Arts I hate it! I'll take two.

A counterintuitive guide to FotoSeptiembre

Oh, you slovenly creatures of habit, who make living in a rut an art form. You'll smugly cocoon yourself in your comfort zone and go to see Rick Hunter's photographs (on display everywhere for FotoSeptiembre) because you know you love Rick Hunter. And Rick Hunter's good. I'm not worried about him. As FotoSeptiembre organizer Michael Mehl has observed, Hunter has worked hard at turning his considerable professional skills into a visual language of his own, and in the past two years in particular he has been trying new techniques, creating collage-inspired diptychs that explore the repetition of imagery and tradition in Mexico. He may even inadvertently drag a few portraiture traditionalists along with him into new territory.

The three images with this article are on view during FotoSeptiembre. Above, Juan Miguel Ramos' Westside Lotería at the Galería Guadalupe. A complete list of exhibitions and events can be found online at

But you I worry about. Every time you reinforce the neural pathways already paved in your gray matter, you settle a little deeper into your ways. Like little mice pressing on the sugar-water lever in your cages. The brain is a muscle and you must exercise it. Maybe even use a little invasive therapy, like going to see artwork you're pretty sure you're going to hate. Be sure to bring a like-minded friend along so you can discuss the variety and nuance of your loathing over a post-opening cocktail.

For your judicious use, a counterintuitive guide to viewing FotoSeptiembre:

Do you love nature photography? Hie thee to Neil Maurer's exhibit Highways at UNAM San Antonio (September 1-30, 600 Hemisfair Park, 222-8626), where you may gain a new appreciation for the concrete jungle. Avoid at all costs the blockbuster Nature Conservancy show In Response to Place, in which famous photographers such as Annie Leibovitz and Sally Mann pay homage to the planet. Those with an anthropomorphization compulsion will be cheered by a William Wegman photograph in which one of his indentured Weimeraners is topped with seaweed. Will no one take pity on those dogs? A complementary exhibit, The Last Great Places of Texas, comprises images of 24 Lone Star preserves documented by such local luminaries as Dan Borris, the ubiquitous Hunter, and Robert Maxham. Both shows will hang in Blue Star Contemporary Art Center's main gallery (116 Blue Star, 227-6960) September 1-October 9.

New images by Nathalie Daoust.

If you abhor Photoshop filters, extended exposures, and like trickery, you can kill two birds with ... er, well, amongst all those animal lovers you might try another metaphor ... at Blue Star by viewing Ramin Samandari's Fragments of Memories: A Personal Glimpse Into Modern Day Iran, curated by artist and Blue Star mainstay Bernice Appelin-Williams. It's on view in the Project Space September 1-October 9. You'll also want to catch both Audrey Mangold's show The Elements (with Alexandra Collins) at the Cibolo Nature Center (September 10-15, 140 City Park Road, Boerne, 507-5053) and Stuart Allen's Trace, in which he uses light arcs in an empty ballroom to reveal the patterns created by various cultural dances, on view at the International Center (203 S. Saint Mary's, 207-4089) through September 14.

If Kathy Vargas' atmospheric images have never been your cup of Communion wine, check out Nathalie Daoust's show, Entre Quatre Murs: Images in the Daoust Dimension, at Rendon Photography & Fine Art (September 1-October 8, 733 South Alamo, 225-2287). Daoust wowed viewers last year with lenticular prints of Asian peepshow girls; this time around she has created pieces that, like Vargas, use image layering and framing techniques that suggest reliquaries and the accretion of memory and history.

If conceptual or experimental art of any sort gives you a nervous tic because you're afraid someone will ask you what you think of it, put Luly Sosa's La Noche - The Night, on view at the Instituto de México's Casa Mexicana (September 1-October 2, 600 Hemisfair Park, 212-6333), at the top of your list, along with two shows by UTSA graduate student Mimi Kato: Dance of Communication at C-Art Gallery (September 1-30, 1426 W. Craig, 380-6508) and Untrue lies, at i2i Gallery (also September 1-30, corner of Ashby and McCullough). Kato's work has developed a spare language for exploring the relevance and endurance of cultural stereotypes and values in the digital-commercial age, where everything can be bastardized, commodfied, and made into a T-shirt.

Photographs by Stuart Allen.

Juan Miguel Ramos has done much the same thing with his Westside Lotería prints, which combine illustration and photography in a contemporary exploration of the traditional Mexican game's enduring archetypes (September 7-October 5, Galería Guadalupe, 723 South Brazos, 271-3151). Think you know El Venado? Guess again.

Finally, if you think "art" is a serious matter best segregated from cocktail-swilling sycophants and dangled just out of reach of "dabblers" with day jobs, don't miss the Medusa Art Lounge show featuring River City Silver proprietor (and Volvo savant) Hank Auderer, Gallery One9Zero6 operator Andy Benavides, Artlies Editor Anjali Gupta, political strategist Kelton Morgan, freelance photog Wendi Poole, HB Zachry photo attaché Rick Hunter, and Trinity professor Trish Simonite (203 N. Presa, 229-9995). The opening reception, September 22 at 8 p.m., is sure to be a social highlight of the month, and will help you overcome another ingrained habit: not spending enough time downtown after dark.

By Elaine Wolff


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