Despite the heat, it’s a glorious month to hustle to these San Antonio art galleries and institutions for some groundbreaking and genuine creativity. Rock out to Amy Shekhter’s vibrant pop art music icons at AnArte Gallery, or catch the Mexika dancers exuding movement, energy, and power in Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo’s textured oil paintings at Centro de Artes. The McNay showcases work from Asian American artists in Texas pushing against societal perceptions, and Dock Space Gallery shows the work of artists from differing border cities around Texas. No time like the present to start gallery gallivanting.
“Hellen Ascoli: (she re-members) siendo somos” — Now through September 11
During Hellen Ascoli’s residency at Artpace, she completed a pedagogical resource for educators in Guatemala focusing on knowledge embedded in the back-strap loom; its sensorial and embodied practices, its materiality and techniques, its relation to language, and its formation of and from place. The back-strap loom is a mobile, domestic tool made of wooden sticks. Pages of the book are projected on 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 littered throughout the gallery in text, textiles, audio, and photographs.
McNay Art Museum
“Reflecting Selves: Asian American Artists in Texas” — Now through October 9
“Reflecting Selves” represents five Texas-based artists pushing against societal perceptions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Asian Americans have been integral members of American society for over 200 years. Historically perceived as “The Other” or the perpetual foreigner, Asian Americans felt immense pressure to assimilate into American standards. The artworks in this exhibition depict diverse Asian American experiences in American society due to harmful, discriminatory thoughts, actions, and perceptions. This exhibit aims to refute the model minority myth and stereotypes.
“Nick Hay: Bad Guys & Ghosts” — August 6 through 27
In his first solo exhibition in five years, San Antonio artist Nick Hay features 60 new mixed-media paintings developed on the periphery of his studio practice. From a variety of materials, including shells and leaves found on routine visits to local rivers to linen and wood scraps saved from work projects, he incorporates materials that further highlight 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 is otherwise concerned with larger overarching narratives from human existence.
Centro de Artes
“Leila Hernández: La Visa Negra 2.5: Tendiendo los Trapitos al Sol” and “Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo: The Euphoric Dance of the Unconquered Mind” — August 9 through December 30
"La Visa Negra 2.5" is a collection of narratives dealing with time, identity, and place via the cultural crossover between South Texas and Northern Mexico. The exhibition is a salute to the sweat and tears of these contemporary, resilient immigrants forging their new lives through hard work. “The Euphoric Dance” features textured oil paintings of Mexika dancers exuding movement, energy, and power to celebrate the continued tradition of Indigenous dance ceremony. The vibrantly colored paintings celebrate mental liberation and honor Indigenous ancestors.
“Amy Shekhter: Rock Your World” — August 10 through September 4
Amy Shekhter’s cheerful pop art incorporates iconic images of famous people sprinkled with nostalgia from the past, a meshing of objects and time periods that remind the artist of “joyful pastimes.” Shekhter explains that “Combining these icons and my love for texture and mixed media, each piece is carefully made using layers of paint, hand-cast resin pieces, crystals, various objects, and materials.” Viewers are encouraged to get lost in the playful backgrounds 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.
“This And That” includes mixed-media paintings, drawings, and sculptures created over the past two years by San Antonio multi-disciplinary 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 around violence, body and mental health issues, a rasquache aesthetic, happiness, cultural roots, heritage and love, what defines a person, and how the bridge is a connector for working class people building their economy on both sides of the border. The exhibition features artwork by artists representing three different border cities: Brownsville, Laredo, and Presidio.