Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Texture and color play large roles in the work of San Antonio artists Jason Willome and Andrea Reyes, featured in the second exhibition at the Rivard Report’s Gonzales Gallery.
Titled Sea & Sky, the show “explores painting as sculpture through a variety of mediums and handmade processes,” said Katy Silva, Rivard Report advertising and marketing director. Silva also manages the Gonzales Gallery selection committee.
Sea & Sky, which runs Tuesday through July 31, also joins seeming opposites – as in its title – that are actually manifestations of similar things: painting and sculpture, science and art, nature and the built environment.
Science and art were once far from opposite, Willome said. “They used to be closer together and they’ve gradually grown apart,” he said. Yet “they have a ton of overlap at their core, about finding wonder in experience or in observation of the world.”
Willome’s subject matter includes big subjects, like the Big Bang and space exploration, and smaller subjects, like magnetism and salt. However, as the oldest form of image-making, painting can address them all, he said.
“That’s what interests me about painting is it has that capacity [to be] a language of all images,” Willome said.
He incorporates photography as a basis of his large-scale paintings and smaller, framed salt-paintings, embedding printed images of icebergs and rocket ignition trails into an acrylic base. From there, Willome builds textures with paint layers and another important, everyday material: common sodium chloride, or table salt.
Playing around with salt crystals, as Willome described his process, he made an intuitive leap. He noticed a visual similarity in the salt “clouds” he’d formed and NASA archive images of rocket launches, and he decided to combine them.
Though mostly a visual connection initially, Willome said that gradually a deeper meaning emerged. Famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan once posited that “we’re all made of stardust, that we have suns inside us,” Willome noted, and he said his images are intended as “a way of connecting back to what people tend to see as separate, of seeing yourself in the world around you.”
Seeing the world around her is also important to the work of painter Andrea Reyes. She tries to go for a walk every day, and “whatever I see on those days that I was creating a painting, unconsciously that’s the colors I choose,” she said.
Though she loves to walk outdoors, she also loves walking in malls. In both cases, the tones, patterns, and textures she observes make their way into her multilayered paintings.
When she sees something that grabs her attention, “I always stop, and either I take a picture of it with my phone or touch it to see what it feels like,” she said. Such tactility also makes its way into her paintings, which are thick with daubs of brightly-colored acrylic paint.
Reyes is aware that art isn’t supposed to be touched, but “I always want to touch paintings,” she said. “You know how little kids touch everything they see. They want to know how it feels.”
After teaching kindergarten day care for four years, Reyes brings the example of her students into her own decision-making as an artist. “You know how adults, we think too much to make decisions, and [kids] just go with it. If they want something, they just do it. They don’t think too much,” she said.
Open Call Continues
Willome is the first artist to be selected through the Gonzales Gallery open call process. All San Antonio-area artists are eligible to apply for the quarterly exhibitions. The online submission form is available here.
Sea & Sky opens Tuesday, with an opening reception 5-7 p.m. at the Rivard Report offices, 126 Gonzales St. in St. Paul Square. An RSVP is requested for those interested in attending. The exhibition runs through July 31.
The Gonzales Gallery is open by appointment, which can be arranged by emailing email@example.com.