I went to an opening last Friday night at an exciting gallery space that I thought was brand new. In fact , the director, Erica Barajas, told me that it has been open for awhile. No matter, IDEA gallery, open in a part of Guillermo Barajas architectural office is small, but both tasteful and exciting. Erica, who recently moved back from Boston to work in her father’s busy firm, explained that when they had a much larger space at the Union Fashion Center, they always displayed the work of local artists they liked so as to both be able to derive pleasure from them as well as to provide them with a showcase. Their new offices in the Cortez building are smaller, and the gallery area is only 300 square feet, but she has chosen pieces by UTEP students which are innovative, experimental and which also do not overwhelm their environment but fit like jewels in the space.
Many of the pieces in this show Escape from the 2nd dimension, have been seen elsewhere, but in this polished setting they take on a different quality. Arturo Molinari has what he described as a “passive-aggressive” piece called “I Lost You Because You Could Not See” in which he tried to explore the idea of art without a canvas. He has filled little cups with different colors standing on a backlit shelf. The idea revolves around the idea of paint without a canvas; color theory out on its own-a sort of free-standing liquid Rothko. He also provided a large braille wall explaining the piece-the idea being designed for those who can’t “see” his vision. He should probably stop being concerned people won’t understand (many won’t) and just get on with his work. It will be interesting to see where he goes in the future
There are wire sculptures, and ceramic corals and faces. Kalytia Roberts has her honey drippers, parts of a performance piece she put on awhile ago at The Forum, and Mario Ayala has a construction composed of wood and rope called “Rustic” The knots on the rope are apparently supposed to represent members of his family.
This show will be up for three months. Erica said she likes to give artists time for people to see their work. She also said because it is their work space, it is always open when they are there-normal 9-5 working hours. She also has no problem leaving her own work and helping anyone who comes in and wants to ask questions or to help interested parties contact the artist. The offices also have work by other artists, some specially commissioned by the firm, and people are free to wander through and look.
A wonderful environment and a welcome part of our artistic environment.
IDEA gallery is located on the 2nd floor of the Cortez building in Rm 211.