002Houston, August 2009
Skydive | An Alternative Space For Houston's Alternative Artists



- Andy Warhol

Tucked away in the mammoth Sky Bar building on Montrose Blvd. is the bite-sized gallery: SKYDIVE. Stark white walls, a black leather sofa, a half-eaten cake, a fridge full of beer and panoramic views of Houston - the space feels like a home. And home it is to founders and resident artists. Whether creating a cutting-edge masterpiece, attending a Saturday free school class, or sipping on some Sunday Soup, SKYDIVE is a space for impassioned artists to come together for a different perspective on Houston's art scene.

Founded on October 22, 2008, SKYDIVE is an artist-run gallery and studio that represents alternative, non-commercial artists from around the country. The mission of SKYDIVE is "to broaden the spectrum of the dialogue in Houston by bringing in artists to create work for the 12' x 14' exhibition space." SKYDIVE's goal is to introduce a range of art practices that push the limits of their material forms. Co-directors Ariane Roesch and Sasha Dela created the space to offer an unconventional place to experiment with video, installation and sculpture. Dela, once an art student in San Francisco, was inspired by the abundance of artist-run studios throughout the city. Seeing this void in Houston, she teamed with Roesch to create SKYDIVE studio and gallery. Since its inception nearly one year ago, SKYDIVE has hosted a wide range of non-traditional art practices aimed at engaging the viewer and exchanging ideas.

Currently on display is the work of Brazilian artist Rosane Volchan O'Conor. A student of biology at the University of Rio de Janeiro and music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, O'Conor draws inspiration from both in her work. Her unconventional techniques include drawing with her non-dominant left hand to create a more free line as well as incorporating strands of hair, pieces of string and bits of nature into her pieces. Her current installation piece is a mind-bending work of carefully spiraled rods of metal, acrylic, and wire, juxtaposed with anatomical drawings. Seekings inspiration from the musical technique of polyphony, a style of composition that employs two or more simultaneous but relatively independent melodic lines, she carefully crafts each part of her piece to function both independently and as a whole. O'Conor is traditionally a print artist. She experiments with scale, color and medium in her print work. Her pieces are organic and original. Her favorite series hangs above her bed in Houston - a print-work representation of the nine planets. Her current installation work will be shown in her native country of Brazil later this year.

On select Saturdays SKYDIVE offers free classes to the community. The concept of Saturday free school started in Spain in the 1920s. It is based in the principles of teachers becoming students and pupils becoming teachers. It is free both of cost and subject matter. Each Saturday artists come together to sharpen their skills through workshops and lectures by fellow community members. In the tradition of free schools, the concept is constantly evolving and open to the needs of its participants. The programming ranges from issues surrounding alternative art practices to artist life skills training. SKYDIVE is also planning to orchestrate tours of alternative architecture spots in the city, local art shows and other Houston-centric sites and events.

When asked why the studio is called SKYDIVE, Sasha and Aariane look at each other and smile, "Well, look at the space, it truly is a dive... esecially compared to Sky Bar, our upstairs neighbor." Like an actual sky dive, SKYDIVE prides itself on its ability to take risks, push boundaries and offer an alternative to the traditional. "We don't want that formalism you get at a museum." SKYDIVE studio definately does not feel like a museum. It feels more like a place where common-minded, passionate people come together; it feels like a home. (An inventive, exciting, art and inspiration-filled home.)

All Work © Rosane Volchan O'Conor / sitemap / site by blukid