Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Exploring Texan tales

Visiting the ‘Boundless’ art exhibit at UTSA

So much history lies within the state of Texas, and the “Boundless: Storytelling in Texas Book Arts” exhibit at UTSA gives people the opportunity to witness various pieces depicting its stories. From artistic books to zines and other literary-related art, “Boundless” allows people to explore important history through the various art pieces created by Texas artists.

Curated by Kristy Masten, professor of instruction and assistant director of the School of Art at UTSA, the exhibit showcases various pieces centered around themes such as family, identity and transformation. With assistance from UTSA Special Collections and contributions from local artists, Masten was able to collect and display various art pieces that had never been showcased before. 

“I curated the exhibition with the idea of incorporating different formats and different types of book art,” Masten said. “It includes zines, artist books and illustrations from picture books, published picture books. So we have these three different areas coming together.”

Throughout the exhibit, guests and attendees were able to roam freely around the gallery and view the various pieces. The exhibit destigmatized the idea that illustrations or drawings in picture books are not art. However, Masten opened up about the difficulties that came with trying to display art from books, an item that we usually hold and observe tangibly.

“It can be kind of a challenge to display books in an art gallery setting because typically you experience books through touch,” Masten said. “When you’re in an art gallery, you typically can’t touch anything, right? So, how do you share books in that setting? How do you conceptualize the book as an art object?”

After experimenting and thinking about how to make the literary works more accessible, Masten created an interactive experience for students and attendees. QR codes, digital copies and even sections where guests could use sticky notes to write their thoughts on specific works were readily available to provide a more in-depth and interactive experience. Visitors could even view the published books by the artists, featuring their original illustrations.

Some of the artworks displayed were from artists such as Ericka Lamar Buentello, whose artwork was a food diary titled “Obsessed: Food Diary of an Ardent Food Lover, Vol.1, Issue 1.” This diary showcased her art by incorporating eye-catching illustrations of food and ingredients on the page as a way to tell her story. 

“I just really like how almost decorative the food and ingredients become on the page,” Masten said. “It becomes really enticing and interesting to think about because [Buentello] did it as a part of a pretty restrictive diet, but then when you see the images, it feels very lush and almost fulfilling in terms of her visual depictions of it.”

Another artist, Adriana M. Garcia, displayed illustrations titled “In school, we learn that rocks are things. But Grandma has taught us they are beings” and “They are alive with wisdom, so we call them grandfathers and grandmothers,” which shows a grandmother teaching her granddaughters about various rocks and stones, symbolizing the values of culture and family. Garcia’s artwork was even recognized as the story where her artwork is displayed, “Where Wonder Grows,” won a Pura Belpré Illustrator award for its astounding visuals.  

“They’re visually rich in terms of the colors and design,” Masten said. “There’s a lot to unpack with her imagery that I really appreciate.”

An installation by local artist Kallie Cheves, who received her MFA in studio art at UTSA,  also displayed a cut paper photographic installation titled “Embedded Stars from Stiffed Scars,” depicting an intricate landscape with various elements involving nature and animals, such as a massive rattlesnake. The installation, which took Cheves two days to set up at the exhibit, served as a 3D model for concepts she wanted to incorporate in her next picture book. 

There are several other unique and intricate pieces that were on display at the exhibit that students and individuals must see for themselves. To learn more about the “Boundless” exhibit, visit the COLFA website or the Main Art Gallery on campus. The art exhibit will still be open until Feb. 23.

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About the Contributors
Naydine De La Fuente, Copyediting Coordinator
Naydine De La Fuente (she/her) is an English major with a double concentration in professional and creative writing with a minor in communication. She joined The Paisano during the spring 2023 term in order to indulge in her passion for writing. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in journalism or publishing in hopes to utilize her writing skills. Outside of the organization, she enjoys reading, journaling and spending time with friends, family and her dog.
Lauren Hernandez, Assistant Arts & Life Editor
Lauren (she/her) is a second year English student at UTSA. After graduation she plans on attending law school. Outside of The Paisano you can usually find her at a concert taking pictures, hiking in the woods, watching movies or thrifting with her sister.

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