Bending Light

Curated by Taylor Davis | Kaima Marie Akarue, Ciara Elle Bryant, Catherine Martinez, and Chandrika Metivier
Sat Jul 13, 2024 - Thu Aug 22, 2024

“Light travels in waves. Like ripples in the ocean, light can bend around obstacles if needed. This bending is known as diffraction.”

Bending Light is an exhibition of four Texas-based artists who navigate the intricacies of Black femininity and queer identity and self discovery through material explorations in light, color, space, and time. 

Artists Kaima Marie Akarue, Ciara Elle Bryant, Cat Martinez, and Chandrika Metivier use light and space as tools to disrupt expectations and illuminate new possibilities of Black futures. Through video, photography, collage, and sculpture, these artists fracture space, diffract light and diffuse energy to interrogate our physical and social surroundings and unchallenged assumptions. The work invites viewers to pause and look closer, bending around preconceived expectations and illuminating the nuanced experiences and collective memories of queerness and femininity in Black cultural production. 

About the Artists

Kaima Marie Akarue is the daughter of a Nigerian immigrant and a white American, which allowed her to exist simultaneously within two vastly different cultures. Akarue uses collage to discover the social implications of identity, with specific attention to the narratives surrounding urbanism and capitalism as they incubate in individual, familial and social tropes. In 2023, she received the Carol Crow Fellowship, awarded by the Houston Center for Photography, and is also a recipient of the Houston Endowment’s 2024 Jones Artist Award. She is currently pursuing an MFA in painting at the University of Houston.

Ciara Elle Bryant is an interdisciplinary artist working with photography, new media, video, and installations. Bryant chooses to discuss Black culture and Blackness by focusing on how identity and heritage exist in the new millennium. Bryant approaches this task through her intensive research practice, which is integral to her process of furthering conversations surrounding Black culture in art as well as historical studies. Bryant is currently residing in Dallas, TX and holds a Masters of Fine Art from Southern Methodist University.

Catherine Martinez is a visual artist based in Houston, Texas. She is a mixed media sculptor that works with metals, fibers and mold making. Her work is often an abstract representation of significant moments in the African diaspora. She delves into subjects of race and ethnicity. When Martinez creates, she aims to give voice to an emotion that cannot be contained inside oneself. Martinez graduated magna cum-laude, from the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Sculpture. She has a MFA in Sculpture from the University of Houston. She is also a Project Row Houses Round 55 Artist of 2023. Martinez is a contributing artist of the “We Here Black Women’s Arts Collective”; she created the “Road Trip Collective”.

Chandrika Metivier 
is a non-binary multidisciplinary artist whose work ranges from large-scale mylar sculpture, to public art installation, and performance, including theatre and music. Influenced and informed by their multiracial heritage, including Haitian, Native and Hispanic backgrounds, they have staged a diverse range of art installations in their base city, Houston, Texas. After attending the University of Houston, Metivier was accepted into a prestigious acting program based in Los Angeles, the Identity School of Acting. Metivier’s visual art collaborations include The Orange Show, DiverseWorks, Soho House, The Contemporary Austin, SaveArtSpace, Art At A Time Like This and PUMA.

About the Curator

Taylor Davis is an independent curator and landscape designer living in Austin, TX. After receiving her masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin she went on to work for a local Austin design firm, TBG partners where she works on projects such as parks, multifamily amenity courtyards, hospitals and trails. Her curatorial practice is interested in the nuance of artistic practice as it relates to unique life experiences. Working with different galleries she has curated group art shows in San Francisco and Austin. She serves as a board member of the Trail Conservancy in Austin and serves as the board chair for their Arts and Culture Committee and has worked with local Austin arts and culture groups such as AIPP and Future Front Texas.