While conducting research for An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and, Yes, She Shot Him Dead, a novel about Hedda Burgemeister and Otto Koehler, Gayle Brennan Spencer became fascinated and distracted by the stories old postcards have to tell – resulting in a series of collages, Postcards from San Antonio. Gayle maintains the original, intimate scale of the postcards and period stamps to force viewers to come closer to read these messages from earlier times – to ponder how they relate to life today.
Her first “kitschen-aide” series revolved around tortillas, salsa and pralines. Through the years her themes have ranged from cowgirls to Frida y Diego, and her collages evolved to include other ephemera calling out for attention – including sheet music, holy cards and San Antonio’s infamous Blue Book.
Frida y Diego Series
“Kitschen-aide” art resurfaced in this series of food-related prints focusing on a fascination with the lives of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Perhaps no artist’s image or artwork has been “refried” and sold in as many over-commercialized formats as Frida’s. The oft-photographed Frida Kahlo has had her image reproduced on almost everything. Yet their art and stories remain so compelling….
The Blue Book Series
The 1911-1912 Edition of “The Blue Book,” a visitors’ guide to San Antonio’s “sporting district.” The book of advertisements was billed as a “straight steer to the visitor within the gates of the Alamo City, when the lights are turned on” and included a list on available women classified from A to C.
To anyone who knows her, it is not surprising that images pertaining to food on vintage postcards catch the eye of Gayle Brennan Spencer. So it was only natural for the first of her digital collages to revolve around pralines, tortillas and hot sauce.
Gayle’s godmother/aunt always lamented the role saints should play in daily life was not one taught by the nuns of Star of the Sea. It took trips to the Old World and Central and South America to strip the veneer off the more sanitized version of American Catholicism.
Texas Centennial Series
There are so many great stories arising from the massive celebration of the Texas Centennial in 1936, and one of Gayle’s blog posts touches on some of them and how she ended up stalking centennial-related items on eBay. Because she was not the only person touched by nostalgia, prices were too high for her to pursue. But a local collector, Sarah Reveley, lent her many of the items incorporated in this series of digital collages that debuted in her solo show at King William Art in 2011.
Cows + Girls y Mas
A series of cowgirl postcards based on the 1907 hit “San Antonio Song” by Harry Williams and Egbert VanAlystyne were among the first to get Gayle’s attention and gave her favorite cowgirl image. “San An-to ni An-to-ni-o. She hopped up on a pony and ran away with Tony….” To hear an original 1907 recording of the song by Billy Martin, click here, and to learn more about the song visit this post on Gayle’s blog.
See you farther down the trail….