I was asked to guest curate an exhibition for Clamp Light Gallery in San Antonio, Texas and I was ecstatic to take the March exhibition slot for 2018. In San Antonio, March is Contemporary Art Month, otherwise known as CAM, a fun community-wide arts focused calendar aiming to elevate the profile of San Antonio artists. There are always multiple openings a night, a juried exhibition by a prestigious curator, and Cammie Awards are given to the best exhibitions. I decided that Clamp Light’s intimate space would be the perfect opportunity to execute an exhibition idea that I have had for some time now, exploring embroidery as a medium. And I am thrilled to present the exhibition during the month of CAM.
Clamp Light Gallery is an artist-run space. Its members organize the shows and pay the operating expenses. I would like to respect that I am a guest in the space, and rather than create a take-over of the facility, I feel it is important to incorporate some Clamp Light members if I can. I have studio visits planned with José Villalobos and Sarah Fox with this aim. Both artists, I have worked with previously and they have expressed interest in exploring embroidery for a project. And coincidently, Sarah Castillo, an artist who has been working with embroidery for a long time, and was already on my radar for a studio visit for the embroidery show, is now the newest member of Clamp Light; I have a studio visit set with her as well.
Honestly, I am taking this idea of including the Clamp Light members from a practice we have at Ruiz-Healy Art, where I am the Associate Director. When we invite guest curators, and we do so about once a year, we request that they select four artists of our roster and two guest artists. We find that it is a great way to view our artists in a new light and we maintain a focus on our core artists, but we also enable curatorial threads that may not have been possible if we were restricted solely to the roster.
I am currently in the research stages and searching for artists. I am also looking at artists overseas because I feel the medium would lend to lighter art, perhaps making it more affordable for shipping. I love the idea of mixing local artists from San Antonio with international artists for this exhibit. I have received a few names of artists from colleagues to look at and I have been following a few on Instagram already.
Embroidery fascinates me because it seems to have its origins within very strict confines of rigid templates and “good homemaking,” but I am currently researching how those perceived origins may not be the case. On recommendation of Paula Owen, the President of The Southwest School of Art, I’ve just started reading The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine by Rozsika Parker. I’m looking forward to continuing this path of research.
To learn more about Clamp Light Artist Studios & Gallery:
To learn more about Contemporary Art Month (CAM) in San Antonio and check back for the calendar listings in March:
Photograph courtesy of Clamp Light Gallery