As you drive down South Congress, past Güero's and the Continental Club, you'll find a string of shops -- antiques stores, mostly. But, as you pass Rue's Antiques, don't blink or you might miss a little gem wedged between Yard Dog and Uncommon Objects: Avenue Gallery.
This eensy-weensy space manages to house a framing shop and a gallery of works by three or four artists, and the works are more than framing samples. Not only is the current show full of good pieces, it contains some interesting stories.
Take the watercolors by Brother Jeremias Mysliwiec, a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross for 57 years, who began painting upon his retirement from teaching 15 years ago. Now 80 and living at St. Edward's University, he has found a new passion in painting and has developed something of a reputation for his folk art-like, simply-detailed, colorful landscapes and figuratives.
Then there's James Fitzgerald, another somewhat well-known painter, though not so well-known by this generation. Fitzgerald was a promising, popular young California artist in the Twenties and Thirties who dropped out of society for fear of celebrity and its ill meanings. Living as a recluse on an island near Maine, he spent the rest of his days -- he died in 1971 -- studying the land, perfecting his talent. Fitzgerald just happens to be the uncle of Avenue Gallery owner, Dan Broeckelman, who has started showing his uncle's resplendent watercolors.
Fitzgerald's paintings go for up to $20,000 now and can be found in several major East Coast museums, including the Smithsonian. Four of his works hang in Avenue Gallery now, with more arriving soon. Showing a strong Oriental influence, his pieces posses both strength and gentleness; gushing water is conveyed with three simple strokes.
Black and white photographs by Kip Holm are on display as well; no dramatic story here, just nice photos. Holms does a lot of Austin scenes -- a careening plane suspended over Flightpath Coffeehouse, a musician, guitar case in hand, strolling down South Congress -- that convey a lazy, lumbering feel, like the shutter time was five full minutes.
Stay tuned for more details on Fitzgerald's future show, and remember: don't go blinking too often -- you might be missing some gems.
This town just keeps getting cooler. As if we didn't already have a ton of great barbecue joints, funky art galleries, and hoppin' live music venues, Stubb's BBQ comes along as a dreamy combo of all of the above.
Entering the cavernous new hotspot on Red River, it's easy to get distracted by the music and smells-o'-BBQ. Enjoy the brisket and the Wayne Hancock set, then take a quiet minute to check out the artwork downstairs: paintings by Allen Burris.
At first, the paintings' characters, with their broad smiles and big eyes, may blend in with the characters consorting around you -- lots of playful-looking souls joining in the revelry. It's like Burris painted one big extended family of bug-eyed, droopy-haired, fun-seeking love children. His use of color (i.e., using every color he could get his hands on) gives the revelers energy, like they might reach out, grab your Shiner, then run away in a giggling frenzy.
As if that weren't enough... behind the stage stands (literally) another piece d'art, a larger-than-life photo cutout of a transient discovered living in the creekbed behind Stubb's. Dressed in her birthday suit, arms reaching for the sky, crucifix dangling from her neck, she was trying to "raise the waters" when the camera clicked. She is now immortalized, standing, backup to every band that enters the stage, nekkid.
-- Cari Marshall