Western New Mexico University advanced painting and drawing students are exhibiting their work in a pop-up gallery in a storefront at the corner of Bullard Street and Broadway Avenue downtown.
The rotating installment of WNMU expressive arts student work is themed “We All Build Narratives” and is viewable from the outside of the building, as the art hangs in the windows and is displayed on easels just inside the building at 116 N. Bullard Street.
“Having WNMU students involved in downtown through their art is something I have been wanting to do since I started teaching at WNMU last year,” said Assistant Professor Jennifer Douglass, who teaches Painting II and III, Advanced Painting, and Foundation Drawing in the WNMU Expressive Arts Department.
The work being featured in “We All Build Narratives” was inspired by the realities of living through a pandemic and was the culmination of an exploratory process Douglass and her students underwent.
“Our current conditions have pushed us to re-think how we do things, especially how we relate to each other. Problem solving and our ability to take advantage of opportunities are consistently changing as we move through this new environment created by social distancing. Consequently, the sharing and transferring of new ideas is one of the most important gifts that can happen during this time of uncertainty,” said Douglass, who faced the challenge of transitioning studio art classes into a hybrid virtual modality. “The creative process, which is the foundation of the arts, can build resilience and invent new narratives that define and re-think the possibilities.”
Online learning gave WNMU art students the space to investigate how contemporary artists use themes and big ideas to develop their own narratives, driven by essential questions that frame their explorations. The virtual part of the hybrid curriculum enabled the students to gain familiarity with multiple ways of representing a concept in preparation for time in the physical studio, where they connected ideas with form and technique.
“As we continue negotiating through this time of uncertainty, the WNMU painting and drawing students want to provide a bit of beauty and wonderment that only art can offer,” Douglass said.
Scott and Denise Kennedy donated use of their building, while Charmaine Wait of Silver City MainStreet and Diana Ingalls Leyba collaborated to locate a space for this pop-up gallery.
WNMU Painting II and III student work was featured first, while Studio Work Painting pieces rotated in next, and Drawing I student work hangs for the final week.