Nicola López and Paula Wilson: Becoming Land at the Albuquerque Museum presents the work of two artists who, through mixed media interpretations of human interventions in New Mexico’s desert landscapes, examine anthropocentric relationships with the land. The exhibition is contextually and physically placed front-and-center with a series of three simultaneous exhibitions, featuring historic and contemporary artists whose work engages the natural world. Becoming Land, Shi Guorui: Ab/Sense-Pre/Sense, Kiki Smith: From the Creek, and Thomas Cole: Memory and Inspiration, occupy the museum’s main gallery.
Wilson, who lives in the small town of Carrizozo, New Mexico, presents artwork that feels deeply personal and centers women’s bodies as “places” of observation, inhabitation, and projection. In “Yucca Rising” (2021), the body does not exist within the landscape but becomes a part of it. At more than 15-feet tall, the figure rises well above other artworks in the room, its bowed head placed strategically between ceiling support beams. Combining varietal painting and printmaking techniques and media on muslin, the figure’s dress, adorned with patterns of yucca plants, seedpods, and flowers surrounding a central image of a large blooming yucca plant in front of a darkening sky, literally embodies the landscape.
In “New Development” (2012), Wilson presents an image of an amphora holding a blooming cactus. The handles of the vessel are formed by figures of a pregnant woman and a man with an erect penis. Each figure wears headphones, anchoring them in contemporary times, though their nude bodies are timeless. On the body of the vase is an image of a landscape. A modern figure in a patterned outfit stands, with a dog, gazing from precipice across the path of a winding river that cuts through plains and disappears into distant hills. The imagery is highly suggestive of fecundity. Nicola López was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and now lives and works in Brooklyn. Her mixed-media works engage printmaking and photographic processes to present speculative landscapes, interrupted by the collapsing skeletons of imagined industrial structures. Printed as collagraphs over photographs of White Sands National Park, the images are reminiscent of the infrastructure scenes of the late Massachusetts-based painter and printmaker Donald Stoltenberg who specialized in collagraph.
In her Apparition series, López chose to set her structures in the bright gypsum dune fields of White Sands, where the oldest known fossilized human footprints in North America were discovered. Also in the area is the White Sands Missile Range, a US Army testing area and firing range that includes the infamous Trinity Site, a circular scar upon the earth where the first atomic bomb was tested. The history and development of White Sands combined with López’s futuristic abandoned structures present a clever commentary on the interaction of the natural and built environment. Will López’s derelict structures be swallowed by their environment just as previous evidence of human habitation in the area has been shrouded by sand?
Becoming Land offers an exciting and surprising variety of interpretations of landscapes that begs viewers to reconsider preconceived definitions of what landscape means, how it can be represented, and how we humans interact with and embody natural spaces.
Nicola López and Paula Wilson: Becoming Land continues at the Albuquerque Museum (2000 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico) through February 12. The exhibition was organized by the museum.
MTV’s The Exhibit Is Back With an Inflatable Dolphin
Episode four, in which artists tackled themes of justice and injustice, was the most lifeless of the reality TV show so far.
Florida Principal Ousted Over “Pornographic” Michelangelo Sculpture
Parents complained that the famous sculpture was shown to their sixth graders.
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
Tickets to Sold-Out Vermeer Show Are Going for Hundreds
The online resale market for the Rijksmuseum’s smash exhibition is booming, with tickets selling on eBay for over $2K.
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Miniature Worlds: Joseph Cornell, Ray Johnson, Yayoi Kusama
Through small-scale works, this exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art in New York examines Cornell’s prominent role in the lives and careers of Johnson and Kusama.
Three Looted Antiquities at the Met Repatriated to Turkey
Nine other repatriated works were seized from Met Trustee Shelby White, whose collection was subject to a criminal investigation.
This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?
The Wider World and Scrimshaw
On March 28, join the New Bedford Whaling Museum online and in-person for a symposium on global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim.
Who Will Decide on the Future of a Miami Native Burial Ground?
Native activists say sacred remains and objects dug up from a Brickell construction site should remain there, but mega-developer Jorge Pérez is pushing back.
How Can a Curator Approach South Asian Futurisms?
How do I acknowledge my shortcomings while reckoning with obscured histories and the exclusion of subaltern narratives in the fine art landscape? A working checklist for curators.
MCA Chicago Presents On Stage: Frictions
Will Rawls, Shamel Pitts | TRIBE, and Barak adé Soleil explore Blackness, queerness, movement, and dance in performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
The Complicated Legacy of Camilo Egas
The Ecuadorian painter, a leading figure of Latin America’s Indigenismo art movement, has been both praised and scorned for his representation of Indigenous peoples.
Tom Jones Zeroes in on Ho-Chunk Visibility
“I think about the young kids, the teenagers, and I think being able to see yourself represented in art is so powerful,” says the artist.