This weekend, the gallery scene expanded in two divergent directions with the opening of both Erin Cluley Gallery and Cydonia.
Over the big, white bridge Erin Cluley Gallery became the first commercial art space in Trinity Groves - although not in the area's conventional strip mall of restaurants. Tucked into a residential neighborhood, somewhere behind Babbs Bros Barbecue, a large garage door that once lifted for cars in need of oil changes, now lets sunlight trickle in to illuminate the work of artists.
The first exhibition at Erin Cluley Gallery is the work of Texan native, Baltimore-based René Treviño. Titled Estrellas, this body of work fuses ancient and contemporary cultures to create colorful totems, at once familiar and completely redefined. Throughout the space, bright rainbow-colored stars evoke not only a gay pride motif, but an elementary symbol of a job well done. A monolithic figure stands erect, holding an American flag, next to a mirrored image holding the pride flag. Tribal meets Western civilization; history meets today. Treviño's subtle commentary is vibrant and playful, and while his large scale pieces are often prettier than they are poignant, his smaller pieces demand an urgent intimacy from the viewer.
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See Estrellas through October 11. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
As what we define as the "Design District" continues to grow further away from Dragon Street, I expect we'll see more spots pop up like the new Cydonia Gallery. A bit West of the other galleries on Payne St., Cydonia opened its doors for the first time with a group exhibition, EX-Y: Representations of Contemporary Masculinity. In a varied combination of media and perspective, each work in the show presented a lens through which the viewer could explore "manliness" after decades of feminism as the prominent social movement.
Wrestling with manhood in 21st century art is a convoluted, raw experience, depicted through painting, photography, video and performance art, as a constant battle to be both macho and sensitive, thoughtful and strong-willed. Much of the art seemed more engaged with the human experience than with the "male" experience, which obviously was the exhibition's larger point. If these are the muscles Cydonia will continue to flex, we expect a strong showing from them in the future.
See EX-Y: Representations of Contemporary Masculinity through October 25. Cydonia Gallery is open Wednesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.