Meld with the arts this May with these 9 enthralling Austin exhibits
From street chic urban artists to textile-focused projects, from shows that focus on water conservation to mental health and even pillow forts, the diversity of arts options runs the gamut this month in Austin.
“Karen Navarro: The Constructed Self” — Now through June 4
“The Constructed Self” is a series of portraits that uses collage to visually represent the intersections of identity, self-representation, race, gender, and belonging within first-, second-, and third-generation American immigrants. Using digital photography as a foundation, Navarro transforms traditional prints into three-dimensional objects by cutting and incorporating tactile elements such as wood, paint, and resin. “The labor-in-tensive techniques I apply to create these sculptural objects not only allow for a physical deconstruction of my images but also become a form of meditation that reflects my efforts in trying to reconstruct and make sense of my own identity. Like a puzzle, my identities intersect coming together to construct my multiple sense of Self.” Navarro is from Argentina and a descendant of Indigenous Peoples who celebrates diversity to reframe the representation of historically marginalized identities.
Link & Pin
“Me & Mom” — May 5 through June 4
Drawings and watercolors by Melanie Hickerson (Me) will be on display as well as some of Geraldine Clark Hickerson’s work (Mom). Hickerson was caregiver to her mother from 1999 to 2014, and this work is a reflection of her experience with her family’s changes, with aging, and increasing fragility. “My experience in caring for my mother is not unique. I am using this as a door to the experience of caring for someone, a mother, father, husband, wife, child, or stranger.” Hickerson has a broad range of experiences, from working as an artist for the City of New York, to a variety of teaching positions, including at ACC.
Wally Workman Gallery
“Patrick Puckett: Daydreamers” — May 7 through May 29
Puckett's paintings are known for their bold colors and languid figures, executed with confident interaction between paint application, shape, color, and texture. In this new body of work, the artist plays with patterns to push and pull on the picture plane particularly in the foliage, the interior, and the subjects' dress. This use of pattern competes for attention and adds an active element to the otherwise passive pose of the sitter — emanating a sense of dynamism to postures of leisure.
“Molly Sydnor: Hysteria” — May 16 through June 18
As a multidisciplinary artist, Dallas-based Sydnor has aimed for innovation and creativity ever since receiving a BFA in Fiber from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2015. Molly Sydnor art directs her own sustainable fashion design, murals, illustrations, and graphics, as well as large installations. Her work using colorful fiber materials involves layering and storytelling, utilizing ideas of the human experience. Her designs are embedded with identity and body image, stimulating conversations about the complexity of gender, race, and sexuality. A closing reception will be held at Contracommon on Saturday, June 18, with an artisans’ market featuring LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC artists.
Austin Central Library
“Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition” — May 7 through November 30
The Watershed Association selected over 50 pieces of artwork from over 30 artists to be featured in this exhibition. Notable artists include Scott Skinner, David Baker Bear, and John Mata. Each piece of art focuses on water in all its forms, life that springs from it, and the efforts to preserve it. The “Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition” is the inaugural program of Art4Water, an initiative to advocate for environmental protection through the lens of art. The exhibition unites the art community with conservation advocates, environmental organizations, and business and technology partners.
“Burner: A Group Exhibition of International Street Artists” — May 7 through June 10
Works from globally renowned street artists Banksy, Zero Gradient, Harry Bunce, KEF! Dalek, Pure Evil, and other renowned urban artists will be on exhibition and available for acquisition at the gallery. At the May 7 opening, Artist Zero Gradient will appear live via satellite from London at 8 pm and renowned artist KEF! will appear live from Berlin at 9 pm.
Bob Bullock Museum
“Mental Health: Mind Matters” — May 7 through July 31
This exhibit invites you to explore how mental illness has been treated in the past, put yourselves in the shoes of people living with mental illness, and use full-body activities to learn about healthy recognition and expression of emotions. Engage with interactive components that examine the history of treatments, common misperceptions of mental illnesses and mental health, and how attitudes toward mental illnesses have varied over time. Participate by writing down worries and shredding them into the “Worry Shredder,” hear what it is like to live inside someone else’s head, and peer back in time to important moments in mental health history.
Dougherty Arts Center
“Mary Wendel: Pillow Talk” — May 7 through July 2
According to artist Mary Wendel, a pillow fort can be any place that allows you to think and process, being surrounded by things you love that inspire you or maybe just a familiar atmosphere reflecting abstract thoughts. Wendel paints portraits of people, often herself and other fellow Austinites, and wants viewers to tap into the strength and safety of the creative space where difficult emotions are welcome and great ideas flourish, contemplating their own pillow forts.
Georgetown Art Center
“Hand Stitch X 10, Works by Texas Artists” — May 6 through June 5.
A hand-stitched piece can tell a story, become a vehicle for social comment, or embellish a surface with exuberant color and texture. “Hand Stitch X 10” is a survey of 10 women working with thread and needle at a time when embroidery (and textile art in general) is experiencing increased international recognition as a medium of choice for serious artists. Each artist has a personal commitment to exploring ideas and materials and how both relate to contemporary art. The artists included in this exhibit cover a range of subject matter, scale, approach, and materials.