East 2018: Brenner's Picks


Here comes the second weekend of this year’s East Austin Studio Tour.

And here come two days of blessed Central Texas weather like some lover seducing you beyond the confines of whatever glorified box of a dwelling you hole up in when it’s miserable.

A gathering of those Jamie Lea Wade claywork creations, located in the Canopy warren of studios 

And, because those two previous items mean that you’re probably jonesing to get your EAST on like never before … here’s a brief list of recommended stops, to help you decide among the 500-plus possibilities almost bullying this city with their powerful, creation-backed tyranny of choice.

Do we even have to namecheck Canopy, as if that epicenter of creative industry (run by the Big Medium honchos who started this whole thing) won’t be packed with appreciative crowds? We kind of already covered it, if only obliquely, in this issue's feature about the Saturday Night grand opening of new artschool Atelier Dojo. And of course there’s Steve Parker’s prizewinning War Tuba right there in the middle of it all. And ICOSA. And Modern Rocks. And, nota bene, you should neverleave that compound without checking out the studio of Jess & Jamie Lea Wade – because the sculptures and paintings you’ll witness in there (Bldg 1, #106) are beautiful and creepy and like nothing you’ll see anywhere else. 916 Springdale.

Likewise, your Chronicle’s already provided some consideration to Dimension Gallery’s current offerings … but we’re gonna go ahead and amplify the huzzah for Ian Ingram’s “Five Skin Ten Skin” exhibition – because we look at the marvels he’s wrought, and the painstaking implications of their creation, and we can’t fucking even. Dimension’s ongoing Paved Garden is always a delight, too – and that path will lead you to Jessica Nieri's Blackfeather Vintage Works shop next door, where John T. Newman’s got a show of paintings called “Dream Life in Ecuador.” 979 Springdale.

And you know that our seemingly omnipresent artscene reporter Melany Jean has already posted herEAST recommendations, yes?

And here’s where I tell you how half of the Dimension Gallery’s ruling commissariat (okay, it’s a lovely marriage situation), Moya McIntyre, has curated a show at a different site – a show called “The Femme Abstract” that features art by Stella AlesiCaitlin G. McCollomRebecca BennettCherie WeaverVy NgoTerra GoolsbyBrooke Gassiot, and more. (Whoa: Virginia Fleck’s Cascade: Collective Thirstliterally pours from the rafters.) The show’s in the warehouse space at 1300 E. Fifth – and, in that same venue: Alejandra Almuelle’s astonishing “Journey” installation of ceramic sculpture. Tell you what: If you can walk through that building of wonderments without a substantial portion of your head’s interior forever changed, then you probably can’t pass a Turing test1300 E. Fifth.

So, yes, it’s 2018, and are you sick of us pimping Adreon Henry yet? Sorry, but the man’s multilayered work is as compelling as ever. And, srsly, how could we not mention his “Runs on Time” show in which local badass cordwainers Helm Boots are debuting their new Adreon boot? That’s in the ol' Bolm Studios complex, of course – and what better to accompany those well-made boots than the garb that upcycling legend Krissy Teegerstrom’s got for sale in her Featherweight Studio in the same rugged row? 3505 Bolm.

Cloud Tree Studio’s Brian David Johnson has his exquisite resin-inscribed wooden vases and sculptures on display among the array of ceramics and jewelry from studio regulars, and – hey, that Rachel Koper’s showing her new paintings here, too, this year. 3411 E. Fifth.

And … Ender MartosEnder Martos! Who’s also welcomed local sculptor and obeliskmonger Paul Clarence Oglesby and the Colombian photographer Santiago Forero to flash their brilliance at his multimedia studio. 2803 E. Fifth.




"Alejandra Almuelle: Locus" at Dimension Gallery

The dark physicality of these figurative sculptures brings an exquisite imposition of memories into the waking world



After creating much beautiful (and often a bit eerie) ceramic art for decades, most of which took the form of sgraffito'd pottery or intriguing fragments thereof, Alejandra Almuelle has her first solo exhibition at the new Dimension Gallery on Springdale.

We missed the inaugural show in this small and elegantly stark industrial space recently founded by Moya Khabele and Colin McIntyre, there at the eastern terminus of the industrial building that also houses the Daily Greens purveyors of fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juice. We missed that first Dimension exhibition, a group show, and are still bummed that our schedule should crimp enjoyment that way. But we're informed that that show featured all the artists associated with the gallery, and now begins a schedule of solo exhibitions of those same talented makers – and Almuelle is the first one thus represented.

She's brought her whole family along, it seems, as the nine sculptures currently occupying Dimension are a sort of darkling clan, wrested from her subconscious, carefully wrought through clay and fired into human shape. No pottery here: The only thing functional about this "Locus" show is how clay – maybe a hundred pounds of it, as the song goes, maybe somewhat less – can function as a stand-in for humanity or for various fragments of what it means to be human.

Some of the figures in this show are adults, and some are children, and some seem a mixture of ages, all enhanced with underglazing and occasional additions of pigment. Each piece – a bust, perhaps, with odd growths flowering from the flesh; or a head-and-torso if not a full body, one arm bent toward the viewer, but also full bodies among them – is anchored atop its own wooden plinth: a preserved railroad tie attached to a wide iron base.

These sculptures of Almuelle's surround you in the gallery, backgrounded against the vertical grid of the walls' bare bricks or fronting the north window, the charcoal-hued physicality of the bodies or partial bodies an exquisite imposition of memories, of haunted interior states or dreamtime concerns brought into the waking world outside. They surround you in the gallery, in their temporary locus; and the memory of them will likely accompany you beyond – adding a new and subtle dimension, one you hadn't even realized was missing until you saw them, to the remainder of your days in this physical world.

"Alejandra Almuelle: Locus"

Dimension Gallery, 979 Springdale #99, 512/479-9941
Through April 24

The Silent Narrative of Things



Almuelle’s “The Silent Narrative of Things” Speaks Loud in the Shadows

The acclaimed sculptor brings a dark divinity to Dimension Gallery



Don’t let the rain, if there’s rain, keep you away from the second weekend of the West Austin Studio Tour.

And while you’re enjoying the seemingly endless delights of the WEST, don’t let that keep you away from the Eastside’s excellent Dimension Gallery.


Moirai, you see: The Apportioners 

We mean, look, if you’re going to be out & about anyway, then it’s not like you’ll be making a special trip, right? And what’s on display in Dimension Gallery right now is more than worth making a special trip for in the first place.

This: “The Silent Narrative of Things” by Alejandra Almuelle.

It’s the second solo show by the brilliant sculptor in this spare and elegant space, and it might even eclipse the dark glories of her exhibition that helped to inaugurate the venue more than a year ago.

Note: There’s some kind of colloquy going on elsewhere in town next week, where the Austin Creative Alliance is matching local artists with various faith-based congregations, trying to foment up some space-sharing arrangements for all these creative types? The program’s called “Art in Sacred Spaces.”

Well, neither Dimension Gallery nor this new show by Almuelle has anything to do with that, as far as we know, but we thought of it while viewing this “Silent Narrative of Things.” Because what Almuelle has done is turned Dimension Gallery into what we can’t help but perceive as a sacred space. Not some typical "sacred space" festooned with the gimcrackery of more common religions, though. Rather, a hidden alcove redolent of ancient pagan mysteries, of deep Jungian undercurrents, with sculptures of the artist’s interpretation of the Three Fates all texturally complex against the entrance wall; with a series of hollow and pristinely white figures atop a field of salt on a far table; with sculpted hands set among piled patterns of spice – cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, and more – on a closer surface; with a diverse array of rough porcelain needles literally stitching yarn-as-bloodlines into the very concrete of the gallery’s cemented verticals.

We caution you not to attend this exhibition while under the influence of any especially strong psychedelic drugs, citizen, lest you go all Dr. Jessup from the experience.

But do stop by Dimension Gallery this weekend, the final weekend for Almuelle’s show there, and enter an eerie cathedral of the mind made manifest with astonishing skill and shadow-driven conjuring from a world-class sorceress of claywork.