Austin Art Breaks

Austin Art Breaks

Join us at our regular member only events: Austin Art Breaks. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at galleries, private collections, artist studios, and an introduction to those that shape the Austin art scene while enjoying a drink and mingling with members of the Austin art community.



Art Break with Katy Horan & Teruko Nimura

Join us on February 28th as we take an exclusive look at Katy Horan & Teruko Nimura’s “Residual”.

In Residual, artists Katy Horan and Teruko Nimura interpret the concept of hauntings, from unresolved personal and societal experiences that resonate in our present day to variations on the traditional ghosts and spirits found in superstition and folklore. Be it Katy’s sinister figures and Appalachian Haints or Teruko’s investigation of the fear induced “othering” seen in the Japanese American internment, these artists engage the specter of death, grieving, and threat from various points of view. This two person exhibition will include an array of drawing, painting, sculpture, and multi-media installation inviting the viewer to reflect on the echoes of the past that live among us still.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

6 to 8 pm with beer, wine, cocktails and bites
conversation with the artists around 7pm


Art Alliance Austin Member only event.

Not a member? Become one at


We couldn’t produce events like this without the help of our incredible sponsors:




Wangechi Mutu, Water Woman, 2017. Bronze. 36 x 65 x 70 inches. Edition 2 of 3, with 2 AP. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2017. Artwork © Wangechi Mutu. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons.

Art Break at The Contemporary Austin’s Laguna Gloria

Join us on the 25th for an enchanting evening at The Contemporary Austin’s Laguna Gloria. Gaze upon the lagoon from Clara Driscoll’s 1916 Italianate Villa before exploring the sculpture park on a twilight tour featuring works by Ai Weiwei, Wangechi Mutu, and Ryan Gander. Our hostess for the evening, Emily Cayton, has taken thousands of visitors on conversational and discovery-based tours. Spend time at one of Austin’s cultural gems for October’s Art Break.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
6 to 8 pm with beer, wine, cocktails and bites
conversation with the hostess around 7pm

Art Alliance Austin Member only event.

Not a member? Become one at

Art Break with William T. Carson

Join us on the 13th for our August Austin Art Break with William T. Carson. William T. Carson grew up on an isolated cattle ranch in rural Montana surrounded by the pristine natural landscapes that contrast with the ever-present strip coal mines.  In the fall of 2014, 90 miles of railroad tracks were proposed to be built over fertile family-owned farmlands in service of a new coal mine.  William and his father followed the proposed route on a horse-packing expedition.  UNEARTH, his first solo exhibition, is a direct product of his childhood and that expedition.

Artworks included in UNEARTH are created using two distinctly different but related processes, resulting in Erosion Drawings and Coal Paintings.  Both approaches involve the use of coal to build up layers – one on a substrate of paper, the other on a substrate of wood panel.

With a clearly intuitive touch and a oneness with the material, William T. Carson’s works are so subtly formed and finely detailed that they not only allow but also invite the viewer to get lost in the beauty of the material.  The impact of experiencing these works in person cannot be overstated; the true color, texture and effect of the coal is almost impossible to capture.

An emerging artist creating works beyond his years, William T. Carson studied architecture in 2013 at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark and in 2015 graduated from Colorado College in Colorado Springs Colorado with a BA Magna Cum Laude with Distinction in Art Studio.

Art Break with Tim Levy

Tim Levy, the CEO of a digital strategy studio, developed a program that allows the contemporary art gallery model to speak to a larger audience through his Virtual Reality software. This concept breaks through the limitations of the gallery paradigm while creating a visceral experience and the availability of Fine Art globally.

Art Break with Christina Coleman & Roberto Jackson Harrington

Join us for an exclusive tour and conversation with artists Christina Coleman & Roberto Jackson Harrington at de stijl | PODIUM FOR ART.

Art Break with grayDUCK Gallery, May 17th

Join us for an exclusive preview of grayDUCK Gallery’s upcoming exhibit, Collectors Show. Collectors Show is a celebration of local collectors that champion art on a personal level. grayDUCK has invited several local collectors to share artworks from their private collections, offering the public the opportunity to view works signifying a lifelong commitment to the arts, and the artists that have ignited their passion for collecting.

The role of the art collector is vital and complex; it is an investment in the life and legacy of artists. This exhibition offers an insight into the relationships forged between collectors and artists by presenting a sampling of artwork for which these art lovers have found space in their homes. Pieces that they live with on a daily basis.

Participating Collectors:

Elisa and Joel Sumner

Elisa and Joel keep an exhaustive social calendar supporting local art. Simply put, they see everything. “We are both employed in high-tech and we wish there were more techies who were collecting Austin art. That’s been our white whale – to find more of us.” They began their collecting in 2003, visiting studios during EAST. “Each year the artists we saw the previous year generously gave their recommendations of new people to see. The wonderful thing about the Austin arts community is that everyone is so eager to share what they think is cool or interesting.” Joel and Elisa have a distinctive collection, and they don’t shy away from difficult subject matter or unusual materials in fact they are drawn to it.

Anastasia & Jay Colombo

Anastasia is a pillar in the art community and has worked as a gallerist, curator and arts organization board member. Jay is a talented architect who has an eye for details and design. They are a creative force, and art has always been a part of their lives. They might not have a narrow style that they collect, but they are devoted to Texas artists. “Our primary interest is work by contemporary Texas artists. There is a lot of talent in this state, and we want to do what we can to support that. We look at, and appreciate work we see while traveling, and the day may come that we’re more strongly tempted, but it hasn’t happened yet. If we buy a book, it’s from Bookpeople, not Amazon. If we buy art, it’s from a Texas artist or gallery, not from an art fair in Miami. We also never buy artworks with a mind towards investment value. We simply buy things we love and want to see all the time.“

Mike Chesser

With a photography background, Mike has a keen eye for composition and curation. He has always had a desire to collect things, which began as a boy, with his collection of rocks. His first piece of art was a horse print his parents bought for him; He still has it today. A close photographer friend of his in New Your City would buy all the up-and-coming artwork of the day, and then turn around and sell it to his friends. He was Mike’s unofficial art dealer and he learned quite a bit from him. Mike is a leader in the Austin art community; He is a member of the Contemporary Austin Board and a supporter of many arts organizations, too many to count.

Ann Berman & Shawn Smith

Ann, who has a dancer/choreographer background and is currently working as a finance director, has the same left brain-right brain dynamic as her internationaly exhibiting artist and science geek husband, Shawn. Their collection, which has been put together with quirky love and humor, had a wonderful beginning. “We were first inspired to start collecting back in Dallas in 1995 when we met well-known collectors, Sonny Burt and Bob Butler. They were interested in buying one of Shawn’s sculptures and invited us to tour their home which was custom built to house their extensive art collection. They collected what they loved, not what was necessarily fashionable or a wise investment opportunity. We were deeply inspired and we became life-long friends.

When we got engaged in 2001, rather than registering for china and silverware, we asked people to consider donating to our future art collection. Since then, we have followed in Sonny and Bob’s footsteps and purchased pieces that tickled us and made us happy.

The first piece we purchased with our wedding fund was Semper Cute by Kathy Aoki. We were immediately drawn to its ambiguity, quirkiness, and humor. Like Sonny and Bob, we purchase things we love.”

Shalini Ramanathan & Chris Tomlinson

Shalini and Chris have lived and worked all over the world. Chris is a writer and reporter, and Shalini develops huge wind energy projects. Their collection reflects the places they have called home. “We’ve been lucky to live abroad and travel the world. We know that talent/creativity/insight aren’t owned by any one group of people. We’re interested in supporting voices that aren’t always heard.”  Their house is filled with art that commemorates important moments in their lives and celebrates the friends that surround them. “We buy what we love, and we don’t pay too much attention to the crazy money aspect of the art world. We believe that a community is defined as much by its artists as by its geography or its festivals, and that we need artists to help us understand ourselves and our world. If you want a vibrant community, consider supporting local artists.”

Donald Mullins
Don started collecting art in his hometown, Houston, in the early 1990s. After moving to Austin, he became attracted to the lively art scene surrounding the Creative Research Laboratory at Flatbed Press (now the Visual Arts Center at UT). CRL was a venue that provided emerging artists a first exhibition space and seasoned artists a home base. While creating dialogues across communities, they collaborated with other art groups and galleries such as the Fresh Up Club. Don developed many deep friendships at those art shows that have lasted until today. “Lots of people see the art world as inaccessible or elitist. That may be the case in certain circles, but I have always found artists to be the easiest and most interesting entry point. I make friends and ask lots of questions. The fact that you are interested in their work means you have a connection.“


Art Break with Hatch Workshop, February 22nd

Join us for an exclusive tour and conversation with the team behind Hatch Workshop. Hatch Workshop is an affiliation of friends who enjoy all that is thoughtful and well-crafted. The work is inspired by people they’ve met and things they’ve seen/found. By combining a love of traditional wood joinery, old machinery and dumpster diving, the group is  able to produce furniture and installations that are durable, resourceful and comfortable.

Examples of Hatch Workshop’s  work:

Art Break with Dan Sutherland, January 25th


Join us for an exclusive private studio tour and conversation with painter and educator Dan Sutherland. Dan Sutherland is an Austin based painter and Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has been teaching painting and drawing since 1991. He is represented by Moody Gallery in Houston, TX and by Dutton Gallery in New York, NY. His work has been included in solo exhibitions at the McNay Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas; McAllen Museum of Art, Texas; Galveston Arts Center, Texas; Courtyard Gallery at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas; and the former Cactus Bra Gallery, San Antonio, Texas. He has also recently exhibited his work at Metcalf Gallery, Taylor University, Upland, Indiana; Tiny Park Gallery; Austin; Silas Marder Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York; and Dutton Gallery, New York, New York. His work is included in the collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas and the Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas.

“My current work exploits the properties of paint that are distinct to the medium, specifically those that allow direct, subjective, subtle, extreme, and heterogeneous results. As a path to invention, I conflate strategies and conventions from many historical painting genres. I am drawn to the idea of a painting occupying the paradoxical position of being a literally finite object that creates an ever-changing, complex experience. I generate paintings that embody the tenderness, rage, longings, and imperfections of their maker to the point of becoming a blasphemous, biased, and impossible construction: a Golem.” Dan Sutherland from New American Painting


Art Break with Industry Print Shop, December 7th

Join us for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Industry Print Shop, see how a print is made, and meet co-founder Tony Diaz.

Tony and Jennifer Diaz founded the shop in early 2007, Industry is one of Austin’s most prolific, artist-run print-shops. Industry has built a phenomenal reputation in the world’s of art and design with a keen eye for detail and outstanding customer service. From small projects to international campaigns, our goal is to provide the highest quality screen printed materials to bring your vision from an idea to a tangible product.

Examples of Industry’s work:






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Each year we as local experts and luminaries to suggest 3 stops on the East Austin Studio Tour (EAST).  The tour consists of over 400 Austin artists opening their homes & studios to the public for everyone to see their process and what they are working on and attracts about 20,000 people each year. Here’s last year’s selection of suggested stop.

This year we’re offering our members a chance to start your first Sunday of EAST with a selection of these experts to help guide your day and find some great new art.

This Art Break will be taking place at Pershing the site of ARTBASH and will offer attendees a chance to see the exhibition.


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Art Break with Greg Davis, September 14th

Join us for an exclusive private studio tour, conversation, and film screening with photographer Greg Davis. Greg is an Austin based photographer that is represented by National Geographic Creative. His passion has taken him across the world and blossomed to include a critically celebrated film Cloth Paper Dreams. Greg has exhibited at the Blanton Museum of Art (Austin), Center for Contemporary Arts (Abeline), Museum of Sothwst (Midland), Georgetown Art Center (Georgetown), and the Museum of Fine Art (San Angelo).


The purpose of my work is to serve as a reminder to us that we are all part of something greater than ourselves. At a faster rate than ever before, our world is shrinking and traditional cultures are at risk. It is imperative that we be aware of and respect the diversity of our planet as well as our unprecedented need to preserve it.– Greg Davis


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Art Break with Dimension Gallery, August 4th

Join us for an exclusive private performance at Dimension Gallery, this is a preview of their upcoming exhibition Disparate Mythos: Women of Sculpture that opens to the public the following day, Friday August 5th.  The exhibition features work by 13 women sculptors. The artist list is impressive, including women who have shown their work around the world including (in aplhabetical order): Alejandra Almuelle, Holly Bobisuthi, Valerie Chaussonnet, Erin Cunningham, Rachel David, Andrea De Leon, Jennifer Hill, Magdalena Jarkowiec, Laura Latimer, Sarah McFadden, Amy Scofield, Gingi Statman, and Alyssa Taylor Wendt; the exhibition is curated by Moya Khabele.


Dimension Gallery was founded by Colin McIntyre and Moya Khabele, who conceived the idea after co-producing several shows for McIntyre, a local sculptor.  Colin McIntyre has built his career as a metal sculptor in Austin since 2001.  His most notable accomplishments of large-scale sculpture include ‘Arboreal Passage’ at the Austin Nature and Science Center and ‘Emergence’ at Art on the Llano in Lubbock, TX.  He was awarded a grant from the Texas Biennial in 2009 and has been featured in the Museum of Vordingborg, Denmark, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, and the People’s Gallery at Austin City Hall, among many others.  His recent accomplishments include two solo shows funded by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division as well as invitation to the world-renowned international sculpture show in Perth, Australia, Sculpture by the Sea.


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Art Break with Jason Archer, July 21st

Join us for an exclusive conversation and temporary pop-up exhibition with Jason Archer.



Jason Archer is an American visual artist and pioneer of the contemporary art scene in Austin, Texas.  His work fuses Pop Art and cultural archetypes to create modern myths that reimagine historical events, natural phenomena or existing ritual.

Jason is the creator of a variety of artworks as a director, animator, painter and muralist both collaborative and solo.  His work includes political satire and Texas inspired characters such as Jesus Cornbread & the Alcoholics and Stray of the Dead.  Archer’s early career in animation earned him a Grammy and an MTV Video of the Year Award for directing and animating Frijolero, a music video for the Mexican rock band Molotov.  Currently, Archer produces and curates Frank Public Art, an ongoing public art project in downtown Austin.  He co-owns Show Goat Mural Works, a mural company specializing in design and installation of large scale murals such as Daniel Johnston’s Love is the Question? Love is the Answer and his very own Conservatorium of Infinite Wisdom, Sustenance and Guidance.  Jason has participated in numerous art shows, exhibitions and events ranging from Chianti Weekend, SXSW and the inaugural Pop Austin International Art Show.


Art Break with Bale Creek Allen, June 29th

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Join us for an exclusive conversation with Bale Creek Allen about his artistic practice and opening a gallery in Austin earlier this year.



Bale Creek Allen was born in 1968 in Hollywood, CA to Texas-born artists Terry and Jo Harvey Allen. During his childhood, he was surrounded and influenced by groundbreaking artists such as Edward Ruscha, Allen Ruppersberg, Bruce Nauman, Chris Burden, John Baldessari, and William Wegman. There is no doubt that growing up around so many great artists had a profound impact on Allen.

Bale was the first recipient of a four year degree from Boston’s prestigious School of the Museum of Fine Arts after only 2 years of study. Because of his tenacity and exceptional body of work that was produced during the 10 short years after leaving the school, the faculty voted unanimously to award him his degree. Bale is the truest definition of an artist, excelling in a multitude of mediums such as bronze sculpture, painting, photography, neon, wood work, spoken word, music and theatre. This aptitude for multiple mediums has given him the opportunity to share his knowledge with others as an adjunct professor and an artist in residency while teaching at California State University at Fullerton, Texas Tech University, University of St. Louis and University of Texas at Austin, to name a few.

Bale’s unique concept of taking actual tumbleweeds, tire treads and other detritus objects found along open roads throughout the country and casting them into bronze sculptures are arguably his most recognizable works. Like many of his favorite artists, Allen delves into numerous mediums and subject matter, never limiting himself to any one discipline. Because of his never-ending curiosities and strong work ethic, Allen has exhibited widely throughout the United States, Europe and other parts of the world as early as 1984. In an essay written on Allen’s work by David Byrne of the Talking Heads, he quotes, “I see a life here, mirrored in this work, and a land, a region and country. All of it being explored bit by bit, first chipping away at the nearby-one’s own life-and then, when some acceptance of that is gained, moving on to the interstellar garbage, and the questions raised by the space junk scattered around the desert of the world.”


Art Break with Jeff Scott, Feb 25th


Jeff Scott Art Break Carousel Image
Members of Art Alliance Austin get a rare chance to meet Austin-based artist Jeff Scott, see selections from The Personal Elvis Collection and selections from a new body of work premiering here

Hai Karate Still Life copy

Elvis's Thumbprint

Images courtesy of Jeff Scott Studio

Jeff Scott is a multi-media artist known for his provocative interpretations of iconic cultural genres. Scott is widely known for his use of innovative photographic, painting, filmmaking and printmaking techniques. His artwork has been exhibited extensively in the United States including The Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN, The Dallas Museum of Art and The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA and is in the permanent collections of The Dallas Museum of Art, The Smithsonian Institution, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Disney, Ralph Lauren and The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In Scott’s new body of work, titled American Crime Paintings, the artist paints directly on found, discarded images and other source materials, altering their narrative, form and visual perception. Scott creates a potent retro-modern vision that evokes American Cinema, Abstract Expressionism and Color Field works. These large, graphic paintings build on Scott’s ability to combine art making techniques and create innovative cross medium processes.

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American Crime Painting detail, image courtesy of Jeff Scott Studio

Also on display will be a selection of works from Scott’s series The Personal Elvis Collection.

“It is [Scott’s] insight/ recognition that in these ‘historic’ collage autobiographies, it is the ‘stuff’ itself that can tell a story. Indeed, the including of Elvis’s biographical elements-images in Scott’s work is sometimes accomplished by setting the material (actually photographs of the material) into highly formal compositions; Scott’s Birth Certificate’s structure parallels a format by Motherwell, and the spare Operator’s License accords with compositions by Ellsworth Kelly .” – E.A. Carmean, Jr., a noted twentieth-century art historian and author fromer curator at the Muesum of Fine Arts Houston; the National Gallery of Art, Washington; and Director of the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth; and the Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis.

“The thumbprint was taken for Presley’s Memphis police department badge, and, like any image or article from the rest of the life of Elvis, takes on an iconic presence. This seemingly simple work becomes more complex on reflection, suggesting the paradox that a celebrity indeed has an everyday attribute shared by the rest of us. Though it definitively registers an identity, Scott’s image is also oddly anonymous, making us perhaps question the power of images to enshrine or dethrone.” – Charles Wylie, formerly the Lupe Murchis Curator of Contemporary Art, Dallas Museum of Art

Image courtesy of Jeff Scott Studio

In between Scott’s Elvis work and this new body that he’s premiering, Scott created: Notes From A Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession. Notes explores the creative process and reveals in very emotional detail the realistic daily workings of the culinary world as never before experienced.

Scott was awarded the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence in Photography for this provocative work.

Austin Art Breaks are an Art Alliance Austin Member only event series. You can become a member to Art Alliance Austin and join us at all of our Art BREAK events by visiting our website. Each month Art Alliance members enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at galleries, private collections, artist studios, and an introduction to those that shape the Austin art scene.

Images courtesy of Lance Letscher and Conduit Gallery:

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Members of Art Alliance Austin get a rare chance to meet artist Lance Letscher and filmmaker Sandra Adair, director of upcoming documentary:  The Secret Life of Lance Letscher; plus a single night exhibition on loan from Conduit Gallery (Dallas)


Thursday, January 14th from 6 to 8 pm 

7:15pm Artist Presentation and screening of in-progress trailer of The Secret Life of Lance Letscher


Lance Letscher is an Austin based artist who has shown across the globe. His last major Austin exhibition was in 2004 at the Austin Museum of Art. Since then he has had solo exhibitions in Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Brussels, Belgium; Berlin, Germany; New York, New York; London, England and at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. In 2009, The University of Texas Press published a monograph on Letscher.  Letscher is represented by Conduit Gallery in Dallas. And at the January Art Break Conduit Gallery is loaning a handful of works for exhibition.

In addition to this one-night-only exhibition and artist talk we’ll be screening a trailer for an in-progress documentary, The Secret Life of Lance Letscher, and you’ll have a chance to the meet the film’s director Sandra Adair. Adair is the award-winning film editor of Boyhood and collaborative partner of Richard Linklater for over 20 years. Adair is making her debut as a documentary director by recording Lance Letscher as he transitions from his intricately-designed paper collage to metal – for a large installation on the side of the building housing South Congress Books.

“I couldn’t be more excited that Sandra’s making this film about the quirky and amazing artist Lance Letscher.”  – Richard Linklater

This Austin Art Break will take Thursday January 14th from 6-8pm. This is a member-only event with a capacity venue. If you would like to attend you must RSVP to


Images courtesy of Lance Letscher and Conduit Gallery:


Timelapse of Art BREAK at CAMIBAart

Video by David Bailie , courtesy of CAMIBAart


Artist Installation Viewing Party: Exclusive Exhibition Preview

Thursday, October 15th from 6 to 8 pm at CAMIBAart’s Flatbed Gallery

Join us at the Camiba Art at Flatbed Press gallery for an exclusive preview of Austin based artist Ender Martos’ upcoming exhibition: Ender Martos: Luz y Movimiento. Witness Martos create and install a site specific installation to accompany his wall dependent and sculptural works in the exhibition. Enjoy drinks while watching the completion of the installation, accompanied by a talk presented by Martos focused on site specific installations, his ideas behind them, and how they can transition to private, corporate, and public installations. This event allows unprecedented access to both artist and exhibition. Space is limited, so RSVP today by emailing Holly McDaniel at rsvp(a)


Ender Martos; Centrifugal Force of Geometry (detail); 2015

Statement outlining Ender Martos’ exhibition at CAMIBAart Gallery: Ender Martos: Luz y Movimiento

I grew up in Merida, a Venezuelan city built where the tectonic journey of the mighty Andes comes to a close.  Like the mountain range that surrounded me, I had a rebellious nature throughout my teenage years.  The discomfort of growth translated to my artistic expression, lushly, viscerally, but also erratically.  My earliest attempts in artistic expression gasped for air, but I found they shriveled once they reached the surface.  Unlike those majestic peaks, the structures I built, so to speak, did not hold.

I discovered the influence of structure in the creation of art through the discipline of Technical Drawing.  Five years of rigorous enrollment taught me to appreciate art as a kind of architecture, in which the meticulous negotiation of design enables the creation of artwork.  Technical instruction gave me a language upon which to build expression.  The language of structure revealed the elegance of temperamental peaks upon which I lived, in which no crease or violent drop is a random occurrence, but the precise byproduct of a natural force that is expressed.  Likewise, my artistic process is often self evident; many of my works depict a contrast of precise, rhythmic, multi-chromatic lines and shapes.

Contrast and movement feature prominently in my work, along with explorations of symmetry that experiment with variation in color and shapes.  Some of my work is inundated with geometric abstraction of color and a dynamic composition of repetition and progression of lines.  I am currently experimenting with the incorporation of new materials such as Plexiglas and fishing line, developing new work that pushes the boundaries of the language of structure and aesthetic expression.


Ender Martos ; Graceful Beams of Sunshine in the Spring ; 2015

Please RSVP by emailing rsvp〈@〉

Are you a member and you’d like to bring a friend or coworker who isn’t a member yet? No problem, bring them as your guest to the next Austin Art Break.

Not member yet? Become a member today!


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A Preview of the Paris Exhibition: A Studio visit with Shawn Smith

Thursday, September 17th from 6 to 8 pm

Join us for a studio visit with Austin artist Shawn Smith. We’ll take a exclusive look at a body of work just before it is shipped off to a solo show in Paris, France at the Mark Hachem Contemporary Art Gallery. Also on hand will be Jill Schroeder, director of grayDUCK Gallery where Smith will debut a second body of work, titled Pixels, Predators, and Prey, the following day, Friday September 18th. This promises to be a memorable and outstanding event and space is limited, so RSVP today by emailing Holly McDaniel at rsvp(a)


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Shawn Smith; Cheetah (with detail); 2015; 16 x 70 x 12.5 inches; plywood, ink, acrylic


Please RSVP by emailing rsvp〈@〉

Are you a member and you’d like to bring a friend or coworker who isn’t a member yet? No problem, bring them as your guest to the next Austin Art Break.

Not member yet? Become a member today!

Statement outlining the exhibition at grayDUCK Gallery: Pixels, Predators, and Prey

My work investigates the slippery intersection between the digital world and reality. Specifically, I am interested in how we experience nature through technology. I grew up in a large city only experiencing the natural world through computers and television screens. With my work, I create three-dimensional sculptural representations of

two-dimensional images of nature I find online.  I build my objects pixel by pixel with hand cut, hand-dyed strips of wood in an overtly laborious process in direct contrast to the slipperiness and speed of the digital world. Through this process of pixelation, details become distilled, distorted, or deleted. I am interested in how each pixel plays an important role in the identity of the object the same way each cell plays a crucial role in the identity of an organism.

I have become fascinated with biology and the struggles a single cell has to endure to remain alive. After reading several books about the cellular world, evolution, and sexual selection, one particular theory has really stuck in my mind as fodder for an art installation – The Red Queen Hypothesis. This hypothesis was first coined by Leigh Van Valen and gets its name from Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass. In Carrol’s book, the Red Queen is described as running in place but not going anywhere. For Van Valen, this was a powerful metaphor to describe an ever-escalating evolutionary arms race where opposing sides develop adaptations and counter-adaptations in order to survive. This arms race can be between a predator and its prey, a parasite and its host, or members of the same species who are fighting to be the fittest in order to reproduce. The Red Queen Hypothesis is a lens for looking at how a species must adapt to changing environments, evolve new ways of dealing with evolutionary pressures, and survive by passing on one’s genetic information to ensure the proliferation of the species.

As I thought more about this concept and how it relates to my current body of work, I was struck by how the digital world itself behaves almost as if it is its own species. What happens when we place this evolutionary lens onto the digital world, a species made by us? Are we co-evolving with the digital or is it evolving on its own?  Is it outpacing us? At what point will it evolve to think/move/reproduce faster than us? Inspired by the idea of the Red Queen, I am proposing to create an installation consisting of several large pixelated sculptures to investigate this evolutionary collision between nature and the digital world. With the installation, I intend to create works inspired by the delicate balance between birth and death, the coevolution of the digital and real, and the evolutionary tactics for surviving in a competitive world.

“In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the machines.”                –George Dyson

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Shawn Smith; Disintegrating Eagle; 2011; 71 x 41 x 12 inches; balsa wood, bass wood, ink, acrylic


Thank you to our sponsors who help make Austin Art Breaks possible:

austin beerworks

 Past Art Breaks:

A Discussion on Framing with Bill Davis

RSVP to join us for the next Austin Art Breaks Event

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Davis Gallery & Framing

6 to 8 pm

At 7 pm, enjoy a discussion with Bill Davis and a private viewing of the Summer Showcase Exhibition
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Frames effect the way that we see a work of art. Additionally they can serve to protect and preserve those works. Join us for a discussion with Bill Davis the director of Davis Gallery & Framing for a discussion on framing. Bill Davis began his practice in Austin in 1979 and has worked with organizations such as the Blanton Museum and the Austin Museum of Art, in addition to extensive private collection work. Davis will discuss what goes into the process of custom framing, the selection of moulding, glass, and matting of work and how that can ultimately enhance our experience with the art work. What does it mean for a work to be too heavy or too light? Should a frame call attention to itself? Should it be in dialogue with the painting?

This experience is a member-only event, and will give an exclusive look at the amount of detail that goes into framing, from the type of material used to choosing and experimenting with colors for frames that would best strengthen a piece of art. We hope to see you there!

Please RSVP by emailing rsvp〈@〉

Are you a member and you’d like to bring a friend or coworker who isn’t a member yet? No problem, bring them as your guest to the next Austin Art Break.

Not member yet? Become a member today!

davis summer show

davis interior


Please RSVP by emailing rsvp〈@〉

Not member yet? Become a member today!


Past and upcoming Austin Art Breaks include:


February 26, 2015 – Wally Workman Gallery

April 2, 2015 – pump project

April 23, 2015 – NONE, Art City Austin (4/25 + 4/26)

May 28, 2015 – Sumner’s Collection

July 9th, 2015 – A Discussion on Framing with Bill Davis


Thank you to our sponsors who help make Austin Art Breaks possible:

austin beerworks