New Mexico Watercolor Society exhibit opens at Branigan

(Top)
Finding Jesus at the Taco Stand
by Margaret Garcia is on
exhibit at the Museum of Art. (Center) A workshop on creating
mandala-like alpanas will be held at the Branigan Cultural Center.
(Bottom) F
olkloric Dancers
by Sue Ann Glenn is part of the New
Mexico Watercolor Society — Southern Chapter exhibit at the
Branigan. Courtesy photos
The exhibit Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection — an exhibition of seventy paintings from Marin’s prized compilation of works by twenty-nine Chicano artists — continues at the Las Cruces Museum of Art through Saturday, July 19.

These works offer glances into the lives of the artists as they depict moments of their individual upbringing, heritage and experiences. These eloquent paintings are veritable “calling cards” and invite the world into the sphere of memories.

Funded by the City of Las Cruces, the Las Cruces Museum of Art is located at 491 N. Main Street, between the Branigan Cultural Center and the Museum of Nature and Science. For more information, call 541-2137 or visit the website las- cruces.org/museums.

New Mexico Watercolor Society exhibit

The Branigan Cultural Center presents the Southern Chapter of the New Mexico Watercolor Society’s new exhibit New Canvases and Textures of my Mind. It will open Friday, June 6, at 5 p.m. during the Downtown Arts Ramble. Watercolorist will be on hand to answer questions. Viewers will be asked to choose their favorite painting for a special award to be presented that night. The exhibit will be on display through Saturday, June 28.

The New Mexico Watercolor Society was founded as a statewide chapter of the Southwestern Watercolor Society of Dallas, Texas in 1969. In 1975, the NMWS became an independent entity. Founded in 2001, the Southern Chapter is located in Las Cruces and serves the state’s southern counties.

The New Mexico Watercolor Society promotes watercolor as an art medium and educates the public as to the significance of watercolor as an important painting medium. Its goal is to make New Mexico known nationally for tts watercolorists.

International Madona Print Exchange

The exhibit International Madonna Print Exchange by Ochosi Editions continues at the Branigan Cultural Center through Saturday, June 28.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Branigan Cultural Center will host a workshop on miniature retablos. The workshop takes place Saturday, June 28, at 12 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

Retablos, devotional paintings on wood or tin, can be found in homes, churches, or shrines in Spain, Mexico, Peru, and many other regions. In New Mexico, a distinctive frame with a rosette on top, is commonly associated with religious retablos. Simple drawings of saints associated with a range of careers, ailments, and qualities also characterize this art form.

In this workshop, participants will create a miniature retablo, housed in a matchbox. You may bring an image of a loved one, favorite miniature artwork, or even a treasured stamp to place in the frame or one can be provided.

Also in conjunction with this exhibit, local artist Sudeshna Sengupta will present a lecture on women’s art rituals in Southeast Asia on Saturday, June 7, at noon. The program is free and open to the public.

She will focus primarily on traditions of Kantha quilt-making with recycled fabrics and the art of Alpana-making, a form of ephemeral Mandalas painted on the ground on special occasions. Both of these art forms are practiced primarily by women in Bengal, a region comprising present-day Bangladesh and parts of eastern India. Examples of real Kanthas will be on display for you to feel their amazing tactile beauty.

The following Saturday, June 14, at noon, Sengupta will present a multigenerational workshop on Kantha quilt- making, providing an opportunity to put the information from the lecture into practice, making your own Kantha. The workshop Kantha Quilts of Bengal: Story-telling through Recycled Fabrics is open to ages nine and up.

Kantha, a type of embroidered quilt, is a centuries-old women’s art tradition in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. Made from worn-out Saris, imaginatively embroidered by women with motifs and tales drawn from a rich regional repertoire, Kanthas were traditionally stitched as gifts for births, weddings, and other family occasions. It is an indigenous household craft through which rural women often narrated and interpreted the world
around them.

All supplies, including fabric, will be provided for making small Kantha quilts in the tradition of this women’s art from South Asia. However, participants are encouraged to bring clean, used pieces of lightweight cotton T-shirts, scarves, or any other pieces of cotton fabric they would like to recycle. The pieces can be of any colors or patterns. Bringing your own cloth will help make this a memorable and personal experience. Finished pieces can be made into fabric trivets or pot holders.

Sudeshna Sengupta holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Visva-Bharati University. After teaching in New Delhi, Seattle, and California, she taught for eight years at New Mexico State University in Alamogordo where she established its first intaglio printmaking studio. Besides pursuing studio art, she continues to teach and present lectures, workshops, and community-based art events for various age groups with civic, cultural, and community organizations in the US and in India, often with a focus on multicultural experiences that emphasize human, cultural and environmental connectedness through creativity. Sengupta is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and has shown her art in solo and group shows in Las Cruces as well as throughout the US and internationally.

History Notes: Household Ceramics

Maria Hroncich-Conner will present the June History Notes lecture at Branigan Cultural Center on Thursday, June 12, at 1 p.m. Her lecture is titled Acculturation and Preference: An Investigation of Household Ceramics from a 17th Century Spanish Estancia.

In early Spanish households in New Mexico, pottery served a number of purposes, both functional and aesthetic. Hroncich-Conner is a specialist in ceramic technology of the colonial Southwest. She will discuss ways in which early Spanish colonists used and valued household ceramics within a colonial frontier. This work forms the basis for her dissertation, entitled Status, Form, and Necessity: A Comparative Investigation of Ceramic Selection across
Four Spanish Households in Seventeenth Century New Mexico
. Using ceramics excavated from four contemporaneous 17th century households in north-central New Mexico, she hopes to elucidate which ceramics early Spanish settlers considered to be most essential and what they reveal about colonial concepts of value and necessity within the confines of a limited and unpredictable economy.

Hroncich-Conner has eight years of experience in archaeology. She has conducted archaeological excavations, archaeological surveys, historical investigations, archival research, academic presentations and course instruction exclusively in the American Southwest. She is currently adjunct faculty at New Mexico State University, and has previously worked as a Lab Instructor at the University of New Mexico. She has authored and co-authored several cultural reports and has participated in a wide variety of archaeological projects throughout the Southwest.

In-Depth Workshop: Boston Store fans

The Branigan Cultural Center will give a hands-on workshop on Thursday, June 26, at 1 p.m. on the study of material culture through a Boston Store fan from the Branigan collection.

In-Depth workshops introduce participants to objects from the museum’s permanent collections that are not slated for museum exhibition. In this workshop, aimed at adults, participants will examine a wooden promotional fan passed out at the opening of the Boston Store by Joseph Rosenfeld in Las Cruces in November of 1910. Later, Rosenfeld would convince his business partner Sam Klein to join him in Las Cruces. Klein would go on be Las Cruces’
longest serving mayor.

The fan provides subtle insight into early 20th century Las Cruces, highlighting some of the desires and needs of 1910 residents. It also features an image of downtown. Are there landmarks or buildings we can identify today? This program is free and open to the public.

The Branigan Cultural Center is located at 501 North Main Street. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Branigan Cultural Center at 541-2154 or visit the center’s website at las-cruces.org/museums.

Reading Art Book Club
The Reading Art Book Club meets next Wednesday, June 11, 2:30 p.m. at the Las Cruces Museum of Art. The book club will have an open, group discussion on this month’s book selection, The Cezanne Chase, by Thomas Swan.

Reading Art Book Club meetings are free and open to the public. Visitors are welcome to attend even if they haven’t read the book. For more information, contact Joy Miller at 541-2221 or e-mail jmiller@las-cruces.org.