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Light up your life at the ‘illuminated’ exhibit

Jasmin Campoya
The “Illuminated” exhibition brings paintings, screens, lights, and sounds to display an interactive experience to guests.

Unique patterns on plexiglass and mylar cut-outs cover the walls, decorated in bright colors from the overhead lights. Proximity-based speakers that make noises when you get close to the artwork and bright neon colors emanating from the paint are just a few things to look forward to at “illuminated,” an exhibition entirely put together by Las Cruces-based artist, Isadora Stowe.  

“So ‘illuminated’ is an on-site specific installation by artist Isadora Stowe. It kind of combines painting silkscreens, floating mylar, plexiglass silhouettes, and video projections and hydroponic sounds to kind of create a very immersive experience for visitors,” said Claudia Preza, an assistant curator at the El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA). “You can see her work; the sounds and see movement. So, it’s a very kinetic sort of an exhibition.” 

Raised in a household with an artist father, Stowe was always surrounded by art. 

“He always had me in the studio, always with the sketchbook or art supplies,” Stowe said.   

During her years in high school, Stowe created all sorts of artwork. From an art residency overseas to obtaining both a BFA and MFA in Art at New Mexico State University, Stowe explained how she did not choose art, but that “art chose (her).”  

Stowe’s latest exhibition is more than enough to show her 20-plus years of experience in professional art.  

“illuminated” is full of various pieces combined into one exhibit, artworks that one probably would not have thought art could be made from. Mylar, a material typically used from packaging for architectural drawings, can be seen hanging on the walls cut out into shapes that cast various shadows and designs due to the overhead lights. Plexiglass, or acrylic; which is used in plane windows and car lenses, decorates the walls of the exhibition as big circles with dozens of tiny, colorful designs.   

One may ask themselves, “Why would you make art from something that is not meant for art?” In response to such a question, Stowe has an answer. “I took it and made it into something to (show) art. I like doing that. Taking things that are meant for something else,” she said.  

Accompanying the many colorful designs on the plexiglass is a little surprise waiting for visitors carrying a black light flashlight, color sensitive paint. If you thought the designs were colorful before, wait until the blacklight shines on the designs. Neon colors come to life, reminiscent of a phenomenon found in nature called bioluminescence.   

“Just like in nature, bioluminescence is something that animals have,” Stowe said. “So, the idea that things are revealed in different kinds of ways when you look at them, creates another kind of relationship with these objects and how generative they are.”   

Another main part of the exhibition is something Stowe has been focusing on for approximately a decade, iconography, which is the interpretation of images or symbols used in art. The designs and even the mylar cutouts, all of which were based on local flora, fauna and various cityscapes, are there to create a sense of familiarity with the visitors.  

To go with said designs, there are overhead speakers that go off when you are near the artwork. They play sounds recorded by Stowe on her various trips, from casual hiking outings to her time in Mexico City.   

“There’s a ton of (sound) collections, and then they’re all placed together to create this kind of universe,” Stowe said. “Kind of like when sound was blasted out into the universe, to come out about what we are, who we are. So, it’s this sample of humanity echoing back at us. Also, the imagery in the show is also universal imagery that’s been made surrealistic. It’s all these things that we see in our everyday lives, but they’re kind of placed together in more of a chaotic sense.”  

The exhibition first made its way to the EPMA last October and will remain there until March of this year. For more information about the exhibition and hours of operation, visit Stowe will be hosting talks and workshops as well. 

Elisha Nunez may be reached at [email protected] 



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About the Contributors
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.
Katrina Villarreal
Katrina Villarreal, Multimedia Editor
Katrina Villarreal is senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in theatre at UTEP. She is going into her second year at The Prospector and is currently the Multimedia Editor. Once she graduates, she plans on becoming a sideline reporter for the NFL or ESPN.  
Jasmin Campoya
Jasmin Campoya, Photographer
Jasmin Campoya is a bilingual student who is a senior currently majoring in digital media production at UTEP. She is a staff photographer for The Prospector, a photo editor for Minero Magazine, and is currently a social media and marketing intern for El Paso Inc. All while being a full time student, she also takes photos for her own small business, JasminCPhoto. Jasmin plans on continuing photography and hopes to work full time at an El Paso publication.
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Light up your life at the ‘illuminated’ exhibit