Art

For artists, the border is a fantasy

Prints and politics pose a creative link between the U.S. and Mexico

By Virginia L. Clark
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 1/8/20

Stunning, imaginative and provocative. If the exhibition of prints in "Ambos Lados: International Print Exchange" doesn't excite the creative spirit, practically nothing will. And that's saying a lot, considering the hugely creative spirit of Taos.

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Art

For artists, the border is a fantasy

Prints and politics pose a creative link between the U.S. and Mexico

Posted

Stunning, imaginative and provocative. If the exhibition of prints in "Ambos Lados: International Print Exchange" doesn't excite the creative spirit, practically nothing will. And that's saying a lot, considering the hugely creative spirit of Taos.

The 158 prints in this show are strictly from United States and Mexican printmakers, unlike some other Ambos Lados exhibits that included six prints from Canada, Cuba, Ireland and Australia. In addition to the Ambos Lados show circulating to Taos, there will be 30 to 40 prints that Taos Center for the Arts members brought back from travels to Oaxaca.

Although the show opens to the public Monday (Jan. 13) in the Encore Gallery at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, an opening reception is planned 10 days later on Jan. 23, from 4-6 p.m. at the same venue.

Ambos lados means "both sides" - prints exchanged from both sides of the United States-Mexico border -- a collaboration primarily coordinated by Manuel Guerra's Horned Toad Prints of El Paso, Texas, and Adrian Aguirre and Beatriz Rivas of Taller Grafica Libre of Zaachila, Oaxaca, with a huge helping by virtual print ambassador Karl Whitaker of Albuquerque.

"Borders have never stopped art - as a matter of fact, the walls at the border are where art is showing up," said David Farmer, longtime Taoseño and co-coordinator of the Taos "Ambos Lados" exhibit, presented by Taos Center for the Arts and University of New Mexico-Taos. The rest of Taos' Ambos Lados team are well-known printmaker Bob Parker; TCA art committee member Jane M. Farmer; Frank and Joy Purcell; and Taos printmaker and University of New Mexico-Taos educator Gary Cook.

"The show, 'Ambos Lados,' was in Santa Fe," said TCA Executive Director Colette LaBouff in an email on New Year's Eve. "That's where some members of the community and TCA members saw it. That show came to the TCA's attention and to me through Bob Parker, who suggested the possibility that the show come up here as there is an interested and vibrant community of printmakers in Taos."

Parker is a printmaker with strong interest in graphic arts. Exhibit organizers Whitaker and Guerra said about the Taos show that prints "travel so easily through El Paso, they can melt the border."

Parker agreed, noting the huge town-wide collaborative event "Pressing Through Time: 150 Years of Printmaking in Taos," which he and David Farmer curated and organized in 2015, independent of any Taos art institutions at the time.

"What I really appreciate about this show is that it brings to Taos the immediacy of how printmakers' work in Mexico and the U.S. has relevance in the framework of creating community through the print exchange," LaBouff continued. "The involvement of individuals in Taos who are deeply knowledgeable, active and involved in printmaking adds an important local element to widen the appeal of the show as a way for others to learn about printmaking. Finally, I'm also just really thrilled at the range of this collaboration - TCA, UNM-Taos and the printmakers and collectors who reside here in Taos."

One of the Ambos Lados's exchange goals, according to the catalog, is "to explore the different print processes and establish communication between participants."

Whitaker and cohort Eric Thomson said they pored over the prints for five hours, discovering the printing techniques of dry point, engraving, etching, aquatint, soft ground, mezzotint, lithograph, serigraph, collagraph, photopolymer gravure, solar plate and one dry point on Tetra Pak (basically milk carton packaging).

This show expands "the intercultural dialogue between the United States and Mexico, where there are two strong, independent but linked printmaking communities," the press release continues.

Gary Cook of UNM-Taos said of the exhibit, "You can feel the passion for life and the love of printmaking in the work of our friends from across the border. This show offers us a look at not just multiple printmaking techniques but at the political and personal expression of another culture, a culture that deeply values art."

Two talks and a live two-hour printmaking demonstration are presented in conjunction with the "Ambos Lados" exhibit (see sidebar).

LaBouff concluded in the press release, "The TCA is excited about the 'Ambos Lados' show for many reasons: the importance of this print exchange for printmakers working in Mexico and the U.S., the willingness of the curators to bring the show to Taos, the collaboration with UNM-Taos to make it happen, as well as the Taos printmakers and collectors who so generously are also bringing the show to life in the Encore Gallery for the community. It's a fantastic collaborative effort."

All exhibition events are free and open to the public. The exhibition will run through Feb. 9.

For questions about this event, contact Colette LaBouff at colette@tcataos.org. For more information about Taos Center for the Arts, contact Gina Gargone at gina@tcataos.org or (575) 758-2052.

Comments


Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.