This originally was published as part of a gallery hopping feature on Glasstire. Here I present the completely unedited version in all of my homophobic glory. The webpage I quote has long since been taken down. I wish I had saved a snapshot, cause it sounds ridiculous that they would make such a claim. But I know I saw it!
Volitant gallery arrives in downtown Austin to join the company of Fielding Lecht and the three Museums on Congress Avenue, AMOA, Arthouse & Mexic-Arte. With fancy digs, this feels like Austin’s first high quality, contemporary, commercial art gallery. I say feels because Lora Reynolds probably takes the prize for being first to showcase non-Texan artists. With their library collection and oddly-shaped, yet quaint space, Lora Reynolds’ character at least seems casual enough to fit Austin. The Volitant space is aggressively haughty. With its supa-dupa high ceilings, marble floors and minimum price tag starting at $5000, it all sounds like bragging when I read it off their website. So I question their marketing plan, even though they clearly state what audience/ customer they are targeting. We’ll just have to wait and see if there is indeed a market in Austin that they describe needs to be tapped into. But enough about my chilly-willies from commercial galleries. They have art in there!
Walking up the sidewalk, the windows are filled with stylish clothing and accessories. They look a little odd. As if someone tried making leather using pigskins but retained the original pigment. Getting inside the gallery I am greeted by man-junk. It took me a second as I looked at the whole photograph of a bandaged soccer player laying in the sun. I assumed the bandages were completely covering the athlete’s body, but no, it was laying there just as plain and relaxed as its owner was. Art or not, I am a heterosexual man that prefers not to look at another man’s junk. So I look around to see if any other junk-portraits await me. Marcos Lopez hand-colored these giant photographs that present awkward and somewhat humorous portraits of masculinity. “Mexican Cowboy” presents a blue eyed, blonde haired, almost albino individual dressed in colorful cowboy attire. The bluest jean jacket, the brightest green and red shirt and the cleanest cowboy hat poke fun at the origins of cowboys, their current position in the public’s mind thanks to Brokeback, and the use of this attire among young Mexican men when they go out in search of a lady.
Passing Mr. Lopez’s work I check out the wardrobe at the windows. Nicola Constantino has created these items with real human hair and silicon to emulate human skin and blemishes. Nipples and moles create elements that Ms. Constantino uses in making patterns. Its a little freaky. I head into the gallery and turn into one of the smaller spaces where Ms. Constantino has setup somewhat of a booth to sell her product “Savon de Corps”. Essentially she is selling her own extracted fat in the form of soap. Posters, a video commercial and other advertisement techniques sell you on the idea that this beauty product can help you disguise or remove your imperfections. I laugh as it looks so identical to real product salesmanship. In the next room, Cuban artist Esterio Segura displays large white on black drawings. In a blueprint style, they depict old automobiles with additions and modifications that make them appear as transformations into submarines.
Stepping out of that room, I find Courtney Smith’s sculpture and photographs. The photos show a large wardrobe that folds into itself and creates a dresser with mirror. On the floor, the sculpture looks like a deconstructed chair or some other large piece of furniture. I wanted it to transform like the piece in the photos, but it did what I think it was denying me, it just sat there. In close proximity was a large crate with a ceramic vase on top by Eduardo Sarabia. Behind it were shelves filled with hand-blown bottles of authentic Mexican tequila. On the wall next to this installation and around the corner were some watercolor drawings by Alexandre Arrechea. These works are forgettable in such a strong group show. Why else would I forget so much about them? Patrick Hamilton had some utensils hanging nex to Mr. Arrechea’s work. The catalogue says the images on the blades are painted on, but when i looked at them they appeared to be decal applications. I think the buckets on the floor were more interesting anyways. Simple galvanized buckets were transfomed into light boxes as photographs of the Santiago, Chile night skyline cover the brims. The most attractive part were the black wires reaching out from the bottom of the buckets and clinging onto the floor via the power outlets.
Above the buckets were some collages by Maximo Gonzalez. They were playful yet sad pieces as he took outdated bank notes and cut them up into decorative elements. The color and design merrily dance across the sheet, but the history of the object makes it a Debbie-Downer. Behind Mr. Gonzalez and in the center-most part of the gallery, Liset Castillo has some interesting photographs. At first glance, these large photographs appear to record the existence of some highway overpass or some roadway system. In fact they are models copying existing transportation structures and photographed to present themselves as the originals. The swirling of the roads made me think about Katalin Hausel’s piece for CinemaTexas back in November. I think its still there on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Colorado. Lastly, there is the work by Fernanda Brunet. The floral landscapes look strikingly similar to the patterns of superflat artist, Takashi Murakami. The psychedelic colors camouflage the flowers at first, but looking at the shapes quickly reveals the content.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.