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Women telling stories about women: Photographers' work on display in exhibition at Magdalena gal

Scott Turner

September 23, 2017

The works of Delilah Montoya are among the works in the HISTORY/HER STORY exhibition at Warehouse 1-10 in Magdalena. The exhibition runs through Oct. 14

Something very powerful happens when women tell women’s stories.

That’s how Warehouse 1-10 Director Catherine DeMaria describes the HISTORY/HER STORY exhibition at the gallery in Magdalena.

Curated by David Eichholtz and Howard Rutkowski, this exhibition was created in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the New Mexico Committee of The National Museum of Women in The Arts and was accompanied by related events by the Committee emphasizing the power of photography as an art form. It is being done in collaboration with David Richard Gallery of Santa Fe.

Eichholtz and Rutkowski undertook a wide search of women photographers from New Mexico before selecting six photographers to highlight. They include: Abbey Hepner, Jessamyn Lovell, Delilah Montoya, Cara Romero, Kali Spitzer, and Laurie Tümer.

“We’re honored to have this exhibition here,” DeMaria said. “Our hope is that it will be taken to other parts of the state.”

The artists selected for the exhibition all have strong statements to make about their lives and the issues influencing them.

“Photographers can use a lot of different techniques to tell their stories,” DeMaria said.

The subjects of the exhibition range from the impact of the nuclear and pesticide industries on the environment and people, to Native American culture to personal stories of women who overcame breast cancer and sexual assault.

Hepner, who did relief work in Japan after the Fukushima disaster of 2011, uses her art to interject some resolution between the nuclear and fossil-fuel industries and our environment.

Among her exhibits includes Uranotype photos with connections to the nuclear industry, including those from Hanford, Washington, a community involved with plutonium production for the Manhattan Project and the dumping of nuclear waste in Carlsbad.

DeMaria said Uranotypes have been used by photographers through the years.

“The chemicals were used to create sustainability on the plates,” DeMaria said.

Included are snow globes associated with fossil-fuel industries that play music.

Lovell investigates, literally, the impact of her own identity theft in the manner of a P.I. straight out of a mid-twentieth century Hollywood movie; in a Hitchcockian maneuver, she evolves the prey into the hunter.

Montoya is an icon of Chicana, nuevaméjicana, and feminist identity, a direct descendent on her mother’s side of New Mexico’s early Spanish settlers; her photographic oeuvre has always been grounded in identity politics. For this exhibition, Montoya chose to include images from her Casta series, inspired by a colonial-Mexico genre of paintings that depict a social hierarchy based on race and ethnicity.

Romero creates narratives out of her portraits of Native women, from the viewpoint of her culture’s belief that women are supernaturally powerful because of their ability to bring forth life. She is based in Santa Fe.

Spitzer, originally from British Columbia, seeks to challenge stereotypical beliefs about Native identity in an historical context, using the ancient tintype process to present women who may or may not be of indigenous descent.

She does not use digital photography, DeMaria said

Finally, Tümer explores our often intimate—whether we like it or not—relationships with toxic elements in nature, such as pesticides.

Her works are among the most fascinating in the exhibition. She uses holograms, including one where a gas mask appears and disappears on one of her subjects.

Warehouse 1-10 is open on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those wishing to view the exhibition. Appointments can also be made by calling 575-854-3253. The exhibition runs through Oct. 14.

Lovell will be giving a D.I.Y.P.I. Clinic at Warehouse 1-10 this Saturday from noon until 3 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Warehouse 1-10 is a contemporary art space located at 110 N. Main St. in Magdalena. In addition to collaborations for exhibitions such as HISTORY/HER STORY, it also showcases the work of local artists such as Datil’s Catherine Cerf Hill and Socorro County’s Michael Bisbee.

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