Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best River Walk Restaurant

Best River Walk Restaurant

Best of SA 2012: 4/25/2012
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012
Veg Out with Earth Burger

Veg Out with Earth Burger

Food & Drink: “Do you want cheese on that?” “Yeah, sure.” “Vegan or organic?” “Um, what? Where am I?” By Jessica Elizarraras 7/23/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

Albert Alvarez Hopes You’re Horrified

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Albert Alvarez, WWII, 2013


If Goya’s The Disasters of War impregnated the Garbage Pail Kids, Albert Alvarez’s “La Chamba/Dirty Work” would be their child.

Thirty-four drawings from the last several years span the walls of the Bihl Haus Arts Gallery. They are elaborate, chimeric meltdowns; traces of an imagination in the dark. In 2012’s Mosh Pit, a large head in the bottom of the composition splits open. He is the dark sage to a violent delirium. He has given birth to the swarm of aggressive offspring that circle him in a panopticon of visceral disasters, both beautiful and tragic.

Alvarez’s main concern seems that our hedonism has gone totally mad. His figures are sacks of flesh, bones and blood, with little respite or response. Their expressions are both exaggerated and vacant, like the central figure in The Dead Will Rise, also from 2012. His insides are being devoured. His face shows torment, yet there is a superseding and even more profound hollowness.

Alvarez’s process appears to incorporate elements of an automatic drawing technique: one eye leads to a portrait, this face gives way to another character, then the artist’s hand moves to draw a half-eaten pizza. Like word associations, he transforms his lines into a demon holding a fork that pierces a row of sausages that chokes a man, who lies on the ground like a fallen tree. In The Illusions of the Stomach, all the figures writhe in the aftermath of their particular oblivion.

The drawings are constructed horror vacui (fear of the empty), with obsessively hatched lines and marks and only a hint of the white paper beneath. Perhaps this hint is the lightness of the world, its necessary counterpose, its exhale. It is the thing that lifts off the ground when self-indulgence is left to devour itself from the inside out.

In Alien Abduction, people again have become the willing prey of the occult. Probing, inspecting, impregnating and biologically testing, the unearthly creatures have easily taken over the empty bodies of their subjects. I read the drawings like hieroglyphs from the future: a reflection of what might happen. Each figure is a different actor in Alvarez’s allegory, a different misstep, a grand blunder, moving one inch closer to an irreconcilable social tragedy.

I often have nightmares, but not like these. Alvarez anthropomorphizes our primal fears, gives them bodies, eyes and titles. Perhaps this is our confrontation with what we might become, and in seeing the portraits, we are more aware of the choice to become other, to resist the event horizon of moral disaster. The paper is the membrane onto which all of this pours, providing Alvarez a surface on which he constructs his 21st-century ruins.

Albert Alvarez: La Chamba/Dirty Work

Free
1-4pm Fri-Sat
Bihl Haus Arts
2803 Fredericksburg
(210) 383-9723
bihlhausarts.org
Through May 3

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • 7 Public Art Projects Worth Searching For You’re likely familiar with the high-profile works of public art on view around downtown San Antonio: the gigantic, red swoop of... | 7/23/2014
  • ‘The Other Side’ Tackles the Impossible: Writing about trauma I didn’t take any notes while reading The Other Side because by the time I paused to pick up a pencil, I was already three-quarters of the way through. And for... | 7/23/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): A report in the prestigious British medical journal BMJ says that almost one percent of young pregnant women in the U.S. claim to be... | 7/23/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus