Last call: Mark Menjivar and Leigh Anne Lester at Southwest School of Art


Scott Andrews

If you haven't been to the  Southwest School of Art recently, get a move on. Exhibits by local artists Leigh Anne Lester, Mark Menjivar and visiting  artist Jon Eric Riis close at the Navarro Campus' Russell Hill Rogers Galleries Feb 27.

"Beautiful Freaks / Nature's Bastards"  by Leigh Anne Lester presents drawings that are like sculpture, and sculpture that feels like drawing. This is hybrid stuff, and appropriately so, as the subjects portrayed by Lester are hybrid plants--but not the kind available in the Burpee seed catalogue.

Though at first Lester's  delicately  rendered  botanical drawings, executed in the styles of the 18th and 19th centuries, look like a  collection of typical Texas weeds--look again. These plants are monsters. Lester has imagined what might happen in the wild when genetically altered plant DNA from commercial crops  mixes it up with the local population.  Bits and pieces from several species are wrapped together in the same plant, sort of like a nightmare version of grafted fruit trees, but occuring from some unsavory mating, instead.


Here's a detail from the same graphite drawing-


Lester's cut mylar pieces exagerate the confusion-


Mark Menjivar photographed the interiors of refrigerators in "You Are What You Eat," with interesting results. The study was done to examine eating habits, but the visual display has merit on its own. Below, the fridge of a midwife/science teacher living in San Antonio, seen one week after deciding to eat all local produce-


A bartender's collection of styrofoam food containers-


Also on view, tapestries and beadwork by Jon Eric Riis inspired  by Tibetan themes-


Mon-Sa, 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm, 1201 Navarro St, (210) 271-3374, ?