Local Palette

The Mojo Show

Various Artists

Alternate Current Art Space

Showing through November

The word "mojo" derives from the African KiKongo word mooyo, meaning "spiritual spark," "force" or "soul." The Friday the 13th opening of Alternate Current's Mojo exhibit set the tone for what the gallery and exhibit are all about: young, untested artists given free rein to explore the spark, the soul of art as imagery, media, performance, life force.

The show of some 35 artists -- many of them getting their first gallery exposure -- is completely unjudged and uncensored. Gallery owners Susan Maynard and David Pratt included everyone who walked in off the street and wanted to enter their stuff. "Who knows what you can do for these artists -- what they might become -- by simply telling them, `Yes.'" says Maynard.

Indeed, some of the content crowding the wall and floor space is intriguing, possibly promising. Scott Stevens' oils of "The Man Who Couldn't Get a Tan," and "Nazi & Slicko," depict gritty figures in cartoonish Chicago urban-punk style. Recent Oklahoma transplant Steven Schwake's hauntingly vivid "Invisible Self Portrait" and "Highway Man" use strong draftsmanship and color palette, pulling a metaphysical futurist image to resound on the viewer's subconscious.

Terrence R. Pomponio's "Electro -- Mystic Machine" sculptures are meticulously crafted from archaic electro--mechanical contraptions that pull viewers into an H.G. Wells mad scientist's time warp of light, sight, sound, and movement. Wally Vogel's post apocalyptic, melt-down television set exposes a wasteland of blown circuit boards, transistors, fuses, severed wires, and fizzled connections, all illuminated by two eerily iridescent, twisted coils of neon -- the last living elements in this pile of electrical jetsam.

Collage and Sculpture Jamie Fraser and Peter Velasquez
At 2x4 Art Galaxy

Showing through November

Vogel's post apocalyptic TV society artifact takes a turn to the dark side at 2x4. In sculptor Peter Velasquez' "Heel, Sit, Roll Over," a TV monitor, mounted atop a menacing, rusted metal combine, is fed by a noxious gas tank, tubes, gauges, and meters. Like the head of a terminator machine that won't die, the screen flickers perpetually behind its single mission statment:"KILL!"

In a Velasquez mixed media series, the diabolical black-framed contraptions look like racial purification and genetic engineering devices unearthed from secret laboratories and arsenals of Nazi Germany.

On a lighter note, Jamie Fraser explores Dorothy and the land of Oz in more variations than a Kansas microdot dream could conjure. An endless array of mixed media camp, including toys, trinkets, melted-down tin cans, happy-face buttons, and magic slipper ink stamps -- labeled with convention center stick-on name tags -- portrays Oz as social commentary. As Dorothy said upon waking with a bump on the head, "Some parts of it weren't very nice, but most of it was beautiful!"

ASMP Photo Exhibit Group Show
At Capitol Camera

Showing through December 1

When does photography make the transition from documentation to fine art? You decide. The photo exhibit from members of the American Society of Magazine Photographers' Austin/San Antonio Chapter shows the broad diversity the medium can deliver.

Some of the photos are familiar from publications you've read. But to see a clean, full-sized print, isolated on glossy paper in mat and frame, brings home the technical and visual artistry you miss in the pulp, surrounded by all those distracting words.

Predictably, cowboys, politicians, and musicians are oft-repeated subjects. Michael O'Brien hangs a portrait of Grey Ghost he shot for National Geographic magazine. Scott Hill features a shot of Omar Dykes at his howling best. Burton Wilson's offering is a portrait of the late Frank Zappa. Max Crace selected a shot of Keith Richards.

Architectural photographer Paul Bardagjy's photo of a San Antonio office interior looks like an abstract painting -- all geometric shapes and color values -- while Mary and Richard Cooke's emulsion transfer of a female portrait has the soft, semi-transparent look of a watercolor. -- Cory Walton

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