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Wellin Exhibitions Explore Geography & Cultural Identity


The Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art will present two concurrent exhibitions, This Place and Margarita Cabrera: Space in Between opening Saturday, Feb. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. Free and open to the public, the two shows will be on view through June 10.

This Place explores the contested spaces of Israel and the West Bank through the eyes of 12 acclaimed photographers from around the world, presenting various perspectives on the region. Margarita Cabrera: Space in Between presents the stories of people from throughout Latin America who have crossed the border between the U.S. and Mexico through narratives stitched into sculptural replicas of desert plants indigenous to the Southwest.

The work within both exhibitions reflects current issues related to history, geography, boundaries, immigration, citizenship, community, and culture, among others. Tracy Adler, the Wellin’s Johnson-Pote Director, noted, “These exhibitions are examples of how artists negotiate the difficulties presented by spaces fraught with complexities while taking into consideration multiple viewpoints and modes of expression.”

This Place

This Place explores Israel and the West Bank as both place and metaphor through the work of Frédéric Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Fazal Sheikh, and Stephen Shore at the Wellin. The exhibition is divided into four parts, hosted by the Wellin, the Tang Museum at Skidmore College, University Art Museum at SUNY Albany and the Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University. Artists whose work will be featured at those three museums include Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, and Nick Waplington.

Between 2009 and 2012, each of the photographers in This Place spent an extended period of time in Israel and the West Bank. They produced wide-ranging work, both in content and approach. Whether rendered as large-format color, black-and-white photographs, or documentary images that span pictorial genres of landscape, architecture, and portraiture, the works speak to the complexities of the region and to the expansiveness of photography itself.

The exhibition is made possible in part through a Teagle Foundation grant focusing on pedagogical collaborations in higher education. This Place was previously exhibited at DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Norton Museum of Art, Florida; and Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York.

Margarita Cabrera: Space in Between

The works on view in Space in Between are fabric forms, created from border patrol uniforms, that resemble desert plants and incorporate stories—stitched into the material itself—of the Latin Americans crossing the U.S. border. The sculptures have been created using traditional sewing and embroidery techniques from Hidalgo, Mexico, which employ colorful narrative traditions reflecting popular culture, traditional rituals, and myths of the Otomi indigenous communities. Immigrant workers relay their own personal border-crossing experiences with this technique. The project is a collaboration between artist Margarita Cabrera, the Arizona State University Art Museum, and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.

Margarita Cabrera was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and grew up in Mexico City, Salt Lake City, and El Paso, Texas. She received an MFA from Hunter College, CUNY. She is an assistant professor of art at Arizona State University in Tempe.

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