – The Global Crisis, Artists Responding to Violence, the Global Environment, LGBTQ communities, the events of 9/11, and Guantánamo.

FotoFest thanks the Houston Art Fair for its support, vision, and remarkable commitment to Houston and the Washington Avenue Arts District.

Steven Evans
FotoFest Executive Director

For information on FotoFest’s current programs, FotoFest Biennials, the Meeting Place portfolio reviews for artists and supporting FotoFest, see www.fotofest.org.

For information on the international network of photography festivals, Festival of Light, see www.festivaloflight.net.