GroundWORK: A Hands-on Valentine’s Day Activity Led by Cindee Travis Klement

February 14, 2021 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Free Event
Mary E. Bawden Sculpture Garden

GroundWORK: A Hands-on Valentine’s Day Activity
Led by Cindee Travis Klement
Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14 from 12 – 5 PM
Mary E. Bawden Sculpture Garden
Free and for all ages!

Join Lawndale and garden artist Cindee Travis Klement for a hands-on Valentine’s Day activity, entitled GroundWORK, taking place in conjunction with her exhibition, Symbiosis, in Lawndale’s Mary E. Bowden Sculpture Garden. GroundWORK is the second physical element installed in Symbiosis and invites individuals to become performance artists and inscribe their initials in a plot of living humus that will serve as the base of a living sculpture. Can’t join us in person? We’ve got you covered! Reach out to [email protected] with your initials for inclusion in inscription.

About the Artist

Houston-based artist Cindee Travis Klement works in sculpture, mixed media, and printmaking to consider the interrelationships of the human and natural worlds, and the energy and movement behind quotidian events. Trained in graphic design, she worked for decades in commercial real estate and home construction before beginning her career as an artist. In the processes of construction, she learned the techniques and materials of rebuilding and designing domestic spaces; she studied ferrocement faux bois with master craftsman Donald Tucker. This French technique of sculpting concrete to mimic wood connected her material interest in sculpture with her lifelong passion for the natural world and, specifically, the landscapes of her native Texas. Klement subsequently began working in bronze casting, eventually developing a body of sculptural work made from wire and rebar, covered in stainless steel lath, plaster, hydro stone, and various rusted wire cloths. Klement considers how her materials and their relationships to light and shadow might capture the spontaneous movements and dynamic gestures of the world around us. She approaches her sculptures as drawings in space.

Inspired by M. Thomashow, who writes, “Record natural history to the collective memory so that it is no longer endangered knowledge,” much of Klement’s recent work has been about conservation issues, looking specifically at bees, at waterways, and at recovery from Hurricane Harvey. She is currently working on Endangered Knowledge: The Soul of Humusfor Sculpture Month Houston 2020 that researches and represents the deep environmental interrelationships between bison and grass. With each subject Klement addresses, she considers her audience, their environment, and what materials will speak to them. She looks at each body of work and adapts her artistic processes or creates new methods with which to develop her narratives. In World of Hum, Klement ripped and wrangled rusted wire cloth, then delicately stitched the wire fragments into biospheres of frail and vulnerable abstract wild bees. With hydro stone and shadows, Klement kinetically unveiled the unintended consequences of forcing natural processes into an industrial model. Since World of Hum, Klement has expanded her focus to starting conversations that will ultimately reimagine urban landscapes to work with natural forces.

Among other subjects, she has made sculptures that capture a hat blowing in the wind, a dog shaking water from its fur, a violinist performing, and a person rescuing a pig from floodwaters, always looking to the emotional energy and dynamism of often-unnoticed moments. Klement believes that if you want to change the world, you will capture the moments that set the right examples. Her work is in the Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Collection and the Houston Flood Museum, and her sculptures have been featured in the 2019 Sculpture Month Houston SITE Gallery Houston exhibit. She completed the Glassell BLOCK Program at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2018 and maintains a studio at Bermac Arts in Houston.

Artist Statement from Cindee Travis Klement

“I currently live in the heart of Houston. Located on the far east side of Texas, the city is an important migratory pathway and covers 600 square miles of what once was the coastal prairie. One of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the entire US, less than 1% remains of this prairie system. In August 2017, Houston received just under 52 inches of rain in a matter of days.

“Unfortunately, with urban conformity to concrete and turf grass, despite its cultural diversity and location on fertile coastal plains, Houston’s insects and flowers are disappearing along with the long-gone bison. The natural systems that once protected and nurtured the region’s ecological diversity are rapidly becoming encased in urban development. Ironically, Houston is now just as much an ecological desert as my early home in far west Texas.

“A few years ago, as I was developing my project World of Hum, I began to see my work in this city as an opportunity to have a positive impact on the environment – I want my work to help save the native bees, reduce water run-off, and support flood control. I am inspired by M. Thomashow, who writes, “Record natural history to the collective memory so that it is no longer endangered knowledge.” As I develop my projects, I research the natural functioning systems in Texas’ ecological history that build soil health and water absorption. I am repaving how we see urban landscapes to propose the holistic restoration of biological balance — awakening urban consciousness to our kinship with living systems and restoring what is lost. Through sculpture and printmaking, my work has always incorporated time and movement. Adapting these processes, including organic and living materials, I create new methods to develop narratives which inspire urban land conservation, extending our time on this planet. I believe that widespread environmental change begins with envisioning (and making visible) the wisdom already inherent in the natural world.”

February 2021