At First Sight 2020

At First Sight 2020

This show is a compilation of current and past works by incoming MFA students in the UNM Department of Art. These works act as introductions as we welcome new artists to our community!

Virtual Exhibition

Artist Statements

This show is a compilation of current and past works by incoming MFA students in the UNM Department of Art. These works act as introductions as we welcome new artists to our community!

Esther Elia is a mixed Assyrian-Irish visual artist from Turlock, California. “Lazar Elia Chair” is part of a body of work that mark the journey of family members from Iran to California during the 1915 Assyrian, Armenian, Greek Genocide. Elia explores the pain from loss of the physical homeplace, physical heirlooms that were forcibly taken or left behind, and the sense of displacement that Assyrians have experienced in their indigenous homeland that has continued through forced migrations into diaspora. This work passes down oral histories of the Assyrian people, as well as continues their narrative into the present as they deal with the consequences of assimilation, mixed ethnic heritage, and cultural loss of language and customs in this new home.

The figures in my art are my way of performing as secondhand storyteller. In my paintings and drawings, I assort fragments from life, history, and myths to create a visual stage to parody emotions of the characters at play. I investigate representation of the allegorical female and the psychological within my version of these historical compositions. I use these as points of departure to create satire in narrative and personal amalgamations. When many scenes exist in a story, my work reflects on a single frame.

I handle objects that belong to community such as language, communication, digital information and stories in order to address the collective memory that oozes into our everyday interpretation of reality. I construct objects such as books which allow for the unfolding of stories and sequence in order to investigate nuances and contradictions involved in our collective memories. I hope to work within a decolonial feminist lens when studying proposals to move forward from crisis. I primarily utilize photography and textiles in the construction of my work because of the dialogue between the functions of documentation/distortion in photography and preservation/repetition in textiles. Recently, I’ve been looking into manifestations of the desire for care, protection and shelter through iterations of blankets in contexts such as religion, agriculture, and everyday use.

My artwork is a collection of mixed-media collages, drawings, and paintings. In my most recent works I have been exploring Rorschach ink blots and collage them into larger images.

A series of landscape drawings based on my experience and memory of my home state of Alaska. As environmental deregulation efforts expand throughout the state, land is viewed less as intact, valuable ecosystems critical to cultural and environmental survival; instead, it is viewed as profit potential in the form of discrete, leasable land claims for resource extraction industries.

Morris’s work involves large scale woodcut reduction monoprints. By making each print an original artwork based on a theme (with variations in color, layering, and composition), She is working towards a cohesive series of individual works in lieu of a standardized edition. Over time her work is evolving in an increasingly abstract direction as she develops an internal vocabulary for processing the world we are currently living in.

Padilla is a porcelain artist that has been studying a form of making pottery that has been developed over 400 years in Arita, Japan and has been in the United States for 40 years. The process is very difficult but there is a reason for every step. After 6 years of practicing I finally feel like I have a good foundation. This foundation allows me to explore form and lets me focus on how I finish my works in the glaze firing. The majority of the time I like to finish my pieces with a clear glaze that I believe is the most beautiful but can be the most vulnerable at the same time. It will show any imperfections in the glaze firing, so I choose my highest quality works as clear. I also like to use Shino glazes because they like to interact with the atmosphere within the kiln and vary from light to dark and may blush beautiful orange colors.

What does it mean to be a student of art right now? After several months of uneasy personal relationship to creation and collective struggle with the demands of everything that art should be and stand for in this historical moment, I realized my need for an intentional stretch towards simplicity and play in the face of pressure and confusion. For me, a prerequisite to making is asking what my needs are and how I can creatively meet them in order to move towards larger questions.

My work over the past few years has focused on smell as a skill and tool for embodied learning and connection to body and place. As someone who has focused so much on the sensory realm, the limiting of my sensory palette to my immediate surroundings and the few people who inhabit them has led to creative and emotional stagnation, leaving me with the need to sensorily engage with both my quarantine spaces and my distanced friends in more intentional ways. The project I am presenting here is a compilation of three short smell-based games that can be easily played across distance, using scent as a tool to both deepen one’s relationship with the place they’re quarantining in and connect with distanced friends in a more bodily way than through virtual communications. As with other game-based work I’ve done, this game booklet is open-source and invites modification to suit people’s interests and access to materials.

Marlene Tafoya is an Indigenous artist, performer and curator from the Los Angeles Harbor Area. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from California State University, Long Beach in 2015. Her work explores various concepts ranging from personal, social, and environmental. As a student, Marlene was the recipient of the Joy of Life scholarship from the University Art Museum, and although most of her work is quite austere, she prefers to lighten up the mood for her audience. Breaking the traditional barriers of presenting artwork, Marlene enjoys involving her audience with interaction and exchange. Building trust and laughing are the two main formalities of her work.

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