8 San Antonio art exhibits to entice, educate, and energize this month

Cowboys and witches and whimsical 18th-century aristocracy – these are just a few of the topics explored this month at galleries and museums across San Antonio.

The Briscoe treats viewers to the Cowboy Artists of America, Ruby City gives us a meditative multi-screen installation honoring an African American explorer, and Blue Star Contemporary celebrates two artists, one that incorporates Greek epic poetry, altarpieces, and medieval tableaus into her oeuvres and another that draws from board games, video games, and arcades. At Trinity University, support emerging artists displaying their senior projects and learn that “Mars Needs More Women” at the Centro Cultural Aztlan with an exhibit on space and science fiction iconography. The San Antonio art scene has never looked better!

Ruby City
“Isaac Julien: True North” May 5 through July 24

Known for his poetic, meditative multi-screen film installations and photographs, British artist Isaac Julien often uses landscape to present counter histories. His work is known for its non-narrative style that examines black and queer identities, diaspora, migration, and underlying effects of capitalist economic systems. This installation is loosely based on the journey of Matthew Henson (1866–1955), the African American explorer who was widely believed to be the first person to reach the geographic North Pole 113 years ago this month. Julien’s immersive three-screen projection “True North” (2004) depicts a lone, fur-clad figure crossing a snowy white landscape, reinserting Henson’s significant contributions into the historical record.

AnaArte @ Estancia
“Ana Hernandez: More is More” Now through June 30

In this fantastical and whimsical exhibit where motifs from American popular culture meet with 18th-century European art, Ana Hernandez, who works in murals, sculptures, and works on canvas, assimilates and explores the varying relationships between the tasteful and the profane, reality and absurdity, and the local and the foreign. “Having been born and raised on the US-Mexico border, my work is suffused with the iconography, traditions, and customs that characterize this hybrid space. By fluidly combining these elements, I present a layered carnivalesque atmosphere underscored by textures and a wide palette of colors. ”

Briscoe Western Art Museum
“The Sons of Charlie Russell: Cowboy Artists of America” May 27 through September 5

Inspired and fueled by the work of Charles Russell, Frederic Remington, and Edward Borein, the Cowboy Artists of America established a tradition – and maintained a uniquely American art form – that has been preserved by members of the organization since its founding in 1965. “ The Sons of Charlie Russell ”includes 70 works of art encompassing paintings, sculpture, and works on paper, from 40 artists, with works dating from 1890 to the present-day. The exhibition highlights the successive artwork of the Cowboy Artists of America, from its origins rooted in turn-of-the-century paintings to today’s contemporary expression.

Aztlan Cultural Center
“Mars Needs More Women. PROJECT: MASA-V ” Now through June 10

Project: MASA is an ongoing exhibit series which gathers Chicana artists who use outer space and science fiction iconography with past present and future tropes to comment on social-political issues affecting us now and into the future. This intergenerational exhibit presents nineteen women artists from the Frontera of South Texas, San Antonio, and includes Catherine Cisneros, Celeste De Luna, Yareth Fernandez, Brandy González, Suzy Gonzalez, Nansi Guevara, Mari Hernandez, Terry Ybañez, Lizette Ortiz, Pocha Peta, Pocha Pet Sam Rawls, Natalia Rocafuerte, Mary Agnes Rodriguez, Ana Lilia Salinas, Liliana Wilson, Cindy Valderas, and Guillermina Zabala.

Not For You Gallery
Loot Achris: Witches, Weirdos, Perverts, and the Ridiculousness of Childhood ” May 6 through 21

Loot Achris is a visual artist and native of San Antonio whose work across multiple mediums addresses themes of childhood trauma, the absurd, and the societal outcast. In “Witches,” she explores otherness through her portraits of made-up characters that share broken smiles, tired eyes, and unimpressed expressions as they struggle to maintain a façade of normality but represent the odd nature of humankind.

Michael and Noémi Neidorff Art Gallery, Trinity University
“Recomposition: Trinity University Senior Art Major Exhibition” Now through May 21

Exemplifying a great variety of styles and mediums, this senior show demonstrates that an independent and original vision is the greatest asset of an artist because without originality, there is no innovation, no alternative to the status quo, and no new story to tell. The pieces shown here are certainly representative of the culmination of each individual’s growth and potential as they start on their artistic journey.

Blue Star Contemporary
Megan Harrison: From Your Brow Rise Leaf and Lyre Now through May 29

Megan Harrison’s series of mixed media paintings based on intimate, personal, moments, and observations reflects on her experiences following her return from Berlin as an awardee of BSC’s Berlin Residency Program and like many of us, dealing with a pandemic and the shrinking of one’s world down to the immediate family unit. The paintings draw aesthetic influence and build upon a foundation inspired by Greek epic poetry, altarpieces, and medieval tableau to address themes of mortality, loss, tragedy, the universality of human emotions, destruction, and preservation.

Blue Star Contemporary
Jimmy James Canales: The Line Layer Now through May 29

Jimmy James Canales, also an awardee of BSC’s Berlin Residency Program in 2019, uses play as an integral part of his practice to investigate ideas of standardizations of body, form, shape, and ultimate humans. He builds a space that references both physical and virtual games, from board games to video games to arcades to sports fields and playgrounds, where his figures often become activated by viewers. This newest body of work also includes multiple types of models at various scales, as the artist considers the role of models, avatars, and the like in our lives to capture and project our ideas.


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