Client: The Ion
Location: Houston, TX, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $40,000
Rice Management/The Ion
The Eye On Art program pays homage to the original department window store displays of the beloved Sears building on which The Ion was built by engaging local artists to create site-specific art installations. Lina Dib’s “Self-Portrait in the Garden” is an over-the-top kitsch environment that includes plants, astro-turf, pink flamingos, and bright screens. Initially the images on the screens are of greenery, the sea, and the sky, but as viewers move, they scrub the images of nature to reveal reflections of their own presence. When viewers stop moving, nature slowly takes over again. This uncanny window installation entices visitors to question the boundaries they draw between categories, such as the natural and the artificial, and to playfully engage in conversation with its surroundings and others. Preston Gaines’ “Fantasy Landscape” consists of numerous, interconnected panels that provide visitors with a mind-bending, multi-sensory journey. Filled with explosive color, the installation supplies a look into a hypothetical future and a new way of viewing objects in nature and their role in human life. The outcome is a blooming floral paradise whose beauty flourishes when visitors engage with it.
The Eye On Art program pays homage to the original department window store displays of the beloved Sears building. The Ion was transformed by Gaines and Dib's installations through the unique opportunity to build on the collective memory of the space’s past, present, and future. Their display has an ever-changing landscape, always different, and parallel to a reflection of viewer's themselves. The outcome is an interactive, inclusive, vibrant, and living space visitors utilize to escape.
The Ion and the Ion District Art Advisory Council selected the two artists’ installations after reviewing 60-plus submissions from local artists this past Fall with the support of public art consultant Piper Faust. Called “The Eye On Art Program,” the installations are meant to be an adaptive reuse of the beloved Sears building on which The Ion was built. The display windows are a unique opportunity to reimagine Sears' store windows and build on the collective memory of the space’s past, present, and future. Strategically placed, as the entry points and eyes of the building, the two highly visible display windows facing Fannin and Main Streets serve as beacons to draw the community in.
“Creative expression and ideation is an essential part of The Ion’s bigger picture and mission. The Ion is committed to creating opportunities for Houston-based artists, like Preston and Lina, and looks forward to giving local artists and makers long-term platforms to create, innovate, and collaborate” (Jan E. Odegard, Executive Director of The Ion). The display windows are a unique opportunity to reimagine Sears' store windows and build on the collective memory of the space’s past, present, and future. The art displays are a visual expression of the intersection of art and innovation and are a reflection of The Ion and Ion District’s effort to support local talent.The Ion and the Ion District Art Advisory Council selected the two artists’ installations from local artists this past Fall with the support of public art consultant Piper Faust.Lina Dib and Preston Gaines set the bar high for the Ion's debut window displays with their authentic, creative, inclusive, and timeless work that has been enlightening the Houston community.