A FotoFest® Fire

ff_home_2002_2Houston, TX…As a participant of the 2002 FotoFest® Jay Branson, Kelly Gale Amen, and John Palmer will debut their new exhibit, Fire, at the KGA Compound, located at 1907 Crocker. Fire features furniture created by Kelly Gale Amen, which has been painted by John Palmer, set on fire, and photographed by Jay Branson. The festivities will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2002, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Thursday, March 7, 2002, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information, contact KGA Compound at (832) 200-3048.

This multi-discipline collaboration grew out of a group exhibition at the KGA Compound hosted in October 2001, entitled Degrees of Fire. The exhibition showcased a creative energy of fifteen (15) artists, which included Jay Branson, Kelly Gale Amen, and John Palmer. This exhibit for FotoFest® is simply entitled Fire, which is best described as art on fire. The exhibition includes metal and upholstered furniture designed by Kelly Amen and painted by John Palmer. As it was set on fire, Jay Branson photographed the art creations in various stages while it burned.

Born in Michigan in 1956, Jay Branson has lived in Houston for over 20 years. He is primarily a self-taught photographer. Branson has been influenced by internationally recognized photographers, including Joyce Tenneson and Andres Serrano through discussions and portfolio critiques. His first group exhibition was at the KGA Compound called Degrees of Fire. Branson’s first solo exhibit was in October 2001, at Houston’s DeFrog Gallery, which was entitled Initiation in Gold. He has also previously served on the board of trustees of The Houston Center for Photography. Branson’s series Initiation by Fire, shown in the Degrees of Fire exhibition, was his first exploration using flame as an exclusive light source.

“I can’t remember when I wasn’t arranging or rearranging,” Kelly Gale Amen recalls about his childhood in Oklahoma. “My mother tells the story of how I first started moving her flower vases around when I was a small child. I never stopped.” Amen graduated in 1971 from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in interior design and formed his own design studio in Houston in 1972. Today, Amen travels the world serving a clientele whose projects range from New York townhouses to West Palm Beach retreats to New Orleans historic homes and Manzanillo oceanfront getaways. In 1991, Amen couldn’t find the right piece of furniture for a client, so he created one. The cast bronze triple sectioned bench adorned with a fossil stone top was the first in a series of art furniture pieces created by this gifted artist. Amen has collaborated with painter John Palmer to create unique, functional pieces of furniture.

For, John Palmer, inspirations sat quietly aside while his lawn design company flourished and his clientele grew. Palmer’s desire to escape into art came in to full bloom. One day in June of 1998, Palmer steered his energy into an Art supply store; he emerged with oils, three canvases, three brushes, and a palate knife. For the past two years, Palmer has been working closely with Amen collaborating on numerous projects. “The most exciting part of my development today is the opportunity to blend my art with the art and ideas of Kelly Gale Amen. The ability for two artists to collaborate and breathe life into an object -in this case compounded sculpture- is an extreme expression of one’s absorption of life around them.”

These three artists are very excited about their involvement in the 2002 FotoFest’s® Ninth International Month of Photography. FotoFest® is a non-profit international photographic arts and education organization based in Houston, Texas. Founded in 1983, FotoFest’s® goals are to create an international forum for photographic arts and ideas and explore new forums of photo-related art. FotoFest® seeks to promote internationalism, cross-culture dialog, and collaboration between art organizations. It presents important but little known contemporary and historical photography and photo-related art from the U.S. and around the world. FotoFest® seeks to make art and interactive part of urban and civic life. For further information regarding FotoFest® please contact Deborah Eve Lamoreux at 713-223-5522 or the KGA Compound at (832) 200-3048.

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