Women Who Dare



Exhibition Dates: November 5 – November 27, 2015

The Carver Cultural Center, 226 N. Hackberry

Co-Curated by Anel I. Flores and Sarah Castillo

There is art in everything. Our home, our phone, our car, and even something as complex as our physical body. And, in the rat race that is life, there tends to be very little art that causes us to stop and implore the lines, functions, and story that lie within it. How Dare You? will exhibit works of art by San Antonio women artists who stimulate, provoke, and capture her viewers; allowing space for the movement and speed of the competing world to fall away.

Fourteen women photographers will be featured in the show: Claudia Zapata, Leticia Rocha Živadinović, Audrya Flores, Tk Tunchez, Raquel Zawrotny, Linda Arredondo, Kristel Puente, Kat Shevchenko, Stephanie Torres, Adriana Garcia, Maria Vasconcellos, Amanda Bartlett and Ashley Mireles.

Stephanie Torres. Take One. Just Begin. 2015.

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Take One. Just Begin. is an interactive art project that was inspired by my own creative struggles and the idea of waiting for the “perfect” moment to begin something new. In one of those moments, I read a quote by the Abstract Expressionist painter, Mary Abbott, describing what it was like for her as an art student in late 1940s New York: “First you had to learn to take a chance, a line, a brushstroke, or some dabs – and then keep pushing it so you’d know it was real.”

By letting go of the fear of the blank page and pushing through the paralysis of perfectionism, I created a series of abstract mixed media paintings. I then cut them down to create dozens of mini journals, each one representing my own willingness to take a risk.

With this project, I encourage the viewer to pause, take one of the journals, and immediately use it to make a mark, draw a line, write one word, a song lyric, a memory, a plan. Whatever it is they have been waiting for the perfect moment to start, I dare them to take one of these books and just begin.

Stephanie Torres is San Antonio, Texas based artist. Torres earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from Our Lady of the Lake University, where she specialized in painting and mixed media, She later studied Art History and Criticism at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Torres has been involved in the local art community for over 12 years as an artist, educator, and curator.

Kat Shevchenko. La Mystica. 2015.

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Old Masters mixed technique: oil paint over egg tempera/pigment/self made emulsion. 18” x 14”.

Being inspired by tragic personal losses I have started to meditate more fully on the fleeting essence of life in a way to accept its transitory nature and to celebrate the beauty of all its paradoxes.  My current body of work consists of narratives that are my own interpretation of the theme: memento mori (remember you will die).  My paintings feature symbolism from the natural world to in an effort to communicate the urgency of embracing the ephemeral moment.

Kat Shevchenko was born in San Antonio, Texas.  She studied Illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA and painting at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  In 2006, she ventured to Austria to study the Old Master’s/mixed technique of painting with oils over egg tempera underpaintings.  She continues to explore this technique, driven by inspiration from the natural world, dreams and life experiences which are interwoven into a personal mythology that has influences ranging from surrealism to symbolism and at times infuses a delicate touch of dark humor.

Maria Luisa Carvajal de Vasconcellos. Tequila.

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In every one of my paintings, each woman is saying something. Behind everything I paints there is a reason, a story, a story of the woman, the hurt woman, the passionate woman. You will always find my brushes and my canvas slick and wet to the touch.  

I am a self-taught artist from San Anto’s West and South side, who used art as part of my healing process. After my 9-year depression that involved food deprivation, isolation, much silence and extreme pain, I was lifted by the story telling power of the paintbrush.  What began with a pencil and paper, during the second half of my life, has exploded into pulsating visions on canvas. Weaving settings such as San Antonio, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Portugal together, I tells the tales of the Mujer, the woman – sometimes sweet, sometimes tragic and sometimes seductive.  

91 year old, Maria Luisa Carvajal de Vasconcellos was born in San Antonio Feb 11, 1924 on the South Side’s then Simpson Street, more commonly know today as Lone Star Street.  She spent 14 years on Simpson before the Great Depression hit and her mother, Reinalda Linares Leal Carvajal, and father, Athos Perez Carvajal, relocated the family to the West Side’s Alazan Courts. Vasconcellos attended Brackenridge High School until her senior year when she was awarded a vocal scholarship to attend the Incarnate Word College music school, but denied the opportunity upon realizing times at home were difficult. Instead, Vasconcellos dropped out of school and joined a government work program for students, where she soon after met her husband, Carlos Manuel Vasconcellos, a foreign student from Portugal.  After being married by the Justice of the Peace in 1955, the couple traveled throughout Latin America before calling Portugal their home. At the young age of 39, on October 1, 1964, she received tragic news that her beloved husband died in a car accident.  Immediately after his death, she returned to the United States only to fall into a deep depression. After being repeatedly admitted and discharged from the Santa Rosa psychiatric ward many times for 9 years her psychiatrist gave her only two choices for survival.  First, Vasconcellos would have to admit herself into the State Hospital and second, she would need to practice a hobby.  Her eldest brother refused the first order and instead took Vasconcellos to an art store where he would purchase her a few painting supplies. After their shopping her brother Joe went to her apartment and left her alone for the first time.  This day was the beginning of her art career.

Adriana M Garcia. Self Portrait. 2015.

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I create as a way to document the lives I’ve shared in, it provides a way to honor a person’s existence and make visible the marks they have imprinted upon me and the environment- a legacy left as well as those still to come. Intimacy abounds in lives encountered. I aim to extract the inherent liminality of a moment before action as a way to articulate our stories.

Adriana M Garcia, an award winning artist, muralist, and scenic designer. She has been invited to present and speak of her work at national conferences such as 2013 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS), the Roots and Remedies conference and el Mundo Zurdo. She has created community murals with SouthWest Workers Union, Bill Haus Arts, San Anto Cultural Arts Center and Casa de la Cultura in Del Rio, Texas, so as to give voice to mental health and immigrations issues. She has exhibited work in San Antonio, Austin and Houston Texas, California and Phoenix, Arizona. Garcia has also created scenic work with el Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista California as well as organizations in San Antonio such as the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.

Claudia Zapata. Dedicated to Hazel Scott. 2015.Digital video with original score by artist. Framed digital print, 18×24. Zine handouts.

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As an academically-trained art historian specializing in U.S. Latino and Chicano art work, the focus of my investigations include revisionist art histories and the reimagination of the art canon. My newly-created artist-role has extended my reclamation-based inquiries and created an alternative visual dialogic to discuss issues of race, political space, and experiential memory in the context of Texas. The Dedicated to Hazel Scott project is a dedicatory multimedia installation related to the jazz pianist Hazel Scott. This media undertaking is a result of independent research found in the Austin History Center detailing Hazel Scott’s cancellation of a live concert at the University of Texas in 1948 as a result of the segregation of the audience.

Claudia Zapata is a queer Chicana artist currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Southern Methodist University in Art History. She received her B.A. and M.A. from University of Texas in art history, specializing in Pre-Columbian and U.S. Latino/Chicano art. In 2012, Zapata co-created the Puro Chingón Collective, a Latino arts collective focusing on zines, designer toys, prints, and design.

Audrya Flores. Seer. 2015. Fabric, Lace, Ribbon, Pins, Wire, Seedpod. 45” x 20”. (Below)

I find the dream world liberating. Free from my physical body, I am able to navigate my own fear, shame, bliss, sadness, and pleasure without witnesses.  Without time. Without weight. These feelings present themselves as images: vivid and haunting. I can see them. I can name them. And they are me.

This self-portrait is part of a series of assemblage work that seeks to explain my artistic process. I create tactile representations of my dream symbols as a way to decode their meanings and resolve the conflicts they represent.

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Audrya Flores. Hand Talker. 2015.Fabric, Leather, Lace, Yarn, Pins, Cactus. 28” x 40”. (Below)

Years of battling anxiety have taught me this truth: I possess the ability to harm or heal myself. The choice is mine. Often, my anxiety manifests itself in my hands through fist clenching, fidgeting or sweating. And still, I choose to purpose these nervous hands for cultivating, for mothering, for making.

This self-portrait is part of a series of assemblage work that seeks to explain my artistic process. I create tactile representations of my dream symbols as a way to decode their meanings and resolve the conflicts they represent.

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Audrya Flores is a Tejana artist, educator, and mother living in San Antonio, Texas. Her work is a means for intrapersonal exploration and is influenced by dreams, visions, the occult, and her roots in the bordertown of Brownsville, Texas. Flores repurposes discarded materials and found objects for her collage and assemblage work.

Leticia R-Z. Psychopomp Altar I. 2015.Wool, Bone, Fabric, Human Hair.

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The Psychopomps series is an exploration of a mythical creature from a made-up world; a female-sexed animus that guides souls from and into the beyond. Something between a specimen and a worship totem, thread-bound to circular canvases, these figures sit at the beginning and end of life, but not in between. Wool, bone and traditional female crafts go into their construction. Their poses, both inviting and defiant, evoke familiar religions while rejecting the prevailing use of the female divinity as a fertile, nurturing entity. Like with the milagritos of Mexican Catholic tradition, these figures take offerings of hair in exchange for blessings or favors.

Leticia R-Z is a transplant from Mexico that took root in San Antonio. She has a BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio, which she has mostly used to make wool sculptures. She has had pieces in various shows in NY, Seattle, and locally, and has taught several needle felting workshops across Texas.

Linda Arredondo. Medusa Series. 2015.

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“When you ask Johns why he did this or that in a painting, he answers so as to clear himself of responsibility.”– ­ Leo Steinberg on Jasper Johns

I have been interested in watercolors ever since I had read that watercolor was a ‘ladies’ hobby’ and that real “painter’s” i.e. men, used real paint like acrylics or oils, or perhaps the distinction was more about the seriousness of the painter? or the assumption that women could not commit to being “real” painters? That of course is a discussion that has been held by better people than myself, but my interest in watercolor and other water­-based media has some to do with the way it is described and understood: feminine, loose, delicate, light, etc. It’s not a material that is controlled or dominated but one where some of its best parts are fueled by serendipity and compromise. I find the unpredictability of water-­based media attractive, along with its unforgivingness. Watercolor is kind of the cat in the (mostly) dog world of painting.

In terms of subject matter I often go with flowers, monsters and portraits especially of women with children. They are soft vehicles that carry ideas I have about unease and uncertainty, loneliness and vulnerability minus the relentless pride or promise of solution. I’m not comfortable with giving a specific orientation to the viewer to a painting and truthfully most artists should be considered unreliable compasses, especially with their own work but I can say sincerely that it is the hope that you will look and find a private atlas and take some comfort in it.

Linda Arredondo was born in Taegu, South Korea in 1975 and currently lives San Antonio, Texas.  Being very adorable, she was kidnapped as a baby and was almost taken to a remote mountain village by her new ‘mother’. Luckily the police recovered her and she left Korea to live her life as an American. During her early years, Arredondo gained some recognition for drawing unicorns and dragons, to which her Mexican father was known to remark, “Not bad for a hobby but there’s no money in that”. On the other hand her Korean mother was more encouraging because being artistically inclined was considered “high class”. Sadly, Linda Arredondo no longer draws publicly, unicorns or dragons. She is also no longer adorable, kidnapable and is usually broke in an unclassy way, even if she did go to a classy school.

2008 BFA University of Texas at San Antonio. 2010 MFA YALE University.

Raquel Zawrotny. Melanin in Gold, Series 1. 2015. Acrylic, Ink Collage, Gold Leaf, and Handmade Paper on Canvas.

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This series is a social commentary inspired by  the racially driven treatment of current Miss Japan. Her multi-ethnic background opened up a conversation of hatred and compassion from people all over the world. I started to investigate the concepts of primitiveness and prestige in the strata of ethnic world cultures and found various stigmas, oppressive practices and systemic oppressions in our global community.  I started to ask myself, why is it that communities/cultures who are “technologically advanced” or “financially wealthy” assume they are the dominant culture and believe that the community/culture living in the “old, traditional” ways is behind and therefor less than. The goal of this series is to first, provide the viewer an opportunity to question  society’s views of women, particularly black women; and second, to celebrate black women, their heritage and their lives.

Raquel Zawrotny is a fine artist who obtained her BFA from UTSA and studied Fashion at University of Incarnate Word.  She teaches at Southwest School of Art (SA,TX).  Arty Valentine is a persona that Raquel Zawrotny uses because her works are inspired by sociology and psychology.


Ashley Mireles …..And To All Those Who Died, Scrubbed Floors, Wept, And Fought For Us. 2015.


My abstracted portraits are representations of myself and my culture and the organic pieces found from outside my home and the lines given by the people around me are used to wholly form this composition.  The paper is made by hand using common materials found in my environment: Texas soil, debris, and fallen pecan trees.  The drawings are derived from portraits of significant figures as relayed to me through stories told by friends and family; memories of extraordinary people who have come ahead of us and without whom, others and myself would not exist.

Ashley Mireles has exhibited in national group and juried shows at the San Antonio Art League Museum, the Appalachian Center for Craft, Blue Star Arts Complex and various colleges and universities. Ashley has also led creative art workshops and generated murals and exclusive print designs for local organizations. Presently, Ashley focuses her time on producing community-based art for local non-profit organizations exploring the connection between the creative process and community concerns.


Kristel A. Puente. Disambiguation of the Introverted Megalomanic. 2015.


This work is a continuation of an earlier series of self-portraits. It is inspired by “Frida This”, a painting by Ismael Salinas. Each element is purposefully symbolic and is blending juxtapositions of cultures. As often is the case for Mexican Americans, I stand on a line I did not draw. Neither side of the proverbial fence fully accepts the validity of our journey – we are either too much, or not enough. Frida was defiant, strange, purposeful, militant, intelligent, sexual, strong, flawed, unafraid and vulnerable. Her image is now iconic and is easily being stolen from us and sold on t-shirts and canvas bags. I am taking her back, MY WAY, with all my strangeness and messiness and confusion about who you think I am or should be as a Mexican American woman.

Kristel Puentes’ work draws from history, civil rights issues, San Antonio culture, gender studies, feminism and cultural appropriation. She has a been a professional photographer for seven years and specializes in commercial, fashion, runway, and artistic photography. Her photography work has naturally overflowed into conceptual and installation art. She uses her work to dissect herself, and her place in the world which has led to many new unexpected challenges. She currently sells her  Alamo Series at the Alamo gift shop.

Amanda Bartlett.  2015.


  “The only one I cared for was the one who made me cum.”  – GG Allin

Amanda Bartlett is a metalsmith studying and working out of San Marcos, Texas. She investigates the uncomfortable and the odd. Bartlett draws from themes of the Cult of Domesticity, B-rated amateur pornography, and the place of women in our society.





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