A Painter’s Guide to East Austin Studio Tour 2019
Five artists you don’t want to miss on this year’s EAST
By Caroline Wright, Fri., Nov. 15, 2019
With 807 artists taking part in the East Austin Studio Tour, you can't see everything, but these are artists to watch, to engage in conversation, and to invest in while you can afford it!
It's in no small part thanks to EAST that I've made a living as an artist, sometimes with a boost from these pages. I've selected five women working in full-time studios, developing careers that stretch beyond the city limits. Craft is a given. But their perspectives offer something unique, be it the female gaze on boyish rituals or the symbol-laden female form. These abstract painters go to emotional depths through color and the speed of line, making visceral works that will take your breath away or transport you to another place altogether.
#48: ARIA BROWNELL In Aria's words, her work is about insouciance and fun. Her candy-colored oil wonderlands capture a party or its aftermath. But all are of young men, wrapped in the tribal rites of twentysomething machismo. Aria joyfully observes the violence and detritus. I'm dying to know more. Mosaic Sound Collective, 6400 FM 969 #15
#187: NATALIE SHAW People who know my work will understand why I gravitate to Natalie – movement and dance are inherent in her gestural abstractions, and we both OD'd on the influence of painter Cy Twombly. Her paintings tremor with aliveness, with a focus on giving the painting air to breathe. She makes beautiful use of negative space, and her monotypes are especially alluring. Third Space Arts, 5305 Bolm Rd., Bay 10
(Also poke your head in Suzanne Wyss' studio, where the color stories of her materials lead into kinesthetic sculptures, and see the artists and performances at Fancy Fancy next door.)
#77: ELANA ROSE CONNOR I first saw Elana's drawings at a friend's house. I was struck by the raw emotion and the brutal color palette. Elana has a rare genetic disease that leaves her nonverbal, but her paintings and drawings speak to the depth of her emotional capacity. 4712 Vaughan
#417: ANDREA MARTINEZ Andrea paints a wall across a vast, empty landscape. Starbursts read alternatively as flowers or surveillance lights that never stop shining. She calls this colorful place of layered marks "Borderlandia." "I get to paint the humanity in a place where people are trying to take it away." 2124 E. Sixth, #210
#310: NADIA WAHEED Canopy during EAST can be sensory overload, but I couldn't leave out Nadia Waheed. With gallery shows in New York and London, she is a rising star. Each painting is a full story, mysterious, symbolic, and grappling with the subject/object nature of women painting women. Canopy, 916 Springdale, Bldg. 1, #223
If you brave Canopy, don't miss Elizabeth Schwaiger (mostly Brooklyn-based these days), Rachel Wolfson Smith, and Adde Russell, – all making richly detailed, evocative work – or the subconscious-steeped ink collages of Mary Koniavitis. Or skip the EAST crowd and go to one of Big Medium's monthly Open Canopy events!
EAST is for weaving in and out of studios, group shows, and free beer hangouts. Introverted and awkward though they may be, artists want to talk to you. Ask questions, take names, and buy art!
Caroline Wright dances across her large abstract paintings in her backyard studio in Hyde Park. See her work at www.carolinewrightart.com.