Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University presents its annual Northern New Mexico Devotional Art exhibition Feb. 26 through April 3 in the Ray Drew Gallery in Donnelly Library at 802 National Ave.
The opening artists reception is March 6 from 4 to 6 p.m.
“Northern New Mexico devotional art is artistic expression that reflects Hispano culture and religious history through two-dimensional and three-dimensional images,” said Karlene Gonzales, the Ray Drew gallery curator. “This style of art is unique since it is driven by faith and belief in unseen forces of a higher power that influence how many people live their lives.”
Gonzales said most of the images in the exhibition are spiritual in nature and are influenced by the Spanish Colonial traditional style including images of Christ, the Virgin Mary and patron saints.
“The artists have a spiritual connection based on beliefs and passion which transcends from the heart through the hand to communicate from the soul to a symbolic artful object. Many artists are so close to the craft that their art is created in the traditional way using elements from nature and the land,” Gonzales said.
She said that historically this type of devotional art was created for churches or personal altars, but ultimately was motivated by the spiritual energy of its creator.
“This art form has survived through the history of Northern New Mexico since the 1700s because it is passed from generation to generation. The Cruz Flores and Adrian Montoya families are great examples of this tradition. In this exhibition, we have two generations of art displayed from both families. Devotional art is very strong within Hispano culture and is also appreciated across other cultures,” Gonzales said.
There are 11 artists represented in the devotional art exhibition this year.
“It is an honor to share this art because the art created is produced by practicing devotional artists in Northern New Mexico. The exhibition offers a diverse representation of styles and interpretations from traditional art using natural materials such as wood to contemporary media that project a certain image of divine emotion or belief from its creator,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said the exhibition features everything from tin work to paintings, sculptures and retablos, traditional devotional images painted on flat wood cut or carved by the artist.
The hours for the Ray Drew Gallery are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Article by Margaret McKinney, NMHU Office of University relations