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San Antonio's Bihl Haus Arts reopens gallery with botanically-inspired exhibition on Friday 

click to enlarge Daniela Oliver de Portillo's Solo Quiero un Momento is part of her series "Invasive Species: A Collaboration with Toddlers." - COURTESY OF BIHL HAUS ARTS
  • Courtesy of Bihl Haus Arts
  • Daniela Oliver de Portillo's Solo Quiero un Momento is part of her series "Invasive Species: A Collaboration with Toddlers."
After being closed for months due to the pandemic, Bihl House Arts reopens its doors on Friday with the new exhibition "Botanical Sensations."

An opening reception will feature live music by Lucero Villa, poolside food, drinks and paletas.



The dual exhibition features work by artists Carmen Oliver and Daniela Oliver de Portillo, who are mother and daughter. "Botanical Sensations" marks the first of five exhibitions celebrating Bihl Haus's teaching artists over the next year.

Both artists turned to the natural world for inspiration during the pandemic, producing two bodies of work that center on botanic life in radically different ways.

click to enlarge Carmen Oliver's "For the Love of Flowers" features nostalgic paintings of flower arrangements. - COURTESY OF BIHL HAUS ARTS
  • Courtesy of Bihl Haus Arts
  • Carmen Oliver's "For the Love of Flowers" features nostalgic paintings of flower arrangements.
Oliver's "For the Love of Flowers" features rich paintings of bouquets that call back to her early career as an owner of a flower shop. "I love my relationship with art because art is food for the soul," Oliver said in a statement, "and during the difficult year of the pandemic, art saved me."

If her mother's work can be seen as nostalgically looking back, Oliver de Portillo's "Invasive Species: A Collaboration with Toddlers" looks to the future as she collaborates with her young children to create illustrations that reflect how difficult it is to retain one's sense of self as a caregiver during the pandemic. Each piece starts out as botanical linework done by Oliver de Portillo, and then is colored and finished by her toddler children with various materials.

"Allowing my children to take over my work and make their own marks on top of mine was a way to work out my feelings during the pandemic and especially the lockdown. ... The chaotic and colorful markings over my own structured and simple drawings reflect on my own feelings of being overtaken by the pandemic," Oliver de Portillo said in a release.

"Botanical Sensations" will be on view at Bihl Haus Arts from July 9-August 14.

Free, 6-9 p.m. Friday, July 9, Bihl Haus Arts, 2803 Fredericksburg Rd., (210) 383-9723, bihlhausarts.org.

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