Past Exhibition: June 2, 2017 — June 30, 2017
John Dalton Atkins: Growing, Growing, Gone
John Dalton Atkins is a multimedia artist from Belle Chasse, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans. Atkins earned his BA in Sculpture and New Media/Animation in 2014 from Southeastern Louisiana University and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, he utilizes found objects, cheap and discarded materials, wood, paint, and steel.
His work observes and celebrates moments from his own life and is influenced by his upbringing in southern working-class culture. Things like dumpster diving with his father, tinkering for many summers in the garage, his new experiences in Texas, and listening to stories of his parent’s lives and their family’s history. Humor, rural landscapes, relationships, ingenuity, invention, and the spirit of making the best out of the worst are constant themes in his work.
Growing, Growing, Gone is an installation in two parts. Beginning with a “homegrown” garden of bizarre yet familiar plant life plucked from the surrounding landscape, pieced together from a hodgepodge of construction materials, found objects, and plenty of paint. The installation ends at a cozy reimagination of a dimly lit dive bar through a swinging screen porch door, serving up complimentary peanuts under a homemade chandelier.
I made these installations and artwork spaces for camaraderie, reflection, and good times and to remind viewers of their favorite places and people, from their parents’ backyard garden to their go-to neighborhood hangout spot. These should be places for people to hang out and enjoy each other’s company, and it’s just like meeting up at the bar, but weirder.
Raul Gonzalez: Pure Energy
Raul Gonzalez is best known for his energetic and versatile approaches to painting, drawing, performance, and dance. A native of Houston, Gonzalez currently resides in San Antonio, where he received his MFA in Painting from the University of Texas in San Antonio. Gonzalez’s work is included in numerous collections and exhibited throughout Texas, and the United States, including the McNay Art Museum (San Antonio, TX.), Mexic-Arte Museum (Austin, TX.), National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago, IL.), and MACLA/ Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (San Jose, CA.).
In Pure Energy, Gonzalez showcases abstract sculptural paintings on canvas that combine playful mark-making with bright fields of color and frenetic energy. These works reflect the emotional range he experiences as a father, husband and someone who has recently lost loved ones. Each painting is handled with love and a bit of wear and tear, much like Gonzalez, who has spent the past seven months rehabilitating his left knee after having surgery to repair his ACL for a second time. While a range of emotions often influences the paintings, Gonzalez’s ultimate goal is to retrieve and deliver a sense of joy and positive energy through each work.
Additionally, Gonzalez will create a large-scale installation, Take Over the Dance Floor, which will turn Presa House into an energetic dance floor. Gallery floors and walls will be covered with playful cardboard-duct tape paintings while Raul takes on the role of Mr. Playlist – his “DJ” alter ego. Think Saturday Night Fever meets The Get Down inside an abstract painting.
I want to create an environment where everyone can come together and dance for a few hours, eliminating the separation between artist and observer so that we can feed off each other’s energy. Hopefully, everyone can take energy back out into the city and keep it going.