First Friday preview 

Following Fotoseptiembre, it’s only appropriate to fill local art galleries with 3-D squirrels, right? At least that’s what two upcoming First Friday shows will present to art patrons. Be on the lookout for local artists paying tribute to St. Francis of Assisi — patron saint of animals and the environment (whose official feast day is celebrated on October 4) — in quirky ways during October’s First Friday shows.

Elaine Bradford’s show at Cactus Bra Space, Crocheting Deer, Hidden Squirrels, consists of crocheted sweaters for taxidermied animals. Her pieces are meant to illicit memories of a grandmother crocheting. Now pair that warm-fuzziness with the absurdity of once warm and fuzzy creatures clad in multicolored-yarn clothing. A recent series of taxidermied squirrels wearing ninja-like striped sweaters will be exhibited.

The main work on display is a taxidermied deer head covered in crocheted yarn that morphs into a seven-foot circular afghan. There will be an opening reception on October 5 from 6-9 p.m. at Cactus Bra Space.

A few doors down, the Joan Grona Gallery will be showing new works by Suzanne Paquette, Andy Benavides, and Kelly O’Connor. In gallery two, Benavides’s show Springtime is, serendipitously enough, inspired by squirrels and nuts. The works contain an emphasis on composition and color. Benavides’s intention is to set a mood, and intrigue the viewer to experience the synergy within his featured art. “He’s going to really surprise me,” says Grona.

Paquette’s works will be in the main gallery. Her passion lies in the beauty of cycles. Phrases speaks to the subtle connection between the rhythms of women and those of the moon. Check out “Heaven Mountain” which refers back to the large sculptural installation series she created in the 1980s and ’90s.

In gallery three, O’Connor’s vintage Disney memorabilia collection will be showcased in the form of collages. Her works tap into certain “childhood manifestations” where innocence is captured.

More First Friday openings:

6–9 p.m.
Richard Martinez: New Paintings
REM Gallery, 1420 S. Alamo, Suite 201,
(210) 224-1227

Martinez’s attempts to blend cool and distant with romantic and sublime shine in his show New Paintings. His colorful paintings tip-toe into the abstract world while tackling the tension between surface, paint, and illusion.

5–7 p.m.
Jesus Alvarez and Luis Cortez:

Tonala Revisited

San Angel Folk Art, 110 Blue Star,

(210) 226-6688

Barro brunido, the elaborately decorated burnished pottery developed by the Tonaltecan Indians, was once part of 20th-century Mexican culture. Today, fewer than 30 artists create barro brunido. The Alvarez and Cortez works will feature elaborately painted pots. Alvarez, a master craftsman, channels Aztecan imagery in his pottery. Cortez is known for being more contemporary with his works — his representation features a raw approach.

6–9 p.m.
Candice Briceño, Vanessa Garcia,
and Jenny Hart: Fabrication
UTSA Satellite Space, 115 Blue Star,
(210) 212-7146

Three female artists’ works will be featured in Fabrication, an exhibition focusing on textile art. The diverse works were selected to feature art that utilizes sewing in non-traditional ways. Traditional customs paired with contemporary artists makes for a show of uniquely executed pieces of work. Briceño creates “painting sculptures” with sensual and tactile surfaces containing materials including hand-dyed felt. Garcia explores her family history, including her professional tailor parents. Her works also investigate issues of domesticity, life cycles, and culture. Hart mixes old and new with her embroidered portraits of celebrities, friends, and pop-culture icons. The exhibition will run through October 21.

6–11 p.m. 
Clifford Earl: Handmade Altars
El Sol Studios, 936 S. Alamo, (210) 226-9700

Earl’s funky, eclectic, fun, and interactive handmade altars will appeal to lovers of folk art. Some of the collection is targeted toward pets while others are suitable for adults. El Sol Studios will also host a group show for Southtown’s Art in the Hood featuring artists Julia Barbosa Landois, Marcy McChesney, Gayle Brennan Spencer, and more.


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