Arts Space cadets

A trio of new art galleries vie for attention in Blue Star's shadow

San Antonio's once fresh-faced young art spaces are hitting milestones: Blue Star turns 20 this year, Sala Diaz is 10. Triangle Project Space recently acquired non-profit status and a board of directors, and Cactus Bra and Three Walls have made waves at Chicago's Stray Show. So maybe it's time to take notice of the newest generation of start-up art spaces and the bright lights who run them.

Stella Haus Art Space is just two doors down from Cactus Bra, in one of the Blue Star Complex's cool, labyrinthine hallways. Its director, Dayna De Hoyos, is a tall, dark-haired woman whose sculptural paintings hint that she was once Leonardo Drew's artist assistant. The gallery is spare, with one peculiarly slanted wall that may create a sense of vertigo if you aren't a Liberty Bar regular. Stella Haus is named for De Hoyos' grandmother, who passed away not long after De Hoyos acquired the space.

Justin Parr's installation ("I Own You") at Mu Gallery

Stella Art Haus' mission is to show emerging women artists, although one recent exception was The Napkin Show. For this group show, De Hoyos asked people from all walks of life, as well as established artists such as Cesar Martinez and Regis Sheperd, to create a small work of art based in some way on a napkin. The room was filled from floor to ceiling with a wide range of work - some of it clever, some reflecting an all-nighter.

De Hoyos' most recent show was the 2nd Annual Group Show: Work from the Late Night Sessions. If this sounds like a private club, that's because it is. De Hoyos and two other artists, Marcy McChesney and Julia Snead Landois, form a collective that meets in the studio twice a month for several hours to work alongside one another, talk about art projects, and offer honest critique. Landois just started graduate school at Penn State so De Hoyos is looking for two more women to join the collective.

Luly Sosa's photographs at 1210

Just up the road from Blue Star, at 1210 S. Alamo, is the matter-of-factly named Studio 1210, which doubles as the second-floor apartment of Juan "Antonio" Gomez, an engineer-turned-artist from Guadalajara who credits a painting course with well-known sculptor Alejandro Colunga as an epiphanic moment. Gomez opens his doors every First Friday to those who want to view art in a congenial, homey atmosphere and sit on a Victorian porch high above folks beating a path to Blue Star.

Studio 1210's initial shows, in 2004, featured Gomez' work while the next two showed artists from Arte Studio 21 in Guadalajara, an experimental studio and bronze foundry that hosts artist residents. Gomez dreams of creating a local residency program for Guadalajara artists based roughly on Artpace's three-pronged geographical approach.

Like all new art spaces, Studio 1210's roster this year has included friends and coworkers who are emerging artists, as well as hints of bigger shows to come. Gomez recently had a solo show of drawings by Luly Sosa, whose photographs are featured at the Instituto de México for FotoSeptiembre.

Works by Marcy McChesney ("Lubricated Boy H2") and Dayna Dehoyos ("Stellas Ladder") at Stella Haus

Nancy McGalliard, a 30-year art veteran who studied at Houston's Glassell School and earned her MFA from Mexico City's Instituto Allende, is the director of the brand-new Mu Gallery in Blue Star Silo 14. McGalliard discovered the silos when Justin Parr of neighboring Fl!ght Gallery put her in his July group show. "I had been chasing coffee houses in Kerrville and around San Antonio for exhibition space," she says, "and it's a lot of running around. This `will` assure me I `can` get several thousand pairs of eyes getting a look at art once a month."

Mu Gallery's August inaugural show featured monoprints by McGalliard's ex-husband, Adam Manzaroli. For September, McGalliard is showing her paintings at Fl!ght Gallery and Parr is creating his first-ever set of painted photographs for Mu. By January 2006, McGalliard hopes to have lined up a series of other artists' projects.

McGalliard is a devoted practitioner of Japanese Butoh performance and would like to see site-specific performances at the Silos. She has also stocked her space with fun boutique items, such as hand-printed Ninja Nickers and postcards by HiD that will appeal to the young and young-at-heart. "Works of a conceptual nature are something I would like to bring into Mu Gallery," says McGalliard. "By conceptual, I mean it should open the mind up like the unraveling of a Zen koan (a paradoxical Zen utterance). I am especially amused by silly or ridiculous conceptual art." l

By Catherine Walworth

For an intro to more of San Antonio's fresh art faces, see "Live models," April 14-20, 2005, "Lame is as lame does," July 7-13, 2005, and "Good vibrations," July 28-August 3, 2005.

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