Our recommendations among WEST's artist studios and galleries
The first weekend of the West Austin Studio Tour, starting off with a community breakfast at the Dougherty Arts Center that reminded us of the culinary excellence of, among other sponsors, TacoDeli and Thai Fresh … that first weekend was one wet blanket of an event, wasn’t it?
We mean wet blanket almost literally (spoiler: no actual blanket) – not due to the way the vast self-guided tour was organized or the people involved, no, but because of that bothersome stuff the Incredible Hulk always used to call water-from-sky.
(Because a green-skinned monster would’ve had the cognate “rain” gamma-rayed right out of his Kirby-krackled cranium, right, Uncle Stan?)
But now here’s the second weekend, and we could always use more rain ‘round these parts, but maybe that water-from-sky will hold off just a skosh and let us better enjoy this coming weekend’s open-artist-studios and gallery exhibitions and demonstrations without fear of damage to artwork or person or vehicle?
That’d be hella nice, because there’s so much of interest and fascination to check out along the tour. You can find out the details at Big Medium’s official WEST website, of course – and here’s some great coverage of what the ever-industrious Jennifer Chenoweth’s got going on – but we’re gonna go ahead and, as we did last week, recommend five stops that might serve to supercharge your experience.
1) SOUTHPOP Ground yourself in some graphically fierce ATX history, as the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture decks its walls with works new and old by the storied likes of Kerry Awn, Jim Franklin, Guy Juke, Roi James, Bob Wade, and more.
2) KAT MCTEE McTee’s one of those sew-damn-good Stitch Lab mavens, which is why it’s no wonder that you’ll find much of her excellent fabric-based work here, with the added treat of Sarah Bork’s photography and Nathan Hamilton’s assemblages, deep in the heart of this river city.
3) ADREON HENRY The man’s been busy as hell since the last time we checked in with him, and he’s once again secured that gallery hosted by Dr. Robert Cantu over in the Medical Arts complex to display his newest array of intricately handwrought, multilayered, screenprinted, and interwoven paint-and-vinyl masterpieces.
4) LA PEÑA GALLERY is especially Hispanically resplendent for WEST with an exhibition in a variety of mediums, featuring wonderments by Alejandra Almuelle, Celeste DeLuna, Fidencio Durán, Liliana Wilson, Celeste González, Fernando Muñoz, Miguel Angel Santana, Mónica Tornoé, and more.
5) BLACKBOX STUDIO That Stella Alesi’s got a wealth of new paintings to put your vision where your consciousness is supposed to go during deep meditation: To some transcendent space where all the dots are already connected because you’ll realize, instantly, that everything is part of one big shifting universe of tones along an infinite spectrum.
Bonus: NELSON GUDA You want to see some globe-spanning photography that will expand your world as it thrills your eye bones? Then check out Guda’s Enemies Project and Body Canvas and Barton Screams projects, compelling parts of which are showcased here among interactive projections.
[NOTE: The 2016 WEST catalog is a guide to all the participants on the tour. Each artist studio and exhibition is featured with images and information – including addresses for all the venues and a fold-out map insert. The tour’s producer Big Medium is once again partnering with Austin Public Library to distribute this year’s catalogs, which are free and available to the public at all library branches.]