Juarez art abstracted

Just wanted to mention two shows I saw last week, one in El Paso and the other in Juarez.
Currently on view at the Mexican Consulate in El Paso is a show called Dos Mujeres en Abstracto with works by Luz Galvan Muruaga and Veronica Ariza. Among her other studies, Luz received a degree in architecture from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon while Veronica received a doctorate in Design and Communication from the University Politecnica in Valencia, Spain. Veronica’s work here reflects a variety of printmaking techniques, generally showing  geometrical patterns or layers of patterns. One series TIERRA consists of a pattern of small embossed circles overlaid with a repeating series of patterns which changes from one work in the series to the other. The patterns here are crisp and uncluttered, not minimalist necessarily, but precise and clean.  Other works include Papalotlzotl, which invokes aztec patterns.  These are all fairly recent works though a few earlier works on display show realistic drawings. There is a small head of an angel and a more playful one with a giraffe. There is also a somewhat surrealist work which I remember being impressed with when I saw it at a show at CMA (centro municipal des artes)a few years ago. Called Sueno de Nina (dream of a child), it is worked  in tones of blue and reveals a chairlike form but with a human leg as well as roots descending into the sea? earth? and a tree branch reaching upwards. A small and haunting piece.
Luz Galvan’s work is often highly conceptual and generally designed to force one into contemplation rather than delineating what she has in mind. Her the works are mostly from a series called IMPRESSIONS and consist of large swirls of watercolor set against the white of the paper. They might be considered a sort of Rorschach test for the viewer or a work of meditation, depending upon your orientation. In any case, they can be used as a point of contemplation.
Over at the Museo Archaeologia in the Chamizal in Juarez, there is an exhibition by a large number of Juarez artists including Luz Galvan, Michele Paz, Veronica Leiton Cecilia Briones among others. working in a variety of mixed media.
Most of the works were created within the last few years and cover a wide range of media including installations, conceptual pieces, as well as oil and acrylics.
There are far too many to discuss all individually but they attest to the range of influences and concepts found here. Luz Galvan, here shows a work called La Fe (the faith) which appears to those unaware of local culture to be simply a series of multicolored ribbons suspended around a small pole or stick. Of course, they reference the ribbons on indigenous headcovering and therefore open up to a larger vista for contemplation.
In terms of pure abstraction I was taken with Lorena Borja’s triptych in gray called Petrificacion del Silencio. This largish work in acrylic impresses with its various shades of gray creating exactly as its title implies not only a silence but a darkness, a decaying other world.
Far more colorful are two related works by Michele Paz called Todas las que habiten en mi 1 and 2. At first glance these seem to be paintings of a woman in lacy underwear who is inhabited quite thoroughly by turtles. Closer examination shows that the thong and garter is, in fact, created by carefully placed black string which creates the image. I can’t tell if in the second one the lingerie is painted or is also string. In both cases it has been shellacked and looks like it has been painted rather than created from fabric.
There are also some noteworthy installations. Tite Bilbao has created a twisted guitar form with a head juxtapoosed with a mirror called AFANES, and Christian Diego has suspended created birds nests in A DESTAJO.
There are a dearth of places to show art in Juarez while as this show reveals there are a large number of dedicated and talented artists. Thanks to institutions like the museum of Archaeology that they have at least some place to display their work.-david sokolec



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