Enrique Bonilla, The Paisano

Nestled in the historic Deco District of San Antonio, Mantle Art Space continues to provide a home for visual artists. Their third installment—titled “Ordinary Things”—is the work of an Irish-American artist Saralene Tapley.

From her home in New York City, Tapley takes on a very active role in defining herself in this series of autobiographical portraits. These acrylic works tell the stories of an ordinary person with ordinary things, but it is the context of these ordinary things and where the artist finds herself mentally and emotionally that makes the work so compelling. Some are just basic, color-theory driven and straight forward to the average aspects of living, while others capture the tense and ambiguous darkness of Tapley’s struggle with mental illness. These are intentionally distorted and occasionally inflect a side of humor upon dark and serious topics.

Tapley’s work process produces a second set of artwork primarily made out of cardboard and tape, which she wears during her acrylic painting. These props, including feather boas, bondage kits and various wigs adorned Mantle’s walls alongside the 23 self-portraits making for an interactive portion of “Ordinary Things.” The props are intertwined in the topic Tapley attempts to get across to the viewer: the absurd and the mundane.

“Ordinary Things” will be on display throughout Feb. at Mantle Art Space. Join the non-profit art space for their wine and critique events; artists are welcome to bring their pieces for critique.

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