- Maureen Penders
Our suggested First Friday plan of attack begins with a revisitation of the outgoing (read: last chance!) summer exhibitions — namely Gary Sweeney’s “A Manhattan Beach Memoir,” Thomas Georg Blank’s “Veo Mis Huesos,” Mila Hundertmark’s “As Far as the Eye Can See” and the group show “From Underfoot: Breaking Through Surface and Ground” — in the (well-air-conditioned) confines of Blue Star Contemporary (free, 10am-8pm Thu Sept 6, 10am-9pm Fri Sept 7, 116 Blue Star).
Around the corner at FL!GHT Gallery, “Tiny Topography” presents the fruits of an intriguing endeavor organized by Houston transplant David Salinas, aka the “Johnny Appleseed of Analog Photography.” Known for thoughtful, nostalgic and wildly experimental approaches to a medium that’s been bastardized in the digital era, Salinas passed out 35-millimeter film cameras to more than 40 artists — Mark Greenberg, Erik Jon Gufstason, Rebecca Dietz, Antonia Padilla, Joan Frederick, Anelle Spector and Ed Saavedra among them. Their photographic findings are presented as contact sheets, best viewed with the help of a magnifying glass (free, 6-9pm Thu Sept 6-Fri Sept 7, 112R Blue Star).
Down the way, UTSA’s offsite gallery Terminal 136 unveils “Mars: Memories to Forget,” a collaborative undertaking that involved art history/criticism grad student Aurora Berrueto documenting an “intervention” staged by Mexican multimedia artist Federico Jordán. Conducted in “the ruins of a ghost town in the middle of the Northeastern Mexican desert,” the project follows Jordán as he “paints and builds over walls, soil and debris” while Berrueto uncovers “the epic narrative behind the symbols” (free, 6-9pm Thu Sept 6-Fri Sept 7, 136 Blue Star).
Off the Blue Star campus and up the way, Presa House Gallery opens a trio of solo shows connected by diverse photographic practices and the documentation of personal experiences and expressions. A multidisciplinary artist who was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and is currently pursuing her MFA in New York City, Tere Garcia brings photographic slides and a carousel projector into a sculptural realm via “Traces,” an installation that simultaneously exposes and obscures intimate images of performances and the artist in the realm of her studio.
A mixed-media San Antonio artist whose work “largely focuses on the exploration of topical and topographical histories of identity, culture and spaces,” Xavier Gilmore also turns to analog processes for “Head S P A C E,” a series of autobiographical and experimental photographs (mostly captured with a 35-millimeter camera) paired with “reflections and reactions, which come in the form of paintings, drawings and collages.” In his artist statement, Gilmore describes this new body of work as an “opening up” since it exposes aspects of his life that are “usually only seen by friends and family.”
And finally in “Culturas,” Houston-based artist and curator Maureen Penders trains her lens on “material culture” as a means to explore Central American identity and the visual vocabulary of her native El Salvador (free, 6-11pm Fri Sept 7, 725 S. Presa St.).
Get our top picks for the best events in San Antonio every Thursday morning. Sign up for our Events Newsletter.