After retiring from corporate careers, Geoffrey Koslov and Bryn Larsen turned their shared passion for fine arts into a powerful second act. The co-founders of contemporary photography gallery Foto Relevance chat with us about the Houston art scene, the story behind their partnership and their recent move to the Museum District.
Margeaux Walter, “Cumulus” (2019, dye sublimation on aluminum)
What’s the story behind Foto Relevance?
BL: Geoffrey and I served on the photography subcommittee for the MFAH, so that’s how we met. During that time, we started talking about the idea of opening a gallery together. We both come from corporate backgrounds, but we’ve always been interested in art and photography. And we were both excited about the creative outlet it could be for us.
Why focus on photography?
GK: What we’re really focused on is showcasing artists who give us a new way to see the world around us. We have photographers who use traditional methods, and we have photographers who use all kinds of new technologies. We also represent artists who don’t consider themselves photographers, but use the camera as a tool, like you would use a paintbrush. Many people tend to think of photography as a print on paper, but for us, photography is an object of art. It’s not only about the image, but how the image is presented.
Photo by Brenda Biondo, from her series A Legacy of Shadows (2019), part of an upcoming Foto Relevance exhibition
Tell us about your new digs at 4411 Montrose.
GK: We’re in a large, formal exhibition area, and there are three other galleries in the building.
BL: To be in a building with the high-caliber galleries that are here is a really big step for us. It’s wonderful to be in a destination building, where people come and wander through all the gallery spaces and really enjoy what each one has to offer.
What can we look forward to on our next visit?
BL: We’re having a beautiful show by Letitia Huckaby called Beautiful Blackness, which runs through May 9. We’re participating in Houston’s FotoFest 2020 Biennial [which was postponed], and the theme is African Cosmologies. Letitia Huckaby’s work fits into that, as she is an African American photographer who captured images of unusual locations all over the South that hold a tremendous amount of history. She printed her photos on these incredible antique fabrics, and many of them have been put into vintage embroidery hoops. She’s also created quilts by sewing together some of the images on different fabrics. So, it’s photography, but it isn’t photography like you’ve ever seen it before.
What is keeping our city an art destination?
GK: I moved here in 1978, and I didn’t know anyone. From the day I got here, I’ve been involved in the arts. So, for me, it’s a city of opportunity. We have so many artists and art collectors here, and the city government is a great supporter of the arts—there are so many public art projects. I always tell people when they visit Houston that it’s impossible to be bored.
Letitia Huckaby, “Nobody Knows” (2020, pigment print on cotton fabric with embroidery hoop)
Note: Foto Relevance is temporarily closed to the public. View current exhibitions and stay up-to-date on the gallery's latest happenings via Artsy, 1stdibs and Instagram.
Photography by: from top, photos courtesy of: Margeaux Walter and Foto Relevance; Brenda Biondo and Foto Relevance; Letitia Huckaby and Foto Relevance