Oct 28, 2011

REVIEW | Expose the Arts, Tantra Coffeehouse, San Marcos

Sara Strick, Teacher's Lounge, Year: n/a

Choosing a small and local exhibition seemed appealing to me because of how events like Expose the Arts can bring emerging or well known artist together.
Expose the Arts was not only an exhibition, but also a contest judged by, in the artist category, printmaker/professor, Jeffrey Dell. Tantra’s Expose the Arts contest, held on October 16, 2011, asked for local artist, students, and musicians to enter their work in hopes that they would be named winner and not only benefit from the prizes given, but also be able to appear in another show called Sodatooth Contemporary [held in November].

Visiting Tantra Coffeehouse often gave me good insight of how I my experience of viewing the artwork would be. After entering from the front door and making a left, you see the first piece of artwork. However, “first piece” could be whichever one draws your eye in the most.
What was a little complicated (in my opinion) was that Tantra is in fact a coffeehouse. In other words, the space wasn’t what you would usually expect when going to a gallery or museum. Underneath the hung artwork were customers, sitting at the tables, taking away from artwork and the viewer’s perspective on the piece.

Hollie Brown, Our Thoughts and Prayers Are With You, Year: n/a

The artwork was distributed throughout three rooms and a hallway. With the space irrelevant with the artwork being shown, in addition to the contestant’s art not always complimenting each other - or separated by category – you could easily lose yourself in what exactly you were looking at. Not only lose yourself, but feel overly crowded. Two artworks by Hollie Brown, which I found most interesting, were hanging in the dark, narrow hallway – not allowing me to get a full view of both photographs. My experience had me walking from room to room to make sure that I had seen everything there was to be seen. However, knowing what kind of art space that was being used had me assume prior from my experience that this would be its downfall.

Owen Drysdale, Bassackwards, Year: n/a

However, when looking past the use of space and looking at each artwork individually, which was a hard task, I was able to appreciate the exhibition. Given the amount of artist in the exhibition, each piece of art was completely different from the next. The choice of media varied from graphite, acrylic, oil, screen print, and photography. The variation of size also stood out. In the second room in Tantra, on the left wall, hung in the center a canvas six times the size of the two pieces hanging next to the larger image. 

Because I enjoyed the art, but not the placement or space, I tried to find a one positive outlook on the exhibition as a whole and concluded that the spontaneous placement of artwork somewhat matched the space being used. In other words, even though there was possibly too much variety, and the space, in my opinion, didn't compliment all the pieces of art, the lack of categorizing the art matched the loose and free environment they were exhibited in. 

- Daniela Lawson


  1. This art work looks really interesting. In your opinion was there one common theme in the work at all? I guess I'm just super interested in what your take on the works themselves.In your opinion what was the general statement being made in the art work?

    - Corinne Crowley

  2. I too think the artwork looks very interesting. What caught my eye of this particular post was the familiarity I have with the location of the exhibition as well as the photo used on the blogs main page. I appreciate the fact that you have chosen an exhibit that is easy accessible for Texas State students as well as the fact that it displays works of local students.
    I feel that you contradict yourself a little by saying, "visiting Tantra Coffeehouse often gave me good insight of how I my experience of viewing the artwork would be" If you already have an idea of how the experience will be and a previous feel for the space then why criticize the exhibit by saying that the customers and atmosphere took away from the art. I understand that this may not be the typical setting for showcasing artwork but I doubt this was entirely accidental . I personally think part of the appeal of this exhibit is the fact that it interacts with all kinds of people on a daily basis, as art should. People shouldn't have to necessarily go looking for artwork and Tantra coffee house allows us to admire our fellows students work.
    I'm sure many agree with you on this point though and would much rather the artworks appear in more of a gallery setting where they can be organized and admired with less distraction.

    - Samantha Jorgensen

  3. I think that art exhibits in non-traditional places such as coffee houses are always interesting. I wish I could have seen this in person. I've never been to an art exhibit in a coffee house, but I have been to one in a small boutique in BeeCaves. It's interesting to see how the distractions around the art such as people, conversation, clothes, coffee, etc. can affect the impact of the work. I really like the first photograph in this entry, and the fact that it is in a teacher's lounge. I remember when I was little I always thought the teacher's lounge was so cool, like in the cartoon Recess. They made it seem like the teachers lounge was amazing with massages and buffets.

    All together I think you did a really good job on the review of the exhibit, and explaining the atmosphere. I did notice a few typos, but it was interesting.

    -Ashley Green