Some Kind of Primitive
A Solo Exhibition by Antonio Serna
October 24 – December 13, 2014
Marking the beginning of this nonlinear narrative are the large paintings whose figuration oscillates between traditionally rendered figures and stenciled monolithic forms. Antiquated dinosaur illustrations are overlaid with silhouettes of nondescript pixelated buildings that reference early video game graphics. It is this nuanced and slightly ambiguous time-shift that Serna keeps coming back to in this exhibition.
These dioramic paintings set the stage for the other free associative elements in the space. Impossible to ignore is the twenty-foot long spear that the artist found in Brooklyn. This modern-primitive tool doesn’t necessarily ignore its precedents—Duchamp’s Urinal and Nauman’s Slant Step—instead it resists appropriation by incessantly reminding us of the ambiguous connection between survival and violence throughout time.
Elsewhere replicas of the spear appear again, are they cheap souvenirs to this roadside attraction or are they meant to encourage the DIY sub/urban preparedness? And so whether they are from the Anthropocene or the Jurassic period, we can’t really tell. In the end we are left to contemplate the context of these modern archeological findings and question the logic of progressive associations written into our past and future history.
Some Kind of Primitive opens with a public reception at Bihl Haus Arts on Friday, October 24, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, which also features live music, wine and light hors d’oeuvres. The exhibit continues through December 13, 2014.
- Thursday, October 30, 6:30 pm: A gallery talk by artist Antonio Serna, visiting from New York.
- Saturday, November 15, 2 pm: A gallery talk on “Climate Change Denialism” by Gunnar Schade, PhD, of the Atmospheric Sciences Department, Texas A & M, College Station
About the Exhibition:
Some Kind of Primitive is the debut solo exhibition by San Antonio-born artist Antonio Serna. Antonio Serna has lived half of his life in San Antonio and half in New York. His hybrid-sensibility is apparent in his work. For example the paintings in Some Kind of Primitive recall the dark silhouettes of endless New York city blocks set in front of expansive landscapes and skies of the Dinosaur era, similar to the “Big” landscapes of Texas. Coincidentally, the bones of Quetzalcoatlus, the largest winged dinosaur depicted in this series, were discovered in the Big Bend in 1971.
About the Artist:
Antonio Serna is an artist living and working in New York. A recurring theme in his studio practice is the concept of progress and the way it shapes and affects the individual, society, and culture. Antonio Serna also works collaboratively on social and political topics related to arts & culture via vizKult, Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies working groups, and Art & The Commons. Currently he is developing artCommons, a model for art-sharing.
Antonio Serna has participated and organized projects in New York, Texas, Las Vegas, Spain, Mexico, Berlin, and Romania. Antonio has also taught and lectured at Parsons School of Design, St. Johns University, and at Brooklyn College as a teaching fellow. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts from Brooklyn College, and a BFA from Parsons School of Art.
Bihl Haus Arts is supported in part by the City of San Antonio Department of Culture and Creative Development; by Primrose at Monticello Park Senior Apartments, where Bihl Haus Arts is located; by Michael Imbimbo Architects, Inc.; and by Friends of Bihl Haus Arts.