Upon visiting the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum this winter, one may notice that the winter exhibitions seem dissimilar and dense at first glance.
Guests are greeted upon arrival with a black clothesline that drapes the furthermost wall of the museum’s Main Gallery and in another area, a display that features a basketball propped up by a seven-foot wooden pole.
Blue Star’s winter exhibitions highlight a compilation of work by Texas artists, Charlie Morris and Liz Rodda, an inquisitive film by Bodil Furu and a collection of artwork, entitled “Gift: An Exquisite Exhibition,” which was curated by the likes of many San Antonio museums, institutions and foundations.
While analyzing the first vast expanse of art, entitled “Turn Your Face Toward The Sun,” the density and intangibility one may feel all but disappears.
Darkness, curiosity and violence harmonize to form Charlie Morris’ contribution to the exhibition, imploring his audience to question both the familiar and the unknown.
In one of his most distinct pieces, “Belt,” Morris presents a continuous video loop of policemen reaching for their duty belts. Although the video has no sound, desperation and anxiety can be heard throughout the projection’s duration.
The cops consistently—almost incessantly—reached for their most lethal ammunition: guns. “Belt” silently intimates at the severity of authority’s need for power, dominance and control.
Other elements of Morris’ exhibit include his use of recycled objects presented in rectangular, glass displays.
The objects, ranging from an orange Ouija board planchette, a wolf mask, and a black and white photo of a surveillance camera, evoke the haunting and sinister realities of this world (and the world beyond).
In stark contrast to the tone of Morris’ pieces, Liz Rodda’s contribution to the exhibit elicits a sense of wonder and inspiration.
In “Turn Your Face Toward The Sun,” a six-minute video loop, everyday objects and smooth, panning transitions constitute a visual masterpiece.
Meanwhile, a whispering voice can be discerned in the background of the video telling the story of Ashley, her lollipop and her favorite quotes.
Ashley’s words are calming and fantastical. She relays to her listeners that “Your journey has molded you for the greater good,” and that, “(When) you turn your face toward the sun, the shadows will fall behind you.”
Morris’ and Rodda’s exhibit embodies simultaneous reactions to modern existence.
While the violent, often times chaotic reality of the world rages on around you, you can move past the “shadows” and regard yourself as a beacon of light and guidance.
Moving through the museum, you will next encounter Norwegian filmmaker Bodil Furu’s “Landscapes By The Book.”
The film is shown in Gallery 4, an enclosed space of the museum, and explores the concept of a changing identity.
Furu interviews the diverse inhabitants of Fron, Norway, and their experiences with the urbanization that is occurring in their town.
For the individuals involved in the construction process, the reverence of the approach is everything. One worker even uses the term “humility” to describe her method to the transformation of the landscape in Fron.
Such changes can seem formidable and destructive to the natural magnificence of the mountains, valleys and waterfalls of the area.
However, the driving reason behind the construction of the highways is a “social responsibility” to its growing number of residents.
“Landscapes By The Book” also incorporates musical elements from local violinists, examining culture, history and the implications urbanization poses upon such elements. The very roots upon which Fron was built are evolving, and the repercussions of such transitions can be inconceivable.
Finally, in Blue Star’s Project Space, “Gift: An Exquisite Exhibition” unfolds in a beautiful and generous manner. The entire exhibit was curated through donations, and such is the mentality and theme of the artwork involved.
From Mark Flood’s colorful and bold “The Things,” to Gary Sweeney’s satirical and vindictive “Post Card,” each piece represents a giving, selfless nature toward the world of art.
The best way to describe this “gift exchanging” process is through the conceptual art written on the furthermost wall of the room: “BROKEN OFF.”
The idea is that once art is produced and displayed, each patron will take home a different meaning behind the artistic experience of the work; the artist’s original idea will live on in the form of various articulations and sentiments. A truly exquisite concept indeed.
“Gift: An Exquisite Exhibition” will be available to view until Feb. 5, while “Turn Your Face Toward The Sun” and “Landscapes By The Book” will be shown until Feb. 7.
Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum is open every Thursday from 12-8 p.m., and Friday to Sunday from 12-6 p.m.
Museum entry is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and bicyclists, and free for all military, veterans and students with school IDs.

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