Perry House

perry house 1

perry house 2

perry house

I had slides of this Houston-based artist's work, which I shot back in the early '90s when I organized a show of his paintings, and felt like scanning them. Click on the lower two for enlarged views. The multipanel piece at the bottom was an older work, possibly dating from the '70s, that was rolled up in the artist's studio.

I like the combination of Di Chirico-esque mood and modern emptied-out-ness. The bottom image has a underground comix feel but is also classically surreal. At the risk of sounding like ad copy, no one in Houston (or anywhere) does work quite like this. Possibly some of the Chicago imagists but without their illustrator-y sense of polish.

The paintings are done in acrylic. House has a technique of layering washes of thinned out black over a finished image to give a kind of fractal scrim livening up the paint's inherent flat inertness. It's kind of an artificial aging patina but has nothing to do with making it look old--just more complex.

The imagery is a series of personal symbols that recur from painting to painting and are constantly mutating and being layered and violated by Modernist stripes, dots, etc. There is something cabalistic about it but House isn't a mystic or a new-ager. He talks about the symbols in an almost childlike way but his approach to assembling a picture is quintessentially grown up.