East Coast Debut of Central Features Artist Jami Porter Lara!
Albuquerque Artist Opens Solo Exhibition
at The National Museum of Women in the Arts, February 17, 2017
WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) presents the exhibition Border Crossing: Jami Porter Lara, on view from Feb. 17 through May 14, 2017. This will be the first time that work by Albuquerque-based Jami Porter Lara (b. 1969) will be shown on the East Coast of the United States. Porter Lara uses a millennia-old process to make pottery resembling a ubiquitous icon of modern life—the plastic bottle. Border Crossing features 25 sculptures, of which three have never been exhibited.
Porter Lara’s art blurs the line between what we see as natural and manufactured, illuminating the bottle as a precious object—a vessel that carries life-sustaining water. Through this lens, she exposes the porous nature of many types of “borders,” including the permeable boundary between art and rubbish. Her sculptures are visually dramatic, in part because they play against common ideas about industrialization and the creative history of the Southwest.
“We are thrilled to be the first East Coast venue to present the work of Jami Porter Lara,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “Part of our institution’s mission is to discover intriguing new and emerging artists. We’re excited to introduce Jami’s visually arresting and emotionally potent re-thinking of Southwest pottery to a larger audience.”
While exploring a remote stretch of the United States–Mexico border, Porter Lara discovered many discarded two-liter plastic bottles used by migrants to carry water through the harsh environment. Nearby, she noted the remains of similarly discarded items: pot shards from ancient cultures that had been cast into a midden, or trash heap. This juxtaposition inspired Porter Lara to consider the contemporary distinction between artifact and trash and how the plastic bottle might be seen as a “contemporary artifact.”
“My hope is to connect the plastic bottle to a long lineage of vessels that have been used to carry water through deserts, and in so doing, to reveal our basic connection to the long lineage of humans who have—driven by necessity or desire—traveled these lands before or despite national boundaries,” said artist Jami Porter Lara. “I want to expose the porous nature of ‘borders’ as well as the ‘nature’ of art and garbage, and to record my interest in the permeability of all things human, natural and technological.”
Central Features Contemporary Art is a gallery that promotes the intrinsic value of art-making in contemporary culture, with a featured emphasis on the artist’s role in environmental stewardship and social progress. Through a rigorously curated exhibition and event program that borrows from both commercial and non-commercial practices, Central Features asks: how might art translate and transform the human condition in a relevant, discernible, and local context?