Press Release

The fantastical garden of Edward James in Xilitla, Mexico

William Eggleston
Graciela Iturbide
Sally Mann
Christopher Rauschenberg
Anthony Thompson Shumate
Robert Ziebell

September 7 – October 14, 2006
Opening Thursday, September 7, 6 - 9 pm

Texas Gallery
2012 Peden Street
Houston, TX 77019

Texas Gallery is proud to announce an exhibition of photographs by five well-known photographers, William Eggleston, Graciela Iturbide, Sally Mann, Christopher Rauschenberg and Robert Ziebell. All five were independently drawn to the amazing landscape provided by the garden of Edward James in Xilitla, Mexico, a Huastecan village in the Sierra Madre mountains of the state of San Luis Potosí. This exhibition features images that they created inspired by the uniqueness of the place - a tropical jungle meandering up a hillside accompanied by the natural elements of light filtering through dense canopy, a rushing waterfall, clouds of butterflies and buzzing cicadas – and almost inexplicable paths of moss covered stairways crisscrossing the site leading to architectural follies and mysterious enclosures or platforms that end in the air.

Edward James, an iconoclastic British aristocrat (1907-1984), worked closely with his friend and collaborator Plutarco Gastélum, and a score of craftsmen, shaping the site and making the structures out of rebar and concrete using only hand-made wooden forms. James, a poet and patron of the surrealist artists, then named all the sites and identified purposes for each even though most were never meant for habitation or for practical use.

Still relatively undiscovered today, except by brief visits from tour buses and by the local residents swimming in the pools, the site hovers between dream and reality, alive and yet in slow decay like the jungle around it. Each artist, working on their own at different times and seasons, responded to this atmosphere in their own way…..Iturbide and Rauschenberg made black and white photos. Iturbide focused on the overall patterns of individual views of the architecture while Rauschenberg made panoramas of overlapping photos that create 180’ views of the architectural forms in the landscape. Eggleston, Mann and Ziebell all worked in color but each was distinct in approach. Eggleston chose to focus on the small details that evoke the place while Mann made wide views shimmering with diffused light. Ziebell who has been working intensely in the garden over the last three years with Anthony Thompson Shumate creating a DVD-ROM with videos in situ, has made digitally altered 360’ panoramas that evoke the heady atmosphere that envelops the visitor to the site. The DVD-ROM, Las Pozas: Steps and Falls is also included in the exhibition and provides a video tour that places the viewer in the landscape.

The show was inspired by Walter Hopps and Robert Ziebell as well as by Margaret Hooks’ recent book “Edward James y Las Pozas – un sueno surrealista en la selva mexicana” (Turner, 2005). Margaret Hooks is also the author of “Surreal Eden: Edward James and Las Pozas” to be published by Princeton Architectural Press, Nov. 2006

In the fall of 2006 ARTPIX, a Houston based publisher of DVDs and interactive media, working with Robert Ziebell, Anthony Shumate and Molly Cumming, will publish an interactive DVD-ROM titled “Las Pozas: Steps and Falls” dedicated to the memory of Walter Hopps. It is funded in part by a grants from Houston Endowment, Inc., SBC Mexico, and Susan O’Connor.

William Eggleston lives and works in Memphis TN; Graciela Iturbide in Mexico City; Sally Mann in Lexington VA; Christopher Rauschenberg in Portland OR; Anthony Thompson Shumate in Houston TX and Robert Ziebell in Castroville TX.

The exhibition is on view until October 14, 2006. Gallery hours are 10 -5, Tuesday -Saturday and by appointment. For further information contact Nancy Douthey.

Texas Gallery
2012 Peden
Houston, TX 77019
713.524.1593 (tel)
713.524.0534 (fax)