Contracommon’s Bodies Akin Gallery highlights local artists’ views on the art of the human figure

The opposite is an artist-run nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the development of local artists housed in Bee Cave’s Hill Country Galleria. The space includes multiple studios, event space and an experimental gallery space with rotating exhibitions. The current theme, “Akin Bodies,” is a figurative show that focuses on the human figure from the various perspectives of a plethora of Texas-based artists. The gallery space is available for free viewing Friday through Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. until April 8.

“Being a non-profit, community-based organization, it’s also really helpful to have a support system of artists who understand what we’re all going through, or who can be there for each other,” Holly Cerna, co-said the curator of “Bodies Akin” and member since 2021.

Upon entering the space, waves of incense and classical music reverberate through the galleries. Paintings and multimedia works line the walls, with different art styles, sizes and color palettes. Prints, small artwork and stickers are available for purchase from members of the Contracommon collective.

The exhibit features the work of Texas artists and is curated by Darryl Demps, Holly Cerna AND Molly Knobloch. Out of over 20 submissions, only four didn’t make the final cut. Several artists submitted several pieces to be selected, but every artist who submitted work is featured in the exhibit.

“Contracommon is a group of artists,” Demps said. “Our goal is not only to be emerging artists, but also to help other emerging artists. So we’re always organizing events, we’re always creating community. We’re just trying to get more and more people who are artists who might not have access to opportunities to get those opportunities and learn and grow within a community.”

If you’re like me and love to consume art, then there’s no better place to do it than Contracommon – it’s to support local artists who put their heart and soul into their work. If you want to push the limits of your creativity, they are waiting too monthly event you can participate in.

“Everyone is welcome, we just hope you respect the space and respect the craft,” Demps said. “If you’re someone who says, ‘Oh well, I do this for fun, I’m not a professional artist,’ whatever that title means, and you want to come to Drink and Draw, come drink and draw with us. We’re not going to be like, ‘nah bro, what’s on your CV that you can’t get in these doors’; nobody is too cool.”

Cerna also talks about how Contracommon helped build her support system after graduation. She noted that criticism from professors has the potential to be damaging to artists and that fostering community is important.

“If we need feedback, criticism, any skill that one of us might not have, someone else might,” Cerna said. “It’s very, very helpful to have a community of artists instead of being alone. I think a lot of artists make the mistake of being alone and not having a support system in any way. You can find that with other artists and that’s something that I think Austin is really doing well and will continue to do better in building these art communities that didn’t exist before. That’s really amazing to me, to be a part of this organization (that) really helps bring the art culture of Austin to the Bee Cave area.”

Both Demps and Cerna extended the invitation to artists looking for a home or community to participate in Contracommon.

“We’re in the bee cave, we’re out here, we’re just trying to grow the community,” Demps said. “So if you’re in the Bee Cave area and you’re looking for a community arts center, we’re your people. Come stay with us.”

Cerna points out that Contracommon is always looking for new members, and questions can be asked by appointment or in person.

“If anyone is interested in learning more about how to get involved with Contracommon or if you’re a soon-to-be graduate artist looking for studio space, thinking about where you want to take your art, career, and more,” Cerna said. “This is a place of healing, a place of community and acceptance and a no-judgment zone in terms of your work and what you have to offer.”

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