Redbud Fine Arts gallery was founded in 1999 and is located at 303 E. 11th St. in the Heights. The gallery is divided into two spaces, east and west.
On Saturday, June 1, Redbud will host two receptions from 6-9 p.m. In the east gallery, Redbud will feature “Selected Paper Works by Female Surrealists,” on view through Aug. 27. All the artists in this exhibit are deceased.
In the west gallery, “MishMash,” a selection of works of several artists working in various media, showcasing both emerging and well-established artists, also will be on view through Aug. 27.
When Redbud Gallery came on the scene, co-owner Gus Kopriva proudly proclaimed to all that it was the smallest fine art gallery in Houston. At just 400 square feet, no one challenged his claim.
Sitting down to talk about the upcoming double exhibit recently, Kopriva told me Redbud now encompasses both gallery spaces and is approximately 4,000 square feet. A frame shop occupies another space, and Kopriva’s wife, Sharon, has her art studio space on the far east side of the building (Sharon is a well-known artist in her own right. Look her up on Wikipedia!)
The Koprivas won a Houston Heights Association Community Improvement Award when they restored the 1928 red-brick building that was the home to Ortman Outboard, Sharon’s father’s business. The original 400 square foot space was left over after the remodel when Sharon suggested Gus turn it into a gallery.
Gus Kopriva, a lifelong collector, has a passion for art and showcasing artists that might otherwise not have a shot at appearing in galleries. The additional square footage is great news for both artists and collectors. Art prices cover all budgets.
Kopriva, to mark the gallery’s 20-year anniversary, is expanding his gallery to include other services that will benefit artists and collectors. Those services include art hanging and sculpture installation, collection archiving, insurance appraisals, art transportation and installation, graphic design projects such as invitations, brochures, catalogs, ads and other marketing materials, and website creation and maintenance.
In addition to new exhibitors at Redbud and year-round openings, Kopriva is well-known for his collaborations with art galleries internationally. He has worked with galleries in Germany, Turkey, Greece, France, Peru, China and Cuba. Per our recent conversation, Yokohama, Japan is next. After an opening at the gallery in Japan this summer, the Yokohama gallery will have an opening of its own next year at Redbud.
For locals, The Heights Boulevard Sculpture Project is probably the most obvious project Kopriva has had a hand in. Now run by the Houston Heights Association, Kopriva still lends a hand with his engineer’s expertise for installation of a new sculpture. There’s the giant Bulldog sculpture facing motorists approaching 13th Street on Oxford Street at Heights High School, which is Kopriva’s alma mater.
Saturday’s reception in the Redbud East Gallery will feature a selection of paper works from Dora Maar — the muse of Pablo Picasso, Dorothea Tanning, Louise Bourgeois, Leonora Carrington, and Czech artist Toyen.
“The Menil Collection is due to mount a Tanning exhibition this mid-year,” Kopriva said. “During the launching period of the gallery, I was fortunate to have Walter Hopps, the founding director of The Menil Collection, advise me on many matters related to gallery operations and collecting.
“I asked Walter one day, ‘Who should I collect?’ Without hesitation, he answered, ‘Female surrealists. They are undervalued and under-appreciated.’ I took his advice to heart.”
“MishMash,” in Redbud West Gallery, accessible by open doorway between the spaces or from the front of the building, has a focus on Houston Baptist University faculty and graduates.
“Some of the works have not been shown in Houston to my knowledge,” Kopriva said. “They include a large diptych by University of Houston-educated Texas artist Julian Schnabel, a long-worked-on piece by the legendary Menil-collected Ben Culwell, and a rare female-created painting of Leda and the swan by Maryland Institute College of Art grad Amita Bhatt. Sculpture is represented by a glistening hanging hare by Emily Cheney of (HBU).”
When you attend an opening at Redbud, you’ll find Kopriva and new Gallery Director Tanja Peterson friendly and knowledgeable about the artists and their work.
The Heights may not have the smallest gallery in Houston anymore, but we gained a local, national and international art icon in Kopriva and his prolific love for the arts.
Learn more at redbudgallery.com.
Also, my First Saturday Arts Market switches to evenings for the summer, starting this Saturday. Details are at my website, ArtValet.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards.