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Sam Reveles returns to the Rubin Center with ‘Solastalgia’


Bold brush strokes, changing patterns and contrasting colors are all words and phrases to describe Sam Reveles’ artworks.  

Coming soon to UTEP’s Rubin Gallery, Reveles will have his artwork shown in an exciting new exhibit on campus. The opening reception will be on Thursday Aug. 25, and the exhibit will run through Friday Dec. 9 of this year. 

The title of his exhibit “Solastalgia” perfectly captures the feeling and haunting aesthetic of his paintings. 

Born and raised in El Paso, Reveles is excited to unveil an exhibit in his hometown after not bringing one to the city for 20 years.  

“I haven’t had an exhibition here in a long time, so it feels great. I’m very much looking forward to it,” Reveles said. 

He remembers being obsessed with space and making new things at a young age. Discoveries from space telescopes and seeing photographs of the universe, Reveles was always motivated to put the wonder he felt looking at those images into artwork. 

First, his obsession with art and space took the form of building things, but it was not until later when painting became his forte.  

“I used to build a lot of things,” he said. “But the notion of becoming an artist or studying art didn’t come until much later, but I was always interested in it.” 

Taking his passion for art to the next level, he left for a bigger city. After a couple of years studying at the UCLA School of Art and Design in Los Angeles, he returned to his hometown and continued his art education from here.  

“[He is] a graduate of the Department of Art at UTEP and [from] here in the borderland,” Rubin Center Director Kerry Doyle said. “He went on to do his MFA at Yale University, and he now lives in Dublin, Ireland. So, he is an example of a UTEP graduate that has gotten a lot of success in his life through his artwork.” 

With a career spanning more than 20 years, Reveles has witnessed many sights that inspire his paintings. Bringing international success, he has participated in exhibitions around the world, from his hometown of El Paso to Spain. His work has been noticed by many publications in the process, bringing attention to his abstract pieces. An article by David Pagle in the Los Angeles Times described how it is rare to find sheer excitement in abstract paintings. 

In his upcoming exhibit, Reveles focuses on a theme that stems from a deep and somewhat dark term, “Solastalgia.” Coined by Australian environmental researcher and philosopher Glenn A. Albrecht, the term is based on the words “solace,” which means which gives comfort, and “algos,” which is Greek for pain. Sustained by climate change and environmental disaster, this term portrays the feeling of one’s distress for their home. In this exhibit, Reveles utilizes that term and its meaning to perfection. 

After working with landscapes for many years, Reveles felt that he could portray Solastalgia through his art. He recalled a trip he took to Iceland where he saw the beauty of the Gullfoss Falls and described how, “it takes your breath away.” 

Although its beauty is special, there is a scary reason behind the falls’ existence.  

“The issue is that its beauty is coming because the water [is] being fed by a glacier nearby that is melting at a high rate,” Reveles said. “There shouldn’t be that much water, but there is because this glacier is melting.” 

Though Reveles has international success, he still has a strong connection to El Paso and his hometown and is always ready to show his work.   

Not only is Reveles excited to make somewhat of a comeback at his alma mater, but his old school is also excited to show his work, along with a variety of other shows. 

“We show artwork in any kind of media you can think of,” Doyle said. “So, we’re opening two other shows that evening. We’re interested in a variety of shows, in a variety of media from artists that are helping us think about the world that we live in. That’s what we do here at the Rubin Center.” 

Elisha Nuñez is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Elisha Nuñez
Elisha Nuñez, Staff Reporter
Elisha Nuñez is a multimedia journalism student with a minor in marketing at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He works as a reporter for The Prospector, and loves to write about arts, culture, and people. This semester, he wishes to do more freelance work for publications in and outside of El Paso. After graduation, he would like to experience multiple positions at different places, and even has plans for continuing his current education outside of the U.S.
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Sam Reveles returns to the Rubin Center with ‘Solastalgia’