• "American Craft Magazine". Aug/Sept., 2009.

    AUG/SEPT 2009 > VOICES
    Question: What’s the most exciting show you’ve seen lately?
    Paul Chan’s exhibition “My laws are my whores,” at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, perhaps because it countered my expectations. I’d seen Chan’s work a few times, and I was expecting an incredibly visual, somewhat poetic exhibition. Portraits of Supreme Court justices greeted viewers at the Ren, high on the entrance wall, and on the other side of the wall was a projection of vibrating naked bodies in sexual and tortuous postures.
    It was a tough show, formally commanding and disturbing in a thought-provoking way.
    —Anne Wilson, artist, professor at the School of the Art Institute
    of Chicago, Illinois.
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    My initial thought was not of a recent show but of an upcoming exhibition that I have been on the periphery of conversations about: “Call + Response” at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. The show pairs artists with historians who write about the work, and it includes many events to engage the public. What excites me is the emphasis on both “taking it to the streets” (in terms of the programming) and scholarly, critical interpretation of the work (made more accessible by its inclusion in the exhibition).
    — JP Reuer, architect, chair, MFA program in applied craft and design, Oregon College of Art and Craft and Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland.

    “Simon Starling: The Nanjing Particles” at MASS MOCA. I was captured by the austerity and simplicity of the installation on the one hand and, on the other, the absolute vividness of the artist’s concept. The allure of the highly polished and reflective surfaces coupled with the unusual shapes’ Herculean scale filled my visit with intrigue.
    —Mark Richard Leach, executive director, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Alexander Calder’s jewelry and small works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I felt like a boy discovering what it means to be creative… stepping into the playful and creatively honest mind of Calder. I watched the video of his circus three times all the way through…. I have a poor attention span for videos in exhibitions, but seeing an aging man playing with these small circus acts reminds me that our own creations keep us young. The wire portraits were beautifully simple; if one line were taken away the composition would fall apart. This was the first show in a long time that gave me goose bumps along with a permanent smile.
    —Matthias Pliessnig, furniture maker, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    One of my favorite events in Pittsburgh is a massive communal exhibition called “Art All Night.” About 800 local artists contribute a single piece of their work, which goes on display from Saturday evening through the night until about noon the next day. Thousands of people come to view the work, check out the bands and see friends. There are artists in every medium, from age 3 to age 90. With the incredible diversity of work, it’s a highlight of my art-viewing experience each year.
    —Matt Eskuche, glass artist, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    The most exciting show I’ve seen lately was Nick Cave’s “Meet Me at the Center of the Earth” at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. It was a beautiful riot of color, form and cast-off objects given
    a bizarre second life. It makes you want to forget the art-versus-craft debate and dive headlong into the work.
    —Erik Scollon, artist and writer, Oakland, California.

    I saw the new American Collections Galleries at the Milwaukee Art Museum this spring and drove back the next week to look again. These installations frame the applied arts as vital, generative and embodying contemporary issues. Outstanding is the collaborative “Loca Miraculi/Rooms of Wonder,” a reinterpretation of the earliest kind of museum, the Wunderkammer, by Wisconsin artist Martha Glowacki, the Chipstone Foundation, the Madison cabinetmaker Jim Dietz and local collections.
    — Kimberly Cridler, metalsmith and assistant professor at University of Wisconsin, Madison.

    In March I saw a brilliant little show of postcard-size collages by Marcy McChesney. It was part of San Antonio’s “Luminaria” arts festival. They formed a continuous line at eye level on all four walls of the gallery space. The works were made when she didn’t have the time or space to make art, so she gave herself the charge to make one postcard a day using anything available. The result was compellingly fresh and personal.
    — Paula Owen, president, Southwest School of Art & Craft, San Antonio, Texas.

  • "210 San Anonio" November 29, 2008

    LOOK & LISTEN: Artist blends love-hate relationship with Texas
    Wednesday, 19 November 2008

    WHO: Marcy McChesney, 42

    MEDIUM: Oil and acrylic

    Marcy McChesney likes to paint oddities of the Lone Star State.
    BEST KNOWN FOR: Pairing images that usually don’t work well together to create something humorous. McChesney has also made hundreds of postcard-sized collages, such as the ones that she lined up along the walls of the gallery Bihl Haus Arts. She also sells them on Etsy.com for about $20 apiece.

    CURRENTLY: McChesney’s series of paintings at Stella Haus explore ideas of looking at Texas from an outsider’s perspective in a tongue-in-cheek or humorous sort of way.

    “I’ve always felt like an outsider,” McChesney said, although she is originally from Texas. “I always felt kind of different.”

    McChesney said that after living in California for 10 years, she could see the shifts in priorities amongst people when she returned to Texas, such as beliefs on politics or recycling. “Even though I’d lived here before, it was kind of a shock,” she said. As a result, McChesney said that while she isn’t ashamed to be a Texan, she doesn’t necessarily want to be associated with some of the things that represent Texas. Her current paintings, created during the past six months, are a culmination of the things McChesney sees as weird in her home state — such as religious views, beer bongs and lucha libre wrestlers.

    Some of the paintings are cartoon-like animals dressed as humans.

    “I’ve always liked children’s books where animals do human stuff,” McChesney said.

    The animals are coupled with odd objects and candy-colored backgrounds. “Shotgun Wedding,” for instance, shows a white rabbit holding a gun in the foreground and a small chapel in the distance against a plain lime green background.

    Several of the paintings come from McChesney’s personal observations. While in Marfa last October, McChesney said she watched people from New York and Europe walking around the West Texas city dressed in fringe jackets and cowboy boots. McChesney started photographing people’s shoes while sitting on a Marfa street curb. The scene resulted in her painting people’s feet, with the focal point being a woman in white cowboy boots.
    “A lot of people hate Texas, but they also romanticize it,” McChesney said. “That’s not realistic.”

    BACKGROUND: McChesney lived in Orange County and San Francisco from 1991 to 2001 before moving back to Texas. She received her bachelor’s of fine art in painting from the University of Texas San Antonio in 2004.

    WEB SITE: MarcyMcChesney.com

    CHECK HER OUT: McChesney’s paintings are up through the rest of November at Stella Haus Art Space. For more information, visit daynadehoyos.com.

    Emily Messer | 210SA contributor

  • "San Antonio Express News", July 5, 2008

    July heat brings risk-taking to local art

    In July 1985, when the heat was keeping tourists closer to water attractions and farther from galleries, a group of San Antonio artists, curators and educators began Contemporary Art Month, an annual event that gives art venues the opportunity to take risks by showcasing young, local artists.

    Now in its 23rd year, the event is about to lose yet another leader, leaving only one original founder to ensure Contemporary Art Month doesn't lose its integrity, or its month. Robert Tatum, who spearheads fundraising for Contemporary Art Month, is headed to Houston.

    “It was so dead in July, so hot, and the art scene was so new here 20 years ago,” said Hank Lee, who owns San Angel Folk Art in the Blue Star Arts Complex. “In July, no one came to galleries, so we all just took risks. Now it's been pushed and pulled to try to change the month, but the spirit is still there.”

    Local artist Marcy McChesney appreciates the event's intent to encourage diversity and appreciation of young artists. Born in San Antonio, McChesney spent 10 years in California before returning to get a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Last year, the painter had no studio space to create large murals and was forced to think smaller-scale, so she started making collages.

    She made one colorful postcard-sized collage each day and showed a few pieces to her former UTSA professor Kellen McIntyre, who seeks out minority and female artists to promote in Bihl Haus Arts. McChesney's exercise in collage led “+/- 200,” on display at Bihl Haus Arts through Contemporary Art Month.

    A band of 178 collages is stuck with Velcro along the perimeter of the gallery's white walls. Red stickers denote about 20 collages that had been sold for $35 each, a price set by McChesney.

    “It's a very democratic show, and Marcy (McChesney) was very interested in having a lot of people buy them,” McIntyre said. “It makes me giggle when I come in — the pieces are technically brilliant and a visual delight.”

    More eye candy by UTSA's art community is part of Contemporary Art Month at C-Art Studio, where professors Ricky Armendariz and Richard Martinez's images of landscapes adorn the walls in “Hybrid Vistas: Two South Texas Painters.”

    Several months ago, Armendariz approached C-Art Studio owner Claudia Trevino with the idea of doing a show with Martinez, since both artists focus on modernizing the image of the natural landscape.

    Armendariz paints landscapes on birch plywood, then uses a Dremel tool to carve images with religious and historic undertones; Martinez experiments with surfaces like linen, projectors, dura-lar paper and stencils to portray scenes from nature.

    “They both have completely different visions, but they came up with the theme and both worked really great together,” Trevino said. “We had a great turnout for the opening; everybody loved it, and it was one of our largest crowds.”

    Another sizable crowd is expected to attend the opening of StoneMetal Press' “Gi-Normous Prints!” exhibit this Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., though prints are already up at the gallery in the Blue Star Arts Complex as another Contemporary Art Month installation.

    At the opening, massive prints created by six local artists using unconventional printing methods will be on display. Hebron Chism, Paul Karam, Katie Pell, Alex Rubio, Luis Valderas and Bernice Williams chiseled printing plates and then used a steamroller to stamp inked images onto cotton rag paper that can be archived, while Regina Sanders used the weight of Modacolab dancers atop printing plates to create her images. A recording of the dancers' performance will play during the show's opening.

    “It's important for us to do things that are avant-garde but still approachable for the general masses,” said Jim Kane, who owns StoneMetal Press. “In San Antonio, the art is more for the common people than it is for anyone else. We have quite a bit of homegrown art here, and it's more prevalent in everyday life than it is in other cities.”

    Lee, of San Angel Folk Art, wants to ensure that the local art culture remains a San Antonio institution. While some in the art community would rather hold Contemporary Art Month in March to coincide with Luminaria, or in October, when the weather is cooler, Lee says if the month changes, so will the event's meaning.

    “The heat doesn't matter; it's about taking risks,” Lee said. “In July, everyone can participate and it is a real destination when there is nothing else to do. In the past it's had this real momentum, and it's lost a little of that now. But the fact that it still exists is something to be very proud of.”

    Contemporary Art Month events, listed online at camsanantonio.org, will take place through the end of July at more than 60 local art venues.

    Eva Ruth

  • "San Antonio Express News", July 3, 2008

    "+/- 200"
    Bihl Haus Arts
    2803 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 383-9723
    Through Saturday(July 19)

    Working full-time for a local architectural firm, Marcy McChesney began a daily exercise to keep her creative juices flowing — sitting down after work and making a postcard-size collage. After a full year, she had enough to stage a solo show.

    Presented in a single eye-level horizontal line around the walls of the gallery, the 200-plus collages unfold almost like a movie. Each collage could be a dramatic scene, and it makes you want to come up with a narrative to link the action in the images. Each one features brilliant colors, retro-looking illustrations clipped from magazines and a wry sense of humor.

    "We just have room for 200, but I made 365 of the collages, so each time one gets sold, I put up a new one," McChesney said. "I didn't have a studio to work in, so I decided to make a small collage every day after work. My grandfather had a collection of Life magazines from the 1960s and I like to use the illustrations from architectural textbooks. I just thought making the collages was a good way to stay in practice, but it also gave me a lot of ideas to use in my usual work, paintings."

    McChesney makes her own marks on the collages with chalk and pastel. Much of the color comes from construction paper in bright, bold primary colors. She likes to add funny hats to the animal images she clips out. There's a kind of '50s suburban dream feel to several of the pieces, images of a future that never quite materialized. But her sense of color and composition is remarkably consistent, providing a clear sense of a unified style despite the varied subject matter.

    —Dan R. Goddard

  • "San Antonio Current", July 9, 2008

    July 9, 2008
    The Arts > Visual Arts

    This little Lite of mine courtesy Sonia Garcia Paschall’s “Bloom,” one of the Lite-Brite-inspired artworks on view at Stella Haus for CAM.

    By Sarah Fisch

    The theme animating RADIANT: Works Inspired by the Lite Brite presents a dilemma; combining contemporary art and a famously retro kiddie toy could make for a tediously high-concept mélange of gimmickry and nostalgia. RADIANT, however, largely avoids these pitfalls through its diversity, humor, and investigative energy. And while color and light abound, RADIANT contains a dark undercurrent of violence.

    Noah Walker Collins employs an actual Lite Brite as a stage from which a stony sculpted creature, a kind of mini Orc studded with the iconic colored pegs and rusty nails, menaces us. The title? “War is a Monster.” Marc Arevalo also displays a Lite-Brite in his multimedia installation “American Toys,” an eerie component of which is a box of bullets, which evoke the shape and size of the Lite- Brite’s pegs.

    Dustin Coleman makes this association, too, with “Cold War Days,” a red gas can bristling with pegs and punctuated with holes. The artist painted this stark, politically charged sculpture a flat red, robbing the pegs of their translucence and bringing their ammunition-like form into literal bas-relief.

    Katherine Brown and Matt Messinger’s multimedia sculpture “Every Lost Little Face” waxes elegiac on the perils of childhood, its diverse materials weathered and saddened, with a tiny “wheel of fortune” of Lite-Brite pegs, and a heartbreaking badge reading, “A blessing on your tender skin, even chafed or sunburned.”

    Elsewhere the Lite-Brite takes on an intimate tone. Dana Montana’s “Close Quarters” is a tiny, delicate wasps’ nest embedded with organic inclusions, soft fibers of cochineal red and grey-blues, suggesting forms intertwining with the minutia of daily life. Michelle Love’s “Giving Birth to Stars” presents a plastic ready-made form of a pregnant female abdomen on which a constellation of colorful lit-up pegs celebrates maternal creation. Jason Paschall’s small untitled sculpture features a small wooden box housing a dense, celebratory architecture of lit pegs, some of which spring out at the viewer on clear filaments. And Caterina Marrone’s three small paintings, titled “Osservazione Giallo,” “Osservazione Rosso” and “Osservazione Verde” show painterly figures, rent by scratches and framed by partially legible writing; their presence is haunting out of proportion to their small size.

    Some works comment directly on the Lite-Brite’s parameters. Curator Lili Pena Dyer’s witty canvas, entitled “Sumo,” presents a rapturously rendered wrestler out of Hokusai outlined in tiny holes, wryly suggesting an elementary-school “connect the dots” project, with a section of the massive wrestler’s loincloth lovingly decked out in red pegs. Sonia Garcia Paschall’s “Bloom” is a dense landcape of exploding jewels, which upon closer inspection reveal themselves to be Lite- Brite pegs meticulously sewn together, replicating exuberant floral formations. Marcy McChesney’s friendly sculpture “Sparky” is a blocky, bovine-canine form with a spiky peg pelt, a whimsical Chia Pet for the electronic age. And Kimberly Garza Campbell’s impressionistic painting “In Light,” with its chiaroscuro rendering of points of light, reminds us that sometimes the least literal interpretation evokes experience the most strongly.•


    RADIANT: Works Inspired by the Lite-Brite
    Curated by Lili Pena Dyer, Marcy McChesney & Noelia Santos
    By appt.
    Through Jul 31
    Closing reception: 7-10pm Jul 31
    Fred Ash Art & Stella Haus Art Space
    106 Blue Star, Bldg. B
    (210) 326-7155

  • UTSA TodayLocal contemporary art exhibit features works by UTSA artists

    Local contemporary art exhibit features works by UTSA artists
    August 21, 2008
    Local contemporary art exhibit features works by UTSA artists
    (July 20, 2004)--The San Antonio art exhibit "Arte Contemporaneo" features more than 30 artists from Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and California, half of whom have UTSA connections.

    As part of Contemporary Art Month, "Arte Contemporaneo" is open through Aug. 13 at the Centro Cultural Aztlan in Las Palmas Mall, 803 Castroville Rd., Suite 402. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, with weekend viewings by appointment.

    The diverse body of contemporary art includes paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, digital works, sculptures, installations and mixed media works.

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    Pictured from the exhibit are (top) "Yo Immigrante: Coming to America, 1957" (2004), a giclee print by Dan Guajardo made from a photograph taken by the artist's father in 1957, and "The Grace of Strength" (2004), a mixed media collage in black and white by Jerry Cabrera.

    "Most of the pieces in this show by established and emerging artists were done in the last two years," said Ruben Cordova, exhibit curator and UTSA assistant professor of art history and criticism. "Some were made specifically for this exhibition."

    Exhibit artists with UTSA connections are art department faculty members Ricky Armendariz and Richard Martinez; graduates Steve Arredondo, Dayna De Hoyos, Dan Guajardo, Marcy McChesney, Juan Ramos (also a staff member), Clif Tinker and Kathy Vargas; students Jerry Cabrera, Xavier Garza and Jason Stout; former students Quintin Gonzalez and Alex Rubio; and former visiting artist Cesar Martinez.

    The art pieces are based on a range of themes including Roman Catholic upbringing, Chicano style and glamour, the search for divine grace, immigration to America and Aztec mythology.

    The exhibition highlights two iconic works of Chicano art: an offset lithograph poster by Yolanda M. Lopez called "Who's the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?" printed in 1981 after a pen and ink from 1978, and "Coscolina con Muerto" (Flirt with Death), 1986, a lithograph by Luis Jimenez.

    "Sweet As Hell," a mixed media installation by Marcy McChesney, fills a small window at the gallery. According to the artist, the project deals with "the consumption and identification of pre-packaged, popular items that signify a particular event in American culture."

    In the piece, McChesney uses hundreds of pink Easter bunny marshmallows known as Peeps to alter the perception of the childhood holiday staple.

    Luis "Chispas" Guerrero's "Chispa-rama" is a dioramic installation in the gallery's large exterior window consisting of welded metal taken from salvaged automobiles and trucks in the attempt to embody myths and memories.

    Centro Cultural Aztlan of San Antonio develops and promotes art and culture through various programs. Aztlan is the name of the mystical land in Ixachilan, or the Americas, where the legendary nomadic seven tribes of the Nahual-speaking Indians started their pilgrimage south. Among the seven tribes were the Aztekahs who founded Tenochtitlan, present day Mexico City.

    For more information, contact Malena Gonzalez-Cid, Centro Cultural Aztlan executive director, at 210-432-1896 or e-mail ccaztlan@swbell.net.

    --Tim Brownlee

  • Walker Report Publisher/Editor Steve Walker

    Thursday, June 19, 2008
    Marcy McChesney reception @ Bihl Haus, June 20th

    Marcy McChesney artwork

    Marcy McChesney: +/- 200June 20th-July 19that Bihl Haus ArtsOpening Reception: Fri., June 20th, 5:30-8:30 p.m.Bihl Haus Arts is pleased to present the exhibition "+/- 200," an installation of 200 (more or less) small collages by Marcy McChesney.

    McChesney’s postcard-sized collages, produced on a near-daily basis for over a year from found and recycled materials, exhibit an elegant economy of decision-making about color, form, and texture.

    Through this process, the artist has become fascinated by the organic, instinctual spontaneity and immediacy of creating small-format collages. The works, viewed both individually and en mass in the installation,--hung end-to-end in a continuous line, they form a belt-like separation of the gallery walls--convey the sense that beauty can be found in the most common ephemera. Marcy McChesney was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas.

    Upon completion of her primary education, she moved to California where she lived for over ten years, showing her paintings in coffee houses and galleries from San Diego to San Francisco. In 2001 she returned to San Antonio to complete her BFA at UTSA, awarded in spring 2004.

    She has had several solo exhibitions and has participated in many group shows including at Arte Contemporáneo and Centro Cultural Aztlán, Her art work has been published in Is This Forever or What?: Poems and Paintings from Texas, by Naomi Shihab Nye. Recently, she designed the cover for Jo LeCouer’s book of poetry, Medicine Woods.

    McChesney will offer “Small Collages,” a hands-on workshop at Bihl Haus Arts on Saturday, July 12, 2-4 pm. The cost of the workshop is $20.00 per person (free to residents of Primrose Senior Apartments). All materials provided. For reservations, please call 383-9723.

    Bihl Haus Arts (www.bihlhausarts.org) is a not-for-profit contemporary art gallery located at 2803 Fredericksburg Rd., on the premises of Primrose at Monticello Park Senior Apartments, an affordable housing community.

    The gallery is made possible with the generous support of The Potashnik Family Foundation and Primrose. This exhibit is an official CAM event. For more information, (210) 383-9723, or kellenkee@swbell.net

    Posted by Joe Solis at Thursday, June 19, 2008

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  • "San Antonio Express News", June 20, 2008

    San Antonio artist Marcy McChesney has spent more than a year creating postcard-size collages every day with found and recycled materials. For her one-woman show, more than 200 of the collages will be hung end-to-end in a continuous line around the walls at Bihl Haus Arts, 2803 Fredericksburg Rd., (210) 383-9723. An opening reception is set for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday (June 20).
    Born in San Antonio, McChesney lived in California for 10 years before returning to San Antonio and earning her BFA at UTSA. Her art work has been published in Naomi Shihab Nye's "This Forever or What?: Poems and Paintings from Texas" and Jo LeCouer's "Medicine Woods." She will teach a workhop on "Small Collages" July 12 at the Bihl Haus. An official CAM event, her exhibit runs through July 19.

    —Dan R. Goddard