WHYY's ArtWorks draws on performing and visual arts stories from its sister PBS stations to bring viewers a geographically diverse arts experience.

Featured Artists: Abrahán Garza, Elmar Oliveira, Judith Shea, and Art Farm Nebraska

Art meets agriculture; a sculptor delves into her self portrait; a photographer shows us that the past is often just an arm’s length away and we meet a renowned violinist who made his mark during the cold war.

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Photographer Abrahán Garza

Abrahán Garza is a native Houstonian. He began taking photos in 1994 when asked to cover the senior prom for the school paper as a freshman. He’s an early pioneer in the cell phone photography movement, having shown at Talente Bilingual de Houston in October of 2005 with an installation called “The View from My Cell Phone.”

Recently published on a cover of the Houston Press, Abrahán’s Houstoric Project has gained notoriety and was also featured on local television in 2012. In January 2013, he had photographs showing at TWO GALLERIES at the same time. Ratio: Photography Exhibition at El Rincon Social & at the 2013 Houston Press Artopia at Winter Street Studios.

Elmar Oliveira

Unsurpassed in his combination of elegance and impeccable artistry, Elmar Oliveira is one of the most distinguished violinists in the world today. His commitment to a wide spectrum of the violin world manifests itself in numerous ways, such as consistently expanding repertoire boundaries as a champion of both contemporary music and rarely-heard works of the past, devoting considerable energy to the development of younger artists, and enthusiastically supporting the efforts and art of modern violin makers.

Elmar Oliveira remains the only American violinist to win the Gold Medal at Moscow’s prestigious Tchaikovsky International Competition. He was also the First Prize winner at the Naumburg International Competition and the first violinist to receive the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.

The son of Portuguese immigrants, Mr. Oliveira was nine when he began studying the violin with his brother John. He later continued his studies with Ariana Bronne and Raphael Bronstein at the Hartt College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, where Mr. Oliveira also received an honorary doctorate. Other honors include an honorary doctorate from Binghamton University and the Order of Santiago, Portugal’s highest civilian honor. He has served on the juries of numerous violin competitions including the Montreal, Indianapolis, Naumburg, and Vianna da Motta.

Below: Elmar Oliveira in performance

Artist Judith Shea

Judith Shea is best known for her haunting bronze sculptures of clothing formed around an absent yet implied figure. Heavily influenced by her undergraduate study of fashion design at Parsons, Shea’s sculptures are formally striking and psychologically powerful in their simplicity. Her work is both socially and art historically conscious, referencing everything from ancient Egyptian royalty, to Bernini, to feminist theory while still grounding itself in her own experience and memories.

In 2011 Shea received the Artists Legacy Foundation Award and Anonymous Was A Woman Award. In 2012 she received the Fellowship of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in Fine Arts. Sculpture from her LEGACY COLLECTION work is currently on view at the Yale University Art Gallery. She was given the 2013 Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

“When I think about my first works, which were made of cloth and looked like clothes installed flat on the wall, I realize that even then I was looking for characters, for personae, really, to occupy them. I used clothes as stand-ins for people. They were like types, maybe even stereotypes. I refined those clothing forms down to the overcoat and the dress, which, as the work grew three-dimensional, became the leading man and the leading lady.”

Judith Shea

Art Farm Nebraska

Art Farm’s mission is to support artistic vision, which may be impractical, obscure, and independent of commercial recognition—where failing is no less welcomed than succeeding. To offer artists, writers, performers, and others: studios, time, and resources for pursuing their range of expression, for experimenting, for developing projects, but most of all, for distilling the promise and potential of their creative enterprise, while working and living in a rural environment.

Art Farm’s physical presence is in its buildings and land. More elusive to describe is the ambiance—the subtle influence of the environment’s impact on time and space. The sun and stars measure your time, not clock and calendar. Space is shaped by proximity to sound and silence. The sky: your eyes: your ears will fill with the sound and shapes of an incredible number of birds and bugs. And, like it or not, the weather will be your collaborator in all undertakings.

  • Art Farm Nebraska
    Art Farm in Nebraska

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