Critic’s picks for the West Austin Studio Tour

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Austin American Statesman

May 12, 2016

Where to start on the West Austin Studio Tour?

With dozens and dozens of stops, it’s hard to know. And unlike in East Austin, where artists have colonized warehouses that house dozens of studios at one address, the West Austin Studio Tour features more backyard studios and galleries. Popping into a solo artist’s space offers a very intimate experience.

But we get it. Sometimes that intimate setting requires a little social moxie. To get you going, here’s our selective list of individual artist studios and indie or pop-up galleries well worth a stop.

Blackbox, 1017-A West Milton St.

Longtime Austinities and artists Stella and Leon Alesi created a sleek studio and gallery behind their Bouldin Creek neighborhood home. Stella paints sophisticated, Zen-like, large-scale abstractions. Leon will be showing his poetic landscape photographs of Enchanted Rock.

Sonya Berg, 1500 Ruth Ave.

With a deft hand, Sonya Berg collages simple snapshots with painted abstractions to create unsettling yet intriguing scenes and landscapes.

Weaving Arts Austin, 4302 Bellvue Ave.

Laura Poll of Weaving Arts Austin practices Saori, a contemporary Japanese hand-weaving philosophy that encourages everyone to create regardless of ability and uses a wide selection of new and repurposed fibers.

Jason Webb, 5509 Guadalupe St. Apt 101.

Jason Webb drives the streets of Austin, photographing curbside piles of junk set out for trash collection. Selecting the most visually intriguing piles, he then creates luminous paintings of the found assemblages, leaving out any background to spotlight the discarded clutter with a certain reverence.

WhiteBox ATX, 1908 Newning Ave.

Photographer Christa Blackwood uses the studio and darkroom behind her Travis Heights home as an informal pop-up gallery. For the tour, Blackwood is showing Jennifer McClure, whose psychologically-charged staged portraits are cinematic in feel.

De Stijl: Podium for Art, 1006 W. 31st St.

Nestled near Shoal Creek just off Lamar Boulevard, a tidy pair of side-by-side bungalows hold a gallery and a studio. The exhibit “One/Sixth” features the work of six African-American alumni from the University of Texas’ art school.

Laura Latimer, 6814 Pioneer Place.

In her backyard studio, Laura Latimer combines repurposed materials — including discarded artwork — to create whimsical little installations inspired by the natural world.