State of the Arts
7 scintillating ways to soak up the arts in San Antonio this month
March brings some stellar exhibits to Alamo City with themes as varied as women and Latinx artists to dogs, dinosaurs, saints, and the Wild West. The Fronteriza project at Presa House focuses on women artists in Texas contemplating the U.S.-Mexico border through their art; “Alchemy” features Latin American artists demonstrating the magical process of transformation that occurs when art is created. Meanwhile, the Witte introduces viewers to the dinosaurs of the Antarctic, where 200 million years ago these Early Jurassic theropods thrived, while “Night of Artists” at the Briscoe celebrates cowboys. There's so much art to devour, so giddy up and get out there.
“Alchemy: Works on Paper” — Now through April 1
“Alchemy” features Latin American and Texas-based artists, and demonstrates the power of the brushstroke and the seemingly magical process of transformation that occurs in the creation of an artwork. The flexible quality of paper, and its two-dimensional constraints, is manipulated in this way to blur the realms of reality and fantasy. The immediacy of drawing, collage, and photograms find kinship with the multi-step techniques of printmaking and papermaking. In the case of Jesse Amado’s “Machine,” materials such as ink and graphite produce an elaborate three-dimensional drawing, while “A Bailar,” by Cisco Jimenez playfully uses collage to deconstruct the human body.
The Witte Museum
“Antarctic Dinosaurs” — Now through September 10
Visit Antarctica at the Witte: Now one of the most isolated and dangerous environments on Earth, Antarctica was a bountiful, forested habitat where dinosaurs thrived 200 million years ago. “Antarctic Dinosaurs” transports visitors back in time to discover the dinosaurs that ruled these now-fossilized forests. Explore the plants and animals that once flourished in the thick forests of Jurassic Antarctica, then part of the supercontinent Gondwanaland, and learn how the land drifted and changed to become the polar continent we know today. View fossils that reveal Antarctica’s past, alongside large-scale replicas of dinosaur species unique to the continent. Marvel at the 25-foot-long Cryolophosaurus, the largest and most complete Early Jurassic theropod in the world, and a new-to-science juvenile sauropodomorph.
“Sergio Mata: Saint Anthony” — Now through March 30
On June 13, 1691, San Antonio was named after Saint Anthony, the Spanish version of the name. Sergio C Mata, a 31-year-old artist from San Antonio, creates modern colorful portraits of Saint Anthony with titles that reflect the color palette like, “Cantaloupe Anthony,” “Lavender Anthony,” and “Citrine Anthony.” The artist’s intention is that the Saint Anthony’s will “watch over those who live within his city,” Mata says in an artist statement. “My art project will hopefully show the entire world how San Antonio's belief in art and culture is above all miraculous.”
Blue Star Contemporary
“The Dog Show: Hiromi Stringer” — Now through June 4
Almost 30 years ago, Hiromi Stringer was inspired by seeing a Siberian Husky dog on a busy street in Bangkok, and this later informed his work in “Dog Show: Time Traveler Umeyama’s Drawings from the 21st Century.” Intertwined with the various dogs in the gouache and sumi ink on oriental paper paintings is the story of Umeyama, a mediocre scholar who time-travels to various times and places. His base point is the Japan of 170 years ago when the country was under government-enforced national isolation. “There are many parallels between him and myself,” Stringer shares in a statement, “but he is not my alter ego. I use him to see the world more objectively through his subjective view, yet some traces of my subjectivity are not denied in my works.”
Presa House Gallery
“Fronteriza: Aquí y Allá"— Now through April 15
The Fronteriza project focuses on women artists in Texas contemplating the U.S.-Mexico border through their art. The nine participating artists bring a different perspective from uniquely personal experiences depicted in various media and techniques, such as ceramics, fibers, textiles, painting, drawing, photography, video, and performance. As women, the collective approaches art and themes about the border collaboratively; the interconnectedness in their work includes aspects of the female perspective in family history, culture, place, and politics.
The McNay Art Museum
“Womanish: Audacious, Courageous, Willful Art” — Now through July 2
"Womanish” features artwork by women acquired by the McNay from 2010 to the present. The title of this exhibition is inspired by Alice Walker’s essay "Womanist," in which she defines womanish as “usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior.” By highlighting the wide variety of ways women express themselves through art, this exhibition aims to celebrate the term “womanish,” which is all too often considered derogatory. The work represented spans over 90 years and includes portraiture, abstraction, landscapes, and more.
Briscoe Western Art Museum
“2023 Night of Artists”— March 26 through May 7
This annual event allows the public to view and purchase over 270 new works of painting, sculpture, and mixed media by 80 of the country’s leading contemporary Western artists. The wide range of artworks reflect the vastness of the great American West: From scenic landscapes and inspired Native Americans, classic cowboys, and dazzling vaqueros, to stunning wildlife and detailed portraiture, “Night of Artists” has something for everyone enthralled with the Wild West.