The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will present "Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place," an exhibition of site-specific installations by emerging and mid-career Latino artists that express experiences of contemporary life in the American West. Exhibition installations will feature artists such as Carmen Argote, Jaime Carrejo, Ana Teresa Fernández, Ramiro Gomez and Ruben Ochoa. "Mi Tierra" will take over the fourth floor of the museum’s Frederic C. Hamilton Building from Feb. 19, 2017 through Oct. 22, 2017.
In keeping with the DAM’s commitment to fostering creativity and providing insight into the artistic process, the on-site development of the installations will be visible to the public beginning in December 2016, with scheduled opportunities for visitors to engage with artists. Organized by the DAM, the finished exhibition, "Mi Tierra," marks the DAM’s first major exhibition curated by Rebecca Hart, the DAM’s new curator of modern and contemporary art. “We’re proud to support innovative work by artists who bring their unique perspective on the American experience to examine the concept of place as a complex and ever-present force in our lives,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director at the DAM. “By making their process visible to the public, we are providing audiences with the opportunity to see in real time how creative decisions are made and the myriad of factors, from the spaces of our iconic Hamilton building, to the artists’ own experiences, that can influence the final realization of their work.”
Working with Hart on "Mi Tierra," 13 artists living and working in the Western United States will offer a critical point of view to expand the definition of place. Energizing and vibrant artwork will be presented by Carmen Argote (Los Angeles), Jaime Carrejo (Denver), Gabriel Dawe (Dallas), Claudio Dicochea (San Antonio), Daniela Edburg (San Miguel de Allende), Justin Favela (Las Vegas), Ana Teresa Fernández (San Francisco), Ramiro Gomez (West Hollywood), John Jota Leaños (San Francisco), Dmitri Obergfell (Denver), Ruben Ochoa (Los Angeles), Daisy Quezada (Santa Fe) and Xochi Solis (Austin). The museum also worked in collaboration with the DAM’s Latino Audience Alliance and other community leaders to consult on the exhibition theme, programming and artists selected.
“Each artist contributes to the thematic trajectory that explores their ideas related to labor, nostalgia, memory, visibility and displacement,” said Hart. “We hope their installations will inspire a new way of thinking, and offer salient perspectives about the human experience and the relationship between our sense of place and the world views we develop throughout our lives. With migration on the rise worldwide, these artists eloquently explore its transformative effects on both sides of the Mexico-United States border.”
Visitors can expect to see large-scale, mixed media installations that stimulate conversation around complex issues. Projects include Denver-based, Mexican American artist Dmitri Obergfell’s recreation of a market similar to those in Denver’s historic Latino neighborhoods. As places of cultural commerce, they are living museums reflecting the current state of immigrant communities in the United States.
Ana Teresa Fernández will use performance-based video art and painting to examine themes of invisibility and censorship in United States-Mexico relations. Her work Erasure is comprised of a video installation and a series of hyperrealist paintings, in which Fernández paints her body almost entirely black as homage to the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, who disappeared in 2014. With this body of work, Fernández continues her quest to give strength to the unheard and unseen, and the powerless among us.
Other exhibition artists will use digital animation, fiber constructions, painting, sculpture and ceramics to examine diverse narratives of migration and more specifically the complex layering of cultures throughout the Western United States.
"Mi Tierra" follows the DAM’s 2009 exhibition "Embrace!," during which artists from around the globe created installations and moments of engagement for visitors. Classes, lectures and programming tied to "Mi Tierra" will provide audiences with the artists’ perspectives on the creative process and personal interpretation of their works. A bilingual exhibition catalog will be available in The Shops at the DAM, as well as through the museum’s online shop. The exhibition will be included in general museum admission, and will be on view during the 2017 Denver Biennial of the Americas, which convenes artists and cultural practitioners from a range of disciplines to challenge the existing conditions in the Western hemisphere.