Sunday, July 26, 2009

David Shelton Gallery Saturday, July 25.

What can I really say about an exciting show of excellent work from San Antonio’s art stars presented in the slickest of galleries? It’s worth the drive to say the least.

Daniel Saldana

Kimberly Aubuchon

Michael Velliquette

Alejandro Diaz

See more photos here.

photos Jeremiah Teutsch

Friday July 24.

Found and Nueva Street Gallery are both located in the shops at La Villita. Given that their target audience is weary tourists, you can count on some bright, cute, portable pictures ideal for remembering your visit to the Alamo.

Art House Studio shows off textiles and re-upholstered furniture by Jane Bishop, Martha Henry, and Clare Watters. Fancy.

A warehouse complex filled with a cacophony of sound is where you find JACS (jacStudio), hopefully. I roamed what I thought was the extent of the spaces and failed to find the Drawing: Impromptu show. Luckily I roamed far enough to find David Shek Vega’s studio space. When it comes to graffiti-art, Vega does it right. Admittedly, this is a style that ordinarily doesn’t interest me all that much, but Vega’s work pushes me towards conversion. The power of Shek’s work comes about through technical precision and easy-does-it compositions. There is a grace and attractiveness to these pieces that leaves me stunned.

(above) David "Shek" Vega

one performance at the warehouse

all photos Jeremiah Teutsch

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday July, 23.

Galleria Ortiz Contemporary presents works from Jorge Garza and Cindy Palmer. It is nice to see that this gallery can be consistent in its exhibitions. The ability to find, study, and constantly display horrible art must get tiresome.

I didn’t ask, but I have a feeling that Mr. Garza is a fan of Jasper Johns and maybe some Sol LeWitts too.

Cindy Palmer’s mixed-media abstract drek. Note the blending of diverse textures to create a uniform sense of ineptitude.

The International Academy of Design & Technology puts on a show of student work; I think that should pretty much sum it up. I can see that superheroes and anatomical hearts are very poplar with this group of students.

Andy Aranda

all photos Jeremiah Teutsch

The Colloquium

Potter-Belmar Labs, also known as Leslie Raymond and Jason Jay Stevens, have put together an entertaining and engaging forum for artists to present and talk about their work. I think this is an excellent event and if you weren’t there you missed out. Luckily for all of us, the Colloquium will be a reoccurring event. Chuck Ramirez embraces the iphone, the Prime Eights (Angela Guerra and Mark Walley) are super elegant designers, Margaret Craig presents poetry, Chris Sauter shows work and proves yet again that he is an artistic powerhouse, Gary Schott’s wit materializes in ingenious machines, Albert Alvarez gives an intense and insightful video presentation even if we can’t eek a retort out of him. If you were there, you would have seen Hills Snyder’s enticing short video. Consider the future an opportunity.

Franco at SAMA.

Tuesday the 21st, a SAMA Conversation with Franco Mondini-Ruiz; or more specifically, a conversation from Franco. I don’t like Franco’s work, but he is certainly an enigmatic character with pull. Hearing Franco talk is all you need to understand how and why he has been so successful. My compliments to Contemporary Curator David Rubin’s ability to keep Franco on track--and sometimes--on topic.

Some additions to the Contemporary galleries are a welcome sight. Rubin has brought out a Philip Pearlstein that reminds me why I like painting as an art form. The Don Eddy and Richard Anuszkiewicz works are much appreciated, as well. I like the Donald Lipski F.I.S.H #2 (as seen under the I-35 bridge on the Riverwalk Museum Reach) gracing the space of the museum, but I hope the Christian Marclay drum set won’t be hidden in storage for too long.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Artpace International Artist-In-Residence 09.2

(Full disclosure: I was an intern at Artpace for the duration of this residence.)

Silke Otto-Knapp presents a series of relief and intaglio etchings in metallic inks based on dance. The images in this series are presented in such a way that close investigation of the print surface is necessary to extract the sketchy figures from their surrounding iridescence. I can appreciate the formal subtlety of this collection, but it fails to engage me outside of its simplicity and graphic presence.

Silke Otto-Knapp
The full moon this fall, All night long I have paced around the pond, 2009

Originally commissioned and produced at Artpace San Antonio

Charlie Morris confronts all things political with an adroit sensitivity and subtlety. Morris’s ability to address such a horrible subject as politics is commendable, even more so is his ability to do it successfully with a selection of pieces so perilously simple. A testament to military power and failure is reduced to a chalk-white pallet of commodities. An investigation into the manufacture and release of a lethal biological substance is pared down to a series of photos and a tenebrous video documenting the project. An exercise in censorship is literally carved out of an edition of the Marquis de Sade’s infamous Juliette. With this act, an incendiary record of the most obscene fantasies is abated to a hollowed out collection of impotent pages. This structure creates a confined space where you, the viewer, could explore the darkest depths of your perversions—fill in the blanks. What I find most interesting about this group of works is the connection I found between the disparate parts. The Marquis de Sade book was published at the height of the French political instability of the 18th century. De Sade, a revolutionary, wrote his smut with fierce political undertones, damning the ruling class by drawing allusion to their social debauchery through the sexual debauchery of his characters, for which he was imprisoned on multiple occasions. At that time, the story of the Death of Socrates (told in Plato’s Phaedo, in which Socrates willfully drinks hemlock to act as his own executioner to fulfill his death sentence for corrupting the youth of Athens and heresy to the gods) was a very popular subject for artists and revolutionaries alike. Needless to say the French Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror left the nation fractured and in a turmoil of heightened suspicion of military action.

Charlie Morris
Half to Whole, 2009
Originally commissioned and produced at Artpace San Antonio

Anne Collier presents the most engaging work of the exhibition. Collier presents a selection of images culled from the film Eyes of Laura Mars. Through these images, the viewer is presented with a close-up of just that: the eyes of Laura Mars. No nostalgia here. All connotations of reveling in a comfortable past are stripped away as the immediacy of the experience creates a liminal space where only your senses and your psyche exist. There is something unnerving about being stared at; you can’t look away. The dark room, with nothing but a carousel projector and a projection only adds to the tension. Alone in the space, you are deprived of all sensory input except that of the cold stare of the subject. Granted these stunning, pruned images have a warm, inviting glow, but it is the situation that creates a lasting sensation. No sound but that of the rotating carousel amplifies the tedium as it tolls out its familiar mechanical report in measured time. Being presented with so little, but facing so much, peaks one’s self-consciousness and anxiety. It makes you uncomfortable, and it lingers.

Anne Collier
Woman With A Camera (35mm), 2009

Originally commissioned and produced at Artpace San Antonio

all photos courtesy of Artpace

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Artpace 09.2

The review of the Artpace International Artist-In-Residence 09.2 will be posted Monday evening.

Saturday, July 18.

The ATT Center and their $20 admission can jolly well stow it. For $15.99 and a can of Big Red I could go to Splashtown all day.

Schroeder Gallery presents George Schroeder’s hulking chunks of metal and slag. I am pretty sure that these are the same objects that are always in the window when I drive by. James Cobb’s graphic design renderings are just that—slick graphic design. The paintings are so rooted in this visual vocabulary that they fail to become anything more than decorative art for the corporate office. More pictures here.

James Cobb

Not on the CAM Calendar, but worth mentioning, is Cristal Contemporaneo at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Artworks worth mentioning include: Chris Castillo’s sharp, documentary photographs; and Nicole Eriko Smith’s disturbingly precise drawings of deranged figures.

Chris Castillo

Nicole Eriko Smith

Franco Mondini-Ruiz made this just for you.

All photos Jeremiah Teutsch

Friday July 17.

Charola’s the Party Tray Company serves up figure paintings in flavors including blue, orange, and mannerist.

Nobody’s home at the Long Hall Gallery.

I’m still confused about the Radius Center’s “A Media Explosion.” If by “explosion” they mean a non-working video projection then ok. I think that there was going to be a line up of film, some of which would be shown outside, but given the lack of context clues or information about what was going on I’m still not certain. I did see these abstract paintings by Beth Shapiro on the walls. I don’t know if they are a part of the show or not, but they are impressive. All are luminous, smooth, and highly reflective; some even have a depth that appears three-dimensional.

Beth Shapiro

Unit B offers up a lesson in the aesthetic of the haphazard. Alejandro Diaz, Kristy Perez, and Gary Sweeney present stellar text-based works that prove that content, form, and delivery can be combined to make an exciting object out of the simplest of things. Attention to design and thinking can yield good results—being clever can help too. To point out the craftsmanship behind the crudeness of these works, let me make an analogy. Take Sonic Youth and your average high school garage band; the former plays noise while the later just makes noise. This trio is playing noise successfully. So, no, you’re kid couldn’t make this.

Gary Sweeney

Kristy Perez

Alejandro Diaz

To finish, Suede Lounge offers paintings and photography--Photoshop, posterize, paint, repeat. This would work as a street-art motif, but as fine art it fails. Yes, I am willing to make that hierarchal distinction.

all photos Jeremiah Teutsch

Thursday July 16. “Nomadic Beach Party” UIW

Angela Fox presents “Nomadic Beach Party” at UIW. It seems that the idea of fun motivates these works, and collaged depictions of a pan-cultural, whole-world identity probably are fun, but fail to move me. They are naïve, all-too-fashionable, and derivative. Looks like Henry Darger goes to Santa Fe.

photos Chad Dawkins

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Benito Huerta “Shock and Awe” UTSA Art Gallery

Benito Huerta’s works at the UTSA Gallery are masterfully crafted and, at times, visually stunning. The downfall lies in his attempts to use shock to solicit awe. Huerta resorts to Picasso’s famous “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” and descriptions of money. Profanity, a ubiquitous image, sailor tattoos, Pop, politics, and loteria just leaving me asking, so what? Huerta’s reliance on familiarity and obscenity (both real and perceived) amount to a blunt cliché that is no longer shocking.

Benito Huerta

photos Chad Dawkins

Sunday, July 12, 2009


If you are observant, you will notice that the title has gone fowl.

Eden Patio and Bar

OMG. Just to prove that I am a man of my word, and a sucker for punishment, I spent my free and breezy Sunday evening to catch up and hit a spot that I couldn’t get to on Friday. I hate going north of 410, much less trekking beyond 1604, but I did it. I went to a bar in a brand new strip-mall far beyond the confines of my comfort zone, and I forgot my wallet.

Justin French’s paintings are sharp, vibrant, tiny, and could grace your wall for a song. Sadly, these works fail to progress beyond their slick exteriors and decorative properties.

Speaking of which, if you’re bored with the frat house or need a place to show off your new board-shorts/AXE/big truck combo or, for the ladies, your new tube-top, tan, bling ensemble—I know a place. According to the 7000 inch HDTV, the Cubs dropped the second game of a double header with St. Louis. They are going to have to start winning on the road to top Houston and make it into the playoffs.

Second Saturday. July 11.

Lotus Gallery at Nydia’s Yoga Therapy 4680 Lockhill-Selma. Where? Hidden in this wall that stretches for a dozen miles? Thanks Goggle Maps. Nothing refreshes like a drive all the way out to Lockhill-Selma and Huebner at 6 o’clock, driving up and down Lockhill-Selma for miles, and finding that the block numbers jump from 3800 to 11300. Seriously, if anyone knows how to unlock the door to the other dimension and find this place I’d like to know.

Meanwhile back in the real San Antonio, Fishead Design Studio and Microgallery exhibits digitally modified photos from Phillip Luna and Danielle Cunningham. These are colorful images incorporating graffiti, text, the Lord, and the Virgin artfully hung in this truly micro space.

Phillip Luna and Danielle Cunningham

FL!GHT Gallery presents a group show featuring works that all bring a smile to your face. Derek Allan Brown’s small stereoscope photos are a hit with viewers. These inventive works portray local characters and their haunts (HEB freezer isle and a flea market booth) in 3-D. The antique parlor trick of stereo-optics coupled with Brown’s simple photos make for a successful series of pieces. Andy Benavides presents a comforting reminder nestled in nostalgia. A small music box attached to the front of the projection screen plays a gentle melody. Kerri Coar’s reference to art making points to a clever, self-effacing wit. Jung Hee Mun’s two pieces of swirling colors intertwined with figures look like the beginning of a project that should be pursued and refined. These motifs deserve further exploration and the brush work could use some sharpening. I think these would deliver a greater impact if they were on a larger scale.

Jung Hee Mun

Andy Benavides

Kerri CoarDerek Allan Brown

At first glance, Ruth Buentello’s series of paintings at 1906 Gallery seem to have a very strong Kehinde Wiley influence. Like Wiley, Buentello is portraying historically excluded figures on an embellished background. But unlike Wiley, Buentello’s portraits are heartfelt and telling of their subjects.

Ruth Buentello

Carlos Hernandez fills the SMART Art Project Space with graphics of Day of the Dead rock stars. Rock goes San Anto. Frankly these are a little silly and a kind of sloppy.

Carlos Hernandez

Lone Star Studios features a group exercise in quality craftsmanship. Carlos Don Juan shows some admirable contemporary portraiture.

Carlos Don Juan

At Gallista Gallery, Alejandro Padilla’s abstract compositions range from being too symmetrical to just poorly constructed. For me, these examples of pure design are too shallow to be engaging as fine art. These would a make a great album cover.

Alejandro Padilla

Marcus Rubio and the Gospel Chior of Pillows end the night’s festivities on a high note.

all photos Jeremiah Teutsch

Friday July 10

Kristy Perez All That Stands Between Us

Through all of the brutish attempts to exemplify what it is to be here now, Kristy Perez sheds the guiding light. Perez surpasses the burdens of drudging through failed contextual explanations, sociological synopsizes, and juvenile rubric towards an understanding of where we are at this point in time. Perez offers a beautifully rendered definition of our current mire in the confines of our boundaries and barriers, our expectations and unfulfilled wishes. Perez creates a sense of shock at the sight of an empty Sala Diaz--a void where the show should be. This confusion is alleviated when, glancing down, you find the answer forged in brass, embedded in the floor.

Bihl Haus gallery serves up blobby oils of floral motifs in pastel hues and tie-dyed fabric hanging from the ceiling. I don’t want to see any more tie-dyed fabrics hanging from ceilings.

Centro Cultural Aztlan features paintings by Andy Villareal. Fluorescent oils with heavy impasto.

Andy Villareal

At Zubiate Projects, Peter Zubiate displays his superbly crafted furniture and woodwork. Katie Pell presents some very pleasing drawings and prints. The mixing of mediums and the forthcoming texts has me wanting more. I think Pell has hit something here, and I would like to see this project pursued further. According to show attendee, Kendra Curry, Katie Pell should “rock this Pop-Tart all the way to Jupiter.” To top it all off, Fear Snakeface brought the rock with a powerful vengeance.

Katie Pell
Zubiate/Pell installation

Next door at Gallery 118, collaborative duo, Alas, put up an exquisite show. Unfortunately, they did not list it on the CAM calendar. Let this be a lesson: if you make truly interesting work, make sure people know about it.

ALAS installation

A large portion of the evening was filled with the Tobin Hill Art Walk. I really hope this isn’t supposed to turn into a monthly thing. I can’t foresee the need for another ordinal-number-day-of-the-week art walk. If that’s the case, count me out. Let me make this simple: High Wire Gallery--bad abstracts, drippy abstracts, shiny abstracts, under-developed paintings and sculpture, and a theatrical video. REM Gallery shows Margaret Craig’s glass objects that are decorative at best. This is unfortunate given she has done some very engaging installations with this medium in the past. Ben Mata presents masculine abstracts in metal at the Josephine Theatre. 621 Screen Printing is full of undeveloped West Coast lowbrow. M4 Dance Studio has amateurish acrylics, more bad abstract stripes, a turkey, and an Elvis. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the work at Tycoon Flats. I went, but I honestly couldn’t find the work. Maybe a restaurant full of diners is not the best venue for perusing art.

Highlights include: Paco Felici at La Casa Rosa, and Sarah Jones at G2. Jones’s constructions show craftsmanship, good design, and intelligence. She incorporates disparate mediums to put together a collection of objects that is both sharp and subtle.

Paco Felici

Sarah Jones

all photos Jeremiah Teutsch