The following is a recipe for a perfect art outing:

• 10 panels (needed to create some trippy acrylic masterpieces)
• Enough wood, metal, and paint to fill a decent-sized wall
• A never-ending supply of storage boxes
• 5 rolls of drywall tape
• 1 mud pan

(Additional ingredient: a soundtrack consisting of Justin Timberlake, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and three minutes of humming, bird chirping, and car horns)

Voila! You’ve got the ingredients for a cornucopia of art in two different galleries with nearly nothing in common.

Blue Star Contemporary Art Center’s group show Goin’ Mobile (curated by Unit B director Kimberly Aubuchon) is just that ... a traveling exhibition and a show depicting, in various media, transportation as an art form. Goin’ Mobile was inspired by The Who song of the same name, and the exhibition (which has roamed gallery walls in Houston, Chicago, and Laredo) calls San Antonio home until its June 8 closing.

The seven artists included in the show vary in style and delivery, but most tackle the theme of travel in interesting and appealing ways. A standout is Min-Tse Chen’s gouache on paper designs (13 in total). The works are eye-popping and transport the viewer into an alternate universe where frogs act as hot-air balloons.

The majority of the pieces on the gallery walls truly do capture the attention of the viewer: Mark Hogensen’s usual trippy, bold pieces that pleasure the attentive, art-loving eye, Michele Monseau’s fleeting looped video “Long Road,” and Mark Schatz’s “Googling Mackinac,” which is like a real-life Google Earth overview of a hillside terrain (with hills made of strategically stacked, smashed, and rolled storage boxes `look up to spot scattered paper satellites`).

The one series of works I found lacking was Adam Blumberg’s photography, which sticks out like a sore thumb. The three photographs displayed were from three different locales in Illinois, but they were stagnant pieces that didn’t really speak to me. I’m not a glitz and glamour kind of gal, but the mediocrity of the pieces brought the entire show to a standstill — one image was of a desolate field, which I understand was probably taken during a road trip of some kind, but it didn’t tell me anything.

Down in SoSoFlo, FL!GHT Gallery doesn’t disappoint with its latest exhibition, where you’ll feel as if your dreams have exploded on the gallery walls. Mignon Harkrader brings Swellegant, a fresh and highly imaginative show to the gallery walls. FL!GHT curator Justin Parr (and Current contributing photographer, too) disclosed the secret of the four works, which are so tightly mounted on the wall that it appears they are embedded.

The process involved mounting the works, which are stretched pieces of material that resemble the lining of a lamp shade, and then floating the drywall to cover up the edges of the pieces to create the illusion that the paintings are part of the wall (to truly understand this special effect, we advise you to check it out yourself before its May 5 closing).

Harkrader’s choice of music is also pretty eclectic — from Ol’ Dirty Bastard to Amy Winehouse to Justin Timberlake — and it’s the same music she listened to while painting. This successfully creates an environment that welcomes patrons into the space where one work stood out in particular: a piece depicting a man in mid tap dance (who bears a strong resemblance to master tapper Savion Glover).

The feel of Harkrader’s works is swell and elegant, and the springtime color palette of aqua, teal, and orange is fitting. Her artist statement describes the pieces: “overt and suggestive carnivalesque imagery abounds in raucous color.”

A few First Friday recommendations:

Joan Grona Gallery
112 Blue Star
(210) 225-6334

All three gallery spaces will be filled with new work with themes ranging from concentration campsites to inebriated birds. Aubuchon returns to gallery III with her installation For the Birds, which she hopes will provide art patrons a good ol’ chuckle. Her soft sculpture goes hand-in-hand with Curtis Miller’s works, pictured above, which are lighthearted fictional narrative scenarios.

A Little Look at the Big West
REM Gallery
120 Blue Star, Loft 1
(210) 224-1227

REM Gallery has moved yet again, but this time to much grander digs. The opening show features Johnny Robertson’s moody paintings. Robertson’s love of California led him to focus on the state’s atmosphere, which he believes “`does` not exist anywhere else.” One can argue that his works are American landscapes pieces, but he admits he delves into a deeper realm with his paintings, which elicit a lost memory or a moment when time stood still during a road trip years back.

Loft Studio
121 Blue Star loft studio, number 5
(210) 787-8492

Nine photographers will showcase their works in Juan Garcia’s studio loft, with three artists working the First Friday crowd, too. The photogs’ subjects encompass typical San Antonio (the shelves at the downtown library) to a gorgeous scene atop a building overlooking a dusk downtown setting. Standing out are Nathan Limon’s mixed-media works. His artist statement says his “art explores complex human emotion through the mundane simplicities of life.”



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