The Southwest School of Art will feature the works of two internationally recognized artists, Victor Pérez-Rul and Esteban Delgado, to kick off its summer exhibition season.

The exhibitions open May 19 in the Russell Hill Rogers Galleries inside the renamed John L. Santikos Building and are free and open to the public.

“The two exhibitions are abstracting the idea of landscapes,” said Mary Mikel Stump, former curator at he Southwest School of the Art. Stump curated the works of these two artists a year ago and now works at Washington State History Museum.

“Esteban references Southwest landscape imagery as his source and pares that down to the essential for geometric shapes and color found within that landscape,” Stump said. “In Victor’s work, we become part of the composition and are literally inside the work of art, which makes us think about our relationship to our environments and what activates them.”

Pérez-Rul was one of the artists Stump hoped to bring to the school to explore the “conduit of creativity” between San Antonio and Mexico.

“I was thrilled when Victor agreed to come,” Stump said. “As a result of increased concern, I had another artist from Mexico City cancel his project because he was afraid that his mobility would be compromised in his travels between Mexico and the U.S.”

A preview of the exhibition will be available for attendees of Savor the Arts, the annual fundraiser to benefit the school’s Young Artists Programs on May 18 from 7 – 11 p.m. in the Santikos Building. The event features food and drinks from many San Antonio restaurants as well as music. Admission for Savor the Arts also includes a one-year membership to the Southwest School of Art. To buy tickets, click here.

Victor Pérez-Rul: The Odds, Russell Hill Rogers Gallery l  

Mexico City-based artist Pérez-Rul focuses on the relation among energy, matter, and consciousness, using sculpture, installation, and varied technologies such as sound. By developing and applying his own experimental creative methods, his goal is to promote the art of energy. Pérez-Rul fuses scientific research, technology, and empirical work through technological, electronic mediums and physical and chemical processes.

Pérez-Rul has long been interested in the idea of energy and its intersection with art. Pérez-Rul’s work explores and exploits the relationships between energy, matter, and consciousness within his experimental creative processes, fusing scientific research, technology, and empirical data. For his exhibition The Odds, Pérez-Rul will create an ambient and immersive site-specific installation comprised of many individual elements, integrated on a single manufactured landscape within the gallery space.

Es una pieza que se puede ver como un paisaje completo,” Pérez-Rul said, which translates to, “It is a work that can be viewed as a complete landscape.”

Mexican artist Victor Pérez-Rul works on a piece for his upcoming exhibition "The Odds," opening May 19 at the Southwest School of Art.
Mexican artist Victor Pérez-Rul works on a piece for his upcoming exhibition “The Odds,” opening May 19 at the Southwest School of Art. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Once it is completed, the futuristic-looking “landscape” of assembled sculptures and other objects will be unified by an expanse of glittering black sand across the gallery’s entire floor. Pathways in the sand will allow viewers to walk through and experience the entire installation.

The Odds continues and builds upon his past research about the matter-energy relationship, while overlaying a fictional narrative of science and futuristic thought. The main components of the exhibition are experimental sculpture and objects, technological elements such as electronics (both as objects and as functional elements), soundscape, and materials such as silica sand and glass.

The artist invites viewers to experience the installation as an example of how in the past we used to think about the future, or “retro-futurism” – “el retro-futurismo.”

Pérez-Rul has shown his work in Mexico at Salón ACME, White Cremnitz Gallery and Galería Karen Huber, at Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Museo de la Ciudad de México, Museo de la Ciudad de Querétaro and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Morelia. His international shows include the Crossing Border Festival (Den Haag, The Netherlands), Young Art Festival (Beverwijk, The Netherlands), Melkfabriek, Museum Hilversum, and more. His recent exhibition project for the University of Texas Visual Art Center, Placeholder, received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and included a sister exhibit at Austin’s Mexican American Cultural Center, featuring solar-powered pods that emit sound and light.

Esteban Delgado: Plural Forms, Russell Hill Rogers Gallery ll

Delgado, who was raised in Bishop, Texas currently lives and works in San Antonio where he is a faculty member at St. Philip’s College. His work explores relationships between space and light by collaging geometric shapes into abstract or disrupted spaces, highlighting the artist’s interest and exploitation of the tensions between various colors and forms inspired by the landscapes of South Texas.

He uses multiple shapes in several large-scale paintings and a site-specific wall installation that includes the surrounding floor. Large, flat fields of color create imagined space while obscuring actual space and help create an architectural reference to what is actually two-dimensional.

“I hope people will experience the colors and shapes,” Delgado said. “The combinations of colors, the color filled paintings, all help create reactions I’m looking for in the viewer.”

Delgado also is painting on vinyl for part of his installation, to evoke a three dimensionality to his work. Delgado holds a BFA from Texas A&M University at Kingsville and an MFA from The University of Texas at San Antonio. He has received numerous awards that include selection for the 2011 Texas Biennial and a project grant in 2013 from the Idea Fund. His work has been exhibited throughout Texas as well as Mexico, Canada, and Austria.

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Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez writes about technology, life science, and veteran affairs. She won the Texas Veterans Commission Media Excellence Awards for her 2016 Veterans Day story "Life as a Veteran: What Veterans...