June 7 marks the opening night of Blue Star Contemporary’s four new summer exhibitions: Veo Mis Huesos, Manhattan Beach Memoir, As Far as the Eye Can See, and From Underfoot: Breaking through Surface and Ground. Each show appeals to some aspect of summertime: the vibrating sounds of a city, nostalgia for the past, reflection and decision-making, and an engagement with the natural world. If you miss the opening night, June 8 is First Friday, so BSC will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and will have free admission all day.
Veo Mis Huesos, a show featuring artist Thomas Georg Blank and guest curated by Angelika Jansen Brown, is a video installation presented in celebration of San Antonio’s newest sister city, Darmstadt, Germany, in collaboration with the Lone Star Art Alliance and the city of Darmstadt. While living in Mexico City for several months, Thomas Georg Blank asked musicians that he met during his stay to improvise with their instruments, resulting in the soundscape of Mexico City that is Blank’s video installation.
For the artist, sound resonates deeply and intensely on both a physical and emotional level. The literal translation of “Veo Mis Huesos” is “I See My Bones,” a reference to the ability of sound waves to both bounce off an object and rattle them with vibrations, such as with bones, and as a tool to map their structure, such as with a sonogram.
Also felt bone-deep is the emotional power of place and past in an exhibition of Gary Sweeney’s work Manhattan Beach Memoir: 1945-2015. In early 2016, Sweeney created his site-specific installation to commemorate his family home. In 1945, while Sweeney’s father Mike was returning from Guam after World War II, his mother Anita bought a small house at 320 35th St in Manhattan Beach, California. It was their family home for 70 years. Sweeney sold the house in 2015, with the understanding that the new owner planned to demolish the house and put a new development in its place. As a tribute to his family, hometown and father’s photography, Sweeney covered the exterior of the house with over one hundred large-scale family photographs and occupied the house during its final month.
For this exhibition, the artist re-sites the photographs and relics from the Sweeney home in the gallery and gives viewers the chance to connect to this unique project. The work encourages us to reflect on the significance of documentation in our own families as a critical player in the architecture of memory.
Also opening this month is artist Mila Hundertmark’s As Far as the Eye Can See, guest-curated by Angelika Jansen Brown. The work in this exhibition is a kinetic sculpture and performance in which the artist deals with the theme of everyday decision-making and its consequences. For the show, Darmstadt-based Hundertmark enlisted the help of local volunteers to record stories about the impact of decision-making in their lives for footage in an immersive video installation with moving parts that require the viewer to act as active participant. The sound for this installation is a choral composition by Hundertmark, performed by a choir of Texas State University students, and the recordings of personal stories. Live performances by participants of As Far as the Eye Can See will take place June 7 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and June 8 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Lastly, in the main space of Blue Star Contemporary this summer through September 9 is the exhibition From Underfoot: Breaking through Surface and Ground, featuring the work of artists Caroline Carlsmith, Jennifer Day, Carrie Dickason, Leah Dyjak, Anja Marais, Marianne McGrath and Ronen Raz. Each work included in this show either makes use of a natural element in materials or alludes to the natural world in form or theme, from roots to Pyrite crystal to soot. Ground, surface, root systems, landscape, destruction, rebirth and human interaction are themes at play creating powerful poetry between the pieces in this exhibition.
Regular hours for Blue Star Contemporary are from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. General admission is $5, senior price is $3, and students, teachers, first responders and military are free. BSC is free every Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.