University Art Gallery at NMSU to host environmentally focused show, discussion panel

January 14, 2016

The New Mexico State University Art Gallery will host the opening reception for “Water! What is it good for?” from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. This exhibition will allow viewers to engage with multifaceted and complex environmental concerns.
Photo of person holding rope tied around a cloud.
“To Catch a Cloud,” by featured artist Brenda Perry, will be on display as part of the NMSU University Art Gallery’s “Water! What is it good for?” exhibition, opening Jan. 21. (Image courtesy of Brenda Perry)

As an associated program, the gallery will present “Relational Sustainability,” an interdisciplinary panel discussion focused on environmental issues, beginning at noon Saturday, Jan. 23, at the UAG. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Water! What is it good for?” will feature artists Bethany Taylor and Brenda Perry, whose work asks visitors to consider meanings and practices of sustainability, water rights, renewable natural resources and environmental consciousness.

For this exhibition, Taylor, an interdisciplinary artist and assistant professor of drawing at the University of Florida, will use string to “draw” figurative artworks for installation on the UAG’s walls. Some of Taylor’s compositions will incorporate the negative space on the walls, while others will use opaque tapestries.

“Taylor’s work can be understood as contemporary allegories with a twist; the artist’s narratives are open-ended rather than conclusive,” said Marisa Sage, director of the UAG, which is part of the College of Arts and Sciences. “These woven stories combine cross-cultural mythology and symbols with modern-day imagery and concerns for the longevity of our environment.”

Perry, a Houston-based artist, was born in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. With lifelong ties to the river, the Rio Grande serves as the central theme of her mixed-media artwork.

“She sees the Rio Grande as a threshold between communities, that needs to be reconsidered from combined social and environmental perspectives,” Sage said.

In this exhibition, Perry’s installation artwork, “Waiting for Rain,” combines photography and video, with Rio Grande river clay vessels and sand. The work demonstrates Perry’s belief that environmental climate change is inherently entwined to the social climate of our time.

For the Jan. 23 discussion, panelists Taylor and Perry will be joined by Gilbert Anaya, of the International Boundary and Water Commission, and J. Phillip King, professor of civil engineering at NMSU.

The panel will explore ideas of water conservation, water remediation, as well as the social and geo-political issues surrounding water – specifically the Rio Grande.

“Water! What is it good for?” will run through Feb. 27.

The University Art Gallery at NMSU is located in D.W. Williams Hall, at the intersection of University and Solano Avenues. The UAG is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Designated gallery parking is available, and general parking on the NMSU campus is free on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays.

For more information or to arrange a group visit, visit the gallery website at uag.nmsu.edu, or contact UAG administrator Jasmine Woodul directly at 575-646-2545 or artglry@nmsu.edu.

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