state of the arts
8 Austin art exhibits that will tug at your heartstrings this February
Warm up and reinvigorate your arts ambitions this month with a wealth of stellar exhibits and installations to choose from. The works of Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz are shown for the first time in the United States with his “Invisibilia” exhibition of spliced photography with drawings, paintings, videos, and sculpture at the Blanton. A print fair like no other takes place at Blue Genie Art Bazaar, and the reopening of a much-loved Austin installation, James Turrell’s Skyspace, comes down to earth at the University of Texas. It’s definitely a good time to fall in love with the Austin arts scene all over again.
“Zoe Shulman: Neuroplastic”
Now through February 26
“Neuroplastic” includes a series of paintings, drawings, metal prints, and animations by Austin-based artist Zoe Shulman that employ geometric abstraction “to explore the intersections between psychotherapy, psychedelic medicine, and art therapy.” While undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy and clinical ketamine treatments, the artist created these idiosyncratic artworks as transformational steppingstones on her personal healing journey through PTSD and depression. Altogether, the artist’s unique language reveals her mind’s deepest existential affirmations, self-evident truths, and spiritual transcendences.
Dougherty Arts Center
“Amar Gupta: Isolate”
Now through March 5
Amar Gupta’s contemporary abstract series “Isolate” questions the limits of the photographic medium by distorting images through precise color gradient manipulation, thus overcoming boundaries of normalcy. The desired outcome is for the viewer to discover a seamless connection between the essential mediums of painting and photography to unearth impressions provoked by the prevalence of creativity over media constraint.
The Visual Arts Center
“Sleep Spaces / Les espaces du sommeil”
Now through March 12
Confronting the legacies of painting through a reconsideration of conventional modes of display, “Sleep Spaces / Les espaces du sommeil” is a group exhibition featuring works by Corentin Canesson alongside contributions by 37 other artists. “Sleep Spaces” is named for a poem written between 1919 and 1929 by the influential French surrealist poet Robert Desnos. Canesson’s paintings are often witty and ironic, evident in his choices of playful and wry subject matter, such as anthropomorphized animals and passages of text culled from canonical works of art and popular culture. Music is also central to his practice and present throughout his collective work.
Wally Workman Gallery
“Molly Smith: Solo Show”
February 5 through 27
Molly Smith is an American postwar and contemporary artist born in 1976. She has shown her works in New York, Stockholm, Tokyo, and London. This is her first show with Wally Workman. Her intricate, realistic pencil drawings inspire awe at her technique as well as the complexity of nature itself. Smith currently lives and works in Austin.
PrintEXPO at Blue Genie Art Bazaar
“PrintAustin’s Annual Art Fair”
February 11 through 13
Discover over 60 artists and participating galleries, live demonstrations, and steamroller printing. The event kicks off on Friday, February 11 with the Printmaker’s Ball, a fundraising event and VIP experience that gives guests a chance to meet the artists and get the first glimpse at — and dibs on — exhibited works. It’s an impressive lineup of printmaking studios, from ICOSA to Flatbed and UT Austin Print to Texas A&M. If you are into printmaking, this is the Super Bowl of print exhibitions.
Landmarks at the University of Texas at Austin
“James Turrell Skyspace, The Color Inside”
Reopens February 14
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the cultural gem and popular installation “The Color Inside” reopens to the public. Shuttered since March 2020 in response to the pandemic and for necessary conservation and maintenance, this freestanding, naked-eye observatory located in the heart of the UT campus reveals a pre-programmed light sequence that fills the space with brilliant washes of color each sunrise and sunset. Through James Turrell’s masterful manipulation of light, the sequences cause the sky to appear in unimaginable hues. Songs in the Skyspace, Landmarks’ monthly music series, will also resume February 20 with a performance by classical guitarist Justice Phillips.
Georgetown Art Center
“Madeline Irvine: Holdfast”
February 18 through March 20
“Holdfast” is an elegy and homage to the giant kelp forests, or “cathedrals of the sea.” These kelp forests — which can reach 175 feet high — are one of three ecosystems that feed much of the young marine life around the world. Madeline Irvine is a multidisciplinary artist whose focus is the natural world, past, present, and future. Using an open range of media, she works on abstract installations that focus on the beauty and individuality of ecosystems of the world, especially those affected by the world’s climate crisis.
Blanton Museum of Art
“Oscar Muñoz: Invisibilia”
February 20 through June 5
“Invisibilia” is the first retrospective of Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz’s work in the United States. Since the late 1980s, Muñoz has sought to reinvent the medium of photography, creating hybrid works that splice photographic processes with drawing, painting, printmaking, installation, video, and sculpture pieces, as well as interactive works. He turns photographic processes inside out to underscore the intrinsic fragility and transient nature of the image. He highlights how the act of opening the aperture to light instantaneously transforms the present into the past, life into memory, and an unstable image becomes indelible in our imaginations.