Five Things to Appreciate on the West Austin Studio Tour
Highlights of the sunset side of the ambulatory artistic experience
BY WAYNE ALAN BRENNER, FRI., NOV. 5, 2021
The Austin Studio Tour, presented by those artful movers and shakers of Big Medium, is a combination of the pre-pandemic West Austin Studio Tour and East Austin Studio Tour, formerly separate and now joined into one citywide event that unfolds like divine origami across three local weekends in November. It's a free, self-guided celebration of visual art that features more than 530 Austin-based artists and creative collaboratives, with the tour boundaries expanded to include all 10 City Council districts for in-person participants, plus a 15-mile radius from the Capitol for virtual participants.
The first weekend (Sat.-Sun., Nov. 6-7, noon-6pm) highlights the West side of Austin; the second weekend (Sat.-Sun., Nov. 13-14, noon-6pm) covers the West and the East; and the final weekend (Sat.-Sun., Nov. 20-21, noon-6pm) wraps up with just the East.
Note: You can pick up a free studio tour map at any Austin Public Library branch, starting Nov. 4; but you've got to become a member of Big Medium to snag a copy of the Austin Studio Tour Art Book.
Here are five recommendations for the first, West-based week – and we'll be following up with five for the East portion of the tour next issue.
Denise Fulton, that amazing painter of figurative realism (and one of the founders of the Atelier Dojo school of art), displays her newest explorations of feminist themes and also hosts her friend and fellow artist, Chalda Maloff. Maloff uses digital technology to create otherworldly abstracts – reminiscent of polychrome jellyfish, say, or transparent floral scatterings – that are printed large-scale with archival pigment inks. This two-person exhibition is an engaging study in contrasting styles of personal expression.
4104 Ave. H
This woman's protean career has moved through phases of creation that generate diverse, highly distinct series of expression – each of which has been remarkable in its graphic power and focus, her work ranging from hyperrealist botanicals to pointillist mandalas to bold and chunky abstracts. This year Alesi will open her home studio to present paintings from her ongoing "With Grace" cycle, along with older work from her "Aftermath" and "Simplicity" series.
1017-A W. Milton
Art for the People Gallery
This welcoming venue run by Hallie Rae Ward brightens the tour with its current group show, "Flourish," embodying the definition of "to grow and develop in a healthy and vigorous way, especially in a favorable environment." Here's a favorable environment indeed, with works by more than 40 artists on display – Amanda Witucki, Court Rogers, Wolf Garden, Mitch Albrecht, and Jessica Nacovsky among them – and a bonus solo exhibition, "Own Your Aura," by alcohol-ink virtuosa Julie Pelaez.
1711 S. First
Circle C Creatives
Ah – Circle C. A fancy sort of neighborhood, it's gonna generate works worth seeing? But, c'mon, not all artists need to be ensconced at bare-subsistence level in some garret to wow the eyes and touch the soul with what they create, n'est-ce pas? And this exhibition at the Circle C Community Center reveals a group of 20 artists working in photography, painting, collage, ceramics, and sculpture – and we reckon just having that reality-warping digital artist Leslie Kell and worldclass high fashion photog Teodora Pogonat among them is reason enough for a visit this first weekend.
7817 La Crosse
Almost Real Things: Artbus
OK, so maybe you want someone other than your Chronicle pals to curate your tour experience? Or maybe you'd just rather ride around the city in a decked-out bus, sipping drinks (unlimited alcohol, sparkling water, and juices) and listening to good tunes with a bunch of fellow art-lovers, while the affable celebrants of creativity at Almost Real Things handle the studio choices and the driving? Either way, we know you'll be in good hands with this fun-forward crew, who are offering the big-wheeled-and-gregarious service (at $35) for the AST's first two weekends. almostrealthings.com