If you think the Silos at Sawyer Yards looks cool from the outside, wait until you step inside the first SITE Houston show, where 30 Houston artists have created site-specific installations inside the hive of 80-foot tall cylinders where rice once flowed.
The Chronicle got a peek at the works in progress this week with Washington Avenue Arts District director Susannah Mitchell and the silos’ project manager, artist Trey Duvall, who also was selected as one of the participants by jurors Bill Arning and Jillian Conrad.
The sculptures range from insanely heavy to weightless. Water – or the thought of it – plays into several of them. Duvall’s “Passage” involves a 4,000-pound block of clay that will slowly change form as water drips onto it from high above. Shane Albritton and Peter Bernick-Albritton’s “Coasting,” a column of strips of printed paper, will absorb water from a pool at its base. Lina Dib’s physically empty, interactive “Pool of Sound” translates visitors’ movements into splashy sounds.
Big ideas abound in playful sculptures that run the gamut from funky excess to exquisitely minimal. Janice Freeman’s huge fabric “Silo Flower” is like something out of “Little Shop of Horrors,” while Michael Crowder’s “Some Assembly Required” looks like a giant’s very expensive cast-glass Tinkertoys.
Lights twinkle (Claire Cusack’s spooky “The Visitor”) and cans bang (Eric Thayer’s interactive “Les Carillons.” There’s photography in the mix, from Bennie Flores Ansell’s “1 dpi Lens” (a fountain of small disks cut out of 35mm slide film) to Gary Watson’s traditional black-and-white documentation of the silos’ transformation.
Video projections seems especially well-suited to the silos. Look up in every space, or you might miss something. Aaron Courtland’s “Space Station at the Silos” projects a night sky inside a silo funnel. David Waddell’s meticulously compiled stop-animation creatures hover on the funnel in his, mysterious “Questions at Bedtime: In Memoriam,” and Syd Moen’s 360-degree videos of the silos themselves are as trippy as they get.
After Friday’s premiere, the show will be open 5-9 p.m. Saturdays through Jan. 30. Admission is free.