New Art in Austin: 22 to Watch

New Art in Austin: 22 to Watch is an exhibition presented by the Austin Museum of Art, that introduces 22 rising local artists and their artwork, made from an array of media, including sculpture, photography, video, painting, drawing, full installation pieces and yes….Post-Its!!!

This exhibition was an adventure in sight, not only because it gave me a look at good ol’ Texas artwork, but because the media and techniques used in the artwork, are so different and wild! Everything in this exhibit either made me want to touch it (in some cases I could), or left me wondering, “How did they do that?”

The first piece that caught my eye was a huge black screen-like wall made of three panels suspended from hooks on the ceiling. When I moved around and looked at it, it seemed to distort and move (very wild to look at). This piece, called Retinal Message 3, 2005 by Barna Kantor, is made up of six perforated metal panels. Zack Booth Simpson’s unique artwork called Moderation, is an interactive projection of a pond (complete with lily pads and dragon flies) that allows viewers to step into his artwork and make ripples on the pond (mucho fun for people of all ages and sizes). Other works would pop right out at me like Young-Min Kang’s Negative Exposure, a piece of art that was made out of deconstructed comic books. Suspended from a corner of the ceiling (like a web), this piece made the comic book characters look as if they were falling or jumping right out of their pages. Candace Briceno’s Grass Islands, is another piece with an exploding, cartoonish look. Her 14 flowers made of wool and felt and her plant sculptures looked like something right out of a storybook, with a very whimsical look. They sort of floated on the exhibit walls.

Other works with more classic and laid back media and techniques also had as much pizzazz as the other installation pieces. For instance, Trent Tate’s beautiful egg tempera paintings were simple, yet eye catching. I wanted to touch these eye-popping paintings as well. Another one of my favorites was Michael Osborne’s eerie, nighttime color photography of contemporary highways in Texas, the colors and scenes that he shot were gorgeous and mysterious. Sodalitas is an amazing collage of eighteen acrylic paintings, each of the eighteen panels are painted with an array of beautiful, bright colors and patterns; but the unique thing about this piece is that it was done by a three-person collaborative team.

Over all, this exhibit was a very different experience, with a great variety of new and unique artwork and techniques. I personally liked it a lot, plus it was also a perfect trip for the family thanks to the family room where you could either decorate your own eye or use a tennis ball to create a little person or enhance to your own liking. Trust me when I say, this is not your ordinary gallery visit!

By Michelle Ortiz

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