Coinciding with San Antonio’s Contemporary Art Month, ArtPace presents Outline, an exhibition in the Hudson (Show)Room featuring three Texas artists, Emily Joyce, Hills Snyder, and Matthew Sontheimer. Linking the artists’ work is reliance upon contour and silhouette to form images. This emphasis on the edge results in refined images in which detail is removed, so that the reference is at once recognizable and abstract. Indeed, the artists, whose authorial mark-making seems far from their concerns, find their sources in existing material: a signature (Sontheimer), craft stencils (Joyce), or newspapers and flags (Snyder). In this manner the artists both hint at a narrative and deny a conclusive interpretation. The enigmatic results can be read formally, with sly references to pop art and minimalism, but also accept narrative interpretation. For the exhibition each artist will present a major wall-bound work accompanied by an array of smaller works.
Emily Joyce forms her colorful compositions from adhesive vinyl cut in the shapes of craft-store stencils. By presenting only a fragment of the figure or by layering multiple pieces, Joyce stalls viewers’ recognition of the images. With her particular stencils, Joyce creates a system that allows her to subtly reveal a quality of innocence and wonder.
In Empire, Hills Snyder cuts two rectangular forms into the wall. The geometric outlines are in fact based upon the Texas flag and the French flag. Stripped of their color and lone star, the flags appear as minimalist abstractions. Recognition occurs only after time or perhaps after noticing the San Antonio Express News and a Parisian newspaper lying on the floor marked with dust from the wall cutting. Snyder’s work quietly evokes historical associations.
Matthew Sontheimer etches a cryptic script directly into the wall, only to cover his marks with a coat of house paint. He diligently inscribes his messages in a specialized alphabet he created using sections of his father’s signature. The text meanders in an erratic ribbon across the wall, resembling not language as much as a graph-reading gone wrong. Sontheimer reworks one language to create another which is literally self-contained. His private considerations and questions are readable to the viewer only as hints of tension and ease.