Emma Balder: Beyond the Surface, funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance


Emma Balder: Beyond the Surface, funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance


On view June 4 - July 2, 2022  ~ EXTENDED TO JULY 9TH ~

Artist Panel Discussion: Saturday, June 4th, 5-6pm

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 4th, 6-8pm


Earlier this year, contemporary Houston artist Emma Balder was generously awarded a $15,000 Support for Artists and Creative Individuals grant from the Houston Arts Alliance. With this support from the City of Houston, she has been developing a large-scale collaborative installation. The work is based off of her sculptural paintings and investigates our relationship with textiles.  This March, she hosted two collaborative sessions with local Houstonians (artists and art lovers, musicians, clergy, engineers, teachers, and students) who contributed their personal textiles into the piece. Participants shared touching stories about their textiles and helped sew them into the work. The vulnerability and sense of community in sharing this space was profound. Emma’s final project will be on display in a culminating exhibition – Beyond the Surface – at Foltz Fine Art in Houston, on view June 4 - July 2, 2022.


Show Statement 

Beyond the Surface is an exhibition which considers the subliminal meaning behind every-day soft materials. With textiles’ proximity and necessity in daily life, relationships to this material provide key insights about humanity. How we treat textiles is indicative of the way we treat other humans, even ourselves. What do these relationships reveal? What truths are textiles masking underneath? Does the everyday exchange with textiles reflect the depth of connection between human beings?

This exhibition displays a community-made installation surrounded by a collection of works by Emma Balder. The installation, suspended from the gallery’s center, resembles a tent-like structure which viewers may walk through. Its inner layer holds meaningful textiles, donated and sewn into the work by local Houstonians. A book contains portraits of each participant, alongside stories about their personal textile chosen for the installation. Neighboring gallery walls hold sculptural paintings and fiber paintings made by the artist over her 8 years working in these processes. Created using textile waste from artists and designers from around the world, these supporting works forge new tales for material which was once left idle and forgotten. 


Allowing abstraction to be a voice for textured stories, the project examines what lies Beyond the Surface of everyday textiles. The exhibition aims for connections between stories to emerge, transforming relationship with material, self, and others. Demonstrating intention and care for the textiles in our lives, Beyond the Surface seeks to uncover a deeper appreciation for the threads which connect us all. 


To View Exhibition Press Release


*This project by Emma Balder is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.


Text, application

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Installation Images