State of the Arts
7 Austin art galleries go on creative journeys this December
This December, the city's galleries brim with dynamic group exhibitions and innovative collaborative projects, offering a rich tapestry of artistic exploration that unites a myriad of voices and perspectives.
At the heart of Austin's dynamic art scene lie group exhibitions such as "Upwelling" at ICOSA and "Holidaze" at Flatbed Press. These showcases highlight the power of collaborative storytelling in the art world, inviting artists from disparate backgrounds and disciplines to contribute their unique visions.
In a similarly eclectic vein, "Weird Winter," an exhibit at the Blanton Museum of Art, has been tastefully curated by Steve Parker to encapsulate the holiday spirit in an offbeat manner. This exhibit fuses music and visual art, crafting a whimsical winter wonderland that defies the conventional. As the holiday season unfurls, Austin's art market is set to offer introspective journeys, intertwined narratives, and festive experiences.
Erick Medel: “Algo Familiar” — December 1 through January 6
The front space of Martha’s will showcase the works of Erick Medel, a renowned Los Angeles textile artist, alongside local Austin archivist Alan Garcia. In a show titled "Algo Familiar," Medel and Garcia explore Chicano/Mexican American culture and heritage through a blend of Medel's textile art and Garcia's archival materials. This exhibition offers a rich tapestry of contemporary life, shared experiences, and warm memories, maintaining and passing down traditions.
Manik Raj Nakra: “Mother Earth Dark Mother” — December 1 through January 6
Martha’s back gallery will display new paper works by Austin-based artist Manik Raj Nakra, an artist celebrated in Austin for his exhibitions and murals at venues like Big Medium and The LineHotel. This opening will coincide with the unveiling of his new mural at The Contemporary Austin — Jones Center. Raj Nakra employs a collage technique on handmade paper, recalling Western artistic traditions of early xeroxed cut-and-paste style punk flyers and zines, and the South Asian history of woodblock printing — a reflection of his experiences as a first-generation Indian American.
Wally Workman Gallery
Sylvia Benitez: “Nocturnes and Promises” — December 2-30
Known for her grandeur and emotive landscapes inspired by South Texas, Sylvia Benitez captures the ethereal beauty of early morning haze and the fleeting moments before sunrise and sunset in this collection. With her signature style, Benitez transforms scenes of hills, trees, and plains into captivating painted pieces, serving as a testament to her profound ability to reinterpret the world around her into something new, yet familiar.
Hiromi Stringer: “The Dog Show: Time Traveler Umeyama's Drawings from the 21st Century” — December 2 through January 7
Drawing from her experiences as an immigrant, Stringer's collection reflects on cultural shifts and globalization. She employs the character of Umeyama, a time-traveling scholar from Japan 170 years ago, to explore everyday objects and events, seeking to understand their origins and implications in our present world. Despite using Umeyama's perspective to lend objectivity, her work retains elements of her personal subjectivity.
Blanton Museum of Art
Steve Parker: “Weird Winter” — December 9 through January 7
This distinctive installation was curated by artist, musician, and SoundSpace veteran Steve Parker. Known for his democratic and communal works, Parker has concocted an oddly cheerful exhibit that combines eccentric elements like musical snow globes, marionette-animated trees, and brass instruments to play carols in a new light.
“Holidaze: Flatbed Press Collection” — December 9 through January 13
This group exhibition, a confluence of artistic talent from across the nation, presents an array of works meticulously crafted in collaboration with Flatbed printers. Their diverse printmaking techniques unique breathe life into each piece. Among the featured artists is Erika Huddleson, whose striking lithographs provide a visual tour of conserved prairie spaces and Laura Berman, who has garnered high praise for her Ravel lithographs. Peter Leighton impresses with a polymer photogravure, a tangible echo of his 1973 photo image of Willie Nelson.
Madeline Irvine and Look See Productions: “Upwelling” — December 15 through January 7
Curated by multidisciplinary artist Madeline Irvine, this exhibit invites a deep conversation about our transforming environment through the works of more than 30 artists.This group exhibition features work from artists like Ann Armstrong, Shawn Camp, and Margaret Craig. “Upwelling” explores themes related to our planet's ecosystem, biodiversity, and shifting weather patterns through a variety of artistic interpretations. Unique out-of-gallery installations are presented at the 14th Corner Contemporary and The Banton Road Museum of Art.
Women and Their Work
Yuni Lee: "Techstalgia: Echoes from a Small Screen” — December 9 through January 13
Lee's dimensional paintings, a blend of nostalgia and references to her birthplace, Seoul, and American culture, feature an interplay of organic forms and geometric shapes symbolizing technology. She uses layers of texture, traditional Korean fabrics, recycled materials, and neon accents to create large-scale abstract works that explore the coexistence of nature and the artificial world.