Last week local gallery owners readied fruit and cheese plates, chilled bottles of wine and Lone Star and prepared for a busy weekend. As usual, Southtown and the Lone Star Arts District played host to a variety of gallery openings for Second Saturday and First Friday.
June has been adopted as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, chosen to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall riots in New York that launched the gay rights movement. Locally, the month will mainly recognized by a "Pride Bigger Than Texas" parade and festival on June 29 at Crockett Park. San Antonio has a relatively small LGBT community, compared to other cities, but there has been progress in making San Antonio more LGBT friendly. Still, the city has a ways to go, as the ongoing struggle to include sexual orientation and gender identity on the City's list of protected classes illustrates.
One might expect to find a variety of LGBT-centered gallery shows this month within the local arts community – that was unfortunately not the case. Those expecting local gallery shows tied to Pride Month might be disappointed. A few galleries with connections to the local LGBT community hosted openings that merit recognition.
Lady Base Founder and Co-Founder of the Chicana Art Collective Mas Rúdas, Sarah Castillo, explained at the opening that Lady Base is a site for the artistic practices of women and the LGBTQ community year-round (many people and organizations include a "Q" for "queer" and/or "questioning" sexual identity).
"I want to support a voice which reflects the context of my work as an artist; women-centered experiences through the socially defined parameters of race/class/gender," Castillo said of Lady Base's core missions.
"Although I don't personally identify myself as within LGBTQ community, many of my artistic collaborators and influences do. So Lady Base is also a platform for professional development. All the artists exhibiting from June-Dec 2013 expressed interest in exhibiting during my open call and everyone's proposal was accepted. These artists are open to define their own artistic parameters/focus and Lady Base provides the space to make it happen."
New Works June 2013 opened this Saturday and featured works from artists Giselle Calejo, Christina Jimenez, Krystal Paul and Laura TMRW.
Drawing from her own experiences of living in South Texas as a queer woman of color, Krystal Paul’s desire as an artist is "to present information that starts conversations about real issues that break down the walls of misunderstanding and hate."
Her piece titled “Courage” does just that, depicting a portrait of an androgynous individual with barely visible text reading, “A wild tongue cannot be tamed only cut out.”
Other favorites include Calejo’s “Works on Paper,” which explore chance, gravity and movement. Essentially focusing on organic movement between ink and water, her visually striking works walk a fine line between illusionistic landscape and pure abstraction.
Christina Jimenez’s work, “People I’ve Lost: Myself, Others,” offers an interactive appeal which focuses on peeling back of layers of identity. Her magnetic boards offer patrons the opportunity to move around photos similar to what one might see on a refrigerator with unspoken moments written behind the photos revealing the broken places in a story.
Gallista Gallery is open 12-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Lady Base Gallery is open to the public every Second Saturday from 6-9 p.m. and then by appointment only. Sarah has a blog at ladybase210.wordpress.com and interested parties can contact her through email.
Daniel Guerrero and Arturo Infante Almeida, partners and prominent members of the San Antonio arts community, exhibit their different styles at a show titled Side by Side at Rendon Photography and Fine Art at 733 S Alamo St..
Almeida, UTSA's art collection curator, and Guerrero, a San Antonio municipal court judge, explore the rich tapestry of cultural identity, juxtaposing wildly different styles. The show is an intriguing examination of the overlapping cultural heritage common to many 21st century Tejanos.
Almeida’s work titled “Barrio Baroque” pairs photographs of everyday objects such as toy soldiers, dogs and pantry items with ornate Baroque-style frames. His works are suffused with memories constructed from familiarity resulting in eye-catching narratives.
Rather than constructing art from individual memory, Guerrero's works reflect collective memory of historical events to explore how history, culture and identity are intimately related. Common elements in his work include corn, as an enabling crop for domestication, and Coca-Cola and blue jeans to reflect American culture.
The exhibit will remain available by appointment through August 9. For more information, call Al Rendon at 210-288-4900.
Melanie Robinson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Concentration in Professional Writing and a minor in Anthropology from the University of Texas at San Antonio in December 2011. Her current Marketing position at the local nonprofit organization ARTS San Antonio has afforded her the opportunity to further explore her love of the arts. She now spends her nights among local musicians, artists and poets – finding beauty in self-expression. You can contact Melanie through her Facebook.