“Joe Lopez: Calles de la Vida”

When San Antonio artist Joe Lopez launched his Gallo series, a certain huge wine corporation objected. In court. The word “gallo” is Spanish for rooster, and Lopez, who considers the spirited birds a symbol of strength, courage and beauty, paints vibrant portraits of them. Lopez, supported by Houston folk art gallery owners and social activists Macario and Chrissie Ramirez, among other grassroots organizers, refused to abandon the name and faced off against the wine corporation. And won. “That changed my life,” Lopez told us. “I wouldn’t have done half the things I’ve done since then if it hadn’t been for people like Macario and Chrissie.”

As part of White Linen Night in the Heights, Casa Ramirez is hosting “Joe Lopez: Calles de la Vida,” an exhibition of Lopez’s small watercolors. “I paint the people and things that I see,” Lopez tells us. Works in the series show humble people involved in daily family life, a street vendor, children playing, a girl eating corn on the cob. One of the most striking is Caballo Chulito, which shows the head of a dark brown horse, mane flying in the wind, against a muted green background. As with much of Lopez’s work, it’s accessible, engaging and effective. Lopez will be in attendance at the exhibit. “I love going to Houston. I don’t get there as often as I would like, but it’s always great to see…everyone.”

6 to 9 p.m. Casa Ramirez, 241 West 19th. For information, call 713-880-2420. Free.
Sat., Aug. 2, 6-9 p.m., 2014

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Olivia Flores Alvarez