Around this time last year, DAMAS’ own Hilary Rochow had her first solo exhibition at Fl!ght Gallery at the Blue Star Arts Complex. Splitting the space with Lloyd Walsh, Rochow showed her intricate works on paper with great success. But wait, where was Rochow before this? With a degree in Industrial Design from Auburn University and working in exhibition design at Fl!ght Gallery, Rochow hadn’t realized how fun it would be to work with artists closely and mount an exhibition until she went through it herself.
Rochow shared that she loved how much everyone at Fl!ght Gallery encouraged her. I have to agree with her, the San Antonio community is extremely supportive. Rochow knew that she wanted to encourage and uplift others, as well. Recognizing the unique and vast audience that attends First Thursday and First Friday, Rochow knew she wanted to stay around the Blue Star Arts Complex. And it just so happened, the opportunity to stay came knocking from the Upstairs Studios.
The name DAMAS originated from co-founders Alyssa Morales and Marta Francine. Alluding to their Latin roots they settled on the Spanish word for ladies. They wanted a title that encompassed that these ladies were running the show. When Francine invited Rochow to take over her half of the space, the name still rang true.
With an inaugural two-person exhibition in March of 2019, Audrey LeGalley and Linda Perez set the tone for a successful and diverse year. The exhibition addressed the idea of worth and built a discussion around why we value what we value. By the end of the exhibition, DAMAS’ Form & Function: a visual discussion received a CAMMIE presented by the San Antonio Museum of Art.
Throughout the year, DAMAS has featured works by Matt Manalo, Isabel Cuenca, Jeff Wheeler, Daniel Johnston, Charles Ben Russell, Ashley Mahaney, Ana Garica, and Jeremiah Teutsch to name a few. Ranging from works on paper to sculpture and video installation, the ladies behind DAMAS aren’t afraid to shed light on a variety of mediums and artists. Aside from having a quick turnaround with exhibitions, Alyssa Morales and Hilary Rochow also pursue their own artistic practices. Rochow shared that finding a balance between curating an art space and finding time for her to create her own art is a challenge, but she can’t imagine not giving back to a community that has been so supportive.
Rochow currently has work where it all began … Fl!ght Gallery. In her solo exhibition from one, another, Hilary displays some of her largest illustrations to date, which are rendered in exacting detail. Focusing on the animals of West Texas, these pieces invite the audience to explore the importance of each being in an ecosystem and the ties that bind us all together.
“I’ve always been interested in animals like the black-tailed jackrabbit. When we think of powerful animals, we often think of lions or bears, apex predators at the top of their games. But what about the animals that have to survive being hunted on top of finding their own food? There’s an intense strength that’s grown from living in that constant state of vulnerability. A hardiness that is developed in hard times. And above all, a depth of fight that can’t be found when life and liberty are easily had. Don’t underestimate a hare,” shared Hilary Rochow on her Instagram account.
DAMAS is currently featuring Lata Gedala’s solo exhibition titled Cross-Sections on view through the end of the month. In this oeuvre, Lata combines her background in botany with her skill in papermaking to create vegetable papyrus compositions that honor the beauty and detail of the flora we eat. She treats and presses vegetables and roots to wafer-thin paper. Some of the beautiful papyrus compositions are displayed in custom made lightboxes.
So, what’s in store for DAMAS in December? A two-person exhibition featuring work by John Atkins and Angelica Raquel Martinez. With a family history rooted in the border, Martinez uses needle felt soft sculptures and watercolors to create otherworldly animals with a heavy narrative. Her work will be paired with Atkins’ imaginative sculptures made up of unconventional materials.
But, before we get to December, stop by Fl!ght Gallery tonight for from one, another’s mid-month reception from 6-9 PM. There will be some good tunes, special drinks, and new work in pen.
112R Blue Star
San Antonio, Texas
1414 S Alamo St
San Antonio, TX