Saturday arts picks: New exhibits at Davis Gallery & Art Science Gallery

“X Marks the Spot”

Quantitative or categorical, discrete or continuous, dependent or independent — variables allow scientists of every discipline to measure and describe the world. And variables can inspire artists. With a mixture of whimsy and seriousness, work by eight artists creatively illuminates variables gathered through personal record-keeping or scientific experimentation. Featured artists: Carrie Crane, Laurie Frick, Megan Hildebrandt, Elizabeth McClellan, Mark Nystrom, Cathryn Rowe, Francesca Samsel and Ele Willoughby.

Opening reception: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Exhibit continues through Nov. 23.

Art Science Gallery, Canopy, 916 Springdale Road,

Laurie Frick, "Walking, Week 51," 2012. From the exhibit  "X Marks The Spot," at Art Science Gallery
Laurie Frick, “Walking, Week 51,” 2012. From the exhibit “X Marks The Spot,” at Art Science Gallery

“Constructs: Gladys Poorte and Hollis Hammonds”

Ideas of order and disorder, construction and destruction ricochet through art work of Gladys Poorte and Hollis Hammnod in a variety of media: oil paintings on board, intricate pen and ink drawings on mylar, intimate three-dimensional constructions or large swirling installations.

Opening reception: 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Exhibit continues through Dec. 6.

Davis Gallery, 837 W. 12th St.

Friday arts picks: Two Shakespeare plays and one possible Shakespeare play

You have options to see the Bard this weekend, including one play that may or may not have been written by William Shakespeare.

  • As part of their residency at UT, Actors from the London Stage perform their five-actor version of “Much Ado About Nothing” Oct. 22-44 at the B. Iden Payne Theater. Find info on the show here
  • Present Company Theater stages “The Tempest” outdoors at Rain Lily Farm through Nov. 1.
  • And Hidden Room Theatre offers “Shakespeare Apocrypha Project” three plays that have all been attributed to Shakespeare at one time or the other. Though they were extremely popular during the Elizabethan era, “Arden of Favorsham,” “Mucedorus” and “The Merry Devil of Edmonton” are mostly forgotten nowadays. Hidden Room presents them as staged and costumed readings through Nov. 2. Read a story about the “Apocrypha Project” here.
Hidden Room Theatre’s “Apocrypha Project: A Sampling of Suspected Shakespeare” features three plays, one of which is “Mucedorus” with Joseph Garlock (Prince Mucedorus) and Isto Barton (Princess Amadine).
Hidden Room Theatre’s “Apocrypha Project: A Sampling of Suspected Shakespeare” features three plays, one of which is “Mucedorus” with Joseph Garlock (Prince Mucedorus) and Isto Barton (Princess Amadine).


Thursday arts pick: “And Introducing: Jonathan Faber, Dana Frankfort, Jessica Mallios”

It’s almost unheard of in academia these days, but Texas State University this year hired five new tenure-track faculty in its School of Art and Design.

Three are studio art profs and are welcomed to campus with the exhibit “And Introducing: Jonathan Faber, Dana Frankfort, Jessica Mallios.”

The show opens Thursday with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

Jonathan Faber "Wake," 2012; oil on canvas
Jonathan Faber “Wake,” 2012; oil on canvas

And also opening is “Alumni Invitational” Texas State University’s annual showing of selected alumni of the School of Art and Design this year features Janels Jefferson, Nicholas Hay, Jack McGilvray, Kevin Paczosa, Rans Renfrow, Jessica Tolbert and Leandra Urrutia.

Both exhibits continues through Nov. 14.

Gallery hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays-Sundays. And admission is free.

Texas State University Galleries,s

Dana Frankfort, "Stuff," oil on panel, 2007
Dana Frankfort, “Stuff,” oil on panel, 2007




Wednesday arts pick: “Sagrada,” Rooftop Architecture Film Series

Construction began pn La Sagrada Família, the towering basilica in Barcelona, in 1882.

Designed by architect Antoni Gaudí, its brilliant mash-up of Gothic and Art Nouveau styles that remains still not finished.


As part of its Rooftop Architecture Film Series, the Contemporary screens “Sagrada: The Mystery Of Creation” a 2012 documentary by Swiss filmmaker Stefan Haupt, follows the creative process of the Sagrada from its beginnings.

“Sagrada” shows two nights — Wednesday and Thursday — at the Contemporary’s Jones Center, 700 Congress Ave. Roof opens at 6:30 p.m., film at 7:30 p.m. $10. Seating is limited.

The nave in the Sagrada Familia with a hyperboloid vault.
The nave in the Sagrada Familia with a hyperboloid vault.







“La línea continua” catalog now published

In August, Houston collectors Judy and Charles Tate announced that they were donating their collection of Latin American art, valued at approximately $10 million, to the Blanton Museum of Art.

Although the Blanton already is a pioneering leader in the field of modern and contemporary Latin American art, the Tates’ donation significantly bolstered the museum’s holdings and represents one of the largest donations of art in its history.

Some 70 highlights of the Tate’s donation is on view through Feb. 15, 2015, in the exhibit “La línea continua: The Judy and Charles Tate Collection of Latin American Art.”

And now, the fully-illustrated all-color catalog of the Tate’s collection is out on Tower Books, an imprint of the University of  Texas Press. The volume ($29.95) includes an essay by Beverely Adams, the Blanton’s Latin American curator and an interview with the Tates and Gabriel Pérez-Barriero, the Blanton’s former Latin American curator.

Read a story about the Tate’s collection and the Blanton’s history of collecting Latin American art here:


Thursday arts pick: Last weekend for “Am I White”

It’s the last weekend to catch Adrienne Dawes’ riveting, trenchant play “Am I White.”

Ricocheting back and forth in time, seguing into nightmarish scenes played out as a disturbing minstrel show, “Am I White” tells the story of an imprisoned neo-Nazi convicted of plotting terrorist acts who must confront his own mixed-race heritage.



“Am I White” is based on the true story of Leo Felton, a white supremacist who hid his own mixed-race identity as the child of a short-lived idealistic Civil Rights-era marriage between a black architect and a white former nun.

“Am I White” continues through Oct. 18 at Salvage Vanguard Theater.

Read a feature story on the play here:

Wednesday arts pick: Last days to see “Margo Sawyer: Reflect” at Umlauf

It’s the last few days to enjoy Margo Sawyer’s sublime multi-part installation “Reflect” at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum.  “Reflect” continues through Oct. 19.

Inside the gallery there’s an elegant floor piece in the interior gallery with 55,000 chrome beads alongside dozens of glass, metal and acrylic elements.

Outside on the ground there’s blue- and white-colored tiles in geometric shapes embedded  in the grounds and a group of antique Elgin-Butler bricks stacked into pyramids.

Read a feature story on it here:  (subscription-free link)

Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road,


Margo Sawyer’s installation “Reflect” is on view through Oct. 19 at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Photo by Paul Bardagjy.

Monday arts pick: Anna Colette at Courtyard Gallery

In her newest series of landscape images, Anna Collette, assistant professor of photography at UT, captured the staggering beauty of damaged trees following the October 2013 floods in the Onion Creek area of South Austin.

“Gathering Ground: Anna Collette” 

Gallery hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Exhibit continues through Feb. 6. Courtyard Gallery, AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, 1900 University Ave.



Collette_GG_09 (2)
Anna Colette “Untitled (Gathering Ground #9),” 2014



Collette_GG_66 (2)
Anna Colette, “Untitled (Gathering Ground #6),” 2014

Review: “Am I White” at Salvage Vanguard Theater

(This review is by American-Statesman freelance critic Claire Christine Spera.)

In local playwright Adrienne Dawes’ intense new work, showing at the Salvage Vanguard Theater through Oct. 18, everything is mixed up: the present with the past, reality with the dream world, reason with feeling and, as the play’s title suggests, the very racial identities of the characters.


In “Am I White” (directed by Jenny Larson), J. Ben Wolfe plays the lead role of bald-headed Wesley Connor, a neo-Nazi terrorist with a dirty little secret, serving time for a failed bomb plot. Inspired by the true story of white supremacist Leo Felton, Dawes’ Wesley struggles to reconcile his identity as a White Order of Thule member with the reality of his mixed-race heritage — his “beige” skin, we learn, is the gift of a black father and white mother.

The 60-minute play keeps a refreshingly brisk pace as the five-member cast brings to life a series of episodes, all tied together with questions of identity.

Wesley’s cellmate, Ryan (Michael Joplin), is an outspoken member of the Aryan Brotherhood whose body is adorned with swastikas. Prison guard Justine (Florinda Bryant), a self-proclaimed “Mexi-black,” constantly questions Wesley’s identification as Caucasian. In contrast to Ryan and Wesley’s prison jumpsuits, when we see flashbacks to scenes with Wesley’s girlfriend, Polly (Katie Van Winkle), she’s wearing traditional skinhead attire of Doc Martens and suspenders. Wesley’s mom, Jade (Cyndi Williams), reminds us of her son, “He’s a very sick man.”

The uncomplicated scenic design (by Ia Ensterä) — consisting of a white square painted on the floor to denote the boundaries of a prison cell, along with two chairs and a barred window high in one corner of the stage — allows for seamless transitions between scenes.

In one moment, just as Wesley prepares to knife a black prisoner who’s giving Ryan a hard time, the scene flows into a flashback to 10-year-old Wesley clutching a knife in his childhood kitchen, confronted by his mother. The white floor plays host to video footage (by Lowell Bartholomee) featuring news reports, TV static and splattered blood, which adds to the effectiveness of such transitions.

In another scene, a minstrel show plays out in a spooky alternate reality. Wesley’s face is painted half black, while Justine has abandoned her prison guard uniform for clothing of an appropriately racist tribal nature. The emcee, of course, is Ryan. To him, the world is simply black and white.

To Wesley, the world is more complicated: Beige.

“Am I White” continues through Oct. 18.

Tuesday arts pick: Photographer Alejandro Cartagena

Mexico’s growing middle class and the country’s  burgeoning urbanization has resulted in a building boom, with new housing developments and suburbs cropping up.

Fragmented Cities, Apodaca, 2006, Suburbia Mexicana Project
Alejandro Cartagna. Fragmented Cities, Apodaca, 2006. Suburbia Mexicana Project

Photographer Alejandro Cartagena has trained his lens on all the urban/suburban growth and the ways in which it has altered the landscape and affected the lives of people living in the changing cities.

Cartagena gives a lecture about his work Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Ransom Center. The event is free.

Cartagena’s series “Suburbia Mexicana Project” captures in neat geometric precision the rows of cookie-cutter identical houses lining newly-created streets — new suburban neighborhoods that push the boundaries of Northern Mexican cities such as Monterrey and Saltillo ever wider.

Alejandro Cartegena. Car Poolers 46
Alejandro Cartegena. Car Poolers 46

For his much acclaimed “Car Poolers” series Cartegena positioned himself on a pedestrian bridge over a highway in his hometown of Monterrey, capturing the legions of constructions day laborers, who pile in the back of pick-up trucks each morning as they travel to their job sites on the edges of the city.

At once voyeuristic and also intimate, though they’re captured in a fleeting second, Cartegena’s “Car Poolers” images read like carefully composed still lifes.

“Mexico is a tough place, and these guys are staying honest and legit; that’s something to admire,” Cartagena told an interviewer recently.

Cartegena says his photos offer a way to “reflect on how we’ve built our city and how in return it builds who we are and how we interact with it.”