During Spring of 2020 we celebrate all things books both at Contemporary at Blue Star and throughout San Antonio. Contemporary at Blue Star will open 5 new exhibitions in our gallery spaces, on view February 7, 2020-May 3, 2020. In the Main Gallery the group exhibition Novel Ideas features the work of Emilia Azcárate, Ann Clarke, Arturo Herrera, Benedikt Terwiel, and Hye-Ryoung Min and explores books as subject, form, and catalysts for creative ideas. Our Middle Gallery, Project Space, and Gallery 4 feature solo exhibitions by three Texas based artists, Candace Hicks, Sarah Welch, and Rand Renfrow, and we will showcase the ICI organized, exhibition-reading room, Publishing Against the Grain in our Art Education Learning Lab.
Candace Hicks an artist and educator based in Nacogdoches, Texas. She creates interactive installations and artist’s books that examine gender, voice, and parallel universes through the analysis of fictional literature. Believing that the stories we tell each other can reveal more about our beliefs and biases than mundane experience, Hicks mines genre fictions to uncover the subtle ways that literature reflects inequalities. She assigns works of fiction the status of alternate realities in which connections spring from the attention of the reader. Her recent project, Many Mini Murder Scenes, a series of dioramas, offer viewers the experience of playing a detective searching for clues. Rather than solving crimes, viewers unveil the darker side of murder mysteries. Though men are much more likely to die as a result of violence than women, young women remain the preferred victims in crime novels. As Edgar Allen Poe famously said, “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” The spectacle of female death, evident in the way female bodies are discovered in fiction, usually displayed, sometimes erotically, perpetuates the objectification of women unto death. With humor and engagement Hicks’ allows an exploration of these and other scenes in the miniature domestic spaces that expose so much of the ugly side of life.
Sarah Welch is an artist, illustrator, and comics-maker based in Houston, Texas. She is a regular collaborator with letterpress & risograph print service, Mystic Multiples and a co-organizer with Zine Fest Houston. In an effort to expand the world of her comics, Sarah creates installations that function as reading rooms for her books. These installations contain objects and imagery lifted from the comic narratives. The stories she tells chronicle the present and speculative future of the Gulf Coast with a focus on women’s solidarity and climate change. Self-publishing is an important facet of Welch’s practice and allows her to make art which is easily accessible to others in viewing and ownership. This DIY ethos guides how she makes and participates in contemporary art.
Rand Renfrow is an illustrator, printmaker, and educator based in San Marcos, Texas. He is an arranger and collector of things. His recent body of work All The Evidence So Far utilizes basic geometric shape and form to establish his own vernacular representation of the array of human emotion through sculpture, painting, prints, and display. The reader/viewer quickly learns to decipher and activate this new language. The works speaks to our desire to represent and express our emotions and to identify with things outside of ourselves, collecting them, displaying them and taking them on as icons and signifiers.
Want more art & book related events? Join us for our inaugural Novel Ideas Art Book Fair March 6th & 7th, with keynote speaker Julie Ault. Also happening Spring 2020 in San Antonio, the national AWP conference, the San Antonio Book Festival, Contemporary Art Month, and SSA’s Texas Micro Press Reading Room, curated by Novel Ideas participating artists Cattywampus Press! We will also be looking forward to the next Paper Trail happening in the summer and the next San Anto Zine Fest happening in the fall.