For Aaron Parazette, being an artist in quarantine has made him wonder how his work will ultimately reach the outside world. Known for large scale, bold abstract paintings, the University of Houston School of Art professor acknowledges the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the quintessential art studio.
“Most of us are seeing art through a computer portal now. I think things are going to change enormously, which could create a lot of opportunities for artists,” he said while speaking to an audience of nearly 100 listeners during a virtual, interactive conversation hosted by Public Art of the University of Houston System (Public Art UHS). Parazette’s paintings, “Remembering Next Summer,” (2015) and “Free Dive,” (2015) are part of the Public Art UHS collection.
The discussion via Zoom was the first in a series of conversations taking place this summer called “On Site x Off Site.” Each session pairs a Houston-based and national artist from Public Art UHS’s roster to discuss public art’s impact on studio practice, their UHS commissions and how isolation is influencing current projects.
“What we’ve found is that our artists are welcoming these opportunities to enter into meaningful conversations at a time when it has become quite challenging for everybody to connect in person. I think we are all gaining an appreciation for this way of interacting virtually,” said María C. Gaztambide, Public Art UHS director and chief curator. “Certainly for us, this new sphere of engagement provides opportunities for exchange with artists that we hadn’t been able to bring to Houston before. And, at the same time, it is also allowing us to grow our audience well beyond Houston. That too is very exciting.”
On Tuesday, July 21 from 5-6 p.m. audiences will get another chance to participate in an “On Site x Off Site” discussion. Vincent Valdez, whose painting “One in a Million,” (2007) located at the University of Houston-Downtown, will join Adriana Corral