Dan Havel "Cascade"
photos by Katy Anderson
An inaugural artist in 2014 with his thought-evoking sculpture “Wildlife Sanctuary” (salvage from a razed Heights area church—a statement on the neighborhood’s concerns about historic preservation—and a haven for wildlife), Dan Havel—named 2014 Artist of the Year by Art League Houston, along with Dean Ruck, as Havel Ruck Projects—returns for the project's tenth anniversary exhibition. Havel’s True North 2023 sculpture “Cascade” continues his ongoing series of work that explores the visual, scientific and social concepts behind Leonardo da Vinci's "Deluge" drawings that reflected da Vinci's personal lifelong fascination and research into the world of hydrology. The Deluge drawings seek to capture the hidden structure of water’s power—reflecting a cinematic moment of natural catastrophic chaos, creating storms and floods that physically confront and reassemble the geometric order of the human world. Havel says, “...with memories of Hurricane Ike’s obliteration of the Bolivar Peninsula, I am aware of both water’s beauty and its destructive ways. As we all confront global warming, the message is all too apparent. It is my hope that the visual impact of the work will inspire its viewers to work toward a more sustainable world that works with nature, not against it.”
Born in Saint Peter, Minnesota, Havel earned his BFA from Southwest Minnesota State University and MA from Minnesota State University. He was an active member of Houston’s underground art scene in the 90s and has been an artist and art educator here for over 30 years (28 of those at St. John’s School). His works have been shown at Lawndale Art Center, DiverseWorks, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Dallas Contemporary Art Center, Project Row Houses, FotoFest Houston and Green Project, New Orleans.
Havel and Ruck began Havel Ruck Projects in 1994 for the purpose of recycling abandoned architectural structures and remnants into much-examined works of sculpture throughout the City—including “Architectural Euthanasia” for Houston AIA, “No Zoning” for the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, and the renowned “Inversion” on Montrose Boulevard for Art League Houston. Havel and Ruck were also named 2008 Artists of the Year and awarded National Recognition to the Best in Public Art Projects by AIA Houston and inducted into the Houston Artist Hall of Fame by Houston Fine Arts Fair in 2015.