As a San Antonio native, Tuesday evening felt like I was coming back home after being away for a very long time. I had never been to Sala Diaz, nor had I heard of it before being introduced (which is pretty typical when there are looming institutions like the Mcnay or SAMA to distract you from little gems like this). Sala Diaz is a nonprofit that exhibits contemporary art in a small one bedroom home in downtown San Antonio. And unless you knew it functioned as a gallery, you’d think it was a home just like any that surround it.
Walking up to the house, we were invited to share a drink with the artist, Buster Graybill and the curators of the show. While 8-10 people walked through the exhibition (because that’s all who could comfortably fit inside) Buster began to explain his works.
He utilizes materials and objects that are often overlooked in observance of the rural landscape that he grew up around. After everyone had made it through the space, he asked us to guess what the “paintings” on the walls were made from, assuming none of us remembered what ugly folding lawn chairs looked like anymore. He explained his method in making these “cheap” materials into art that was beautiful to him because of its history or nostalgia.
While he does struggle with “faking” found objects or “retro” materials in creating his works, it’s refreshing to see and hear truth in intentionality. He creates work that is inspired by the mundane, by nostalgia and a rural setting, which is something most of us can relate to in some way or another.
After my experience Tuesday night I can say that Sala Diaz is a venue that is worth visiting at least once, or every Saturday of your life. It’s truly an experience that can only be felt, which is why I’ve tried to incorporate as many photos as possible in this post, at this point I feel like my words will only fall short. So whether it’s for an encounter with an experimental art setting, for a feeling of comfort in institution, for kind people, or in support of the many local galleries that San Antonio has to offer, please take the time to visit.