Olivia Tennison / Hilltop Views
As I walked up the stairs inside the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin, I immediately heard the sound of blocks tumbling to the ground. The sound rang in my ear as I walked through the entire exhibition. It gave me anxiety, reminding me that everything is fleeting. Sometimes I knock all of my blocks over to start fresh, because it’s easier than waiting around until they fall on their own.
“Wait for It” is an exhibition by San Antonio artist Joey Fauerso. It mostly showcases acrylic paintings on canvas and monoprints that tackle subject matter that Fauerso says references “gender, the body, domesticity and identity.” The blocks that can be heard falling to the ground as you walk through the space are part of a video installation titled, “You Destroy Every Special Thing I Make.”
Entering the space, the first piece I saw was called “Holding Patterns 1” and “Holding Patterns 2.” It showed people holding each up, some clearly stronger than others. To me the piece represents how there are always people, like your friends and family, that keep you afloat when times are tough. Many of the works, including this one, were made in quarantine during a time when life was pretty grim.
One of my favorite pieces, which seemed like a focal point of the exhibition, is titled “The Waiting Room.” It shows a naked girl on her bed with a black dog at the end of her bed. The dog watches her and waits for her, while the paintings on her wall depict the sadness she feels. To me, her body represents vulnerability– the vulnerability of being alone with yourself for a long period of time. There are lots of pots in her room filled with darkness, like never-ending black holes. She lays on her bed and stares at the ceiling, while a picture of a crow sits on her wall.
“Laeree with Flowers” is one of the more colorful pieces in the exhibition, and is very different from “The Waiting Room.” It shows a woman standing outside of a window. She looks over her shoulder into a black and white room with flowers on a countertop. Behind her, the sky is pink and a tree is in the distance. To me, this painting depicts a glimmer of hope. The pink suggests that this is someone the artist loves.
Another painting that is more colorful depicts the abstract face of Frank Lee Morris. He was a prisoner at Alcatraz and broke out with a few other inmates in 1962. The painting was done in 2018, but I can see why it was put in this exhibition. It foreshadows how Fauerso would feel in lockdown. It also has blue and pink brush strokes across Morris’ face. The juxtaposing colors suggest she doesn’t know how to feel.
The entire exhibition is very relatable. While many of the pieces were made in quarantine, the subject matter is relevant at all times. The pieces feel like they are trapped and clinging onto the last bit of hope they have. Fauerso’s loved ones are her hope and that’s something everyone can resonate with.
“Wait for It” is free at the Visual Arts Center on UT’s campus. There are also a few other exhibitions that are there at this time like Madison Cooper: (Untitled) Fanon, Ancient Art History Survey: Collaborative Scroll and Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas: The Blessings of the Mystery, I highly suggest you check them out. “Wait for It” will be at the Visual Arts Center until Dec. 3. Don’t wait for it, just go.