Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Feb. 12 Second Saturday exhibition at Dock Space Gallery celebrates artist couples.

The show, titled heART: Passionate Devotion, features artwork by Kathy and Lionel Sosa, John Atkins and Angelica Raquel, Kim Bishop and Luis Valderas, and Verena Gaudy and Martín Rodríguez.

The Sosas are longtime working partners in art and design, as are Bishop and Valderas, and Atkins and Raquel are engaged to be married in November.

Gaudy and Rodríguez are newlyweds, but if they had listened to advice from friends, they might never have shared marriage vows. They were both separately warned never to marry another artist, that such a relationship would amount more to competition than companionship.

But the two went against advice and now say they are flourishing individually and together as artists and spouses.

“We live together, we share a car … we work together, we run a gallery together, we collaborate, and we still allow ourselves to do independent things. That’s a lot,” Rodríguez said while the two installed their large-scale sculpture in the Dock Space Annex, adjacent to the gallery in the Lone Star Studios complex.

Rodríguez referred to their artwork, which has become collaborative and performative since their joining, along with their work as art teachers at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and the Un Grito gallery they co-run in the Upstairs Studios of the Blue Star Arts Complex.

The wedding of Gaudy and Rodríguez came as a surprise ending to an evening of performance art at Cherrity Bar on March 27, 2021, the culmination of last year’s Contemporary Art Month.

Costumed in their usual vintage East German gas masks and engaged in physical combat in keeping with their performance art methodology, the two artists at the end of their performance revealed wedding wear underneath their costumes and were officially married by fellow artist Jane Lawrence in front of the small audience.

Verena Gaudy and Martín Rodríguez during their performance of 6 Feet during Contemporary Art Month.
Verena Gaudy and Martín Rodríguez during their performance of 6 Feet during Contemporary Art Month. Credit: Courtesy / Nina Hassele – Contemporary Art Month

Rodríguez wore a suit covered in buttons, and Gaudy wore a suit replete with buttonholes. The two have fit each other like a glove ever since.

“Being an artist makes me a better spouse,” Gaudy said. “It’s the only way for me to be with someone who understands what it takes to make [art]. … That’s a really nice symbiosis.”

Verena Gaudy and Martín Rodríguez are married during a performance at Cherrity Bar for Contemporary Art Month in March, 2021.
Verena Gaudy and Martín Rodríguez are married during a performance at Cherrity Bar for Contemporary Art Month in March, 2021. Credit: Courtesy / Nina Hassele – Contemporary Art Month

The heART exhibition arrives near the anniversary of Rodríguez’s proposal to Gaudy — on Feb. 14 of last year, during the height of the freeze wrought by Winter Storm Uri, when he dropped to one knee and asked for her hand. Wednesday, the artists worked together to install artwork made individually and together, including a portrait of them in performance costume.

Among other works in the show will be portraits by each of the Sosas, married for 34 years; colorful watercolor and gouache paintings, drawings, and a textile sculpture by Raquel, with environmentally-focused sculptural work by Atkins; and a large-scale portable mural by Bishop flanked by framed portraits by Valderas of his parents. The pair have been married for 12 years and have worked together frequently as artists and exhibition organizers.

The heART: Passionate Devotion exhibition is free and open to the public Feb. 12 from 6-9 p.m at Dock Space Gallery at 107 Lone Star Blvd.

Nicholas Frank

Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with an indie rock...