"Twice Removed, Twice Restored"
FEATURED WORK BY ARTISTS Nathaniel Donnett & Robert Riojas
Twice Removed Twice Restored is the thesis exhibition of Texas Southern University Art Department graduating seniors Nathaniel Donnet, & Robert Riojas. Taking their direction from the multiple meanings embedded in the shows title, Donnet and Riojas explore the themes of extraction, transformation, and rejuvenation from different experiential and artistic points of view. Though not immediately detectable, the concepts, which fuel this work, are extensions of the legacy of TSU Art Department founder Dr. John Biggers. These ideas of extraction, transformation, and rejuvenation played important roles in Dr. Biggers’ academic and artistic work. Here Donnet and Riojas, have updated and personalized these concepts, pursuing them in a range of art making strategies.
Nathaniel Donnet’s work in this exhibition documents his journey as an art student at Texas Southern University. Delving into the history of the art program, as well as highlighting important figures in the department’s development, Donnett has created what he considers a “meta- art investigation, where an artist creates art about their art experiences”. These works take form in various mediums, from traditional charcoal drawings on paper, to more contemporary materials such as tape paintings on plastic.
In his works for the show Robert Riojas utilizes materials connected to the historic Houston neighborhood of Third Ward, and to his family’s background of working in building and construction. Stylistically these works are a mixture of ethnic patterns, graffiti, and abstract expressionism. Riojas’ mixed-media assemblages operate between painting and sculpture, representing a vibrant futuristic hybrid of cultures and approaches to painting.
About The Artists
Robert Riojas lives and works in Houston, Texas. As a teenager he became fond of Houston’s diverse artist community, and began a serious engagement with the mediums of painting, and sculpture. Supported by family members who instilled in him a strong work ethic and knowledge of building, Robert entered Texas Southern University in 2015, in pursuance of a degree in Art. Combining his background with the art education he began receiving at TSU, Robert’s artistic sensibilities developed into a more expansive and personal vision. As an artist Robert is compelled to create a body of work that focuses on advancing environmental concerns by promoting the creative use of recycled materials and green spaces.
In 2016 Robert had the opportunity to participate in the Project Row Houses Summer Studio Residency Program, where he was able to introduce a site-specific aspect to his work. Utilizing in his exhibition, materials that spoke to the historic and present condition of the neighborhood of Third ward, as well as to his own personal and familial history. In the summer of 2017 he participated in the Yale Summer Teachers Institute in Technical Art History (STITAH), an intensive week-long professional development program for art history and conservation. In December 2018 Robert will be receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Texas Southern University.
Nathaniel Donnett lives and works in Houston, Texas. His work is focused on human behavior and the psycho-social conditions that shape them. Donnett’s work is rooted in “Dark Imaginarence”, a term coined by the artist that conceptually and formally tie together: social critique, African American cultural expression, experimentation , vernacular poetics, and the everyday.
He is the founder of the website blog "Not That But This", and has been awarded grants by Artadia, the Harpo Foundation, the Houston Arts Alliance, and the Warhol Foundation. He has shown nationally and internationally at such venues as: The Ulrich Museum, Wichita, Kansas, The Kemper Contemporary Arts Museum, Kansas City, MO, The Theresa Hotel, Harlem, NY, Harvey B Gantt Art Center for African American Arts and Culture, Charlotte, NC, The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX, The New Museum, NY, NY, The National Museum in Lima, Peru and The Modern Museum of Peru.