“The Grand Tour, Texas attempts to reconcile the lingering influences of antiquity and theRenaissance by taking part in an intentionally anachronistic and outmoded art practice.Beginning around the sixteenth century, travel to cities like Rome, Florence and Paris became a rite of passage for aspiring European artists seeking to immerse themselves in the masterworks of history. While this phenomenon had an educational component, it also cemented the aesthetics of classicism for centuries and across continents.Throughout America, and within the state of Texas, this legacy is evident in architecture, public sculpture, and most glaringly, in the names of the cities themselves. So it was to these destinations; Roma, Florence, and Paris,Texas, that I endeavored upon a historically fashioned ‘grand tour’, motivated in part by the inescapable irony of these grandiose names belonging to some of the smallest cities in the state. Although the notion of a visiting artist was either uncommon or unheard of in these places, most of the people I met during the course of this project seemed to respond to my presence with a palpable sense of pride, and, predictably, curiosity. In effect,The Grand Tour, Texasas a vehicle offered me access and permission that would have otherwise been unavailable to an outsider. Similarly, as an artist working in the public view, I became a lens through which Roma, Florence and Paris could see themselves as part of the historical traditiont heir names suggest.”
Born in Sacramento, CA in 1977, Omar Vera now lives and works in Houston. He received his BFA in Ceramics and BA in Art History from the University of Washington,Seattle in 2000, and he received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003. Solo exhibitions and projects include “Cold Eels And Distant Thoughts” at theHyde Park Art Center, Chicago IL (2008); “Finale”, culminating his residency at the Lill street Art Center, Chicago, IL(2004); and “Be The Ball” at Base Space, Chicago,IL(2003). Omar has been included in group exhibitions such as “Remake” at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL (2007), “Best Played With A Straight Face” at HudsonFranklin Gallery, New York, NY (2006); and “Rope Climb” at Schopf Gallery on Lake,Chicago, IL(2004).