A very long time ago (in art-world years), when Linda Pace was the only San Antonio collector buying video art, First Friday was about galleries, artists, and the stuff hanging on walls and sitting on pedestals. If you want to recapture the invigorating sense that you’re participating in something more than just a really big party, ditch the friend’s friends who keep asking where the free wine is and follow the Current’s handy gallery guide.
— Elaine Wolff
6pm Banner Days: Haitian Vodou Flags
San Angel Folk Art, 110 Blue Star
San Angel extended this revue of gorgeous, handmade Haitian Vodou banners through May 31, which gives you plenty of time to learn about the religion’s iconography and the craft (sequins are used more sparingly on the older flags, when they still came from a sequin factory on the island), and select one for your home. Owner Hank Lee says Cactus Bra co-director Leigh Anne Lester, who works at San Angel part-time, is the real expert: She’s out of town this weekend, but it’s still worth your while to stop in. Check out San Angel’s super-flashy guayaberas, too.
6:30pm Linda Pace, Julie Shipp + Jerry Cabrera, Arturo Almeida
Joan Grona Gallery, 112 Blue Star
Plan to spend some time at Grona’s, especially if you’re a mixer: Folks will gather and mingle to toast the Artpace founder and to get a glimpse at her new drawings, a departure from her well-known monochromatic collected-object sculptures and last year’s well-received mirrored igloo.
You’ll also want to step into the middle gallery to see what former UTSA Satellite Space director Julie Shipp and fellow UTSA graduate Jerry Cabrera have been painting lately. Last year, Shipp was creating large atmospheric clouds of subtle color, while Cabrera was deconstructing the motions and rhythm of the bull ring with a more vibrant palette.
And don’t leave without catching UTSA art don Arturo Almeida’s collection of recent photographs in the back gallery. His best images find a musical harmony in the neglected corners of human compositions.
REM Gallery, 1420D S. Alamo, Ste. 201
Head upstairs in the shiny new building next door to Joan Grona’s for a retrospective of Robert Maxham’s photography, which encompasses the sentimental, the nude, the ennobled other, and the edible — captured with the attention to composition, focus, color, and lighting that says, “No, technology does not even the playing field between amateurs and pros.”
Gallery 4, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center,119 Blue Star
Current readers got a taste of Unit B Director Aubuchon’s sense of humor — quirky with a rough edge (that hasn’t been sterilized; watch those tenderfoots) — in our March 28 Last Words. It’s kind of like cartoons for grown-ups who, like that old Drivin’ ’N’ Cryin’ song, are scarred but smarter, and not particularly bitter.
8:15PM Brian Jobe: Winter Whispers
Three Walls, 106D Blue Star, Building B
Brian Jobe’s turn in Joan Grona’s middle gallery was a sleeper success last year. His inexpensive Plaster of Paris sculptures, shaped in plastic bags and festooned with zip ties, buttons, and other everyday detritus, were affectingly creature-like. The press photo for his show at the edgier Three Walls suggests that he’s given himself over to the zip-tie borg, which has programmed him (and Three Walls Director Michele Monseau) to say that “his sculptural work celebrates repetition as a gesture of the infinite.”
8:45PM Mollie Oblinger: Verdant Expanse
Cactus Bra, 106C Blue Star, Building B
We’re recommending the work of this New Mexico-based artist sight unseen based on the gallerists’ description (it helps that the gallerists are the accomplished artists Leigh Anne Lester and Jayne Lawrence, who regularly reinterpret familiar materials and textiles such as cigarette packaging and needlework). “Inspired by termite dwellings and internal body functions” says the release, Oblinger’s flora-like wall sculptures are constructed with wood, pom-poms, felt, and foam.
Arte-Reyes, 104J Blue Star, 2nd Floor, Building B
Since Karl Frey moved to SA a mere two years ago, he’s caught our attention with his cockeyed, polished take on pop-culture artifacts such as dog toys and stickers in Hellafortuna and Removable Opulence. If you don’t believe this Cal Poly graduate is wildly talented and relatively humbler than most of his art cohort (he was born in 1977), check out his website, Karlfrey.net. For Meaning Making, he and Houstonian Atchetee are showing two-dimensional works in a variety of media.
Sala Diaz, 517 Stieren
Leave the Blue Star complex and head over to this unassuming house, where director Hills Snyder occasionally brings together two intriguing artists in the small space to see what synergy or conflict ensues. For this show, the emphasis is on frenzy: “Enrique and Chris can both be said to be tilting the arc of the careful furious in their amazing drawings, which abutt the delicate boundaries between interior monologue, social satire, and Pure D weird,” writes Snyder.