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Lady Base Gallery: Defining the Platform

Lady Base Gallery is the newest exhibition space in San Antonio’s South Flores Arts District. It is located within the Gallista Gallery at 1913 S. Flores Street. Sarah Castillo, artist, archivist, and newest occupant of the establishment, introduces Lady Base Gallery as a space specifically for women and the LBGT artistic community.

Castillo sets the tone of Lady Base Gallery as a venue for experimentation, professional growth, and a safe haven of artistic practice for the often-overlooked sector of artists that she aims to promote. Castillo’s goal is not to contemplate why male artists seemly always take the forefront; rather she aims to provide an outlet for women and LBGT artists to promote and further expand the discourse. As proprietor, she puts forth that Lady Base Gallery will reject the rules of the conventional gallery.

Castillo’s own artwork consciously runs contradictory to the confines of traditional commercial galleries and this was, in part, the impetus of its design. Creatively she spans the mediums of textiles, photography, painting, drawing, and sculpture; however, her
projects that incorporate what traditionally have been considered feminine craft materials tend to best exemplify the artist’s inclination to bend the conventions of the white-cube.

As an individual artist, she delves into her experiences as a Feminist, Chicana who explores the realization of identity within a San Antonio-specific context. Along with Ruth Leonela Buentello, Kristin Gamez, and Mari Hernandez, Castillo is a member of an artist collective, Más Rudas, who together highlight the same ideals. As each individually is an accomplished artist in their own right, the four women unite as giants of societal reassessment through their collaboration. The group’s artistic practice tends to promote awareness of community concerns and questions customary gender roles and traditional art canons. As a collective, the women have been recently gaining great momentum with a number of well-received exhibitions.

Embodying an example of an artist on the rise in San Antonio, I questioned Castillo if she felt that a gallery of this nature that segments artists specifically by gender and sexual orientation is truly relevant in the year 2013; furthermore, could a gallery that
is organized in this manner in fact, affirm classifications that artists aim to elude, such as the tag “woman artist”? Castillo responds that her intention with the mission is to simply support women and the LBGT community; she does not believe in the notion that limiting an exhibition solely to women would be harmful to the artists’ professional careers. Moreover, she contends that many galleries contain an all male roster without any perceptions that participation would be professionally degrading for the individual

Galleries that create a specific niche many times are able to successfully use the differentiation as strength in a competitive market, engaging a special audience and opening greater communications in the area it encompasses. It can, however, be a secluding force that segments the artists from the general market further. With exploration into Castillo’s past projects, and her rigor of best practices and academic research, she is conceivably a woman that will dance this fine line with grace and contribute the positive aspects she set out to achieve. Needless to say, Lady Base Gallery will be a forum for further observation.

Upcoming events at Lady Base Gallery include a Meet and Greet that will coincide with the Second Saturdays of the South Flores Arts District on February 9th from 6-9 pm. And as part of Contemporary Art Month, Lady Base Gallery will hold an opening reception for its primer exhibition, Lady Works, on Saturday March 2.nd Curated by Más Rudas, it will showcase the work of Chris Davila, Audrya Flores, Suzy Gonzalez, and Theresa Moher. Lady Base Gallery currently has a call out for regional artists, curators, and writers.

About the author  ⁄ Alana Coates

Alana Jean Coates earned a bachelor’s degree in both Art and Art History from the University of Rhode Island. She also successfully completed graduate course work in Museum Studies at the Harvard Extension School. In December of 2012, she obtained a master’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in Art History along with a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership. She has worked for over ten years in the creative sector holding a number of positions at reputable organizations such as Gallery Night Providence, Gallery Z, and The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. She currently holds a position as Development Administrative Assistant at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

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