Mark your calendar for next Saturday, Sept. 19 to attend a solo art reception, Urban Playground, by Houston artist Lauren Luna.
Hosted by Carla Bisong, owner of Bisong Gallery at 1305 Sterrett St., doors open for the event at 5 p.m.
When I first met Luna, I made quite an impression with her by calling her anything but her proper name. Laura, Laurie or maybe Susan. I don’t recall, honestly, just that I was admonished and apologizing monthly when she returned to my art market.
That was eight years ago, and there is a good chance that many art patrons and Houstonians now know the name Lauren Luna. She has been on television, radio, newspapers and magazines many times talking about her oil paintings of iconic landmarks and cityscapes of Houston. That recognition includes The Leader and this column.
Luna handed me an invitation for next week’s reception many months ago and told me recently that she completed all of the paintings for the show during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. She also continued to teach two community college classes, hosted a virtual painting party on Yelp and finished six commissions, including three mosaic platters.
Luna likes to stay in motion, and I can attest to her persistence and drive. That’s what it takes to succeed and Luna has chosen her art for that path.
This will be Luna’s first solo gallery exhibition since her move to Houston nine years ago. Urban Playground includes 14 new oil works on canvas.
Known as “Your City Painter,” Luna seeks to demonstrate the importance of the outside world in everyone’s lives, while simultaneously showcasing the hidden and well-known parks within our city of Houston. Ranging from Hermann Park to Emancipation Park, to parks only existing in her head, Luna “Houston-izes” each location, making it feel like home. In a style of painting, not unlike Vincent Van Gogh, Luna uses a palette knife to create heavily textured pieces that demonstrate her skill as a colorist and in one- and two-point perspective.
“Urban Playground; hidden amongst the iron trees in the heart of the concrete jungle, are the hidden gems; a location for humans to pause their robotic, repetitive, digital lives and reconnect with those basic elements makes us human; social interactions, fresh air, and the sun,” Luna said of her featured painting.
Luna was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Fine Arts, focused on painting. Now living in Houston, she specializes in iconic Houston and New Orleans architecture and urban landscapes. Luna currently teaches at Lone Star and San Jacinto colleges and is co-president of the D.R.E.A.M. Affect Foundation, a nonprofit organization that awards scholarships to minority art students pursuing a career in the Fine Arts as well as grants for emerging artists to show their work.
Patrons can also meet Luna at her Silo at Sawyer Yards studio #132, 1502 Sawyer St. She’ll be there this Saturday for Second Saturday Open Studios. Find more about Luna at artistaluna.com.
Bisong Art Gallery is the only woman-owned, African-American, for-profit art gallery in Houston. Learn more at https://bisonggallery.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com for additional highlights and artist’s stories.