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John Houck is a multi-disciplinary artist relocated to Oregon from Los Angeles in 2018. As a former software engineer, Houck began his artistic career using technical, methodical and repetitive processes of photography and reprographics to construct a layered image. By photographing and re-photographing objects that hold sentimental value, the resulting works contain a multitude of perspectives and illusion of depth in a singular work. After completing the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program, Houck became interested in relational psychoanalysis, which shifted his conceptual framework as an artist.
He began combining painterly gestures into his photographs to create playful, subjective experiences pulled from memory. He states, “‘Free associating' or ‘remembering with feeling’ in analysis completely changed the rigid and precise way I had seen the world as a software engineer. I learned the importance of play, how to feel strong emotions, and reside with ambivalence.” By painting on photographs, Houck brought a personal touch to works that towed the line between reality and unreality, and the analog and digital.
Over the course of the pandemic, Houck has embraced painting in its entirety as a way to disengage from the “digital renaissance” we are currently experiencing. Of Houck’s work, curator Pedro Alonzo writes, “His paintings and photo-based works are a metaphor for our memories, which we assume to be precise, like digital technology, but are in fact are malleable, changing over time. His work points to humans as emotional beings whose memory and sense of reality can easily be easily distorted by feelings.” Houck will be exhibiting his first solo exhibition of paintings in New York this fall.
John Houck received his Bachelor of Arts in architecture from University of Colorado Boulder in 2000, and Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Los Angeles, in 2007. His work has been exhibited internationally including Dallas Contemporary, International Center of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Colombia; the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; the Jewish Museum, New York; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His work is included in public collections at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; and The Art Institute of Chicago, among others.
Accumulator series, installation view (left to right) Accumulator #34.1_01, 3 Colors Each #CC222D, #FE5A41. #CF415B, 2020. Creased archival pigment print (unique), 16 x 20 in; Accumulator #34.1_02, 3 Colors Each #CC222D, #FE5A41. #CF415B, 2020. Creased archival pigment print (unique), 16” x 20”