The following press release and hi-resolution imagery (ZIP folders) are suitable for print content. Please be sure to see and credit the artist’s work using the included image credit guide for each exhibit.
Mata Ortíz 1995-2015 presents work from the village of Juan Mata Ortíz over the twenty year period following our seminal exhibition at the University Art Museum in 1995. This exhibition tracks the development of artists whose early work contributed to the creation of an art movement in the village of Juan Mata Ortíz including Juan, Nicolás, and Lydia Quezada, Macarío and Eduardo Ortíz, Héctor Gallegos and Graciela Martínez, and Manuel Rodríguez. It also features work by members of the next generation of artists such as Laura Bugarini, Martín Cota, Diego Valles and Javier Martínez who have added layers of technical and conceptual complexity to the village’s production.
Mata Ortíz 1995-2015 reiterates the University Art Museum’s commitment to a multicultural perspective on the arts of Americas while providing the University Art Museum with the opportunity to announce the new Mata Ortíz pottery collection created by gifts from James H. and Patricia B. Gilbert and Raleigh Gardenhire.
Many forces, natural and human made, create both visual images and sounds. Some of these are subtle while others are not. Lightning Speak: Solo and Collaborative Work explores various ways in which visuality and aurality combine and diverge. At the center of the exhibit, Raven Chacon (b. 1977; Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation, AZ) works with sound and image in complex ways. The exhibition showcases Raven’s work with various others with whom he has and continues to interact artistically while simultaneously exhibiting work solely his own.
As a part of an international collaboration with Canadian as well as United States artists, Raven worked on Gauge (2013-2015), the massive three-channel video that is premiering here. The artists painted bands and other shapes with natural pigments and ash on an iceberg. We watch as the snow and ice change form with different light, then fall and allow the color to disperse. The work effectively relays the temporary nature of our intervention in one sense and the continuing disruptive effects of global warming in another.
One of Raven’s most intriguing works, While Contemplating Their Fate in the Stars, The Twins Surround the Enemy (2003), enables two zebra finches to discover their ability to interact with a pitch theremin placed in their cage. Throughout the exhibition, the birds vary the pitch of the sound emanating from the theremin simply by moving their bodies. Ultimately they harmonize with the instrument as they adjust their chirping to the instrument’s tones.
Musical works include specific compositions as well as ambient sound pieces. Report (2001) has been created for various weapons with differing calibers —handguns, shotguns, revolvers and rifles, each with its own sound. The arrangement, with its abrupt sounds, is interspersed with pauses. Raven speaks of these weapons, most noted for violence, defense and power, now as mechanisms for musical resistance.
Walking through the studios of the University of New Mexico Graduate Fine Art students, I asked myself the question, what is there that I cannot see? Beyond the works that were left for me to consider were the ideas and experiences of the artists. What questions had they asked themselves and been asked? What countless experiments had they attempted to present this particular work at this moment in time? As emerging artists, it is the ongoing daily practice of thinking and making that leads to new discoveries. What exists beyond the visible is potential. What I did see – video performances, photographs, ceramics, sculpture, installation, socially engaged work, and collage – were excellent experiments in what is possible.
Participating artists: Julianne Rose Aguilar, Fatemeh Baigmoradi, Stefan Jennings Batista, Katelyn Bladel, Marcie Rose Brewer, Kaitlin Bryson, Eugene Ellenberg, Raymond Douglas Ewing, Erin Fussell, Abbey Hepner, Amy Elizabeth Johnson, Adrian Pijoan, Kristen Roles, Sallie Scheufler, Nick Clifford Simko, Brittany Michelle Sundheim, Ariel Wilson and Fiona Yang.