Saturday, August 9, 2008

Museums and cemeteries

From the road in Big Bend National Park.

I've been going through my photos from western Texas this week so I think I will post a couple of my favorites for the next few blogs.

The bizarre beast called the Javelina near the Window Trail in Big Bend.

A interesting part of traveling is always visiting art museums in other cities. We had an afternoon in El Paso before we flew back with not quite enough time to cross the bridge into Mexico, but had planned it so we stayed in a hotel right across the street from the El Paso Art Museum.
It was a little disappointing that we seemed to be the only visitors, despite free admission, but the entire downtown area was also deserted. July is considered "off season" in El Paso because of the heat. The collections were very interesting though, and it's a large and modern museum. I especially liked the Spanish Viceroyal Collection. This is the museum's description...
The Spanish Viceroyal Collection reflects the period of the Spanish Empire in the New World. The collections of 17th through 19th centuries include paintings on panel, canvas, copper and tin. Many of these works were used as devotional images and were created by artists such as: Nicolás Enríquez, Antonío de Torres, Francisco Martínez, and Juan Sánchez Salmerón. Many works from this collection are permanently displayed in the Roderick Gallery.
Mostly iconic religious themes, the work had a dark richness of color and brushwork that was complimented by over-the-top carved and mirrored frames that suited the work perfectly. I also liked a portrait by Tom Lea, especially the bottom half where the figure is played against the landscape.

The Art Binational 2008 Binacional de Arte, a joint exhibition with the Museo de Arte Ciudad Juarez was still on exhibit. All of the artists were from western Texas and Mexico, so it was interesting to see contemporary work from a different part of the country.

Another place I like to visit when traveling is cemeteries. There was a great one in the ghost town of Terlingua. It occurs to me that I might be looking for some of the same things in cemeteries I look for in the local art museums, they both contain an attempt to express and symbolize uncomprehensible and sometimes scary life experiences.

It feels more like fall today than the first week of August and it's tempting to tackle my neglected and overgrown gardens in this coolness. But my neighbors apparently have the same idea and the lawnmower duet is at full volume either side of my house. And now it's just become an trio, as the neighbor across the street has just fired up his mower. I think after this post I'll escape to the relative quiet of my studio...especially since a weed whacker was just added to this chorus...western Texas sure was quiet.

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