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Michael Guerra Foerster: Without a Trace

“Without a Trace, follows my investigations into connection, and touches on ideas of materialism and the ephemeral. In large part a reaction to capitalistic structures that surround the art world, I have intentionally moved in another direction, freely gifting my work to those who want it. In this interaction, I remove the barrier of purchase in the hopes of creating a unique interaction where a genuine connection can be forged between artwork, viewer, and artist. For Without a Trace, this interaction becomes more intricate, playful, and ritualistic, taking inspiration from toy dispenser machines, mystery boxes, and card packs. Outside of my youth I realized, that while these mechanisms that colored my adolescence projected an air of play, they were also tools used to manipulate and foster an obsessive desire to collect and possess. Through this exhibition I question how or why possessing artwork might give it greater perceived value, or if instead value is endowed through the act of giving. The ritual that the visitor participates in when engaging with Without a Trace is an exercise in loss and letting go. In order to find recompense, the visitor must commit a destructive act that erases my work and effectively ends the life of the unfired clay sculpture they chose. Among the refuse, the visitor can find the token reward and keepsake of the ritual, theirs to keep. Then, a moment for reflection. The visitor releases the remains of the sculpture into the basin, where it breaks down, settles, and joins the slurry made from other rituals. In my practice, I remain ever aware of my environmental impact, nothing goes to waste, and this slurry of memory will be recycled and find new life in future projects. Mirroring the passage of time, the memories created in this space will be carried away by the clay, transform into something new, and slowly vanish, without a trace.”

-Michael Guerra Foerster

Michael Guerra Foerster: Without a Trace is curated by Jacqueline Saragoza McGilvray. The exhibition will be accompanied by public programs and an opening March 1, 2024 6-9pm.

Vernacular Systems: the 2024 CAM Perennial exhibition

Curated by Christopher Blay

Featuring: Ricky Armendariz, Nela Garzón, Jennifer Battaglia, Juan Carlos Escobedo, Preston Gaines, Raul Rene Gonzalez, Mark Anthony Martinez, Shavon Aja Morris, Marc Newsome, Alán Serna, Monique Garza, and Zulma Vega.

Vernacular Systems highlights themes of interconnectivity from personal and globalized perspectives. The artists reflect on the human nature to connect to the world around us–from nature, to family, to work, and the day to day. They also critique histories and systems which thrive on disconnection, yet resolve in knowing that even when connection is not visible, there exists networks of systems linking humanity, roots that may unify.

Contemporary Art Month and the Contemporary at Blue Star partner to bring you the 2024 CAM Perennial exhibition. The Perennial will take open March 1, 2024 at the Contemporary at Blue Star and is curated by Houston curator Christopher Blay.

Currently serving as Chief Curator at the Houston Museum of African American Culture, Christopher Blay brings his extensive experience as an artist and curator to the role as the 2024 Perennial Curator. Blay has a history of bringing communities together as an artist with a robust practice and as a leader of a respected organization in Houston.

A bright green field of trees with a path down the middle and hills in the background. A cropdusting plane flies above a couple of female workers in the trees. Rainbows and a line of cooke bottles decorate the left side of the canvas. In the middle a man sprays a toxic chemical on the field.

Nela Garzón, "Things Go Better with Coke," 2023. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

A tightly cropped photograph of an installation work of interlocking brown roots and rope

Detail of Vernacular Systems by Zulma Vega, courtesy of the artist.