Arts The art capades

FotoSeptiembre - a chance to examine the medium through a myriad of interpretations

It's FotoSeptiembre, which means most of the city's galleries are showing - you guessed it - photography `see "Feeling negative," and "I hate it! I'll take two," August 25-31, 2005`. While it may seem like a gluttonous monopoly, it is also a good chance to examine the medium through a myriad of interpretations. A good place to start is i2i Photography and Gallery where Alex Lopez curated Untrue Lies. Each of the three artists shows just a few works but the overall large scale is enjoyable. UTSA graduate student Mimi Kato is probably the next big thing in San Antonio, as soon as this and her C-Art solo show have made their impact. She exhibits powerful life-size self-portraits from her Generations series that explore traditional Japanese culture. The white body paint, mask, angularity of hands and figure, and haunting quality of her open mouth are ghostly frozen images with a Butoh performance quality. Her silken red-and-white kimonos relate to bridal finery but recall, with subtle effect, the Japanese flag.

"#5" by Susan Kae Grant

In works from his Hopes and Fears series, George Ramirez poses three young females lost in thought. Two look like they just finished a soap-opera marathon and duly fainted; one stands at a crosswalk with no intention of taking a step - her face showing interesting complexity against a background steeped in vivid greens.

Patrick Putze, like Ramirez, has a thing for young women. His, however, are over-the-top, tricked out like strippers on schoolgirl night. He manages to surpass this, however, by putting them in front of a boarded-up, single-story house in "Occurrence #6." The composition, with its repetition of threes, bands of house and sky, and interplay of blues and greens, is sexier than the girls hanging around in front of the building.

"9 over 6" by Michael C. Howell

Photography isn't the dull recorder it once was thought to be, and its bag of tricks gets bigger everyday. The UTSA Satellite Space uses its group photography show Reconstruction: Making Pictures to gather artists who stage their photographs using theatrical props and manipulation. Co-curated by Robert McAn, whose recent show at REM Gallery revealed his love of miniatures, and UTSA graduate student Julie Shipp, the show brings together several out-of-towners, and puts local artist Juan Miguel Ramos' images in a new context.

Kathy Lovas presents two installations that use old family photographs from an earlier era when it seems amazing that some of these people actually had cameras. In "Company House," images of small children posing on family land are applied to wooden two-by-fours leaning against the walls. Beneath the photos, words such as "river," "steps," and "water tower" name prominent background features with the look of vintage flash cards. The room, which you can enter, is filled with shredded Wall Street Journals like hay in a hayloft, recreating the lovely floating sensation of walking in shoes after skating.

"Generations - Bride" by Mimi Kato

Susan Kae Grant creates black-and-white silhouettes of little girls, floating cribs, babies mysteriously in mid-air, and men who resemble Jean-Paul Sartre in profile slinking existentially by. The artist softens the two-dimensionality with blurred edges and bent shadows, nuancing their adult fairy-tale charm.

"Museum Peace" by Tom Wilson

Nearby Joan Grona Gallery features a solo show of Ricardo Romo's festive images of Mexico, all proceeds from the sale of which go to a Fox Tech High School scholarship. A second show brings together Michael Howell, Thomas Willome, his son Jason Willome, and Tom Wilson, who push photography to an almost unrecognizable form, each in their own way. Howell makes beautiful little "chemigrams" with a camera-less process related to painting. Both Willomes apply clear gel to their images, though in very different ways. In "What My Dream," Jason embeds home movies in a pillow that puffs out like an expectant tummy, claiming his lineage and running with it. Across the room, Tom Wilson uses suckers, medical trays, and World War I artifacts to structure his own photographs' meanings.

By Catherine Walworth


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