State of the Arts
Austin's art scene sizzles this August with 9 stellar exhibits
While the sun continues to scorch and sear, the arts in Austin sparkle and shine with dazzling artists creating sumptuous work. Golden brocades and voluptuous fabrics are on display at the Blanton, and artist Rachel Wolfson Smith imagines a future that harkens back to the Victorian era in her landscapes. The theme of nature continues with the work of Bennné Rockett at Lydia Street, and the Elisabet Ney Museum intertwines the images of photographer Cindy Elizabeth with its own neoclassical sculptures. The art scene is simmering this August and there’s so much to soak up.
Flatbed Press Gallery
“Edition Variables 2022: New Austin Printmakers” — Now through August 27
Austin’s new and upcoming printmakers are showcased in this first annual exhibition that features work from students who are receiving their BFA, BA, BS, or MFA with a major or minor concentration in printmaking from an Austin area college or university. The exhibit represents a wide variety of new artists that are investigating and challenging what printmaking can be.
Elisabet Ney Museum
“Cindy Elizabeth: Eve" — August 4 through October 30
Austin’s own nationally acclaimed portrait and documentary photographer Cindy Elizabeth’s work explores concepts of culture, history, and symbolism in everyday life. This exhibit features an outdoor photography installation immersed within the Elisabet Ney native landscape as well as inside the museum where Elizabeth's large-scale photographs are interwoven amongst neoclassical sculptures.
“Tyler Guinn, Fort Guerin, and Catherine Allen” — August 5 through 28
Commerce Gallery on Lockhart’s historic town square showcases contemporary visual art and this month they are hosting three emerging artists, Tyler Guinn, Fort Guerin and Catherine Allen. Austin based Guinn works in abstract expressionism and his background in various fields of design are evident in the color theory, materiality and balance of each composition. The paintings, which range from small studies on paper to 20-foot panels, are a recurring symphony of textures and hues. Guerin is a self-taught painter who defines his style through journaling and drawing inspiration from 1940’s and 50’s vintage western art and imagery. Allen, a Midland native, uses photographic images from the periphery of her daily life to construct descriptive digital mockups that are then translated into the medium of oil paint. For Allen, art is a pursuit that feeds off day-to-day existence.
Women & Their Work
“Rachel Wolfson Smith: The Future is Behind Us” — August 13 through September 29
Austin and Amsterdam based artist Rachel Wolfson Smith brings into focus the essential and grounding effect of beauty in nature. In portraying constructed, intricate, and imagined landscapes, Smith creates an antidote to the imbalance many of us experience as we lurch from impulse to impulse in our tech-laden, consumer-driven, modern existence. Her work includes a series of floral cyanotypes that could be at home in the Victorian era, large scale graphite drawings alluding to the complexities of the modern self, and an imagined future where landscapes arrive in sci-fi-esque pre-packaged boxes.
Blanton Museum of Art
“Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America” — August 14 through January 8, 2023
Golden brocades and voluptuous fabrics are a characteristic visual feature of Spanish American art. “Painted Cloth” addresses the social roles of textiles and their visual representations in different media produced in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela during the 1600s and 1700s. Beyond emphasizing how aesthetic traditions of European and Indigenous origin were woven together during this period, the exhibition showcases the production, use, and meaning of garments as well as the ways they were experienced both in civil and religious settings.
“Spheres by Eliza McNitt” — New installation, ongoing
“Spheres” by Eliza McNitt joins 13 other immersive and interactive artworks on display at Wonderspaces. This virtual reality journey uncovers the hidden songs of the cosmos. Space is not silent. It is full of sounds. We look to the stars to find our place in the Universe, but for the first time we listen to its music. From Writer/Director Eliza McNitt and Executive Producers Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel, this acclaimed experience premiered at Sundance and received the Grand Prize in VR at the Venice Film Festival.
“Yo trabajo con la tierra / I work with the earth” — August 20 through September 24
This exhibit features five women artists that explore movement and place in relation to landscape, geological bodies, and other nonhuman intelligences. Using their own bodies as the medium, the artists share ecofeminist sensibilities through video, installation, sculpture, photography, and performance works. The work displayed aims to reveal marginalized perspectives in the environmental movements prompting a sense of kinship to the earth, and consequently, a more compassionate understanding of ourselves and each other. Exhibiting artists include Melissa Aguirre, Alexa Capareda, Paloma Mayorga, Virginia Lee Montgomery (VLM) and Alejandra Regalado.
Lydia Street Gallery
“Bennné Rockett: Repairing Nature” and “Melanie Hickerson: Ribbon of Life” — August 12 through September 15
Bennné Rockett ‘s current work utilizes Japanese traditions for imbuing worn and broken objects with a second season. Equally evocative are the materials: A pair of small sculptural dresses are made from tarlatan, a material used by printmakers to wipe excess ink off plates. Plant DNA barcodes are carved into surfaces while gold eye pins pierce surfaces to draw a genome sequence. Fruits, vegetables, and garden detritus are encased in beeswax. All of these materials are used to document the layers of being alive. In her show, Melanie Hickerson plays with the idea that narrative art isolates the artist (whether in words or dance or music or imagery) both inside and out, and the artist becomes both observer and participant. Hickerson explains, “I stretch to learn, practice, explore materials then apply with courage. Visual art can contribute information, entertainment and wonder. The social nature of our species benefits greatly from such objects and energy in this world.”