Nov 3, 2011

REVIEW | Dia de los Muertos Retables, Dragonfly Gallery at Rosedale, Austin, Tx

I chose a local art gallery in North Austin because I live in Austin and wanted to see some of the work done by fellow artists in the area.  I happened to come across the Dragonfly Gallery while searching around online and saw that they were going to have a selection of Mexican Retables made by local artists. 
Beth McCarry, Head Games, 2011

For those of you who aren’t familiar with retables they are framed, altar-pieces that are decorated and set up around graves during the Dia de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico.  Being Hispanic myself meant that I grew up surrounded by Mexican traditions and I wanted to see an Austin take on something very near and dear to me. 

I was rather impressed with the selections.  Many of these projects are assemblages and they make use of traditional components to create these beautifully, colorful sculptures.  Upon entering the Dragonfly, you are greeted by the curator/owner Nina Mihm.  She is very enthusiastic about the work on display and has two sections dedicated to some permanent artists and her own work.  She is herself a mixed-media artist and likes to promote other artists of the same style in her gallery. 

Ms. Mihm says of her work:

Mixed-media, collage, fabrics and embellishments are the tools I use to transport my viewers into a visual delight of luminosity, hues, and surface texture in an aesthetic symphony of elegance and sophistication. The viewer is welcomed to examine and explore textures that transform the ordinary scene into a refreshing new experience, whether realistic or abstracted.”

Narics Kopp, Fusion, 2011

At the door as soon as you walk in there are pieces hung on the wall so that you are already immersed in the gallery.  The setup of the gallery is spread out in a small area, and you feel as if in a more intimate setting, but there is enough space so that you can comfortably walk around and view the works on display.  There were a number of people at the gallery because they had just had the reception earlier and I got to walk around and meet a few of the artists along with the mixture of people who came to visit.  There was a table for refreshments against one wall that has a door leading into a workshop area.   Ms. Mihm offers classes and workshops on fabric art and she has space for visiting artists to prepare their work and setup.

Cathy Ride,  Fred's Journey, 2011

On the opposite walls, there are other paintings on display from another artist not part of the current show.  You get the feeling that there is a constant rotation of artist work, which is really cool.  The setup is very welcoming, I would have preferred more lighting, but there are a ton of windows and I feel that during the daytime, you would have excellent viewing with all the natural lighting.  However I did feel that the setup, lighting, and the arrangement of the art were very natural because the artwork on display is work meant for the intimate setting of a funeral and family gatherings.  I know that I will look into this gallery further because I appreciated the atmosphere.

While I was there I noticed she had a stand with submission forms for a show coming up in May of 2012.  She mentioned that on her website you can find the listing of upcoming shows and any workshops in the near future.

-James Perkins


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