state of the arts

8 new Austin exhibits to educate, enlighten, and energize you this November

8 Austin exhibits to educate, enlighten, and energize you this month

Laurence Unger, Frozen Still Life
Laurence Unger, Frozen Still Life, at ICOSA Collective Gallery. Courtesy of ICOSA Collective Gallery
Laura Lit, Atomic, on display at Northern-Southern. Courtesy of Northern-Southern
"Myths of Rape" by Leslie Labowitz-Starus
Myths of Rape by Leslie Labowitz-Starus, part of DORF's “Own it, examine it, and confront it head on" exhibit. Courtesy of DORF
Therapy Bird
Therapy Bird by Lance Letscher, on display at Flatbed Gallery. Courtesy of Flatbed Gallery
We are the hackers
“We are the [Hackers], Baby, [Hackers] are we” at Big Medium.  Courtesy of Big Medium
Westward Faux
“Westward, Faux!” at Dougherty Arts Center. Courtesy of Dougherty Arts Center
Awake in the Dark
"Awake in the Dark" at the Central Library Gallery. Courtesy of Austin Central Library
Laurence Unger, Frozen Still Life
"Myths of Rape" by Leslie Labowitz-Starus
Therapy Bird
We are the hackers
Westward Faux
Awake in the Dark

It’s a month of eclectic art shows and installations, enticing art enthusiasts with myriad new dynamic exhibitions and experiences. From animal-sized painted wall reliefs and collaborations between artists and poets, to live rhythm tap dance, iconic Western imagery through a pop lens, and video-based sculptural installations that merge the botanical world with tech, there are endless opportunities to savor the arts in Austin in November. 

“Own it, examine it, and confront it head on."
Now through November 14.
Taking its name from a quote by Naima Ramos-Chapman about her award-winning film And Nothing Happened, in which the artist sheds light on rape culture and the aftermath of sexual assault, this interdisciplinary project featuring visual and performance art examines rape culture, survivor justice, and healing. The exhibit offers an empathic space for artists and visitors to learn, process, and remove shame and stigmas associated with a difficult but pervasive problem in our society, all with the aim to help heal, empower, express solidarity, and encourage victims to speak out. Twenty local and international artists are represented, many of whom are sexual-assault survivors and whose work includes video, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, installation, animation, and performance.

Central Library Gallery
“Awake in the Dark, Hollis Hammonds and Sasha West.”
Now through December 2.
“Awake in the Dark” is a multimedia exhibition resulting from a collaboration between visual artist Hollis Hammonds and poet Sasha West. Through self-interrogations, the artists question both individual and societal contributions to environmental crises. Viewers dwell in wreckage, suspended between flood and fire, stasis and loss. In these works, the distinction between natural and human-made disasters starts to collapse. Hammonds’ drawings reflect the melancholy and darkness manifest in West’s poems, asking us to reexamine the impact of elements when those elements are fed by human actions. West’s poems connect to the landscapes of ruin in Hammonds’ drawing, questioning our culture’s belief in limitless growth. Combining sound with sculptural installation and words with images, both artists offer their personal vantage points on the precipice of a forbidding future.

Dougherty Arts Center
“Westward, Faux!, B. Shawn Cox.”
Now through November 27.
In this exhibit, Austin-based multimedia artist B. Shawn Cox delves specifically into iconography and subtext supporting and challenging the myth of manifest destiny. Cox creates from personal or found vintage photographs and aims to capture, reinterpret, and share a moment in time. He is visually inspired by vintage images, advertising, architecture, magazines, 1980s pop music, and literature. His work echoes a graphic, colorful commentary, reflecting on social mythology by repurposing and graphically challenging iconographic figurative stereotypes. 

Big Medium
“We are the [Hackers], Baby, [Hackers] are we: Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love.”
Now through January 8, 2022.
Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love perform as their alter egos, Confuserella and Babé, and illustrate a Black futuristic location where wormholes serve as conduits between the present and past. The two hack a method for traversing time and imagining new sites for planting their loved ones’ histories. This is embedded in the work’s namesake, a hack of the debut single title from Real People, the 1980 album from the band Chic. The exhibit is made up of three components linked together through Jackson and Love’s collaborative process. Personal and visual research become part of a live rhythm tap dance performance, which is then captured and archived through a multi-camera setup.

Flatbed Gallery
“Intaglio: Lance Letscher.”
Now through November 30.
This is an exhibition of prints and drawings by Lance Letscher, who in 2020 began a period of experimentation at Flatbed using intaglio printmaking techniques. Intaglio is an Italian term that describes a design incised or engraved into a material, and it covers many printmaking techniques that either by hand or acid incise a metal matrix that can be inked and printed onto paper. Letscher’s resulting intaglio works are straightforward and unpretentious. They play with color, with line, and with vision. They give us permission to enter a world of line and color that is beyond the narrative. Always contrasting chaos with structure, Letscher invites the viewer to get lost for a moment in his world. 

ICOSA Collective Gallery
“Human, Nature, a juried group exhibition curated by Claire Howard.”
November 5-21.
“Human, Nature” reflects on the shifting relationships to our bodies, each other, and the environment many have experienced during this time of public health and climate crises. For some, feelings of mutability or strangeness within our own bodies and in relation to others produced by illness and isolation conflict with a desire for connection and tenderness. While nature offers a respite from time at home and the possibility to safely be with others, the consequences of climate change manifested in natural disasters frequently render the outdoors dangerous and unrecognizable. Selected from 196 submissions received in response to ICOSA’s open call, these works from nine artists trace the evolving ties between the natural world and ourselves.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden
“Courtney Egan: SuperFlora.”
November 18 through March 6, 2022.
Courtney Egan is best known for painstakingly translating photographs she takes of botanical forms into video-based sculptural installations that call into question the distinction between the natural and technological worlds. The central work in this exhibit will be Metaflora, a large, interactive video projection. As viewers move along the walls, the floral imagery blossoms and fades, responding to their presence.

“Laura Lit: Far In.”
November 5 through December 18.
Laura Lit’s new animal-sized painted wall reliefs of wood, resin, and clay suggest sentience. Each is a deliberate dreaming, a spirit made solid, a tether to within. Lit summons the full range of her experience, as a painter and from her work in film makeup, special effects, and architectural restoration. She composes the forms by meditation or before sleep and jigsaws wood skeletons, sculpts molds, fine brushes oils, and pours dyed resins until something on the wall lives.