Las Cruces: Regeneration

New Mexico Arts, the City of Las Cruces Museums, and the Doña Ana Arts Council presented TIME – Temporary Installations Made for the Environment in Las Cruces in September and October 2009. The exhibit opened as part of the 16th annual Artshop in Las Cruces. Artists from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas were invited to create temporary environmental artworks based on the theme regeneration. Six artworks were exhibited in various locations around Las Cruces including Branigan Cultural Center, Las Cruces Museum of Art, Museum of Nature and Science, Rio Grande Theater, Las Cruces Railroad Museum, and Cutter Gallery at the Hadley Center. The artworks were displayed for approximately three weeks, and at the end of the exhibition were disassembled and removed, leaving no trace of ever having existed.

Participating TIME – Las Cruces artists included Joe Barrington, Tasha Cooper, Mary Lucking and Pete Goldlust, Susannah Mira, Glenn Schwaiger, and James Wissing.

Featured Work:

Ouroboros – Joe Barrington
The artist constructed Ouroboros, an ancient image of a serpent that eats its own tail. Made from reclaimed and recycled materials including discarded tires and steel, the serpent was mounted on an industrial bearing that allowed the sculpture to turn on its own axis. The imagery, recycled materials, and movement in the sculpture referenced “rebirth” represented in the use of an ancient symbol made new again from discarded materials.

Symbiotic – Tasha Cooper
The work harnessed wind power to create electricity. The blades of this artful wind turbine were made from stainless steel in the shape of cupped human hands that caught the wind to turn the turbine. Made from found objects, an alternator, fluorescent lamp, and stainless steel, the work demonstrated how a small amount of harnessed energy can have a large impact. The piece encouraged interaction and challenged visitors to think about how we use energy.

Rag Riparian – Mary Lucking and Pete Goldlust
The artwork was an architectural installation composed of colorful, stuffed soft sculptures. The components were made from recycled, used-clothing, and batting. The materials remarked on the history of the items used through work, play, and daily life, but the artwork took an imaginative non-literal track to explore the figures in relation to their environment. The used aspect of the materials reminded viewers that the components were once something else before they were joined together to form an art installation of ambiguous organic shapes.

All in Knots – Susannah Mira
The artist took unwanted textiles and stuffed them in polyethylene tubing to form a “stuffed sculpture.” The use of materials demonstrated how a community can construct something from old materials and create something thought-provoking and beautiful. The knot-design in the artwork referenced the traditional symbol of a tangled-form, to make the audience consider how we use our resources and how we can reshape our relationship to the environment.

Meltdown – Glenn Schwaiger
The artist created a solid pyramid of ice surrounded by an earthen dam. As the ice pyramid melted, the surrounding moat filled with water to represent the rising oceans, and the water ultimately breached the containment to spill away and evaporate.

Growth – James Wissing
The artist created a temporary sculptural installation made from recycled materials including steel, paint, plastic bottles, plastic tubing, and five small flower pots. A hand was created with small branches that grew from the fingertips. The work included self-contained self-watering plant pots and symbolized growth and transformation.