“This exhibition is the impetus for exploring how artists can ultimately engage with one of the most pressing crises of our time—loss of species. The artists and their works are diverse, and they employ a vast array of approaches, techniques, and forms of creativity as they look to the often-overlooked plants and animals of our region.”
—Josie Lopez, Curator of Art, Albuquerque Museum
Silver City, NM
“I drove the entire river. Top to bottom. Ain’t no river left in the river. The peril of these species is all about lost habitat. We have remade the river if we cannot get at it, farm it, ranch it, we take the water and set it channels, dams, and pipes. I did not find a single place where the ecosystem along the river had not been radically shifted by people.”
“Our work asks, How is loss felt? What will be left in this wake? Through interspecies collaboration, we address these questions on handmade cottonwood paper embedded with native seeds. Each embroidered stitch is a step, creating a labyrinth of native animal tracks; their literal impacts pressed into the soil. As the cottonwood paper decays and grows, the marks of these animals will be left on the soil and consumed by future flora. This work will change throughout the duration of the exhibition, imagining what might become of this loss.”
laura c carlson
“Together, these works create an installation devoted to the past and future of North America’s most endangered family of animal, the freshwater mussel. Today, only one of New Mexico’s eight native species remains, the Texas hornshell (Popenaias popeii). This ecosystem engineer filters 10–15 gallons of water a day and lives over 20 years. In a bed of 1,000 Texas hornshells, that’s 109,500,000 gallons of water filtered. If a mussel can’t survive in your river, you can’t live off that river.”
“BIOTA is a data visualization installation that explores biodiversity loss through the micro/macro lens of new sensing technologies. From DNA sequencing to satellite remote sensing to microalgae production, I investigate data and imagery from these new methods of scientific exploration. Through BIOTA, I hope to instill empathy for the invisible world of microbial species while raising awareness of the fascinating new science and technology that allow us to finally ’see’ microbial species and understand the important role they play—and how they too are in peril.”
El Paso, TX
“The point of departure for my designs are the mythical, spiritual, and religious images and symbols, as well as the social archetypes and aesthetics, of my homeland, Mexico. I blend pre-Colombian with European, contemporary, ethnic, and popular folk manifestations in my artwork. Through my art, I return to my ancestors’ belief that humans are a point of contact between the material and spiritual, between life and death, between light and darkness, as well as between the divine, the sublime,and the profane.”
“As the snow melts in the mountains and runs to the rivers, water and climate change experts look to the Rio Grande, which for the first time in memory became dry for miles in 2018. In There Must Be Other Names for the River, six singers embody the Rio Grande physically and spatially, singing a score based on historic river flow data through the present day, and then projecting possible futures. Scrutinizing human decisions and their impact on the flows, they communicate directly our trajectory with this lifeline of water in the desert.
“Solastalgia is a premonition of longing for the present moment from an anticipated future. It is cherishing the places we live as we know them now, and at the same time feeling anxiety about what is happening to those places and what is to come. These drawings explore a solastalgic response to ecosystem collapse, and the ghosts and memories that will remain. By translating information about ecosystem disruption into visual voids and inversions, these drawings ask, What is being erased? What is being turned upside down? What will remain? Facing unprecedented change and loss, what are we going to remember? What will haunt us?”
“As artists, we have a responsibility to express our vision. We also speak for the voiceless. Personally, my role as a human being is to be a steward of Mother Earth. As such, I feel the need to show the imbalance of our reality. Our natural environment is at odds with modernization, industrialization, globalism, and colonization. Our lifestyles do not respect the life of the land, water, or air. Our endangered relatives, the plants and animals that share this home with us, need our attention and care more than ever. These species are a reflection of the state of our species.”
“We are the most destructive invasive species to inhabit the Rio Grande Valley. Rats followed us here, invading with us. We are remarkably similar— they share our ability to adapt to and thrive in widely varying environments and, like us, have competed with indigenous species for resources, driving out those that are highly specialized to their environments. In this work, I use rats as both themselves and stand-ins for us—two resilient and inextricably linked invasive species that have colonized and led to the endangerment and extinction of native flora and fauna. Someday humans and rats may be the only animals here.”
CANNUPA HANSKA LUGER
“I live because my ancestors survived a war of attrition. Carried out by settlers in order to subjugate Plains Tribes, this war of attrition decimated the North American buffalo population. Historic images of this era documented massive pyramids of buffalo skulls as monuments of conquest scattered throughout my ancestral lands of the Great Plains. This loss of species not only affected my ancestors but also the land. Running down the center of North America, the Great Plains are one of the most endangered environments; many indigenous grasses are dependent on the buffalo to thrive and have therefore also degenerated. In fact, there can be no true restoration without roaming herds of buffalo. (Be)longing explores the cascading effects of a decimated species on our precious and interconnected environment.”
“521 embodies the predicted 521-week extinction timeline for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. It opens with all the mouse nests on the wall, then releases over half of the nests during the runtime of the exhibition, reflecting an experience of steady loss. This project speaks to painful truths about imperiled species along the Rio Grande, while offering space for reflection through these light, fragile, ephemeral beings. Perhaps we may slow down, take a closer look, and fall in love with small parts of nature that are right around us on the land where we live, inspiring stewardship and preservation.”
“Evaporation is a mud mural that graphically represents all endangered and threatened species along the Rio Grande. Using sharp graphic stencils, I painted clay and earth pigments, collected in the Rio Grande Valley, onto the wall, depicting the expanse of the river and silhouettes of over 150 endangered species, including crustaceans, mollusks, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and plants. With the harvested clay, the work evokes the cracking, dry habitat the wet river cuts through and the fragility of its inhabitants to water shortage, climate change, and pollution.”
El Paso, TX
“The River is a narrative illustration of the historical timeline of the river, showing the changes the river has gone through due to colonization and development of the international border. The river is a timeline of its own, a chronicle of the people who have survived on it for thousands of years. Using symbols and iconography, I highlight certain histories.”
Santa Fe, NM
“Considering place as a space that can be felt as an extension of the body , I aim to bring into conversation, with fluidity, the relationships created by the intersection of audio, digital mapping, and ceramic in the public space. The work situated within communities near and around the Rio Grande asks to be explored and understood beyond the immediate.”
El Ancon, NM
“My installation can be seen as a metaphor of a nest—a “nido,” or sanctuary, for both migrating and resident birds. I focused on the frail nature of birds and how their existence is threatened. This nido also shows the strength and resilience of nature, in spite of all the efforts, both intentional and unintentional, to disrupt and destroy. There is, however, a point of no return. I am afraid that we have already reached it. We must become hyper-concerned and get actively involved in responding to this threat. We do not have time to waste.”
MARCIA I. SANTOS
Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, MX
“My work is developed from the idea of ‘border thought,’ or the notion of urban space as a meeting place for the public and private, and the exploration of the lived experience where it is as permeable as its borders.”
Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, MX
“In the process of researching materials, I found some that are part of the border identity; those are related to reusing everything. The electric components have particular meaning to me because Juarez has around 669 factories that manufacture accessories, electrical appliances, and electric power generation equipment. Five years ago, I also started exploring botanical colors, as a journey into the heart of the earth. I have found more than one hundred color ranges, and I realize that the colors of the plants are a gift of our mother’s sacred technology and that those techniques were used by pre-Hispanic cultures, by our ancestors.
MARY TSIONGAS + JENNIFER OWEN-WHITE
“My work has attempted to explore my (and our) changing relationship to the natural world. I use ‘natural world’ to refer to the naturally occurring landscape, and to its apotheosis in wilderness, and as a term of opposition to the increasingly harmful human-built environments we find ourselves in. My choice of subject hinges on my deep (and deepening) concern about how we as humans are impacting the natural world, and on my interest in how these impacts are affecting me (and us) personally and globally, in return.” – Mary Tsiongas
Banner Image: Jaque Fragua, Wolf XING; Jaguar XING; OCELOT XING; 2019, Oil and vinyl on aluminum. Image Courtesy of 516 ARTS.
Michael Berman, Habitat/Binary Codex, 2019,Carbon pigment on kozo washi. Image Courtesy of 516 ARTS.
Kaitlin Bryson + Hollis Moore, Its Vitality Comes Through Fluctuation, 2019,Hand-made cottonwood paper, native seeds, naturally-dyed fibers, natural ink, grow lights, pine. Image Courtesy of 516 ARTS.
laura c carlson, Lotic Possibilities, 2019, Carved glass, concrete, travertine, water from the Black River.
Agnes Chavez, BIOTA, 2019, Projection, copolyester, fiber optics, galvanized metal, microalgae. Image Courtesy of 516 ARTS.
Nina Elder, Interrupted Ecosystem: Beavers and Rivers, 2019, Charcoal, graphite, ash, and dirt on paper.
Jessica Gross, In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers, 2019, Serigraphy on paper.
c marquez, 521, 2019, Installation, seed-pods and stems of Sisymbrium altissimum Image Courtesy of 516 ARTS.
Daisy Quezada, untitled, 2019, Porcelain.
Nicaso Romero, Bolas y Nido, 2019, Willow, straw, wire, clay. Image Courtesy of 516 ARTS.
Janette Terrazas, Leopardus Pardalis; Endangered vegetal species in the Chihuahuan desert; Chaute; 2019, Electronic textile, flowers and larrea tridentata over cotton. Image Courtesy of 516 ARTS.