Public Invited To Campus for “Power Structures” Opening Reception on Thursday Evening
Western New Mexico University artists in residence for ceramics Atziry A. Apodaca and Natalie Rae Good will show their work for a limited time at WNMU Francis McCray Gallery of Contemporary Art starting Thursday, February 13.
“Power Structures” exhibits what the two have created throughout their residencies so far. While not strictly thematic, the show’s name nods to the overlaps of both physical structures and the structures of state, politics, and perspective, which they each highlight in their distinct artistic focuses.
The exhibit opens with a reception at the WNMU McCray Gallery on Thursday, February 13, at 4:30 p.m. It will be on display during gallery hours Friday, February 14, from 12:15 to 3:15 p.m. and on Saturday by appointment. “‘Power Structures’ is a one-weekend show,” Apodaca said.
Originally from El Paso, Texas, Apodaca lived in Cuidad Juarez for most of her childhood, traveling across the border for school during her elementary years. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from WNMU in 2017, interned at the Arrowmont School of Art and Crafts, and is back for her second year as an artist in residence — this time to work in ceramics. “I did mainly sculpture and bronze casting for my undergrad, and I wanted to go up in scale without the associated cost,” she said. “I wasn’t making anything taller than a foot and then didn’t want to keep the piece if it ended up being good. That’s partly why I moved to clay as a medium. It’s easy for me to connect with—almost like a lost friend that I haven’t met yet.”
The foundations she established as an undergraduate sculpture student at WNMU have forged, so to speak, her ability in clay. “I don’t have the technical skill when it comes to clay and building and how it’s so temperamental. It has helped to know about shaping and forming and how things will look in a 3-D space,” she said.
The body of work Apodaca has assembled over her residency is based around her childhood memories. “For three years, I was crossing the border every day to go to school. These are attaching imagery and feelings and experiences I had between about third and fifth grade. I try to depict them in a way that a child would view them rather than I do as an adult. I want people to see it through the eyes of a child,” she said. “I’m using the doors as vessels or passage ways to the place I was in for most of my time in the day.”
Good completed a Bachelor of Fine Art in sculpture from Calvin University in 2009 and has participated in residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center and elsewhere. She relocated to Silver City from New York three years ago. Having worked in print and on paper for most of her adult life, she was searching for a space to do ceramic work when the WNMU artist in residence program application opened up last year. “I’m an artist who works in many media, not solely ceramics, but I wanted to use ceramics for this concept,” she said.
She’s spent her residency crafting chainmaille pieces. “I was interested in the way we view things as strong and having fortitude, like metal and forged products. I was interested in making those things out of clay to articulate the idea that things aren’t always what they seem.”
At the conclusion of their artist residencies at WNMU, the two will continue their creative paths. Apodaca is looking for a post-baccalaureate experience or another residency then plans to apply to a master’s program after becoming more accustomed to the medium.
Good meanwhile is interested in pursuing additional future residencies around the country while continuing her creative practice as a lifestyle. “Art is how I process the world and making meaning of the world,” she said.
Both artists work regular jobs and, per the terms of their residencies, volunteer several hours in the WNMU studio every week. They present new work to WNMU ceramics professor Courtney Michaud weekly as well.
“I hope the artist in residency program at WNMU can grow for artists of different media,” Good said. “There’s a lot of potential for there to be something strong and for there to be collaborations among artists working in many media.”