Li(sa E.) Harris This is the Day

February 15, 2024 – April 8, 2024 John M. O'Quinn Gallery

About the Exhibition

Li(sa E.) Harris (aka “Li”) opens This is the Day in John M. O’Quinn Gallery, on Thursday, February 15 from 5 – 7 PM. This exhibition will culminate on Monday, April 8 from 12:30 – 3:01 PM with Li’s performance Onshore Trilling: What to Do When the Earth Sings the Bruise in Lawndale’s outdoor space at 4900 Main Street. Taking place during the total solar eclipse over Texas, this performance will tap into the cosmic cycles of the earth and sky.

Li’s practice focuses on the energetic relationships between body, land, spirit, and place. She uses voice, theremin, electronics, movement, improvisation, meditation, and new media to explore healing in performance and everyday living. Often, her projects unfold over time in acts. For This is the Day, Li will assemble photography, analog technology, video, and resonant sounds that reflect a survey of her past artistic practice, especially her work Onshore Trilling and Please Have a Seat

Li’s performance Onshore Trilling simultaneously references Houston’s offshore drilling industry—key to its economy as a world capital for oil and gas—and the history of the Blues in the Deep South, which, as Harris shares, were invented by “enslaved persons, previously enslaved persons, and their descendants, like me.” 

“Trilling” is a musical term describing the fast oscillation between two pitches; it is vibration and energy. This is The Day. includes relics and electronics from Li’s family, fused together to fill the gallery space with frequencies that erode in relation to the respective battery life of each object. Overhead, perforated sails mimic the sky, reminding us of ever-present cosmic constellations which orient our earth and dream spaces. 

For visitors’ navigation, the center of the gallery includes something that could be—a boom, a cannon, a telescope peering northward, bringing 4900 Main Street (where the eclipse performance will take place) into focus.

About the Artist

Li(sa E.) Harris (“Li”) is an independent and interdisciplinary artist, creative soprano, performer, composer, improvisor, filmmaker, writer, singer/songwriter researcher and educator from Houston. Throughout her career, she has received numerous accolades, most recently the 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts and 2021 Dorothea Tanning Award in Music/Sound from the Foundation for Contemporary Art. Li is trained as a classical voice/opera singer and performs across a wide range of genres and mediums. She is a certified facilitator of DEEP LISTENING®, the sonic philosophies of composer Pauline Oliveros.

Li is the founder and creative director of Studio Enertia, an arts collective and production company in Houston Texas. She wrote, directed and produced Cry of the Third Eye: a new opera film in Three Acts, a decade long meditation on legacy, loss, and gentrification in Third Ward Houston. With Studio Enertia, Li created and curated Houston’s inaugural Free Time Flow Festival at MacGregor Park, celebrating the intersections of basketball, electro-acoustic music and improvisational performance. Studio Enertia produced and instated Pauline Oliveros Day at Discovery Green Houston, curated by Li. 

Li is a performance, concert, recording solo artist and collaborator. Her albums include Life and That (Studio Enertia 2021), The Last Resort Original Soundtrack (Studio Enertia 2019), Cry of the Third Eye Original Soundtrack (Studio Enertia 2017), and EarthSeed, her co-composition with composer/flutist Nicole M. Mitchell (FPE Records 2020).

Featured Images: Please Have a Seat, Renovation Tarp, and Rothko Ship, all photographs courtesy of the artist

This is the Day and Onshore Trilling: What to Do When the Earth Sings the Bruise are supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and by the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation.