San Antonio, Texas. ART Magazine.
Several glazed ceramic grenades by Angela Carbone form an imposing American flag, while a drawing of the Mexican eagle by Francisco Delgado fight the canvas to come out to the viewer’s space. The charged architectural architectural structures by Marilyn Lanfear’s sculpture are contrasted by the nothingness in the engraved glass containers in Leslee Fraser’s piece. The selection in ARTE NUEVO/NEW ART does not necessarily try to represent art in Southwest Texas; instead, it explores the connection that these artists with the region.
Throughout history, curated exhibitions have been an important system to reassure the quality of an artist’s work setting a value scale of experience and prestige. NEW ART/ ARTE NUEVO is a biannual juried exhibition organized by the University of Texas in San Antonio. “Today in the U.S. many visual art venues host annual or biennial juried exhibitions. They are more egalitarian than curated exhibitions: anyone can choose to compete”, says Kate Bonansinga, Director of the School of Art, College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning in the University of Cincinnati and juror for this show. In NEW ART/ARTE NUEVO emerging and established artists are equally welcome to participate and there is only one requirement: every artist should have a relationship to South and West Texas. “Ideally each artwork is judged for its quality, innovativeness and message, rather than for the artist’s reputation and connections. As I juried the exhibition, I aspired to this standard”, added Bonansinga.
If you have ever been to the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Texas in El Paso, where Bonansinga was Director until recently, you will know the great quality of the curatorial projects they have been hosting for many years. In NEW ART/ARTE NUEVO, I was not disappointed. It was a good mix of three dimensional and two dimensional work, a good amount of work selected, and a modest display where pieces had enough space to exist on their own. The mission of the show was accomplished. There was works on display from artists such as Marilyn Lanfear, whose work is at the El Paso Museum of Art, San Antonio Museum of Art, the McNay’s permanent collection to name a few, Richard Armendariz, who is a renowned local artist and faculty member at UTSA, and Madison Cowles, an achieved undergraduate student at UTSA. The exhibition did include artists in dramatically different stages in their careers and still, all of the works posed an outstanding level of concept, craftsmanship, and uniqueness.
Some people were not aware that ARTE NUEVO/ NEW ART is not only for UTSA students. Even though a big part of the exhibition did come from UTSA, there were other artists exhibiting who come from elsewhere. For example, Angela Carbone, from Laredo, Texas, Jill Bedgood, from Georgetown, Texas, Raul Gonzalez, from Houston, Texas, Lindsay Palmer, from Austin, Texas, and Lana Waldrep, from Forth Worth, Texas. Hopefully, ARTE NUEVO/ NEW ART will continue to expand this dialogue between emerging and established artists where who you are does not determine the selection keeping in mind the only really important element in an exhibition: the artwork on display.