(re)connect: A Social Distance Exhibition
When the opportunity to put together an exhibition within the popular Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing, was pitched to me by virtual gallery owner Michael Verdi — I honestly felt a rush of excitement. Excitement at the prospect of merging my two personal favorite past times together, video games and visual art.
As I’m sure you may be painfully aware, in this time of quarantine; there are no art walks, no gallery exhibition openings and no open studio tours. In response, many galleries (including larger institutions such as museums) have moved what programming they can, to digital platforms. Social media, video conferencing apps and podcasts have been integral in keeping the art scene alive.
The prospect of using a video game as an excuse to connect to artists and cultivate visibility to an already captive audience during this time of pandemic represents the malleability of visual art as a form of expression. It is not limited to our capacity to convene in physical space. Add to the fact that I do not currently own a copy of the new Animal Crossing — let alone a Nintendo Switch to play it on, hasn’t hindered me either as curator.
In fact, most of the artists selected for this curation have continued to maintain their art practice despite the pandemic. So to piggyback off the positivity that the Animal Crossing exudes, seems very necessary in the midst of our present predicament.
— Mark Anthony Martinez
Mark Anthony Martinez
Mark Anthony Martinez is a conceptual artist and curator based in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Martinez holds a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (2012) and an MFA from Portland State University (2014). Martinez has served as Visual Arts Director to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (2015-2017), Gallery Manager for the Michael and Noemi Neidorff Gallery at Trinity University (2018) and, co-curator for the experimental pop-up space, Fake Gallery (2019). While primarily exhibiting in San Antonio, he has also exhibited in group shows around the country, including; Co-Prosperity Sphere, Chicago, Il. (2014), The Open as part of the Nicholas Frank Public Library, Milwaukee, Wi. (2017), Mexic-Arte in Austin, TX. (2017) and, The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center Inc., New York, NY (2019). Currently, he is maintaining a freelance curatorial practice and embarking on new studio based projects.
Emily Mclamb was born on a North Carolina military base in 1993. Moving every three years, she does not consider any place home, but currently resides between San Marcos and San Antonio, Texas. Emily has an Associates in Communication Design, but is currently working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Ceramics. Her work has been published in a few local zines and she has also organized a few local Art events herself. Emily explores through her artwork emotional connection through mental health, biracial and multicultural identity, sexuality + queerness, and experiences as a womxn.
Using abstracted human figures and bright eye catching colors I share personal experiences with my viewer in order to generate dialogue about real world issues of dismissal and erasure of nonbinary and female presence. Currently I am focusing on questions of identity and the barriers that distance someone from other people and the world they live in. Starting with the investigation of the undervalued importance of selfies, I built the basis of my style of art taking influence from expressionist painters. Strong colors and expressive self portraits are repeated throughout the years I spent refining my technique in different forms of printmaking. The focus of my work is to examine and challenge my viewer’s perception of existing power structures that I feel qualified to speak about.
Kayla Littlefield is an artist focusing on personal experiences and anecdotes as a way to show existing cultural biases and power imbalances. Littlefield’s primary medium is screenprinting with some sculptural and watercolor based work as well. Littlefield achieved a BFA at the University of Texas at San Antonio with a concentration in screenprinting. Currently residing in San Antonio, Littlefield maintains an artistic practice out of the corner of their shared bedroom.
Flora Goode (aka Maddie Moser)
I’ve always emphasized the importance of communication and grounding yourself. My art is a representation of what it means to accept your humanity and mortality. We are all plant food and should make the best of the life we have.
Hello, I’m Flora. I’ve been creating and painting for almost two decades now. My roots are in sculpture and mixed media, and I have been experimenting with digital illustration. I’ve worked with a variety of artists in the San Antonio community including being in shows with FAKE Gallery, Black Sheep Collective, and Powdered Wig Machine. I’m always open to collaborations or commissions.
Edward Warren Harris
Most of my work up to this point has approached issues of the self and the interactions between other people. Now, with my current work, I have rediscovered ideas of identity and what that means within a public domain.
This is the idea of people using their “faces” in day to day lives as ways to interact with the world. A person’s face is the first thing anyone sees and one of the many ways a person can self-identify. But, with the pressures of society and the awareness of mental health, we start to wonder what really goes on behind the person you see every day? If anything, who that person is beyond societies labels.
This is an evolving series based on that idea of analyzing such” identities” we put on for the world or our families. If anything, why?
Edward Warren Harris is a Non-Binary, interdisciplinary artist based in San Antonio, Texas. In 2018, Harris obtained their BFA from the University of Texas in San Antonio.
As an interdisciplinary artist, they work to combine a host of mediums together, including soft sculpture, painting and performance. Harris has exhibited primarily in San Antonio at the Blue Star Upstairs Studio and was a featured artist of Black Sheep Ex, a collective of experimental artists.
I look at art as a way to explore your own personal relationships and internal struggles; to examine them. With my work, though it is often difficult to escape narrative, I enjoy expressing short glimpses into worlds that help to shape ideas around identity and self, including the loss or discovery thereof. Currently, I focus on themes surrounding self-awareness and finding ones place within the world. I want to explore what makes our individuality unique and how our perception of what humanity should be can affect the individual. My own identity crisis drives my work. Being of mixed nationality, trying to find a solid place as a minority among minorities has been difficult. There is usually a large abundance of Japanese influence in my recent work as much of it has been focused on finding myself and who I am. The idea of finding oneself through art has always been a huge influence, as I use art as a means of therapy and working through problems by allowing my content to be the answer to my questions. Much of my work contains child-like representation or animalistic entities; their identity is much more solid and without the questions of who or why they are. Doll-like or idealized subjects pepper themselves throughout much of my artwork. Most people either question or embrace who they are and where they came from and as such, have the ability to relate to my work. As the world progresses into a mixed bag of nationalities and backgrounds and we are exposed more and more to other influences that may not align with our own, how does a person continue to be themselves as an individual? Do external influences cause damage by exposing us to views that differ from our own? Can our self-perceptions be shaken or contorted by others? How do others’ perception of us in turn influence our own?
Justice is an artist based out of San Antonio. She specializes in printmaking and ceramics and concentrates on the theme of social issues and living life as a mixed race.
Gay Space Marine is an animation still sampled from a larger body of work wherein Michael Martinez, avid gaymer & sci-fi enthusiast, interprets Queer escapism. As 2020 deepens yet another nadir in race relations, where Trans people face genocidal levels of violence, Gay Space Marine challenges notions of good, bad, and ugly. Positing a future that is post-straight, Gay Space Marine imagines a universe where LGBT people have advanced beyond the visible stars of our solar system.
Michael Martinez is an interdisciplinary artist whose work deconstructs false dichotomies, surrounding desire, and the expression of gender. Born in San Antonio, Martinez has exhibited work across Texas and the Pacific Northwest, within institutions including Portland State University, the McNay Art Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Additionally, Martinez has featured work abroad, via the Student Cultural Center in Belgrade, Serbia. Currently, Martinez lives and works in south Texas, and has been featured in publications including HuffPost, Mitú, Glasstire, and Out In SA.
In my work, the geometric figures are stand-ins for people, each shape a character or portrait generalized into anonymity. Their gestures and the spaces between them depict social interactions or internalized feelings, while color and elements of landscape operate as metaphors. I’m particularly interested in subtle emotional exchanges, when small gestures and inflections – or inferred tone, when communicating in text – seem particularly important. It’s often in this subtle space that larger cultural and social hierarchies are expressed in our everyday lives.
Heather Lee Birdsong (b. 1984 in Spring Valley, Nevada) most often creates paintings, prints, and handmade books. Collections housing her work include the Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College in Claremont, CA; the Visual Chronicle of Portland, OR; and the SGC International Collection at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA. Birdsong is recipient of a Project Grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (2014) and was an artist-in-residence in Print Arts Northwest’s Emerging Printmakers Program (2012). She holds a BFA in Intermedia from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (2011). In addition to her studio practice, Birdsong is gallery manager at Upfor in Portland, Oregon.
Drawn by the bold iconography seen in Mexican culture, I extrapolate from my Mexican-American identity and surroundings. I am interested in the use of personal narrative, iconography, textiles, gestures, prints, and movements.
I am strongly marked by my upbringing in the border city of El Paso, Texas. Amid the southwest desert that I grew up in and the talavera design found in my family’s home in Mexico, I admire and investigate the intimate relationship between storytelling and migration.
Through the narratives written within each design and overlapping photographs, I share my perspective and trajectory of self-discovery and identification.
Deliasofia Zacarias is an artist, writer, and arts administrator whose work is rooted in accessibility, equity, community, and inclusivity. Based in Los Angeles, CA through way of Texas, she is currently Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Emerging Art Professional (LEAP) Fellow —part of the Diversifying Museum Leadership Initiative funded by the Walton Foundation and Ford Foundation. As a fellow, Deliasofia works closely with museum leadership to better understand the role of an encyclopedic art and cultural institution and its relationship with local and global audiences. Deliasofia also serves on the board of the Arts Administrators of Color Network.
Deliasofia is the co-founder of Unfiltered San Antonio, an online platform dedicated to emerging, censored, and underrepresented voices to share their story—authentically and unfiltered. Through a free calendar of events, public programs, multilingual features, and comprehensive artist archives, she works to bridge the gap between artists, art professionals, and art audiences. She previously served as the manager of the Ruiz-Healy Art gallery in San Antonio, TX, and was a key contributor to the opening of a second gallery space in the upper east side of New York City. During her time at Ruiz-Healy Art, she worked with local and international artists for over 20 exhibitions and national print fairs.
Born and raised in El Paso, TX, Deliasofia holds a B.A. in Studio Art and Business Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where she was the recipient of the Mach Fellowship and received an Excellence in Art Award. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and New York, and is published in the Trinity Review Literary Magazine.
I create mirrors for the Black onlooker in the forms of imagined Black youths and animal spirits. My creations provide a space for my viewers to reflect, to be reflected, and to escape. By focusing on the deep, inside experiences that shape the minds of my people, I expand the scope of what is typically defined as the “Black experience”—Black pain, sorrow, and suffering at the hands of others. The Black experience goes beyond the physical and extends into the deepest reaches of the mind.
Celeste A. Lindsey is an artist currently living and working in San Antonio, Texas. Lindsey graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2020 with her BFA degree. She works primarily with India ink and acrylic on cardboard, paper, and unstretched canvas. Using narrative, symbolism, metaphor, and abstraction, she creates both small-scale drawings and large-scale paintings that abandon the traditional stretched canvases and frames.
Painted when having a depression episode and medicated on ritalin, Kate strived to capture how she felt about herself in the moment.
Kate Wood is a high school teacher, writer, artist, and advocate. Vocal about her struggles with mental health, she approaches her writing and her art from seeking catharsis.
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