STATE OF THE ARTS
8 opportunities to be artful in San Antonio this month
There is a dizzying array of opportunities to embrace San Antonio museums and galleries this month and something for every artistic palate. The Briscoe will showcase photography in the form of renowned American nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen, as well as from the late Reg Campbell who documented his own poignant and personal journey with leukemia on display at the Photo Center. From Sacred Altars at San Antonio Art League to Sacred Portals at Artpace, fall head over heels for the abundance of artistry on display in Alamo City this September.
San Antonio Art League
“Sacred Art of Altars: One People, Many Paths” — Now through September 15
This exhibit of over 60 crafted altars features a dazzling display of contrasts as well a beautiful underlying unity. Each piece has an identical shape and size (12” x 16”), while each shrine exhibits its own uniqueness in an eye-popping array of colors and media, including paint, wax, glass, metal, fabric, ceramics, and more. The subject matter ranges from sublime to temporal, and from spiritual to satirical, reflecting the growing embrace of “nichos” or small, personalized shrines, in the popular culture of the Southwest. A long, integral part of San Antonio’s spiritual heritage, altars are becoming increasingly evident in secular as well.
“Reg Campbell: Septua” — Now through December 3
This exhibition chronicles photographer Reg Campbell’s journey with cancer through his photography. Campbell was in his late 30s when he learned he had leukemia. With his cameras in tow, he began photographing his hospital stays, chemo treatments, and precious time at home with his wife and young daughter. He called the series Septua, from the Latin word for seven, referring to his initial 7 weeks of chemotherapy and 7 months of intermittent hospital stays. After receiving a bone marrow transplant, he went into remission, but the cancer came back. He died on May 15, 2020. Throughout the last years of his life, he shot and shared striking and honest photos because he wanted to show what leukemia was really like. “Cancer is an anyone disease, anyone from any walk of life can get it. No one is immune. I feel it is my job to show others that having leukemia isn’t what the TV shows and movies say it is,” he wrote.
MBAW Art Gallery
“Jubilee: An Anniversary Exhibition” — Now through December 17
Jubilee features more than 30 of the many international visual artists who have exhibited their work in the Art Gallery at Musical Bridges Around the World. Founding director Anya Grokhovski – an avid art collector and advocate – recruited visual artists as board members, supporters, and donors. She invited selected artists to exhibit in the lobby of performance venues, at fundraisers and other events, embracing the visual arts as part of the cross-cultural mission from the outset. “Jubilee” celebrates these artists and their contributions over the years, offering a survey of the work that has graced Musical Bridges’ walls and the direction these artists have taken since.
“Brook Rosser: Nostalgia” — September 8 through October 2
Brook Rosser’s mixed media paintings seek to reflect love, challenges, and dreams, blending both private and mythic images. Her love of folk art and color is evident in her work, which constantly searches out new ways to explore the wonder and enchantment of living. “The last couple of years have been filled with revisiting family photos, mementos, and stories while sifting through the many objects I’ve collected over the years. This new series called '“Nostalgia” is a compilation of images I created using collage, paint, and digital media.” Portraits of objects fill her canvases: her grandmother’s shoes — cowboy boots and fancy heels from Neiman Marcus — or her grandfather’s vest, given to him by the Shoshone Indians. These objects, along with other relics, weave a visual story rich in color, texture, and lore.
“Luis Valderas: The Sacred Portal of Amaxctli (place where the waters split)” — September 8 through January 1, 2023
In his exhibition, Luis Valderas creates an installation inspired by ancient portals opened by Mesoamerican shamans, including figureheads made of Styrofoam, a shipping material that protects wares from being damaged while traveling thousands of miles across many borders and discarded upon arrival. This packaging is engineered to keep the objects safe, but has also created aesthetic forms, which Valderas has integrated into his visual language. By repurposing the Styrofoam and encapsulating it in brown shipping paper, the artist has transformed these shipping materials into a new deity of cardinal status that has traversed multiple borders in this reality.
“Tangible/Nothing” — September 8 through July 30, 2023
Tangible/Nothing explores how the invisible or the seemingly mundane can reveal great meaning. Some works represent apparent voids, vestiges of what’s missing or subjects not pictured, such as a pair of arms bereft of a body, a woman represented only by her purse, or Miss America seen only as a floating crown. Other works represent or incorporate everyday objects that stand in for big ideas, such as empty paint cans representing a white, heroic vision of America’s history or a bright pink stove calling out the pervasiveness of traditional gender roles. The exhibition will feature approximately 50 works by national and international artists as well as San Antonio artists Nate Cassie, Katie Pell, Chuck Ramirez and Juan Miguel Ramos.
The Carver Cultural Community Center
“Zane Thomas: The Color of Blind” — September 9 through October 21
Black Moon Print owner and creator Zane Thomas’s screen prints and graphic design combine his unapologetic obsession with vintage 40’s and 50’s advertisements, film, and pop culture to create a Neo-Americana and mid-century mashup style lovingly dubbed “Alternative Americana.” His creations invoke in him the same ghoulish grin he felt when he tried to sneak a naughty novelty toy from a truck stop as a kid, and he hopes to make things for those that revel in the same cherished aesthetic – and, at the end of the day, get the joke.
Briscoe Western Art Museum
“Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life in the Wild” — September 29 through January 29, 2023
Renowned American nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen has traveled throughout the natural world for nearly 50 years. Observing and photographing the Earth’s last great wild places, he captures everything from polar bears in the Arctic to vast herds of game on the plains of Africa, from the deep jungles of South America to the tigers of India, to images revealing the diversity of wildlife in the American West. This exhibition at the Briscoe contains 40 of Mangelsen’s most resonant image. Each one was taken in the wild under natural conditions; the result of waiting for the “picture-perfect moment” across decades and often in hostile conditions. Polar Dance, for example, is a whimsical portrait of polar bears appearing to prance in the Arctic, which National Geographic called one of the most important photographs of our time for inspiring viewers to ponder the consequences of climate change.