Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paul Valadez exhibit features "Fragments" of every day life

Ben Bailey Art Gallery - 09/16/11 - 09/30/11
Contact: Julie Navejar or 361-593-2590
Paul Valadez, full-time lecturer in the art department at University of Texas-Pan American, will show his art work in an exhibit entitled Fragments at the Ben Bailey Art Gallery at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. The exhibit begins Friday, Sept. 16, and continues through Friday, Sept. 30. Valadez will be honored at a reception Wednesday, Sept. 28. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Valadez is a figurative artist who works in mixed media paintings and works on papers. Fragments is made up of over 450 paintings made out of acrylic and different materials including menudo spices, chili powder, instant coffee, bathroom cleanser and dirt. These are painted on found pieces of wood, particle board, paper and metal.

“The subject matter is a collection of text fragments that I have found while living in the Rio Grande Valley. Over the last five years, my research for this installation includes regional scavenging and documentation,” Valadez said. “When I would come across a text fragment whether it was a sign for a business - sometimes defunct - or a scrap of paper with what I considered interesting writing/words on it, I would document my ‘find’ and write it down in a notebook for future reference.

“A key element in the process of this collection is the emphasis that I continue to practice and that is the ‘aging process’ depicted on this and many of my other works of art. I believe it gives us a sense of familiarity and links me to my childhood,” Valadez said. “At one time my father aspired to be a sign painter, so art and graphic sources were and are still an element my Dad and I bond over.”
Valadez grew up in Stockton, California and moved to San Francisco to pursue an art career. He earned his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary art from the San Francisco Art Institute and his master’s in studio art from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where he was awarded a Weiss Fellowship for Urban Livability.

“My artwork is somewhat regional in nature and has a lot to do with where I am living at the time,” Valadez said. “I previously lived and worked in the bay area in California where my work dealt with consumerism, and when I lived in the Research Triangle in North Carolina, my work was dealing primarily with my identity. Today, I am living in the Rio Grande Valley in Deep South Texas on the US/Mexico border -- a place I have called home for the past five years. My current work is autobiographical in nature with a somewhat satirical social commentary, quite a blend of what I am experiencing in my life. I find that it is a reflection of my childhood memories and growing up in a bi-cultural household in the Central Valley in California.”
For more information, call 361-593-3401.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A&M-Kingsville's Santa Barraza has work on display in McAllen exhibit

barrazawork.JPGArt work created by Santa Barraza, art professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, will be featured at the library art gallery at South Texas College (STC) Pecan Campus in McAllen in an exhibit entitled Four Decades of Chicana Art and Culture in Tejas and Beyond. The exhibit begins Thursday, Sept. 15, and continues through Saturday, Dec. 10.
The exhibit will feature paintings, drawings and prints by Barraza, who is widely known as one of the country’s most significant Chicana and Tejana artists.

As part of the exhibit’s opening, Barraza will discuss her work at 11:30 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. Sept. 15, in the library’s Rainbow Room, located in Building F, 3201 W. Pecan Blvd. in McAllen. A reception will be held at 7 p.m. following the evening presentation.
 Admission to all events is free and open to the public. The gallery is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Barraza’s work embodies the heart of Chicana sociopolitical culture and references the universal existence and experience of life on Earth. She memorializes her mother, friends and family members and incorporates religious iconography and Mesoamerican mythology in her art work.

“We are thrilled and honored to showcase the work of an artist that is internationally renowned,” said Esther Garcia, STC library specialist. “Her work is very exciting and powerful. Her bold use of color and fine depiction of form build on the beauty and emotion that emanates from her work. I know its themes will resonate for our community.”
Barraza earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts from the University of Texas. She has taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and Penn State University.
For more information, call 956-872-3488.

Nancy Moyer
2011-10-19 15:32:45

With a purposeful brush, Chicana artist, Santa Barraza, rejected the European art aesthetic embraced by our nation’s art schools and found her own voice in the culture of pre-Hispanic Mexico. Her exhibit, “Four Decades of Chicana Art & Culture in Tejas and Beyond,” at STC’s Library Art Gallery, presents an overview of her personal artistic explorations.

Barraza’s paintings reflect a simplified representational style. She sees this as a break from the established European art tradition embraced by U.S. art schools. Her rejection of standard color theories was fed by the insistence on European aesthetics during graduate studies at the University of Texas. Influenced by a visit to Oaxaca, she became fascinated with Mesoamerican mythology. “I began reclaiming my identity, and de-colonizing myself,” she said.

What: “Four Decades of Chicana Art & Culture in Tejas and Beyond,” works by Santa Barraza
Where: STC Library Art Gallery, Bldg. F, 3201 W. Pecan Blvd.
When:  Through Dec. 10: weekdays 9am-10pm
Info:    956-872-3488 or

Her use of the term, “de-colonizing” is significant. “Mexican Americans and Native Americans have been colonized by the Europeans,” she explained. “When the Spaniards came, they colonized us. We lost our language. I was Karankawa and we had an indigenous culture we no longer have. My color palette is the de-colonization of the traditional European color aesthetic.”
Her work depicts the historical, emotional, and spiritual land between Mexico and Texas as it relates to her own life.

Several of the paintings in the exhibit incorporate “date boxes,” a pre-Hispanic method of representing days of the week. Barraza has taken that format and made it personal. “Codex of the Trinity” shows a trio of contemporary women. Behind them is a cross; its d├ęcor is Aztec. The central figure springs from a maguey plant, the symbol of life. Date boxes fill the bottom and right sides of the work.
The paintings pulsate with direct color, and often incorporate symbolic icons from the Mayan and Aztec codices. As with other Chicana artists, it is helpful for the viewer to have knowledge of Mexican lore.

Her concept of de-colonization is successfully seen in the painting, “La Llorona ll.” This painting is informed by a Mexican legend about the tragedy of a beautiful woman who, out of jealous anger, threw her children into the river. She died from the grief of her misdeed.
Barraza’s painting tells the story in flat, superimposed layers. Her heart exposed, an emotionless La Llorona faces us from the center of the canvas. A maguey plant grows behind her. Behind that, the turbulent water, which contains various symbolic elements from the codices. A winged child hovers in an upper corner.

“Nepantla” symbolizes the Land Between. The figure represents Malinche - the symbolic mother of Mestizos, the bronze race. The striking work combines a bold Oaxaca color palette against a traditional landscape. 
Santa Barraza teaches at Texas A&M–Kingsville. Her recent book,“Santa Barraza, Artist of the Borderlands,” edited by Maria Herrera-Sobek, is available from Texas A&M University Press.

Nancy Moyer, Professor Emerita of Art, UTPA, is an art critic for The Monitor. She may be reached at 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

TAMUK Fall 2011 ART Faculty Exhibition

The Ben Bailey Art Exhibit that took place at six p.m. this Wednesday was met with great enthusiasm. The gallery was packed with people, and the professors showcasing their work were more than willing to talk about their art.
“The reception is going much better than I expected. We’re hoping that we can continue to do this for every fall semester, as an introduction to the faculty. It’s important the students know who their professors will be,” said Jesus de la Rosa, director of the exhibit.
It wasn’t only art majors that attended the reception. Others, like student Milton Vital, walked in to have a look, and they were pleased with what they saw.
“I may not be a very artistic person, but I like it a lot.  The art triggers a response in my head,” said Vital.

One of the major reasons behind the exhibit was to celebrate the forty years that Dr. Robert Scherpereel had dedicated to teaching at TAMUK. The other was to commemorate the fusing of the Art, Communications, and Theater departments, or the ACT department.
“This is our opening show for the merging of the Art, Communications, and the Theater department. The more the merrier,” said Charles Wissinger, one of the art professors.
Wissinger explained that one of things he hopes to see in the future is more exposure to art. For the last few years, the art department has aimed at achieving a top notch art gallery.
“In Kingsville, there is no other place to view art. We’re not only teachers, we’re artists, and we’re also role models. We create the culture here. We want to involve the community with art; culture is extremely important, and it enriches our lives,” said Wissinger.

By: Frank Garza 
Photo By: Philip Perez
The South Texan  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

TAMUK Art Faculty Exhibit To Open This Week

Title “Art 2011: Faculty Exhibition,” the exhibit will run through Sept. 9 in the Ben Bailey Art Gallery in the Art Building. On Sept. 7, there will be a reception honor retiring Art Professor Dr. Richard “Doc” Scherpereel and administrative assistant Delia Hale. Scherpereel had more than 40 years experience with the university’s art program and also served as department chair.
Organized by Professor Jesus de la Rosa, the primary purpose for this art exhibit was to honor the retirement of  Scherpereel and allow for the art professors to display their creations. Since this is the first faculty exhibit in a long while, De le Rosa is also showcasing the artwork of two retired professors.

“I want people to see the work the faculty is dedicated to. Besides teaching, we all have a love for practicing the arts. The theme for this month’s exhibition is a celebration of the faculty as practicing artists,” De la Rosa explained.

The reception for the gallery will be on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. The gallery is open to students, faculty, and the community of Kingsville as a whole. Admission is free.
“It’s very important for the art students to be exposed to this. They don’t have the resources to see art museums. As for the community, it’s cultural. We know how important culture is,” De la Rosa said.
Each piece of art in the exhibit has a story, he said.

De la Rosa’s Smoking Mountain, for example, symbolizes the concerns he had growing up in the Texas and Mexico borderlands where cultures, languages, and identities conflict.
Charles Wissinger, one of the professors showcasing his artwork, said, “One of the main reasons I love this art exhibit is because it gives the students a chance to see our work. We’re their role models. The other reason is that there aren’t any opportunities to see art otherwise.”

Wissinger explained that he was lucky enough to travel frequently, so he incorporates different cultures into his artwork. One of his drawings, titled Migraine, expressed an emotion. Not only is art about portraying objects, he said, but it is also able to express feelings.
James Allen, an aspiring art major, said, “It’s pretty inspiring to see this work. They started out just like us. Some kids just don’t appreciate the knowledge that they’re passing down to us. The professors will do their best to help us succeed. And for the people not majoring in art, it’s still nice to stop and admire it.”

By: Frank Garza
The South Texan