Saturday, July 4, 2009

First Thursday and First Friday. July 2-3.

“Lonely are the Brave” indeed. This is a very impressive show. Justin Boyd’s sound performance was powerful to say the least. Utilizing a fence structure, a synthesizer, an iphone, and even a cigar Boyd managed to completely envelope the space, your body, and your brain. The whole thing had me thinking about our collective (in)ability to reconcile the past with the present, and those elements that we can’t seem to shake, the ones that slip through the sieve of our culture. Chris Sauter’s recreated room seems to speak to this too. It also proclaims that Sauter's work is excellent and that everyone needs to see more. Kelly O’Connor’s piece was a shift from her usual—sort of. I like that it encompassed an entire room, and spread small pieces of itself around the whole space. I will say that I prefer the hyper activity and color packed into the individual O’Connor pieces of late. I think the space was more of a limiter than an advantage for O’Connor. I like the threads as connective and restrictive devices, I just don’t like that they are radiating from the black and white painted characters. Jesse Amado’s wall piece connects everything together. I must say that Hills Snyder's curatorial and artistic contributions are not lost on those that appreciate excellence in artistic direction. In conjunction, Kevin Patrick McClellan’s treatment of gallery 4 is an excellent use of that space. His clean, arcing forms crossing over, the organic texture in the center, and the dramatic lighting are almost vertigo inducing. Ken Little and the band find ways to soothe the savage beast.
Chris Sauter The Known Universe (childhood bedroom)

The Southwest School of Arts and Crafts hosts a collection of drawings from Texas artists. The space is filled to capacity with works that provide maximum impact. Jules Buck Jones’s powerful piece, groups of drawings on paper with wall text and lines, covers an entire corner of the main gallery and flows out into the front foyer. Katie Pell’s imagery and flat works on paper always impress, but these paper constructions are awkward and lacking in their design. Alice Leora Briggs’s intricate works are intense, and contrast nicely with the delicate and light pieces of Jayne Lawrence. Eric Zimmerman’s large drawings are very impressive. The live performance by Electric Dirt was a nice addition to the visual show. Amplified sounds of drawing on boxes and drums.

At Joan Grona Gallery, Derrick D. Durham offers stunning paintings. Jason Jay Stevens conducts an experiment to impress both your eyes and your ears. Success. Stevens’s sound sculptures, photos, and constructions are both inviting and repellent. They draw you in close, but keep you at a certain distance. The pieces have a power, a force. I want to see this installation (or one like it) on a grand scale, in a huge space, with plenty of room for the work to reach its full potential.

Derrick D. Durham

Say Si takes on light and wins. The work of these kids is exceptional. I dare say that the majority of the work in this show is better than most of what I saw this week. The craftsmanship was top-notch and the gallery presentation clean and polished. There is a lot of talent in that program. Based on their pieces in this show, some students of note include: Crissy Patino, Miles Fermin, Nathan DeFreest, Gilberto Bernal, and Danielle Campbell. Campbell’s Reading Pod piece illustrates a strong design sense and an ability to explore the edges of its possibilities.

Danielle Campbell

The UTSA Satellite Space delves into the shallow reaches of a concept we’ve all seen before—religion and the inability to cope with it. I think working with this is limiting and breeds blunt force gestures and mediocrity. This concept and others like it are only effective if handled with subtlety and sharp thinking. Soomin Jung at Three Walls proves that: 1.she is incredibly talented, 2. humans are grotesque stews of appendages. Cactus Bra features Meg Langhorne’s gouaches of romance novel covers altered so that one figure has the head of a deer. These pieces fail to move beyond our recent fascination with animals in art, especially cute ones. Kitsch is kitsch. The lights at the Stella Haus Art Space are off to accommodate light-boxes and video produced by the collaborative group the Prime Eights. The light-boxes and photos are beautiful and slick. The quality of this work is very high. The stillness of a VW commercial, a sleek 1960s airport, and the sexy warm glow of a summer evening mix to create good design. The look back is good, but we can’t stay caught in that romance. Move forward; be here now; go into the future. What is contemporary if we keep ruminating on the look of the last 50 years?

A man in drag dances and is ogled by a Blues Brother—Jump Start performance art. JusticeWorks Studio is filled with multiple sound pieces that work to link the show together and a collection of crude objects packed in to some sort of massive cubicle construction. The sound elements are good, but the rest is overbearing and clumsy. Rendon Photography features some paintings and some photos, all of which are unimpressive. According to the signs, El Sol Studios is having a clearance sale. Fiber Arts Space offers decorative objects for sale--made with fabric. Stone Metal Press has the GiNormous prints up (prints made with a steam-roller). Here is one example of a gimmick gone good. Suzanne Wright Crain Studios, LLC consists of some tie-dyed fabric hanging from the ceiling; the artist talking languidly about body connective tissue; and one critic and a photographer full of fear, looking for a way out.

All photos Jeremiah Teutsch


  1. Great reviews. Vivid descriptions. Nice work, Chad, keep it going.

  2. Great work, Chad.
    Love, Mom