“Between Here and There.”
September 3 – October 3, 2015
Opening Thursday, Sept. 3, from 5-7 p.m. in the University Art Gallery.
In this two-person exhibition, nationally renowned artists Paul Turounet and Terri Warpinski grapple with the socio-political construct of international borders as negotiated through a visual arts lens, reflecting both physical and psychological obstacles faced by migrants. Both artists’ work confronts the complexities and controversies surrounding borders as junctions that designate the present and future for many migrants in transition, as well as the effects of these built boundaries on existing communities in border regions.
In his Estamos Buscando A installation, Paul Turounet creates a border wall, constructed in the gallery space from actual pieces of the border salvaged at Border State Park between San Diego, CA, and Tijuana, Mexico. The wall is comprised of commemorative aluminum portraits of migrants who have attempted the journey of leaving Mexico to enter the United States. Turounet’s aluminum depictions are modeled after retablos, which are votive paintings on tin, and for inclusion in this exhibition, the artist will curate a selection of three retablos from the NMSU Art Gallery’s world-renowned collection.
Oregon-based artist Terri Warpinski explores the border not only at the threshold of the United States and Mexico, but also the border in occupied Palestinian territories. Warpinski explores the abuse of power and consequences when national desires for security dominate social and geopolitical concerns. In 2009, with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Warpinski considered the fact that while others were celebrating this liberation, other walls were being constructed around the world. The U.S. was rapidly working to complete construction of the U.S./Mexico border between El Paso, TX, and San Diego, CA, and Israel was constructing a wall to deter Palestinian violence and attacks against Israeli civilians. Taking into account the current gravity of these walls, Warpinski considers the increased surveillance at borders as a sign of the escalation of international security standards.
With our close geographic proximity to the U.S./Mexico border, understanding immigration issues is essential to gaining a broader understanding of our area and our neighbors. As a country comprised of immigrants, what does the continuous erection of a geo-political border mean to us in 2015? Are the arts capable of answering important questions related to the border, sparking critical thinking and problem solving for border issues, and igniting critical conversation in this area?
The University Art Gallery received a grant from the Southwest and Border Cultures Institute (SBCI) of NMSU to assist with the production of this show. The mission of the SBCI is to fund on- and off-campus public programs that relate to the issues in southwestern culture around the state of New Mexico. In addition to the exhibition opening Sept. 3, there will be a number of events happening in conjunction with this exhibition, all of which are free and open to the public:
Wednesday, Sept. 2
Workshop with Paul Turounet
Making Photographic Ex-Votos
University Art Gallery, 12-2 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 1
Artist Lecture: Terri Warpinski
University Art Gallery, 6-7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 3
Panel: Borderlands as Negotiated through the Arts
A scholarly panel focused on the topic of visual and performance arts as creative catalysts that spark critical conversations among audiences about the complex, global issues of border governance.
University Art Gallery, 2 p.m.
The exhibition will run through Oct. 3.