Night Skyline Stars

December 15, 2023 – March 9, 2024

Installation view of Night Skyline Stars, courtesy Laura the gallery © Alex Barber


Night Skyline Stars

Afra Al Dhaheri, Francesca Fuchs, Ian Gerson, Yifan Jiang, Myeongsoo Kim, Joseph Liatela, Hasani Sahlehe and Chang Sujung.

Opening December 15th, 2023
6pm - 8pm

Laura (the gallery)
1125 E 11th St, Houston, TX

Laura (the gallery) is delighted to announce its inaugural exhibition, Night Skyline Stars. The exhibition is a meditation on the nocturne that reads like a mixtape, where each artwork hits a different note or mood. Eine kleine nachtmusik, if you will.

The artists’ approach to the concept of the nocturne bridges the liminal spaces between sleep, dreaming, and consciousness. These various interpretations of the longstanding tradition of the nocturne embrace the charged euphorias of the dance floor, the awe of the night sky, and spaces of rest.

Upon entering the exhibition, Afra Al Dhaheri’s installation of inflatable Takya pillows, Fwalat Al Aser invites viewers with a sense of repose. The work’s name stems from the Arab afternoon tea ritual enjoyed by families after an afternoon nap. Fwalat Al Aser references a slower time in the 1990s when the work day was shorter and allowed for afternoon gatherings, rest, and leisure.

Chang Sujung’s Day and Night is a vignette of where 1/3 of our lives happen: the bed. Carved from translucent white alabaster, and patinated with sumi ink, the work references one of the artist’s past crushes that experienced seizures caused by excessive daylight. Together, their world became one of the night and Chang’s sculpture crystalizes a memory’s hazy shape into solid form.

Francesca Fuchs’ Midnight Necklace (Jewel) stems from the artist’s painting-of-a-painting series. Fuchs reproduced a work by Jewel Nail Bomar, which is in the Old Jail Art Center’s (OJAC) collection. Through Fuchs’ emulation of the work’s “necklace,”  the painting dissolves further into abstraction, dazzling with star-like jewels across a dark-blue horizon.

Joseph Liatela’s series Untitled (For Pulse) becomes a poetic ode to the healing spaces of queer and trans nightlife, considering how celebration and grief can be intertwined. The deep black of Liatela’s granite tiles shine with meticulous dispersed lily pollen and pigment.

In Hasani Sahlehe’s Walking Light, the artist pools acrylic gel in a vortex-like pattern on raw canvas. Painted on the floor of the artist’s studio, the work suggests a gravitational pull and a sense of disorientation between sleep and waking states, somewhere between insomnia and jetlag.

A lone figure, accompanied by a baboon, paddles a copper-boat across a vast expanse of water at twilight in Yifan Jiang’s The Doctor’s Boat. An island melts away into the horizon. The work references the surrealist book Exploits & Opinions of  Dr. Faustroll by Jarry Alfred, a proponent of ‘pataphysics, a kind of proto-Dada parody of science. Alluring and mysterious, the work interprets the book’s dream-like journey to different places across the sea, or perhaps, the universe.

Myeongsoo Kim explores the vastness of space and time through his process-based photographs. His images of the McDonald observatory in Marfa, Texas and the sky above it probe the ineffable, expressive, and material limits of images and objects as personal, reflective conduits. Kim’s nocturnal photograph of the night sky was shot with a long exposure, rendering extensive amounts of information into a single frame. His work pictures deep time and casts humankind’s urge to connect the heavenly dots into sharp relief.

Ian Gerson fetes the nightclub as a haven for queer joy in their tender drawings of dance floors and disco balls. Their woven tapestries are constructed from objects found in Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel along with once-treasured totems now discarded and repurposed. The disco ball tapestry in the window gleams like a beacon and suggests safe harbor.

Altogether, these paintings, sculptures, and photographs welcome the wonder of the night into our world, presenting visions of new, contemporary nocturnes brimming with life.