I’m not sure what I expected from “Triple Treat,” the CAMx exhibition at Unit B. I had really high hopes for the exhibition and can honestly say that I’m extremely excited about the San Antonio/Houston collaboration as part of Contemporary Art Month this year. I was excited to see what Redbud Gallery in Houston would bring to San Antonio.
I was disappointed. Triple Treat wasn’t an exhibition, but more of a showcase of three different artists. There was no conversation between the works. It looked like Redbud Gallery pulled work from an available checklist of works by three Houston-based artists: Ariane Roesch, Emily Sloan, and Kaneem Smith, to plop into Unit B. It’s not to say that the work is bad, or that the show is bad, but I expected much more from Houston. It didn’t help that each artist’s work is divided by a wall or a room.
Ariane Roesche’s work is in a smaller gallery toward the back of the space. Framed works hang on the walls, and a life-size handmade linoleum ladder illuminated with small Christmas lights sits in the middle of the floor. The work combines regular household materials such as linoleum with small touches of technology like exposed wires and Christmas lights. It’s inviting: I spent time admiring the flora and fauna of the linoleum in the wall works. The clearly un-usable ladder seems almost deflated, it’s a wonder that it can support its own weight. The room makes sense as a tiny solo show of Roesche’s work.
In the next room is an installation of treated burlap vests by Kaneem Smith. The work is breathtaking, and the weathered and aged affect in the burlap is really impressive. Compared to the other two artists, Smith’s work felt thematically heavy. It didn’t fit with the rest of the show, nor were there other works by the artist to help me grasp her ideas. It’s a nice piece, but I needed more. It would have worked better if another piece been included to allow some sort of conversation, and to give the audience more of an idea of the artists intention.
The final piece was was a series of lamp shades scattered outside on the facade of the gallery itself, completely removed from the other artists’ projects. Emily Sloan’s contribution to the exhibition, stuck to the facade in a random configuration, looked cool, but didn’t really “fit.”
Sloan and Roesch’s work was somewhat playful, and I wanted to see more by Smith. Unit B has standout shows by great artists, so I’m really left wondering: “this is all you’ve got, Houston?” Triple Treat really isn’t a treat, it is three different projects that don’t talk to each other. It feels too segmented and segregated. I want more than three mini shows when I walk into a gallery; I want a conversation between the works and the artists. I want to see why the works were chosen and placed where they were, and I certainly want to see why the artists were chosen. I’m happy to see the collaboration happen between the two cities, and remain positive, but was left feeingl just a little disappointed.