ShadowsWhispersTransfersPulls is a selection of rubbings and frottages created at historical locations in Galveston, Houston and San Antonio. Part of an ongoing collection, these works offer snapshots of histories selectively made permanent by hands from both the past and the present. What do we choose commemorate? What do we celebrate? What stories do these markings tell? We memorialize a history that is constantly being uncovered and evolving. History is generally the voices of the victors; however, these voices are sometimes—but seldom—quieted to illustrate the struggles of others. Lies can be sustained for only so long. Heroes go out of favor and out of fashion. Stories can be lost from the collective consciousness, statues removed or relocated. Yet the persistent materials, such as stone or metal left to mark significant sites, often remain. Anniversaries, landmark events, births, deaths and unremembered or unimportant moments in time are made permanent by these markers, eternally waiting to be deciphered by later inhabitants.

By rubbing graphite from my fingers onto paper and into the material surface, I am allowed to touch the handiwork of the original maker: bricks formed, bronze and iron cast, terrazzo inlayed concrete inscriptions scribed. While making these works, my body was in the same location and (likely) stance of the original layer or mark maker. I possibly experienced the same surroundings and climate as the original maker—though it’s likely contexts have changed with the passing of generations. The exhibition’s audio is a selection of field recordings from rubbing locations. These sonic landscapes give a feel to each site and, including conversations I had with passersby as the rubbing was made.

Through the years, the contexts and locations of some of these markings and memorials have changed; the communities around them have come and gone. The process of rubbing the surfaces of plaques, sidewalks, bricks and other telling elements does not only retrieve an image. It makes contact with a marker’s environment, either old or new. Some rubbings yield remnants of an original site; others reflect fresh settings made of contemporary materials recently installed. With hope, new communities will congregate upon these locations and make new memories to place beside the old history.



Mat Kubo is a Houston-based artist born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Hawai’i and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Kubo will work with most any material that can be manipulated, tangible or nontangible. His work runs the spectrum from intense investigations in sound compositions, to public campaigns that aim to explore interpersonal relationships within his community. He can be at once a sound engineer, installation artist and carnival barker. Kubo’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include performances at Box13 (Houston, Texas), Waterloo Center for the Arts (Waterloo, Iowa) and Site – Silos at Sawyer (Houston, Texas).



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