Announcing the IV Bienal Ciudad Juárez-El Paso Biennial 2015
Calling all artists living and working within 200 miles of the US/Mexico border for the only exhibition of its type in existence. You are eligible to apply for this exhibition which features the vibrant creativity and diversity of this bi-national, multi-cultural region. Each artist selected will have two artworks included in the exhibition: one at the El Paso Museum of Art and one at the Museo de Arte Juarez. All artworks will be included in the exhibition catalog. All themes will be considered and all entries will be carefully considered by jurors Eduardo Díaz, Director, Smithsonian Latino Center, Washington, DC and Santiago Espinosa de los Monteros, renowned curator, museographer, and art critic, Mexico City.
The Biennial 2015 will result in two purchase prizes, a solo museum exhibition for one artist at both museums and two SOMA residencies in Mexico City. Please see the exhibition entry documents attached below for the specific instructions about entering this exhibition.
Anonymous (Mexico, mid 19th C) Saint Julian, Martyr(mid 19th C) Oil on tin, 8 ½ x 5 5/8” Gift of Dr. Steven McKnight in honor of Frank and Sara McKnight Collection of El Paso Museum of Art
For over twenty years Sarah and Frank McKnight collected retablos from Northwestern Mexico which they later sold in their El Paso art gallery. Fortunately the McKnight’s retained some of their favorites and in 2007 their collection of seventy-one retablos was generously gifted to the El Paso Museum of Art by their children, Dr. Steven McKnight, Elizabeth McKnight Manning and Nancy McKnight Howell. The children simultaneously set up the McKnight Family Fund in the El Paso Museum of Art Foundation. Including paintings of saints, the Virgin and Christ, martyrs, apostles, angels, the Pieta and ex-votos from the 17th through the 19th centuries this exhibition recognizes and highlights a selection from the diverse collection they assembled. Some retablos are signed by known masters, while others are included to reveal the large variety of perspectives. Mostly influenced by religious paintings from Europe, many of the indigenous artists were not academically trained and therefore used their imaginations and local knowledge to fulfill the wide demand for these artworks throughout provincial Mexico.
Body Art: Contemporary El Paso Jewelry
December 14, 2014 – March 29, 2015
Dede Rogers Special Events Gallery
Susan Eisen (American, b. 1953) Franklin Mountain Abstract #1, 2013 Cast and fabricated 14K yellow gold, diamonds, and cultured pearls Collection of the artist
Rachelle Thiewes (American, b. 1952) Slipstream, 2011 Steel and auto paint Collection of the artist
Body Art celebrates contemporaneous local expressions of the jeweler’s art, a form with an exciting and vibrant past and present in El Paso. The principal center of jewelry production and training in the area has been and remains the University of Texas at El Paso, whose Metals Program was directed for many years by Wiltz Harrison and since then by Rachelle Thiewes, who came from Illinois in 1976 to replace Harrison at his retirement. Thiewes has subsequently become celebrated internationally for her jewelry making, and she herself has nurtured the metalsmithing talents of numerous students. Among other unique qualities, Thiewes’s designs display a creative concern with their literal and symbolic activation by the individual wearer’s body in motion.
The exhibition will include several pieces by Thiewes, along with selections from approximately ten other area jewelers, many of whom studied with Thiewes years prior or as recent UTEP graduates. Just a few of the artists represented in Body Art include Susan Eisen, who studied with both Thiewes and Harrison and has established a flourishing retail business alongside her commitment to creating original pieces; Margie Melby, a founding member of El Paso’s Las Artistas in 1970; and Helen Ellison-Dorion, a transplant from England who is today an adjunct professor of metalsmithing and jewelry design at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Some of the diverse currents that run through the creations of the Body Art artists are the original mixing of gem and metal types; witty expressions of multi-functionalism (such as a necklace-cum-jump rope); inspiration from local geography and culture (for instance, Eisen’s El Paso pieces incorporating gold castings of rock forms from the Franklin Mountains); and the pairing of whimsy and delicacy or melding of sheer fun with simple elegance.