Gallery Black Lagoon art exhibit showcases local color

Aaron West

WHAT: The Austin Series
WHEN: Saturday, June 4 at 7 – 10 p.m.
WHERE: Gallery Black Lagoon
HOW MUCH: Free (Facebook RSVP required)

Gallery Black Lagoon in Hyde Park is hosting its first Austin Series exhibit Saturday to give selected local artists a chance to bring homegrown flavor to the Austin art scene. The show, The Austin Series, features 11 artists, a mix of mediums and will be on display through June 20.

“We wanted to make it very diverse,” said Singer Mayberry, who owns the gallery with her husband David Lujan. “Just to give people the idea that for future group shows that we do, we are accepting submissions from ceramic artists, glass — that sort of deal. This one is a mixture of paintings, photography, drawings and there are two jewelry artists. I think diversity in the show is going to be a plus.”

Mayberry said that she and Lujan wanted to have a series that puts Austin artists in the spotlight; something that can be hard to find in Austin if you’re not a household name.

“The idea was that Austin is a city of artists and there really aren’t that many galleries that local artists can show in,” Mayberry said. “We’re just kind of thinking of this as a way to give local artists the opportunity to show in gallery settings.”

Ann Woodall, whose photographs of West Texas and New Mexico will be in Saturday’s exhibit, grew up in Austin and has been a consistent contributor to the Austin art scene for the past 10 years.

“Austin has a really tremendous arts community, but we don’t have the kind of infrastructure compared to Houston or San Antonio,” Woodall said. “It’s hard to find venues, and if you’re trying to get gallery representation, it’s often very expensive. I really admire what [Gallery Black Lagoon] is doing. They really are artist friendly.”

Mayberry and Lujan, who opened the gallery in July of last year, selected the show’s artists — a group that includes longtime Austinites and newcomers to the city — over a period of two weeks. There were no restrictions regarding content or medium, but Mayberry said they wanted to choose artists with interesting work that meshed well.

“We wanted to make sure that we picked artists that worked well together, whose work complemented each other,” Mayberry said. “So it’s definitely not just whoever submits gets in — there’s a jury process.”

Robyn Dunbar moved to Austin from New York five years ago. Her work, which she calls “digital monoprints,” combines watercolors, drawing and digital elements to make one-of-a-kind pieces. Being a newcomer to Austin, Dunbar said she appreciates what The Austin Series provides.

“It’s nice to have galleries that aren’t quite so competitive or looking for names that are more well known,” Dunbar said. “I think [The Austin Series] is unusual and I think there needs to be more of it. There’s so much emerging and it’s such a small number of artists that reach that next step to become established artists. It’s good to see that galleries can focus on that other huge pool of artists that are out there.”

Mayberry said the series is a good opportunity to establish relationships with artists and perhaps bring them back for future exhibits. The second show is already planned for July and more will come after that. Future shows will run for one weekend.

“We’re hoping to be able to fit in a group show at least every month and if not, definitely every two months,” Mayberry said. “I think it will be nice way for us to keep submissions coming in so that we’ll get acquainted with artists and give them even more opportunities.”