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Rubin Center unveils spring showcase

Gaby Velasquez
The art exhibits featured in the spring exhibition will be on display at the Rubin Center until April 22.

The Rubin Center held its first art show of the spring semester and kicked-off the 11th annual event on Thursday, Jan. 19, with two exhibitions on display. The first was by the world-famous artist Teresa Margolles, who displayed her work on violence against women and social injustice in her “We Have a Common Thread” piece. The other exhibition was the “Tangential Intimacies” by local artists or artists from just across the border in Juárez, such as Haydee Alonso, Laura Bombach, Jane Terrazas, Nabil Gonzalez, Mia Moreno, Nikki Diaz and Cynthia Evans.

Kerry Doyle, the director of The Rubin Center, made the event possible. Doyle worked on bringing prestigious artists through the door for over a year before the event took place. Her goal was to bring designers that had a connection to the border. Many of the artists shown are UTEP graduates, who have gone on to pursue their master’s degrees in different parts of the nation and were asked to come back to display their creations where they started out.

The exhibition’s theme and artwork were created to express meaning around the violence that goes on in the world and what communities deal with daily.

“This work at this time is working with communities to signify violence. We feel like it’s an extremely important response to our country at this time to who we are as border people; to our commitment to justice and quality and that art can be a part of the conversation,” said Doyle. “We feel very proud and lucky to have this in El Paso right now, especially in this moment.”

Margolles’ designs were the highlight of the show. It was her first time displaying her creations in El Paso. 

Originally from Culiacán, Mexico, Margolles explored the recent deaths in México and expressed that violence in her work by focusing on the troubles that surround the families of the victims. Her visions spark conversations, particularly with her designs that revolve around the assault against women.

“The ladies who quilt for me helped me create the stories in my work, and every sew has a special meaning in the work we did. I take the materials and stories with the materials and bring them to the people. Some of them interpret a deeper meaning than others and every art piece tells the stories in the artwork,” Margolles said. “When we sew the fabrics together, it’s the representation of a body. It’s like we are doing an operation on a body. That’s how deep I try and make my art.”

Being used to traveling around the globe for the presentation of her work, Margoles was thrilled to finally make a stop in the Sun City. She said that it was a different feel from the other venues, but she enjoyed her stop at UTEP.

“On April 1990 was my first public gallery. It’s really important to me that my art is in a university because the public criticizes my work more, and it makes me a better artist. Viewers come to critique it and I like that,” Margolles said. “The Rubin Center was the best place for me to display what I made. Since it was a smaller space, people could see my work from a close-up view.”

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The supporters who attended the opening night were greeted by many of the artists, aside from Margolles, that included their work in the Rubin Center.

When viewers entered the second floor of the building, they could make their way to the right of the room to find local designers’ portraits.

On the left side of the room it was in pitch-black, and this is where Margolles’ pieces were displayed. It was a whole room dedicated to her paintings, and there were televisions displaying virtual art with headphones to hear what was happening on the screen.

Nabil Gonzalez, a fine arts professor at UTEP and a professional artist, displayed her designs at the exhibition and had the opportunity to show how she feels about the injustice to women and the role the government plays in it.

“My work expresses the disappearances of women in Juárez and the injustice of the government, and how they haven’t done anything about it. It shows how mothers are left to suffer without any explanation, answers or have anything to go off of from their missing daughters,” Gonzalez said. “My piece here, I’ve worked on it for about four to five years. The research and the making of the pieces took a while.”

Gonzalez’s pieces have been shown in many places around the world, and for UTEP to have her art in attendance was an honor for both the artist and the school.

“My art has been showcased in places like China and New York. My dream is to go to México, and this has brought me closer to that. It is my first time showing my work here in El Paso,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a great honor to have my pieces back here at UTEP, and getting to show off what I’ve been doing. It’s very, very special to share my work with my students tonight.”

The Rubin Center also held performances by the artists themselves for interactions with their fans. The artists operating the live performances spent five minutes each and presented the lucky spectators with tricks and gimmicks.

The Rubin Center’s opening exhibition of 2017 was a hit with an internationally recognized star and some new professional artists, who  have shown their work throughout the world. This is the first of three exhibitions set to take place in the spring semester.

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Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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Rubin Center unveils spring showcase