Faculty showcases contemporary art exhibits

"This is a special opportunity to see world-class art from artists who are living and working in our community." - Kerry Doyle, Rubin Center Director

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Cristina Esquivel/The Prospector

Jose Soto, Staff Reporter

The Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for Visual Arts will host the “UTEP Department of Art Faculty Exhibition Studio Lab: Research Practice in the Liberal Arts,” giving the centennial celebration an artistic twist. The exhibit had its opening ceremony on Jan. 30.

“UTEP faculty artists are some of the most accomplished artists in the region. Their work will be presented in a very wide range of media,” Rubin Center Director Kerry Doyle said. “The public should know that some artists shown in the exhibition, like Adrian Esparza, are regularly showing in national and even international venues, making this a special opportunity to see world-class art from artists who are living and working in our community.”

The exhibit intends to grant the UTEP and El Paso community access to contemporary art, while helping people understand the full range of practices that are connected with the style, research, conversations, subjects, processes and relationships, Doyle said.

With this being its fifth-biennial exhibition—taking place every two years—the entire faculty and lecturers from the department were invited to participate.  There will be 27 artists displaying their work, which has been in development since the previous departmental showcase. Gallery staff and artists chose the final pieces along with assistant director of the Rubin Center Melissa Barba and Doyle.

“This exhibit is the first in the Rubin Center’s Centennial Series, and the faculty portion of the show includes centennial reflections by teaching artists, who reflect on their UTEP experience and how it has affected their work and their lives,” Doyle said. “The Studio Lab portion of the show in the Rubin Center Project Space takes on the centennial focus of a 21st-century research institution, and gives viewers a behind the scenes look at the process behind the art.”

Esparza, an art lecturer who is participating in this year’s exhibit, said that as artists, they are  starting to develop art awareness in the community.

“We are starting to integrate it into our everyday lives,” Esparza said. “There are a lot of talented individuals here teaching and producing work, we just want the community to be aware of us and, to some degree, support these kind of endeavors.”

In his exhibit, Esparza takes the symbol known as a “serape” in Mexican communities, which is a colorful wool shawl, and conceptualizes it into a piece of modern art, and takes notice of the changes within cultures, people and art itself.

Christine Foerster, art lecturer, will be displaying “Art.hro.poda:Ecdysis,” which is her most recent work in a progression of pieces of a larger project.

“Art.hro.poda:Ecdysis” is a small sample of multimedia exhibition that will build on the documentation of 12 performance installations carried out in Turkey, Denmark, Peru and the U.S.,” Foerster said. “The piece relies on an evolving modular suit that morphs, detaches and reconfigures depending on her surroundings. In each performance, ‘Art.hro.poda’ takes cues from an arthropod of the region: the striped bark scorpion in El Paso, the blomsterbi in Aabenraa, the pavurya in Istanbul, and the araña cazadora in Cuzco.”

Ultimately, ‘Art.hro.poda’ elicits participation from the public so that the final shelter becomes a shared common space,” she said.

Foerster will also be showing three movement maps from the performances she did in Denmark, which were recorded using a GPS application then abstracted into polygon shapes that connect in varied ways on a wall.

The faculty exhibition will be held on the third floor of the Rubin Center, while the studio lab will be installed on the second floor.

Doyle said that the Studio Lab presents elements of this artistic research through a series of installations based on the process and working methods of the faculty members of the art department.

“It gives viewers a unique opportunity to see the studio methods of artists working in a variety of media taught and produced at UTEP,” Doyle said.

The Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts will continue to host the exhibit from now until March 8.  The center will continue its centennial exhibits until December, with a total of eight different exhibits held throughout the year.

The gallery is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and until 7 p.m. on Thursdays.  Weekend hours are available by appointment.  For more information, please contact the Rubin Center at 747-6151.

Jose Soto may be reached at [email protected]