The arts in Austin provide a cool oasis from the July heat with a variety of invigorating and revitalizing performances. Njideka Akunyili Crosby shares intimate works at Blanton, while Anne Siems shows resilience in her pieces at Wally Workman. Photographer Henry Horenstein gives us a refreshing take on zoo and aquarium animals, and Blas E Lopez charms with Native American culture, symbology, rituals, beliefs, and yes, more animals. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of offerings on display this month in Austin to rejuvenate the senses.
Gallery of works of art
“Arye Shapiro: In the Flesh: An Exhibition of Figurative Paintings” — From July 1 to August 13
Arye Shapiro is a longtime Austin artist working in oils, painting from life with models in the studio. Her solo exhibition will feature over 25 live session paintings with models exploring color, form and light on the human figure.
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican-American Cultural Center
“Blas E. Lopez: Sendas de mi Vida” — From July 2 to August 27
For artist Blas E Lopez, the majority of his subject matter is deeply rooted in his own cultural images and experiences, the animal kingdom, both real and spiritual, and an affinity for culture, symbology, rituals and beliefs. Native Americans. Additionally, he says, “the vast majority of my work is grounded in real-life experiences and events. As you, the viewer, can easily see, I have a passion for color! You won’t find many “earth tones” in my work. It can truly be said that you will “hear” my paintings before you “see” them.
ICOSA collective gallery
“Spatial Harmony” — From July 8 to August 6
“Spatial Harmony” is a group exhibition featuring current ICOSA members exploring the commonalities and differences found within the collective. The selection of works represents a range of media and execution with leitmotifs of structuring, reiteration and assembly, illustrating the unique approaches of each featured artist. Individual perspectives are highlighted through the conversation between the works.
“Anne Siems: Inked” — July 9 to 31
“Inked” by German-born artist Anne Siems is an intimate series showing exposed female figures marked with tattoos from fables, myths and poems. Their bodily positions and their baldness express a vulnerability not of victimization but of strength and courage. Siems has digested the isolation, trauma and unpredictability of recent years and transformed her work into a message of resilience. Siems lives and works in Seattle, WA, and exhibits in galleries across the country.
“Roots deeper than reason” — From July 11 to August 8
The exhibition will feature works by Catherine Allen, Robert Collier Beam, Thomas Cook, Helen Jones, Madeline Rupard and Lauren Williams. “Deeper Roots Than Reason” explores the magic of seeing, remembering and imagining a place. When we think of a place, we remember both its material and immaterial aspects. In their work, these artists consider natural and built environments and how our actions alter them. The title of this exhibition is inspired by the poem “Such Silence” by Mary Oliver.
Georgetown Art Center
“Elementary” — From July 22 to August 21
Painter Paul Kolazinski and ceramists Margaret Henkels and Deborah Otto each approach form from a different angle. Subtle curves and shapes, unique edges, intersections and sophisticated planes bring together the worlds of painting, sculpture and ceramics. In this exhibition, Henkels’ handcrafted ceramics shift everyday household utensils to architectural considerations. Kolazinski uses traditional painting techniques to produce dynamic forms, which form the basis for a powerful exploration of color in the third dimension. And Otto’s turned and sculpted porcelain work emerges from the perfection of porcelain while reveling in its organic richness. Each artist invites the viewer to new perspectives on the intersection of form and surface allowing shadow, line, color and texture to join the conversation.
Blanton Art Museum
“Njideka Akunyili Crosby” – July 23 to December 4
This exhibition by Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby features four recent paintings on paper, the largest of which, Still You Bloom in This Land of No Gardens, depicts the artist holding her young child, wrapped of lush plants and vines. She created this work, she says, to counter the relative lack of depictions of loving black mothers in art, to make “the images I wish to see”. Akunyili Crosby wishes, as an artist, to “center black life, my experience as a black woman, and the complexity of black life – and imbue every piece I make with…this deep love I have for my black experience”. The other three paintings featured are new works highlighting Akunyili Crosby’s distinctive photo transfer technique using reproductions culled from an extensive image bank of photographs of his family in Nigeria; magazines illustrating notable Nigerian athletes, models and musicians; and the Vlisco fabric catalogs she amassed “to stay connected at home.”
“Henry Horenstein: ANIMALIA” — From July 30 to August 14
Photographer, filmmaker and author, Henry Horenstein is an internationally renowned artist. In his recent exhibition, “Animalia,” Horenstein describes his subjects as “almost perfect for a photographer, especially if they live in zoos and aquariums. If it’s raining, or the light is against you, you can come back the next day. Your subjects can’t go far. Animals don’t give any attitude, and they also don’t require any model release. For a while, I billed myself as the Jewish wildlife photographer. I’ve never shot in a jungle or underwater. Only where there was a food court, bathrooms and WiFi. Horenstein says he chooses to look up close and abstract, “to see my subjects for their inherent beauty , their strangeness, their mystery. For this, I often shot with macro lenses and close-up filters, so I could get closer, and worked with grainy, over-processed films and printed in sepia to give them a timeless, contemporary feel. Ancient.