Contemporary at Blue Star Announces 2024-2025 Berlin Resident Artists

by Jessica Fuentes March 21, 2024

Contemporary at Blue Star has announced Heyd Fontenot, Sarah Fox, Beronica Gonzales, and Jason Willome as its 2024-2025 Berlin Residency artists.

Side-by-side photographs of artists Heyd Fontenot, Sarah Fox, Beronica Gonzales, and Jason Willome.

From left to right: Heyd Fontenot, photo by Melissa Lukenbach; Sarah Fox, courtesy of the artist; Beronica Gonzales, courtesy of the artist; and Jason Willome, courtesy of the artist.

Established in 2013, the Berlin Residency Program allows four Bexar County artists to take part in a three-month residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien (KB). KB is a Berlin-based nonprofit organization that hosts 25 international studio artists as part of its residency program. 

This year the selection committee for the program included Christopher Blay, Chief Curator at the Houston Museum of African American Culture; Dr. Angelika Jansen, Independent Curator and Contemporary at Blue Star Advisory Council Member; Mia Lopez, Curator of Latinx Art at the McNay Art Museum; Jacqueline Saragoza McGilvray, Curator and Exhibitions Director, Contemporary at Blue Star; and Hiromi Stringer, Berlin Residency Program Alum Artist and Senior Lecturer of drawing and painting at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The Contemporary’s Berlin resident artists will each attend one of four residency cycles at KB, beginning this July. Artists receive a studio and living space, as well as the opportunity to participate in workshops, exhibitions, and studio visits with international curators. They will also be featured in BE magazine, a bilingual international publication. Beyond the residency, with support from the City of San Antonio’s Global Engagement Office, the artists will also travel to Darmstadt, Germany, a sister city of San Antonio, and meet with artists and cultural leaders. Learn more about each artist below, via biographies provided by the Contemporary.

In a press release announcing the residents, Mary Heathcott, Executive Director of Contemporary at Blue Star stated, “As an artist-centric organization, we are grateful to continue to provide unparalleled opportunities for artists in our community to grow. Now, after more than a decade of this international collaboration, we are excited to see how the residency not only supports individual artists but San Antonio at-large as the discoveries made in Berlin positively impact us all through the sharing of innovative ideas in thought-provoking exhibitions and in education programs, augmenting our cultural landscape.”

A photograph of a drawing with gouache by Heyd Fontenot featuring two mask-like faces hovering above a horse.

Heyd Fontenot, “Two Yellow Masks, One Smoldering Horse,” 2023, graphite and gouache on colored paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Heyd Fontenot (born 1964, Lake Charles, Louisiana) is a multidisciplinary artist. He has inhabited a variety of artistic roles professionally including designer, art director, and producer, while he was working with theatrical groups, retail businesses, and television and film production companies. A lifelong painter and draftsman, he also developed a significant body of work in the 1990’s as an experimental filmmaker. While film and video are still in his arsenal, Mr. Fontenot’s current studio practice is largely focused on figurative painting, drawing, and installation.

The artist recruits his friends and artistic peers to model and has, in this process, created a comprehensive portrait of his community over the last two decades. There is a particular effort in Mr. Fontenot’s work to reclaim the human body from mass media constructions and exploitations as well as conservative and/or religious assertions that the body is either shameful or inadequate. He is the former director of two exhibition spaces/residency programs in Texas: CentralTrak in Dallas from 2011-2016 and Sala Díaz/Casa Chuck 2021-2023. His mid-career survey exhibition, The Very Queer Portraits of Heyd Fontenot, traveled to the University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland), Rollins College (Winter Park, Florida), and Allegheny College (Meadville, Pennsylvania). Mr. Fontenot is represented by Conduit Gallery in Dallas.

A photograph of a work by Sarah Fox. The piece is a partial mask with hair attached to it.

Sarah Fox, “Lilliassss Mask (detail),” 2024, paper mache, crushed peridot, coyote teeth, enamel paint, synthetic hair. Courtesy of the artist.

Sarah Fox’s multi-media narratives and characters are created from embodied female experience. Stories of life, loss, sex, and love are told through corporeal hybrid creatures. The resulting puppet shows, cyanotypes, drawings, and animations suggest a childlike fairytale but with an undercurrent of dark symbolism. Her work has been shown throughout Texas, as well as in the Kinsey Institute (Bloomington, Indiana), Field Projects Gallery (New York, New York), Espacio Dörffi (Lanzarote, Canary Islands), Bedsetter Art Fair (Vienna, Austria), and Casa Lu (Mexico City). 

In 2019 she was a recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation grant that allowed her to live and work at the Women’s Studio Workshop in NY with her son. Ms. Fox was raised in Houston and currently lives and works in San Antonio with her 6-year-old son, William. Ms. Fox received her BA from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and her MFA from University of Texas at San Antonio. She is a Lecturer at Texas State University and also runs the Nature of Art summer camp for young artists in conjunction with San Antonio River Foundation.

A photograph of a mixed media fabric work by Beronica Gonzales that is reminiscent of a quilt.

Beronica Gonzales, “Fig. #1,” 2021, thread, acrylic, oil, canvas, found fabric. Courtesy of the artist.

Beronica Gonzales’ work engages with the passage of time and the ways in which both found and created objects can preserve moments in time, treating these objects as vessels for ever-evolving personal sentiments. By repurposing found materials and reproducing her personal effects in her work, she aims to preserve her subjects and create memorials to the mundane that express and resist the erosion of time on her objects and her connections to them.

Ms. Gonzales is from San Antonio and earned her BFA in Drawing and Painting with a double minor in Art History and Psychology from the University of North Texas in 2021. In 2023, Ms. Gonzales received the Clare Hart DeGolyer Memorial Fund Award from the Dallas Museum of Art. She was the Cluley Projects Inaugural Open Call recipient in 2022. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings and exhibited in various spaces throughout Texas.

A photograph of a mixed media diptych by Jason Willome, featuring a pair of figures wearing astronaut flight suits that are connected.

Jason Willome, “Complicated Minerals II (Diagram of the Big Bang),” 2017, acrylic, pigment transfer, salt crystals (Epsomite), wood panel, glazed frame (diptych). Courtesy of the artist.

As an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on exploring the associative properties of materials, Jason Willome has developed a diverse body of work that is deeply rooted in an exploration of the boundaries of painting and drawing, navigating the tension between illusionistic denial and assertion of surface. His recent works, depicting disaster and wreckage, challenge conventional representation, transforming space into fantasy that reflects the softened reality of the current moment. 

Mr. Willome’s latest projects delve into the nature of self and seek to explore philosophical interpretations of human consciousness and our connection to the universe. These frameworks examine the liminal realm between the mental and physical, drawing inspiration from childhood explorations and the metaphorical implications of trepanation and astronomy. This new work seeks to investigate the nature of humanity’s enduring pursuit of transcendence, whether by delving into inner realms or gazing outward into the boundless cosmos in search of connection and understanding. 

Mr. Willome was born in rural Texas and earned an MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and works as a Professor of Instruction in the School of Art at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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