Bryn Larsen (’88) opens gallery, features contemporary photography


Alan Montgomery

Bryn Larsen (right) and Geoffrey Koslov (left) open an exhibit featuring portraits by Houston-based photographer Julia McLaurin (center).

Aatiqah Aziz and Ashley Yen

George Washington surfs with dolphins while holding up a red foam finger with a number one in the center as the sun sets. Thomas Jefferson dons a bright blue suit with a number three and flies alongside eagles, the Declaration of Independence in hand.

Bryn Larsen (’88) and Geoffrey Koslov founded their own gallery, Foto Relevance, in 2016 after working together through a photography subcommittee at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Foto Relevance focuses on the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary photography.

In honor of President’s Day, Foto Relevance’s most recent exhibit, “Hail to the Chief,” featured portraits by Houston-based photographer Julia McLaurin for each of the 45 U.S. presidents with their presidential numbers embedded in the image.

“It was a way of making history fun,” Larsen said. “The photographs were a little bit irreverent and goofy sometimes, but we were really proud of the show.”

Alan Montgomery
Presidential numbers were embedded in the exhibit for each of the 45 U.S. presidents.

After visiting the exhibit, history teacher Wendall Zartman thought the perspectives on the presidents were unusual but accurate.

“I’ve never seen presidents depicted in such a whimsical way,” Zartman said.

Growing up with parents and grandparents devoted to art led Larsen to be appreciative of it. She was particularly drawn to photography because of the exciting innovations in the field including dark room techniques and digital manipulation. In 2003, she began her own art collection, which now includes paintings, sculptures and photographs.

“The more I learned about what’s happening in the current market of art, the more excited I got about what people are doing with contemporary photography,” Larsen said.

Alan Montgomery
In honor of President’s Day, Foto Relevance’s most recent exhibit was titled “Hail to the Chief.”

Similar to Larsen, Koslov grew up in a family surrounded by cameras and photography equipment. After retiring, he wanted to start a gallery to help and work with emerging, mid-career artists in the field of contemporary photography.

“We are always looking for artists who are doing really beautiful and innovative and unusual things,” Larsen said. “We travel all over the country and world to meet artists and [their] portfolios.”

Foto Relevance aims to showcase engaging photographs.

“We want all of our art to be much better than decoration,” Larsen said. “We want the art to move you, to have meaning, to have purpose and to really transform your environment.”

Foto Relevance’s current exhibit, “Light Forms,” opened on March 29. The exhibit features art by Houston based artist Deborah Bay, who plays with glass prisms and lenses to create photographs consisting of geometric shapes.   

“Deborah does really beautiful, colorful, abstract geometric work,” Larsen said. “It’s very unusual because she does it all in her studio, and every piece is actually made with prisms and light.”

Larsen emphasizes the importance of agreeing with the artist and their work to create a successful exhibit.

“Art is a form of personal expression,” Larsen said. “You really want to embrace what the artist is expressing, and you want to be interested in their message and all of the things they create.”