Art on the Edge 2013 is the third Friends of Contemporary Art & Photography biennial juried exhibition to be held at the New Mexico Museum of Art. This show, juried by Toby Kamps, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Menil Collection, features eight artists from New Mexico and surrounding states: Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Heidi Pollard, Rebekah Potter, Donna Ruff, Joel Santaquilani, Martina Shenal, Derrick Velasquez, and Greta Young. The Art on the Edge website featuring all artworks will launch on Friday, January 18, 2013.
Eight contemporary artists from the Southwest will be featured in the Friends of Contemporary Art + Photography’s biennial juried show, Art on the Edge, hosted by the New Mexico Museum of Art.
The artists, who were selected by Toby Kamps of the Menil Collection, Houston, are Rosemary Meza-DesPlas (Dallas, TX), Heidi Pollard (Albuquerque, NM), Rebekah Potter (Albuquerque, NM), Donna Ruff (Santa Fe, NM), Joel Santaquilani (Amarillo, TX), Martina Shenal (Tucson, AZ), Derrick Velasquez (Denver, CO), and Greta Young (Santa Fe, NM). Art on the Edge 2013 will open to the public on January 18, 2013. The exhibition runs through April 14, 2013
The Art on the Edge 2013 call for entries was open to artists based in New Mexico or surrounding states—Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Juror Toby Kamps narrowed the 268 artist submissions to 37 artworks by the eight artists.
The sculptures of Derrick Velasquez use industrial materials such as marine vinyl that is draped and layered over wood to create a tension between the accumulated mass of material and the tenuous pivot upon which that accumulation rests. Also using industrial, found or everyday materials to sculpt equally unexpected forms is Heidi Pollard, whose endearing papier mache Bunny Dummy rests on an orange wood chair, while nearby the scrap wood, oil, and ink wall sculpture Bitter Lake Homage evokes the sharp teeth of a saw.
Photographer Martina Shenal’s chosen subjects rely on the same quality of the mundane as the materials used by Velasquez and Pollard, and like those artists, Shenal metamorphoses those anticlimactic sites and objects into images of beautiful if subdued color and form. Shenal focuses on what she describes as “the peripheral, the insignificant and sometimes monumental spaces” where there exist “intersections of public and private, natural vs. the built environment, literal and metaphorical boundaries that offer protection as well as isolation.”
Rebekah Potter explores the “cartographies” of the body and the landscape through textiles, which she uses to create pieced “canvases” that are inviting in their tactility at the same time that they encourage an examination of abstract compositions more typically associated with painting. These works trick the eye with the promise of paint but the surface of fiber and pattern. Surface design is also an important element of Donna Ruff’s cut newspaper works on paper. The seductive repetition of the Islamic-inspired designs that are hand-cut into pages of the New York Times, whose front-page stories relate to conflict in the Middle East. Ruff draws us to the surface and how it serves as a metaphor for the lack of in-depth understanding of the political and cultural narratives that circumscribe those conflicts.
The figure appears in Art on the Edge 2013 through the work of three of the eight artists. Joel Santaquilani explores the voyeurism of photography through his series Parking Spaces, in which passers-by are photographed walking to or from their cars. The unusual angles and partial framing of the subject both suggest the accidental nature of the snapshot or the surreptitious quality of a surveillance photo. Rosemary Meza-DesPlas’ figuration takes the form of fragments and seriality. Breasts or buttocks, elegantly rendered in watercolor, are isolated from the whole body and organized in a loose grid that reveals both sameness and difference. Greta Young’s figures are likewise captured in fragments but they occupy the periphery of the composition, emerging from behind large areas of black and red. They are rendered with an expressionistic hand and denseness of paint and gesso that reinforces an overall rawness—not only of Young’s vision but of the Art on the Edge exhibition in general.