Despite the heat, it’s a glorious month to rush to these San Antonio art galleries and institutions for some innovative and genuine creativity. Be entertained by Amy Schechter’s living pop art music icons at the AnArte Gallery, or catch Mexican dancers exuding movement, energy and power in the textured oil paintings of Elizabeth Jimenez Montelongo at the Centro de Artes. The McNay showcases works by Asian American artists in Texas defying societal perceptions, and the Dock Space Gallery showcases the work of artists from various border towns around Texas. There’s no time like the present to start a gallery.
“Helen Ascoli: (She Remembers) It’s Us” — Now until September 11th
During Helen Ascoli’s residency at Artpace, she completed a pedagogical resource for educators in Guatemala focusing on the knowledge embedded in the loom; its sensory and embodied practices, its materiality and techniques, its relation to language and its formation by and from place. A belt loom is a movable household tool made of wooden sticks. Pages from the book are projected onto the north wall of the gallery as well as throughout the space in gestures created by the artist. Reflections and responses to these prompts are scattered throughout the gallery in text, textiles, audio and photographs.
McNay Museum of Art
“Reflecting Self: Asian American Artists in Texas” — Now through October 9th
“Reflecting Selves” features five Texas-based artists challenging societal perceptions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Asian Americans have been integral members of American society for more than 200 years. Historically perceived as the “Other” or the perpetual foreigner, Asian Americans experience tremendous pressure to assimilate to American standards. The artwork in this exhibit depicts various Asian American experiences in American society due to harmful, discriminatory thoughts, actions, and perceptions. This exhibition aims to debunk myths and stereotypes about the model minority.
“Nick Hay: Bad Guys and Ghosts” — August 6-27
In his first solo exhibition in five years, San Antonio artist Nick Hay presents 60 new mixed media paintings developed on the fringes of his studio practice. From a variety of materials, including shells and leaves found during routine visits to local rivers, to linen and wood scraps preserved from work projects, he incorporates materials that further emphasize the casual and experimental methods of his art-making process. Hay injects small amounts of autobiography (and he hopes a pinch of humor) into an approach that otherwise deals with larger overarching narratives of human existence.
“Leila Hernández: La Visa Negra 2.5: Tendiendo los Rapitos al Sol” and “Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo: The Euphoric Dance of the Unconquered Mind” — From August 9 to December 30
“La Visa Negra 2.5” is a collection of short stories dealing with time, identity and place through the cultural intersection between South Texas and Northern Mexico. The exhibit is a tribute to the sweat and tears of these modern, resilient immigrants, forging their new lives through hard work. “Euphoric Dance” features textured oil paintings of Mexican dancers exuding movement, energy and power to celebrate the ongoing tradition of indigenous dance ceremony. The brightly colored paintings celebrate mental liberation and honor local ancestors.
“Amy Schechter: Rock Your World” — From August 10 to September 4
Amy Schechter’s cheerful pop art features iconic images of famous people sprinkled with nostalgia from the past, an interweaving of objects and time periods that remind the artist of “joyous pastimes.” Schechter explains that, “Combining these icons and my love of texture and mixed media, each piece is carefully crafted using layers of paint, hand-cast pieces of resin, crystals, various objects and materials.” Viewers are encouraged to lose themselves in the playful backdrop. and discover new objects and details, as well as icons such as Dua Lipa, Elton John, David Bowie, Madonna and Dolly Parton, to name a few.
Dock Space Gallery
“Raul Rene Gonzalez: This and That” and “De de La Frontera” — From 13 to 31 August
This and That features mixed-media paintings, drawings and sculptures created over the past two years by San Antonio multidisciplinary visual artist Raul Rene Gonzalez. The pieces draw inspiration from house music, architecture, labor, abstraction, social issues and pop culture. “Desde La Frontera” is an exhibition that focuses on issues surrounding violence, body and mental health issues, rasquache aesthetics, happiness, cultural roots, heritage and love, what defines a person and how the bridge is a link for working class people to build its economy on both sides of the border. The exhibit features artwork from artists representing three different border towns: Brownsville, Laredo, and Presidio.