Uncovered Spaces

An Exhibition and Event Series Centered on Women Artists and LGBTQIA+ Artists

The International Museum of Art and Science announces the exhibition Uncovered Spaces, in collaboration with the Center for Latin American Arts at UTRGV. The exhibition will be on display March 26 through July 10, 2022, curated by Raheleh Filsoofi and directed by Dr. Katherine McAllen.

Uncovered Spaces is an exhibition and event series centered on female artists and LGBTQIA+ artists to explore the social structures that mediate our everyday experiences. The project serves as space for women and female-identifying artists and scholars to discuss their art practice related to gender, identity, and social norms. This exhibition seeks to connect the creative process, shared knowledge, and feminine solidarity in a collaborative and community-based arts research project in South Texas.

The participating artists are Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Wendy Red Star, Margarita Cabrera, Erika Diamond, Vesna Pavlovic, Zac ThompsonNatalia ArbelaezJana HarperMaria Fernanda BarreroMelissa Potter, Daisy PattonLauren Sandler, and Linda Behar.

Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Events

Virtual Artist Talk with María Fernanda Barrero
An Imaginary Line Project and its Intersection with Wixarika culture and Contemporary Techniques

June 15, 2022
12:00 – 1:00 PM (CST)
Register Online | Free, Open to general public on Zoom

Join us for a virtual Artist Talk with “Uncovered Spaces” artist Maria Fernanda Barrero.

Seascapes and continuous lines are well known creative motifs, but they are seldomly found together. The same is true about
thread and beeswax, 3D printing, and traditional multimedia craftsmanship. María Fernanda Barrero has developed the Imaginary Line project to create unique intersections that result from a Wixarika (Huichol) native artist and a Contemporary art sculptor collaborating together in Mexico’s Pacific coastline. In her virtual talk, Uncovered Spaces participating artist María Fernanda Barrero will discuss these topics in her art practice from her studio in Monterrey, México.

Exhibit Opening
Student Crossroads: Contemplating Uncovered Spaces

A student Art Exhibition curated by UTRGV MFA Alumni Cristina Correa and Fatima Lai presenting works by high school art students in San Juan and Brownsville will be exhibited at the IMAS May 19 through July 10, 2022. This exhibit was inspired by Uncovered Spaces and created by students in Brownsville ISD and IDEA Public Schools. Student artwork can be viewed in the Welcome Pavilion of the International Museum of Art & Science.

Uncovered Spaces Opening Day
Saturday, March 26, 2022
10:00AM-4:00 PM at the IMAS

Gallery Talks with Linda Behar, Margarita Cabrera, Erika Diamond, Jana Harper, and Zac Thompson. Curator and Director Talks by Raheleh Filsoofi and Katherine McAllen with scholarly discussions from Rebecca VanDiver.

10:00AM – Project Director’s and Curator’s talk – Katherine Moore McAllen & Raheleh Filsoofi
10:15AM – “In the Gallery” with artists Margarita Cabrera, Erika Diamond and Zac Thompson
11:00PM – “Not the First, Nor the Last” performance by Jana Harper
12:00PM – “In the Gallery” with scholar and catalogue essayist Dr. Rebecca VanDiver to discuss writing about art

Included with admission.

Uncovered Spaces Artists’ Roundtable
“Navigating Your Own Space: Artistic Identity and
Social Interactions in the Artist’s Practice”
Friday, March 25th at 1:00pm

Center for Latin American Arts (CLAA)
UTRGV Edinburg Library, 2nd Floor
Zoom Webinar ID available: 897 1006 9252

Uncovered Spaces Visiting artists Linda Behar, Margarita Cabrera, Erika Diamond, Jana Harper, Zac Thompson, and art historian Rebecca Vandiver will participate in a roundtable at the CLAA to discuss the exhibition and share ideas and visit with students and friends of the IMAS and the CLAA.

For more information or accommodations, visit www.utrgv.edu/claa or write to CLAA@utrgv.edu

Opening Reception & Member Preview
Thursday, March 24, 2022
5:00 – 7:00 PM at the IMAS

Celebrate the opening of Uncovered Spaces alongside several visiting artists from the exhibition.  IMAS Members are invited to an opening preview reception on Thursday, March 24, 2022, from 5:00-7:00 PM in the atrium of the art gallery wing. The reception is free for IMAS members and 1 guest. Additional guests and general public are $10. UTRGV students, faculty, and staff may attend the opening courtesy of the Center for Latin American Arts (CLAA).

Artists attending the opening include:
Linda Behar
Margarita Cabrera
Erika Diamond

Jana Harper
Zac Thompson
Rebecca VanDiver

Learn more about membership online, call (956) 681-2800, or visit the IMAS to join or renew your membership.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
“Ceramics in the Realm of Social Practice”
Artists’ Roundtable and Student Workshop
Tuesday, March 8th at 2:00 pm

with artists Brandi Cooper (UTRGV), Raheleh Filsoofi (Vanderbilt University) and Lauren Sandler (Temple University)
The Center for Latin American Arts (CLAA)

UTRGV Library Edinburg, 2nd Floor
Zoom Webinar ID available: 889 6345 4541

Center for Latin American Arts at UTRGV

Uncovered Spaces is made possible by the generous financial support of grants from the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, the Raul Tijerina Jr. Foundation, the Hollyfield Foundation, H-E-B, the Vanderbilt Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies, Texas Commission on the Arts, and UTRGV’s Center for Latin American Arts.

Uncovered Spaces
was directed by Dr. Katherine McAllen, Assistant Professor of Art History and Director of the Center for Latin American Arts at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX.

Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artists

Uncovered Spaces Artists - IMAS McAllen

Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Natalia Arbelaez

Visiting Artist at the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA in Pomona, CA)

Erika Diamond

Artist Statement/Declaración del Artista

My work takes the place of a storyteller, from my personal narratives of my Colombian family’s immigration to the research of pre-Columbian South American presence, to my American, latchkey, afterschool cartoon upbringing. Each of these identities plays a role in my work to illustrate a self-portrait of what it is like to be a Mestizo, Colombian, and American hybrid. I combine these stories with research, familial narratives, and cartoon embellishments that create surreal stories, much to my efforts, of the likes of Gabriel García Márquez. A way to autobiographically narrate history with its ups and downs of humor and tears.

I use my work to research undervalued histories, such as, Latin American, Amerindian, and Women of Color. I work with how these identities are lost through conquest, migration, and time, gained through family, culture, exploration, and passed down through tradition, preservation, and genetic memory. In my research I have found value in my histories and aim to help continue my cultures by preserving and honoring them.

I’ve embraced my use of craft and clay not only in my process but also in historical and cultural research. In my researching of lost, conquered, and overlooked communities, I have found that craft belongs in my pursuit. I relate to the role of the craftsperson, often linked to women’s work, working class, and cultural tradition. The material also plays an important role as I examine the history of my ancestral material. Like how Terra-cotta has been seen historically as a lesser material and Majolica glaze brought over from Europe and used as a surface to hide terra-cotta, metaphors I use describe colonization.

– Natalia Arbelaez

Mi trabajo toma el lugar de una narradora, desde mis historias personales sobre la inmigración de mi familia colombiana hasta de investigaciones de la presencia sudamericana pre-colombiana, e incluso sobre mi rutina americana de ver caricaturas al salir de la escuela, llegando a una casa sola. Cada una de esas identidades toman un rol en mi trabajo para ilustrar un auto-retrato de lo que se siente ser mestizo, colombiano y un híbrido americano. Yo combino todas éstas historias así creando historias surreales, con todos mis esfuerzos, parecidas a aquellas de Gabriel García Márquez. Una forma de autobiografiar gráficamente y narrar la historia con sus momentos difíciles y los felices; de humor y de lágrimas.

Utilizo mi trabajo para investigar sobre la historia menospreciada, como la de Latinoamérica, Amerindias, y de mujeres de color. Trabajo con la forma en que estas identidades se pierden durante las conquistas, migración, y el tiempo, todos obtenidos a través de familias, cultura, exploración, y son pasados por generaciones a través de la tradición, preservación y memoria genética. En mi investigación, he encontrado valor en mis historias y trato de continuar ayudando a mis culturas, preservándolas y honorándolas.

He aceptado con gozo mi trabajo y la arcilla no solamente en mi proceso sino también como forma de investigación histórica y cultural. Al investigar comunidades perdidas, conquistadas y omisas, me he dado cuenta que el oficio artístico pertenece a mi búsqueda. Me ubico con el rol de los artesanos, a menudo conectado al trabajo de mujeres, la clase obrera y la tradición cultural. El material también juega una parte importante mientras examino la historia de mi material ancestral. En sí, la terracota que históricamente se ha visto como un material de menos valor y que el glaseado mayólica traído desde Europa se ha usado para tapar la terracota, es una metáfora que yo utilizo para describir la colonización.

– Natalia Arbelaez



PDF Download

Natalia Arbelaez is a Colombian American artist, born and raised in Miami, Florida to immigrant parents. Arbelaez’s artwork researches and amplifies Latin American, Amerindian, and Women of Color histories. She explores and examines these changing identities influenced by conquest, migration, time, genetic memory, and preservation of cultural familial heritage. She received her B.F.A. from Florida International University and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, where she received an Enrichment Fellowship.

She completed a yearlong residency at the Clay Art Center; Port Chester, New York as a Barbara Rittenberg Fellow and was awarded the 2016 Inaugural Artaxis Fellowship that funded a residency to the Watershed in Newcastle, Maine.

Her work has been exhibited nationally, in museums, galleries, and included in various collections, such as the Everson Museum and The Frederik Meijer Gardens. She has been recognized by the National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts as a 2018 Emerging Artist in the field. Natalia was a 2018-19 resident artist at Harvard University where she researched pre-Columbian art and histories.

She is currently an artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City where she continues her research in the work of historical and influential women ceramicists of color and continues this research as a Visiting Artist at AMOCA in Pomona, CA.

For more information:



Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist María Fernanda Barrero

Erika Diamond

Artist Statement/Declaración del Artista

I have always been marveled by our beautiful biosphere, a complex and synchronized life network where everything is interconnected and exquisitely woven. My sense and wish of belonging to our biosphere and cosmos have led my life’s curiosity. Therefore, the aim of my art practice is to investigate how we exist within our life network and how we participate as interdependent elements of it. My practice is based on four axioms: (1) everything is part of a whole and is a whole itself, (2) life is not a fragmented mechanism, but rather a multifaceted organism where boundaries are illusory. (3) Therefore, life in my work is understood as a web of relationships and experiences that happen within space. (4) Consequently, we are interdependent and interconnected elements within this system, and it is impossible to define and understand ourselves as humans without aiming to recognize our macrocosms, our biosphere, our microcosmos, and our place within all of it.

As my work examines how we perceive, experience, and develop an understanding of our life network and our sense of belonging to it, I aim to make tangible this interconnectedness thru aesthetic tools like light, color, monochromia, patterns, geometry, containment of space, and our own spatial sense of self. My motifs are everyday observations of our surroundings that support life including both nature and human made elements that interact with our network: landscapes, stars, plants, the ocean, dusk and dawn, ocean currents, clouds patterns, as well as architectural elements, maps, scientific diagrams, and quotidian objects. My fundamental actions consist of containing, constructing, replicating, tracing, mapping, folding, weaving, and embracing. With these tools, motifs, and actions, I seek to elaborate a full poetics of our life network and our place within it.

The predominant material used in my work (2007-2014) was white paper as featured in Paper Environments. This exploration began with Paper House, built at the Slade Research Centre, University College London, in March 2007 during my MFA degree. To formulate the idea of the mind as a dynamic and sensible container of space, I constructed a white paper house based on the shape of my former studio. Spectators shared extraordinary experiences of light, whiteness, and spatial containment, which led me to continue exploring the monochrome, self-contained, vulnerable, and unified possibilities of paper as both surface and structure. I constructed several large format paper installations containing life size paper objects and flora that could be transited by visitors including: Paper Bedroom (2008) for the Slade Degree Show 2008 in London and Paper Garden (2009) for the Recent Graduate Show at the Affordable Art Fair in London; Water Lily Pond (2010) for the Zona Maco Monterrey Art Fair and a garden, at dawn (2010) for the Alternativa Once Gallery in Monterrey, Mexico. These Paper Environments created spaces where everything seemed integrated into a whole. They motivated incredibly unique perceptual experiences that are bodily and spatial, peaceful, and enjoyable.

Then, I began to develop smaller installations and pieces building on former elements and introducing added resources such as detailed cutouts, mapped, and embossed images or text. The project, Leaves of stars/Estrellas de la hierba (2012-2014) bonds miniature oblivious elements, mainly grass, with massive yet easily forgotten celestial bodies. For example, I overlapped the exact location of the stars beneath the grass under my feet as I stood in my studio, all on the same sheet of paper. Star mapping was achieved with the use of the Starwalk Application, as well as other astronomical sky maps and photographs. I combined geography and literature alluding to human links with the Earth and sky: bringing in fragments of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of grass or Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space.

My current project An Imaginary Line examines landscape and the horizon as a point of reference that helps us develop our sense of self and belonging within our biosphere. This project explores mountain, sea and cloud landscapes thru pieces using 3D imagining and printing or thread painting on wax. This project has been shown at Registro 05 Enfocar la Mirada Exhibition at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MARCO), Monterrey, 2018; and at the solo exhibition Al Final del Ocaso at Alternativa Once Gallery, Monterrey, 2018.

This last project has widened and deepened the scope of my work by focusing my research on landscape elements and by introducing new materials and techniques into my practice. The original aims of my practice remain, yet different approaches help me to further understand our sense of belonging within our fabric of life.

– Maria Fernanda Barrero

Siempre me ha impresionado nuestra hermosa biósfera, una vida sincronizada y compleja en la que todo está interconectado y exquisítamente tejído. Mi sentido y deseo de pertenecer a nuestra biósfera y cosmos han despertado mi curiosidad de vida. Es por eso que el objetivo de mi práctica artística es investigar cómo existimos dentro de la red de conecciones de vida y cómo participamos como elementos interdependientes de ella. Mi práctica está basada en 4 principios: (1) Todo es parte de uno solo, (2) la vida no es un mecanismo fragmentado, sino un organismo multifacético donde las barreras son imaginarias. (3) Entonces, la vida en mi trabajo es como una telaraña de relaciones y experiencias que suceden dentro del espacio. (4) Consecuéntemente, somos elementos interdependientes y estamos interconectados dentro de este sistema y es imposible definir y entendernos a nosotros mismos como humanos sin reconocer nuestros macrocosmos, nuestra biósfera, nuestros microcosmos, y nuestro lugar dentro de todo.

Mientras mi trabajo examina como percibimos, vivímos experiencias y desarrollamos un entendido de nuestra red de conecciones de vida y el sentido de pertenecer a ella, yo trato de hacer estas interconecciones tangibles a través de herramientas estéticas, como la luz, el color, la monocromía, los patrones, la geometría, la contención de espacios y a través de nuestro propio sentido sobre el espacio que ocupamos. Mis temas conforman observaciones de cada día sobre lo que nos rodea que al mismo tiempo provée vida, incluyendo ambas la naturaleza y los elementos hechos por humanos que interactúan con nuestra red de conectividad: los paisajes, estrellas, plantas, océano, el amanecer, el atardecer, las ólas del mar, los patrones de nubes, así como elementos arquitecturales, mapas, diagramas científicos y objetos de cada día. Mis acciones fundamentales consisten en contener, construir, replicar, trazar, doblar, tejer, y darle la bienvenida a ideas. Con éstas herramientas, temas y acciones, busco elaborar un esquema lleno de elementos poéticos sobre nuestra red de vida y de nuestro lugar dentro de ella.

Mi proyecto actual An Imaginary Line (Una Línea Imaginaria) examina el paisaje y el horizonte como el punto de referencia que nos ayuda a desarrollar nuestro sentido de ser y de pertenecer a nuestra biósfera. Este proyecto explora montañas, mar y paisajes de nubes a través de piezas utilizando modelos 3D y también impresiones 3D así como también ilustrando con hilazas  encima de cera. Este Proyecto estuvo en la exposición Registro 05 Enfocar la Mirada, en el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MARCO), Monterrey, 2018 y en la exposición individual Al Final del Ocaso en Alternativa Once Gallery, Monterrey, 2018.

Este último proyecto se ha expandido y ha hecho más profundo el tema de mi trabajo al enfocar mi búsqueda en elementos de paisaje e introducir materiales y técnicas nuevas a mi práctica. Los propósitos originales de mi práctica siguen presentes, solo que acercamientos distintos me ayudan a entender más a fondo nuestro sentido del pertenecer dentro de nuestra “tela” que es la vida.



PDF Download https://www.mariafernandabarrero.mx/cv

María Fernanda Barrero is a Mexican artist who lives and works in Monterrey, México. Barerero holds an MFA specializing in sculpture from the Slade School of Fine Arts, University College London in 2008 and a BFA from the Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico (2003). She also studied sculpture at Europäisches Kunst Akademie, Germany in 2005 and West Dean College, England in 2005. Her oeuvre examines our environment and the synchrony of our biospheres as well as conservation issues. Her work is characterized by its usage of white paper, or thread, and contained monochrome spaces to explore ideas related nature, landscape, and the interconnectedness of our ecosystems. Her solo exhibitions include: By the End of Dusk, Alternativa Once Gallery, Monterrey (2018); A House in the Air at Casa de la Cultura de Nuevo León, Monterrey (2014); The flowers of a Garden that Might Have Existed, Galería CONARTE. Monterrey (2012); A Garden by Dawn, Alternativa Once, Monterrey, (2010). She participated in the Registro 05 group exhibition at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MARCO) Monterrey (2018) and in the X FEMSA Biennale in 2012 as well as in over 40 group shows in Mexico, United States, England, Italy, Israel, and Japan. She participated in the Mino Paper Residency (2011) granted by the Japanese government and their exhibition Navigating Light at the Mino Washi Museum, Japan. She obtained the Bernardo Elosúa. Arte A.C. Award Soporte/papel in 2009.

For more information:



Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Linda Behar

Erika Diamond

Artist Statement/Declaración del Artista

I’m an artist whose interest in shapes manifests itself through a variety of media. I seek to bring forward the contradictions between the expectations of society and an individual’s sense of self. My focus is on women and the stark standards that have been established for a woman’s appearance. After finding a study made by the U.S. government in 1940 to standardize the women body, I created a geometrical shape using the measurements generated by the study and presented in drawings and in three-dimensional figures. I carry this work forward in an exploration of figural gesture through miniature figures in the round and subtly three-dimensional 3D-printing images.

My exploration of shape goes deeper through my work with the study of the body language. The pose is shapes, and shape is both a noun and a verb, to understand the human behavior is imperative to see it at a whole. The body language gave a visual form to identity and enhanced the visual aesthetics of communication. Through the pose, the body and the strictures of tradition, visual images itself shapes what one says and the way one thinks and preserves them as art. You are what you create, as much as you are what you perform. My goal is to create images that echo the past, confront the present, and embrace the future.

– Linda Behar

Como artista, mi interés por las figuras se manifiesta a través de una gran variedad de medios. Busco exponer aquellas contradicciones existentes entre las expectativas de la sociedad y las de nuestro sentido individualista. Mi enfoque está en las mujeres y los estándares rígidos que han sido establecidos para la apariencia de una mujer. Después de encontrar un estudio hecho por el gobierno de EUA en 1940 para estandarizar el cuerpo de la mujer, creé una figura geométrica usando las medidas generadas por ese estudio y los presenté en dibujos y en figuras tridimensionales. Fomento este trabajo como modo de exploración de los gestos figurativos a través de miniaturas impresas en 3D de modo sutil.

Mi exploración de formas va mas allá a través de mi trabajo en conjunto con el estudio del lenguaje corporal. Una postura es una forma y esta forma puede ser sustantivo y verbo a la vez. Para entender el comportamiento humano, es necesario verlo como una suma de ambos. El lenguaje corporal le dió una forma visual a la identidad y aumentó la estética visual de la comunicación. A través de todo eso: una pose, un cuerpo y las restricciones de las tradiciones, forman imágenes visuales que a la vez, establecen nuestros dichos o pensamientos y nosotros decidímos conservarlos como si fueran arte. Tu eres lo que creas así como también eres lo que realizas. Mi propósito es crear imágenes que reflejan el pasado pero confrontan el presente y que reciben con gusto al futuro.



PDF Download  https://www.lindabehar.net/cv-ci9l

Linda Behar is a Venezuelan-born artist who has been living in the US for the past two decades. Behar holds a bachelor’s in civil engineering, an MFA with an emphasis in printmaking from Florida Atlantic University and is a specialist in glass casting and pâte de verre (molten glass). She had her first solo exhibition at Broward College in 2008 and is an academic whose research mostly concerns feminism and the analysis of messages that the media disseminates through the public.

Behar’s main interests lie in the use of shape and the word’s function as both a noun and a verb. She wants to make her consumers acutely aware of the differences between the expectations posed on individuals by society and the way these individuals can form their own sense of self, especially when it comes to those placed on women throughout history. By utilizing videogame and photo editing software, Behar can use a laser cutter to create innovative yet traditional woodcut printing plates. The combination of technology as well as traditional printing techniques such as etching, relief, embossing and chine colle allow Behar to use body language to acknowledge and challenge the societal influence of body image. She is self-employed and has taught in Venezuela as well as at the University of Miami and Florida Atlantic University.

For more information:


Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Margarita Cabrera

Assistant Professor at Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts: School of Art at Arizona State University

Erika Diamond

Artist Statement

“My work centers on social-political community issues including cultural identity, migration, violence, inclusivity, labor, and empowerment. I create sculptures made out of media ranging from steel, cooper, wood, ceramics, and fabric. I have worked on a number of collaborative projects at the intersection of contemporary art practices, indigenous Mexican folk art and craft traditions, and US-Mexico relations. In addition to studying and preserving endangered cultural and craft tradition, these projects have served as active investigations into the creation of just working conditions and the protection of immigrants’ rights. My emphasis is on creating a social consciousness through my work, generating solutions to these problems through my art and empowering all member of highly diverse communities.

In recent years, I have especially focused on community art collaborations, producing work that has engaged international and local communities in transformative practices. With these works, we have created art pieces that serve as cultural and historical artifacts that value and document the experiences, struggles, and achievements of those who have found their way, often through migration and exceptional sacrifice, to new places where they now work to contribute meaningfully within their communities. This work is both individually and collectively inspiring to all participants and local populations.”


Dallas, TX

Mi trabajo está centrado en temas socio-políticos de la comunidad que incluyen identidad cultural, migración, violencia, inclusión, labor y empoderamiento. Yo creo esculturas de materiales incluyendo acero, cobre, madera, cerámica y telas. He trabajado en muchos proyectos colaborativos dentro de prácticas contemporáneas, arte folklórico mexicano así como tradiciones artesanales y de relaciones entre México con USA. Además de estudiar y preservar tradiciones culturales y artesanales, los proyectos han servido como investigaciones activas sobre las condiciones de trabajo de los inmigrantes y la protección de sus derechos. Mi énfasis se encuentra en crear conciencia socialmente a través de mi trabajo, generando soluciones a estos problemas y empoderando a todo miembro parte de las diversas comunidades.

En años recientes, Me he enfocado especialmente en colaboraciones de arte en la comunidad, produciendo trabajo que ha envuelto a comunidades locales e incluso ha tenido impacto internacionalmente. Con estas prácticas, hemos creado piezas de arte que sirven como artefactos culturales e históricos que valoran y documentan las experiencias, los problemas y los logros de aquellos que han encontrado su camino, a menudo a través de la migración y sacrificio excepcional a nuevos lugares en donde ahora, ellos trabajan para contribuir de forma plena con sus comunidades. Este trabajo ha inspirado a todos los participantes y poblaciones locales.



PDF Download

Margarita Cabrera was born in Monterrey, Mexico and moved to El Paso, TX at the age of 10. Cabrera holds both a BFA and MFA from Hunter College in New York, NY and matriculated at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland years 1994-1995. Margarita addresses cultural identity, immigration, violence, labor and US-Mexico border relations through sculpture, mixed media works, and collaborative projects that intersect contemporary art practices, indigenous art, Mexican folk art, and embroidery traditions. Cabrera has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at institutions across the United States, including the Dallas Contemporary, El Museo del Barrio (New York), the Ford Foundation Gallery (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the McNay Museum (San Antonio), the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans), the Seattle Art Museum, SITE Santa Fe, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and the Sweeney Art Center for Contemporary Art at the University of California, Riverside. She is currently an assistant professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University.

For more information:





Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Erika Diamond (she/her)

Instructor at Visual Arts Center of Richmond (VA), the Penland School of Crafts (Spring 2022 in NC), Appalachian Center for Craft (TN), Art Students League of Denver (CO), and Assistant Director of Galleries at Chautauqua Institution (NY)

Erika Diamond

Artist Statement/Declaración del Artista

My work addresses the vital and fleeting qualities of human contact. It investigates the possibility of immortality, the commemoration of touch, and the thresholds between others and myself. It explores the potential for textiles to record and preserve our connection to others.

Like our own skin, textiles absorb our experiences and bear the scars of our encounters. My Eggshell Garments register the impact of other people’s hugs and handshakes against my body. Through these recollection objects, people keep each other alive and cloth tells a story. These works question both our need and discomfort around closeness; the need for defense mechanisms and the pain they cause. How strong are the seams that bind us together? How close can we really get to each other? How do we wear and shape one another? The garment becomes a shared skin, a way to hold onto each other forever.

Textiles are meant to offer protection, but often those with the most protection are not the most vulnerable. In an effort to preserve the lives of those within my queer community, Imminent Peril – Queer Collection is an ongoing series of fashionable safety vests made from bullet-proof Kevlar material. Created in response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, they are specifically tailored and designed to protect my queer-identifying friends, lovers, mentors, and artists I admire, reflecting their individual ideas around personal safety and style. This new work it is rooted in a desire to promote awareness about the safety of LGBTQIA+ people, and it recognizes the need for all people to feel safe while expressing their individuality.

These garments are part of an ongoing catalog of the people in my life and my persistent efforts to hold on to those tenuous connections. They address the vulnerability and self-preservation negotiated during human interaction.

Mi trabajo se enfoca en las cualidades vitales y efímeras del contacto humano. Investiga la posibilidad de la inmortalidad, la conmemoración del tacto y las compuertas entre otros y yo misma. También explora el potencial que tienen los textiles para “grabar” y preservar nuestra conección hacia otros.

Como nuestra piel, los textiles absorben nuestras experiencias y cargan con las cicatríces de nuestros encuentros. Mis Eggshell Garments (Prendas de Cascarón de Huevo) registran el impacto de los abrazos y apretones de manos que mi cuerpo ha recibido. A través de recolecciones de objetos, la gente se mantiene viva y las prendas nos cuentan una historia. Estas piezas cuestionan nuestra necesidad así como también nuestra incomodidad conforme al acercamiento hacia otros; la necesidad de nuestros mecanismos de defensa y el dolor que esto causan. ¿Qué tan fuertes son las puntadas que nos mantienen unidos? Realmente, ¿qué tan cercanos podemos llegar a ser los unos a los otros? ¿Cómo nos “usamos” y nos “damos forma” unos a otros en comparación a la ropa? La ropa se convierte en una piel compartida; una forma para sujetarnos unos a otros por siempre.

El propósito de los textiles es brindar protección, pero a menudo, aquellos que tienen más protección, son los que se encuentran más vulnerables. Tratando de preservar las vidas de aquellos dentro de mi comunidad queer, Imminent Peril – Queer Collection (Súbito Peligro –Colección Queer) es una serie continua de chalecos de seguridad a la moda, hechos a prueba de balas con material Kevlar. Creados debido al tiroteo del 2016 en el antro Pulse, fueron específicamente entallados y diseñados para proteger a mis amigos queer, amantes, mentores y artistas que admiro, reflejando sus individualismos sobre la seguridad personal y estilo. Este nuevo trabajo es creado a raíz del deseo de promover conciencia sobre la seguridad de la comunidad LGBTQIA+ y reconoce la necesidad de toda la gente de sentirse segura, mientras que también expresan su individualidad.

Estas prendas son un catálogo continuo de la gente dentro de mi vida y mis persistentes esfuerzos de mantener aquellas conecciones tenuas. Ellas comunican la vulnerabilidad y también la auto-preservación que se negocian durante la interacción humana.



PDF Download http://erikadiamond.com/Erika_Diamond/CV.html

German-born and the daughter of two ballet dancers, Erika Diamond is a textile-focused visual artist, curator, and educator. She holds a BFA in Sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in Fiber from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, and her costumes have been commissioned by Charlotte Ballet.

Residencies include McColl Center for Visual Art (NC); STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise (NC); Black Iris Gallery (VA); ABK Weaving Center (WI); Platte Forum (CO); and STEAM studio at UNC Asheville (NC).

She received a Regional Artist Project Grant in 2015 from the Arts & Science Council of NC and an Adjunct Faculty Grant from VCU Arts to create new work using bulletproof Kevlar fabric. Diamond has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University (VA) in the Craft/Material Studies Department and Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design (CO). She is currently an instructor at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond (VA), the Penland School of Crafts (Spring 2022 in NC), Appalachian Center for Craft (TN), Art Students League of Denver (CO), and is the Assistant Director of Galleries at Chautauqua Institution (NY).

For more information:


Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Jana Harper

Jana Harper



PDF Download

Jana Harper is a mixed media and video performance artist exploring materiality and transcendence, relationships, and human connectivity through via collaborative projects, movement, and sculptural work. Harper received a BA from the Evergreen State College in 1992 and holds an MFA from the Arizona State University. She has held numerous exhibitions, awards, and fellowships both nationally and internationally.

Harper’s work explores the themes and tensions between materiality and transcendence, chance encounters and human willfulness, relationships and connectivity, and human acts of meaning making. Harper regularly leads workshops on movement and creativity, either independently or in collaborative projects implementing her background in somatic practices.

Her work is held in several public collections including the Library of Congress, the Sackner Archive for Visual and Concrete Poetry, J.S. Blanton Museum, Proyecto Ace Print Collection, and the Janet Turner Print Collection. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award in support of her project This Holding, which premiered online via OZ Arts Nashville on May 29, 2020. Recently, her collaborative performance Cargas was the closing event for Intermittent Rivers, the Matanzas portion of the Havana Biennial. Jana is Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Art at Vanderbilt University.

For more information:


Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Daisy Patton

Artist Statement/Declaración del Artista

They say we die two deaths: the first is our actual passing; the second is when the last person who remembers us takes their final breath. Family photographs, vessels of memory, are integral to extending this quasi-life. They show a mother, a child, a past self, full of in-jokes and the mundane meaningful only to a select few. But divorced from their origins, these emotion-ridden images become unknowable and lost in translation, for they are intrinsically entwined with the intimate memories of someone. These images are timeless because photography can forever capture a moment—so much so that they have outlived their families and purpose, becoming orphans. As we drown in an overwhelming visual culture, what place does an old family photo have outside their original home?

In Forgetting is so long, I collect abandoned, anonymous family photographs, enlarge them past their familiar size, and paint over them. I paint to disrupt, to reimagine, to re-enliven these individuals until I can either no longer recognize them or their presence is too piercing to continue. Family photographs are sacred relics to their loved ones, but unmoored the images become hauntingly absent.

Taussig states that defacing these types of objects forces a “shock into being;” suddenly we perceive them as present, revered, and piercing. By mixing painting with photography, I lengthen Roland Barthes’ “moment of death” (the photograph) into some semblance of purgatory. Not alive but not quite dead, each person’s newly imagined and altered portrait straddles the lines between memory, identity, and death. They are monuments to the forgotten.

Se dice que morimos dos veces: la primera, cuando pasamos a otra vida; la segunda cuando la última persona que nos recuerda, toma su último respiro. Fotografías familiares, fuentes de recuerdos, son esenciales para extender la vida más allá de la terrenal. Aquellas muestran una madre, un niño, una de nuestras personalidades del pasado, también están llenas de chistes locales y de aquello mundano que solo tiene significado para algunos. Pero divorciadas de sus propios orígenes, las imágenes sin emoción alguna, se vuelven desconocidas y pierden el significado, pues fueron originalmente tomadas o guardadas conforme a los íntimos recuerdos de ciertos seres en específico. Estas imágenes son “eternas” porque la fotografía puede capturar un momento por siempre— tanto que incluso éstas ya han sobrepasado a sus familias y sobrepasaron su propósito original, convirtiéndose en huérfanas. — Conforme nos ahogamos en una cultura visual abrumadora hoy en día, ¿qué lugar tiene una foto vieja fuera de su casa original?

En Forgetting is so long (Olvidar toma mucho tiempo) yo reúno fotografías familiares anónimas, aumento su tamaño y pinto encima de ellas. Pinto para irrumpir, reimaginar y revivir aquellos individuos hasta que ya no puedo reconocerlos o que su presencia sea muy inquietante como para continuar. Las fotografías familiares son relíquias sagradas para sus seres queridos, pero las imágenes que ya están desconectadas, se vuelven evocativamente ausentes.

Taussig menciona que deshacer este tipo de objectos, forza un “shock en nuestro ser;” Súbitamente, los percibimos como un regalo, reverencia y son inquietantes. Al mezclar pintura con fotografías, prolongo el “momento de muerte” de Roland Barthes (la fotografía) como parecido a un tipo de purgatorio. No viva, pero tampoco muerta, cada persona nuevamente imaginada y sus retratos alterados hacen que las líneas entre el recuerdo, la identidad y la muerte estén en el mismo lugar a la vez. Se convierten en monumentos del olvido.



PDF Download  https://www.daisypatton.com/pagecv

Born in Los Angeles, California to a mother from the South and an Iranian father she never met. She spent her childhood between California and Oklahoma, deeply affected by these conflicting cultural ways of being. Influenced by collective and political history, as well as memory and the fallibility of the body, Patton’s work explores the meaning and social conventions of families, relationship, storytelling and story-carrying, and connection.

Patton holds a BFA in Studio Arts from University of Oklahoma with minors in History and Art History and an Honors degree. She earned her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University, a multi-disciplinary program. Patton has completed artist residencies at Minerva Projects, Anderson Ranch, the Studios at MASS MoCA, RedLine Denver, and Eastside International in Los Angeles.

She has been awarded the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant, as well as the Assets for Artists Massachusetts Matched Savings grant and the Montage Travel Award from SMFA for research in Dresden, Germany. She has exhibited in solo, and group shows nationally, including her first museum solo at the CU Art Museum at the University of Colorado. Minerva Projects Press will publish a collection of essays and poetry on Patton’s practice in fall 2020. K Contemporary represents Patton in Denver, CO, and J. Rinehart represents her in Seattle, WA.

For more information:




Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Vesna Pavlovic

Interim Chair and Associate Professor of Studio Art at Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science

Artist Statement

My background, together with the current status of the photographic medium, has informed the themes important in my work. Cinematography studies at the University of Belgrade in the 1990s, where I was the first female graduate, made a lasting influence on my photographic practice. In the next stage of my career, I worked as a photojournalist during a tumultuous political era in Belgrade. This experience contributed to the documentary aesthetic recognized in much of work to this day. Issues of appropriation, copy, and authorship have transformed the medium of photography in this era. I examine the photographic representation of specific political and cultural histories. These representations include photographic archives and related artifacts, which I treat as material to produce new images and installations. I challenge traditional modes of photographic representation, expanding the photographic image beyond its frame, traditional format, and narrative. Issues of appropriation, copy, and authorship have transformed the medium of photography in this era. Today, we are faced with the vast amounts of existing and newly taken images, found and computer-generated, widely and instantaneously disseminated through multiple social media platforms. My photography challenges these conditions by exploring institutional archives, often suspended, forgotten, and in danger of disappearance.

I am interested in the moments of our collective history that we choose to keep, and which ones to forget. What is the promise and the agency of the archive? Our memories are in the continuous process of mediation. Photographs gain agency in translation. The black and white negative carries the grain which will become a pixel of tomorrow. The memory is always in flux, never fixed, carrying a promise for future remembrance. I am invested in Pierre Nora’s notion of the opposition of memory and history, ‘one being in permanent evolution, a bond tying us to the eternal present, while the other, remaining problematic and incomplete, of what is no longer’. My most recent series, Sites of Memory, expands on the long-term research about growing up in socialist Yugoslavia. It is a psychological portrait of the era of cold war, burdened with photographic representation of socialist propaganda. History appears fragile and slightly distorted in my images and installations. I engage with the past to offer multiple views of the past, which often appear unclear and obscured by the passage of time. Rippling effects on the images provide a personal perspective about unstable memory and obsolescence.

Mis antecedentes junto con el estado reciente del medio de la fotografía, han reformado los temas importantes en mi trabajo. Los estudios cinematográficos en la Universidad de Belgrado en los 90s, donde yo fui la primera mujer en graduadarse ahí, crearon una influencia en mi práctica fotográfica. En la siguiente etapa de de mi carrera, trabajé como periodista fotógrafa, durante una era política tumultuosa en Belgrado, Serbia. Esta experiencia contribuyó al tipo de documentación estética reconocida en muchos de los trabajos de documentales hoy en día. Yo examino la representación fotográfica de historias culturales y políticas en específico. Estas representaciones incluyen archivos fotográficos y artefactos relacionados, a los que trato como material para producir nuevas imágenes e instalaciones. Yo desafío los modos tradicionales de representación fotográfica, expandiendo la imágen hasta afuera de su marco y formato tradicional, y lo alejo de lo que narra originalmente. Problemas de la apropriación, del copiar y del adueñarse de material literario, han transformado el medio de la fotografía en esta era. Hoy afrontamos enormes cantidades de imágenes existentes y de las que fueron recientemente capturadas, encontradas y algunas incluso auto-generadas por computadoras, instantámeanente diseminadas a través de plataformas de múltiples redes sociales. Mi fotografía desafía estas condiciones, explorando archivos institucionales que por lo general han sido suspendidos, olvidados y que están en peligro de extinción.

Me interesan los momentos de nuestra historia colectiva que decidimos conservar y cuáles decidimos olvidar. ¿Qué nos asegura que tales recuerdos quedarán archivados y con qué criterio se archivan? Nuestros recuerdos están en un proceso continuo de mediación. Las fotografías obtienen un tipo de conciencia al trasladarse en la mente. El negativo fotográfico de blanco y negro se convertirá en el pixel de mañana. La memoria siempre fluye. Nunca está fija y conlleva la promesa de conservar los “archivos” en el futuro. Me invierto en la noción de Pierre Nora sobre la oposición de la memoria y de la historia, una estando permanentemente en evolución y atándonos al eterno presente, mientras que la otra se mantiene problemática e incompleta. Mi serie más reciente, Sites of Memory (Sitios de Memoria) se enfoca en la búsqueda de largo plazo sobre el haber crecido en la Yugoslavia socialista. Es un retrato psicológico de la era de la Guerra Fría, que lleva representaciones fotográficas de propaganda socialista. La historia aparece frágil y algo distorcionada en mis imágenes e instalaciones artísticas. Yo me “comunico” con el pasado para ofrecer múltiples puntos de vista, que a menudo no quedan claros y que se “oscurecen” con el paso del tiempo. Efectos en cadena de las imágenes provéen una perspectiva personal sobre la inestabilidad de la memoria y la obsolescencia.



PDF Download http://vesnapavlovic.com/index.php?/cv/

Vesna Pavlovic is a photographer and an Associate Professor of Art at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Her projects examine the evolving relationship between memory in contemporary culture and the technologies of photographic image production. She examines photographic representation of specific political and cultural histories, which include photographic archives and related artifacts.

Vesna Pavlović obtained her MFA degree in Visual Arts from Columbia University in New York (2007) and holds a BFA in Cinematography, Faculty of Dramatic Arts from the University of Belgrade, Serbia (2002). In the 1990s, in Belgrade, Pavlović worked closely with the feminist pacifist group Women in Black. Vesna Pavlović is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including: The George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation (2017), the City of Copenhagen Artist-in-Residence grant (2011), the Contemporary Foundation for the Arts Emergency Grants (2011 and 2014), the 2012 Art Matters Foundation grant, the Fulbright Scholar Award (2018), and the Southern Prize Fellowship (2018). Her work is collected in major private and public art museums such as: the Phillips Collection, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museum of Women in the Art in Washington DC, USA, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia.

For more information:






Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons

Professor of Fine Arts
Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Fine Arts
Drawing, Performance, Installation

Artist Statement/Declaración del Artista

“I am a sculptor, installation artist, videographer, and photographer. My work renders elements of personal history and persona that have universal relevance. I exploit a variety of photographic means, portraiture, landscape, and documentary photography in an effort to create historical narratives that illuminate the spirit of people and places, past and present. My subjects are often my Afro-Cuban relatives as well as myself. My themes are cross-cultural and cross-generational; race and gender expressed in matriarchy and maternity symbols are the thematic ideas. The salient tie to familiar and cultural history vastly expands for me the range of photographic possibilities.”

Soy escultora, artista de instalaciones, videógrafa, y fotógrafa. Mi trabajo interpreta elementos históricos personales y de identidad que tienen relevancia universal. Yo tomo ventaja de una variedad de materiales fotográficos, retratos, paisajes, y fotografía de documentales con el motivo de crear narraciones históricas creativas que iluminan el espíritu de la gente y de los lugares, el pasado y el presente. A menudo, mis sujetos son familiares afro-cubanos y también me incluyo a mi misma.

Mis temas comparan culturas y generaciones; la raza y género expresadas en el matriarcado y los símbolos de maternidad son aquellas ideas temáticas. Lo destacado entre la historia general se enlaza a mi historia familiar y la historia cultural, así expandiendo ampliamente el rango de posibilidades fotográficas para mí.



PDF Download 

“María Magdalena Campos-Pons was born in 1959 in the province of Matanzas, in the town of La Vega, Cuba. She grew up on a sugar plantation in a family with Nigerian, Hispanic, and Chinese roots. Her Nigerian ancestors were brought to Cuba as slaves in the 19th century and passed on traditions, rituals, and beliefs. Her polyglot heritage profoundly influences Campos-Pons’ artistic practice, which combines diverse media including photography, performance, painting, sculpture, film, and video. Her work is autobiographical, investigating themes of history, memory, gender, and religion and how they inform identity. Through deeply poetic and haunting imagery, Campos-Pons evokes stories of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, indigo, sugar plantations, Catholic and “Santeria” religious practices, and revolutionary uprisings.

In the late 1980s, Campos-Pons taught at the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and gained an international reputation as an exponent of the New Cuban Art movement that arose in opposition to Communist repression on the island. In 1991, she emigrated to Boston, where she continues to live and work. She has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada, among other distinguished institutions. She has presented over 30 solo performances commissioned by institutions, including the Guggenheim and The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. She has participated in the Venice Biennale, the Dakar Biennale, Johannesburg Biennial, Documenta 14, the Guangzhou Triennial and is included in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA and Prospect.4 Triennial. In October 2017, she will receive the endowed Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Campos-Pons’ works are in over 30 museum collections including the Smithsonian Institution, The Whitney, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Canada, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Perez Art Museum, Miami and the Fogg Art Museum.”

–Gallery Wendi Norris
San Francisco, CA

For more information:

Gallery Wendi Norris

Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Melissa Potter

Associate Professor of Art at Columbia College Chicago

Artist Statement/Declaración del Artista

Raised among multiple generations of crafters, artists and feminists, my interdisciplinary research and art practice considers women’s culture through their handicraft, social customs, and gender rituals. I believe these practices are a distinct language and history, and I often focus on traditions that are endangered, underpaid and under-recognized due to industrialization, war, gender bias, and globalization. Through interdisciplinary collaborations with ethnographers, teachers, and artists, my multi-media projects range from felt crafts in the Tusheti region of Republic of Georgia, to a film about the dying Montenegrin tradition in which a girl child becomes a man to preserve her family’s legacy.

For decades, hand papermaking has intrigued me as a feminist and socially engaged practice, and I work to position this marginalized form in a broader art context. My family history led me to more than two decades in the Former Yugoslavia, where I taught a generation of young artists hand papermaking and built two studios — one in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and one in Belgrade, Serbia. My latest work in hand papermaking is Seeds InService, an ecofeminist project with Maggie Puckett propagating endangered plants for use as papermaking fiber to record the untold history of women in agriculture.

– Melissa Potter

Educada entre generaciones múltiples de artesanos, artistas y feministas, mi investigación interdisciplinaria y prácticas artísticas toman en consideración a la cultura de las mujeres a través de sus artes manuales, costumbres sociales, y rituales de género. Yo creo que estas prácticas son una historia y lenguaje distintivo e histórico. A menudo, me concentro en las tradiciones que están en peligro, que son malpagadas y que no son muy reconocidas debido a la industrialización, las guerras, los prejuicios del género y la globalización. A través de colaboraciones interdisciplinarias con etnógrafos, maestros y artistas, mis proyectos de multimedia son amplios, desde manualidades de fieltro en la región Tusheti, República de Georgia, hasta un filme sobre la tradición Montenegrina, en la que una niña se transforma a hombre a para preservar el legado de su familia, la cual está dejando de existir.

Por décadas, la producción del papel a mano me ha intrigado como feminista y por ser una práctica socialmente conllevada; yo trabajo para posicionar esta forma marginalizada, dentro de un contexto artístico más amplio. Mi historia familiar me llevó a pasar más de dos décadas en la que antes era toda Yugoslavia, donde enseñé a una generación de jóvenes artistas a hacer papel a mano y donde construí dos estudios—uno en Sarajevo, Bosnia y otro en Belgrado, Serbia. Mi trabajo más reciente de papel a mano es Seeds InService (Semillas en Servicio), un Proyecto eco-feminista con Maggie Puckett en el que propagamos y multiplicamos plantas en peligro de extinción, para utilizarlas también como fibras para hacer papel y así documentar la historia de mujeres en la agricultura que no han sido contadas antes.



PDF Download 

Melissa Hilliard Potter is a feminist interdisciplinary artist, writer, and curator based in Chicago, Illinois. Potter holds an MFA from Rutgers University (in New Brunswick, NJ) and a BFA. from Virginia Commonwealth University. Potter’s research and artistic practice considers women’s culture in handicraft, social customs, and gender rituals with a focus on handmade papermaking through a feminist and socially engaged lens. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues including White Columns, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Her films have been screened at international film festivals, such as the Cinneffable and the Reeling International LGBTQUIA+ Film Festival. In addition, she is the recipient of three Fulbright Scholar grants, as well as funding from CEC ArtsLink, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and Soros Fund for Arts and Culture, all of which enabled her to build two papermaking studios at university art departments in Serbia and Bosnia & Hercegovina. Potter is currently an Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago and collaborates with artists in the medium of hand papermaking. She travels throughout the country teaching, lecturing, and conducting interviews.

For more information:



Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Wendy Red Star

Associate Professor of Art at Columbia College Chicago

Artist Statement

The Elk Tooth Dress

I have a vivid memory from age five: the brilliant scarlet wool fabric of the elk tooth dress and the smooth shiny elk teeth against my hands. I can still see it in my mind and feel it under my touch. I recall it often. As a teenager I wore a hunter green elk tooth dress as princess for No Water District, at our annual summer Crow Fair celebration. The dress has power: you feel strong and regal wearing it. The construction and making of a classic Crow tradecloth dress teems with cultural richness, meaning, and process. The dress is characterized by the contrasting triangle-like yoke which is overlaid around the neck opening. The yoke pays homage to pre-contact days and the earlier two-hide dresses which folded the tail end of the deer to create a triangle for the neck opening. Meticulously spaced rows of elk teeth decorate the wool dress and symbolize the status of the individual and family of the wearer. The number of elk teeth represent the hunting and trading abilities of the men in the family.

In my art the elk tooth dress specifically symbolizes Crow womanhood and the matrilineal line connecting me to my ancestors. As a mother, I spend hours searching for the perfect elk tooth dress materials to make a prized dress for my daughter. I look for the perfect wool tradecloth in a medium weight: not too thick or thin. During the mid to late 19th century, Apsáalooke women began using wool tradecloth or saved-list cloth for their dresses in navy blue, scarlet or red,

and, occasionally, Kelly green. The scarlet or red wool was originally dyed using the carminic acid of the female cochineal insects during the colonial period before chemical dyes. The tradecloth of today comes in a range of colors from lime green to soft baby pink. The true hunt is finding the most realistic imitation elk ivories to make the best overall dress. Only the two “eye” teeth of a bull elk are used to adorn an elk tooth dress, providing evidence of the hunting abilities within the wearer’s male relatives. A dress decorated with many rows of elk teeth also indicated the wearer’s rank and wealth. Imitation elk teeth began showing up in the 19th century, carved from bone or wood due to the decline of elk populations and the geographical confinement of Apsáalooke to the reservation. Even though the contemporary elk tooth dress is mostly comprised of imitation teeth, the symbolism carries the same honors and most often you can find a few real teeth in the yoke or incorporated into the body of the dress. Elk teeth represent longevity: after the body of the elk has rotted away, the ivories remain.

Many hours, days, and months comprise the crafting of the elk tooth dress with its distinct characteristics: true sleeves, long, tapered, and closed; a straight hemline with no side gusset; and a yoke of contrasting color outlined with a narrow lane of lazy stitch beadwork. The tedious placement of elk teeth, each a thumb-width apart, and the countless touching, pulling, and shifting of the wool with each sewn elk tooth sometimes numbers upwards of four hundred teeth per side. The time is worth the experience of carefully dressing my daughter in her new dress. It starts with the silk underdress. Next, I gather her elk tooth dress from the hem to the armpits and ask her to raise her arms over her head. I slip the dress over her head and onto her arms making sure to pull the underdress down so it does not bunch up. I part my daughter’s hair down the middle and braid her hair in two braids that cover her ears just like my grandmother wore, and her grandmother before her, fashioned in the perfect classic Crow women’s hair style. I help her with her moccasins and leggings. “Let’s use the floral beadwork this time,” as she motions to the suitcase containing all the accessories. I pull out the floral belt with the rose purse with the powder blue beaded background designed by my grandmother and made by mother. I find the matching hair ties. I remind myself that everything must match, just as I’ve been taught in accordance with Apsáalooke aesthetics. I adjust her dress under her belt and ask her to turn around so I can put a hairpipe bone and pink conch chocker around her neck. I pull out from the suitcase a vintage floral silk scarf and place it first over her head and tie a knot under her chin. When I’m finished I pull the scarf down so it rests around her neck. I add the final details: a beaded headband, lipstick for her lips, and special face paint gifted to her from a relative, and as many beaded bracelets as I can find. Before we take the walk from our camp to the dance arbor I give her a blue shawl with metallic floral applique made by my grandmother, a fan made from hawk feathers, and a beaded bag with a yellow horse on it. She looks at me and says, “I feel just like royalty when I put my dress on.” Inside my body I feel a beam of pride and know that my job is finished and this gift of cultural richness is going to continue on to the next generation of Apsáalooke women so beautifully and regally clad in their elk tooth dresses.


Lead Faculty at the Chautauqua Institution


PDF Download 

Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives. Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected collaborative perspectives simultaneously inquisitive, witty and unsettling.

Red Star’s works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society.

Red Star has exhibited in the United States and abroad at venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fondation Cartier pour l’ Art Contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Portland Art Museum, Hood Art Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, among others. She served a visiting lecturer at institutions including Yale University, the Figge Art Museum, the Banff Centre, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Dartmouth College, CalArts, Flagler College, and I.D.E.A. Space in Colorado Springs.

In 2017, Red Star was awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and in 2018 she received a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Red Star held her first career survey exhibition at the Newark Museum in New Jersey, the following year in 2019. Red Star holds a BFA from Montana State University, Bozeman, and an MFA in sculpture from University of California, Los Angeles. She lives and works in Portland, OR.

For more information:





Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Lauren Sandler

Assistant Professor of Instruction and Program Head of Ceramics at Temple University School of Art and Architecture

Artist Statement/Declaración del Artista

My work resides in the liminal narrative between our literal and figurative, outer and inner spaces. Who occupies the gaze, its control and authority, and who remains subject to it? I redefine our fixed narratives of capacity, and implicate our assumptions of normal, beauty, and worth. The vessel embodies the axis upon which viewpoint and significance turn. A series of windowsills delineate the plane and constraints, as the frame shapes our perceptions. Through classic forms and styles, I hand build tureens, utensils, and still lives to demythologize the status of these objects. My pieces inscribe substance in detritus. A lost shoe holds floral promise; a recycled egg carton germinates future nourishment.

We construct precious evidence through mundane assemblages to reveal the unique significance of our lives. I hope to dismantle the binary opposition between inside and outside and expose cultural and contextual power ascribed to those with more access and greater means. This unearths a spectrum of possibility where beauty exudes from everyday moments and overlooked corners.

– Lauren Sandler

Mi trabajo reside en la liminalidad de nuestros espacios literales y los figurativos así como espacios exteriores e interiores. ¿Quién ocupa la mirada, su control y la autoridad, y quién se mantiene sujeto a ello? Yo re-defino nuestras narrativas sobre la capacidad que tiene todo y cambio nuestras suposiciones de lo que es normal, lo que es bello, y qué lo vale. Una vasija ilustra el eje en el que el punto de vista y el significado se voltean. Una serie de ventanas delínean el plano y sus restricciones, mientras el marco forma nuestras percepciones. A través de formas clásicas y distintos estilos, yo construí soperas, utensilios y paisajes para des-mitologizar el estátus de estos objetos. Mis piezas introducen fundamento entre cosas que están en descomposición. Un zapato perdido contiene potencial de florero; un cartón de huevo reciclado germina un bonito futuro.

Nosotros construimos evidencia preciosa a través de ensambles mundanos para revelar el significado de nuestras vidas. Espero desmantelar la oposición binaria entre lo que debe ser “dentro” y lo que debe ser “afuera” y exponer el poder cultural y contextual que se les asigna a aquellos con más acceso y más poder. Esto denota un espectro de posibilidad en donde la belleza acaba descargando simples momentos de la vida diaria y esquinas ignoradas.

– Lauren Sandler



PDF Download 

Lauren Sandler is a ceramic artist, whose work investigates narratives of power and perspective through the vernacular of the vessel, exploring the mutable topographies of interior, obfuscated terrain and exterior perspectives. Her fragmented forms, allegoric containers, and mundane assemblages deconstruct mythologies and inscribe substance in detritus. She explores mutable topographies of interior obfuscated terrain and exterior perspectives.

Through functional and sculptural work, she invokes themes of memory, containment, and context. Her practice highlights those of us overlooked, amplifies interdependence, and implicates our assumptions of normal, beauty and worth. With a background in anthropology, she examines the language of the artifact through narrative, history of use, and fluency of touch.

Originally from New York City, Lauren’s felt sense developed through the contrast of the city’s prodigious exterior, to the small space of her family’s apartment, and later the panorama of the mountains. Her work finds an affinity in the place where visceral and structural meet, a shared intersection of body, culture, and history, with the mundane as monumental.

Lauren exhibits nationally and held residencies at The Clay Studio of Missoula and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, where she received the Kiln God Award. Lauren currently serves on the Board of The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts as Director at Large. She holds an MFA in Ceramics from Penn State University, and undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Ceramics from Ithaca College and SUNY New Paltz. She has taught at SUNY New Paltz and at Skidmore College, and is currently an Assistant Professor and Program Head in Ceramics at Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University in Philadelphia.

For more information:



Uncovered Spaces Exhibition Participating Artist Zac Thompson

Artist Statement / Declaración del Artista

The white evangelical family Zac Thompson was born into didn’t make room for queer non-binary artists, let alone drag performers. Since they’re both of those things, the myopic traditionalist world their parents made for them growing up felt too small. To make room, they’ve had to build their own queer worlds by using their work to playfully expand the limiting normative structures around home, family, and gender that they grew up with, through a combination of drawing, photography, zine-making, and performance.

– Zac Thompson

La familia “blanca” evangelista con la que Zac Thompson creció, no hacía lugar para artistas queer no-binarios y mucho menos habría las puertas al drag. Siendo parte de ambas cosas, el mundo tradicionalista con mente cerrada que sus padres crearon durante su crecimiento se sentía demasiado pequeño. Para hacer espacio, Zac creó sus propios mundos queer usando su trabajo, para expander de manera creativa las estructuras de normas limitantes alrededor de la casa, la familia y el género con que había crecido a través de una combinación de dibujo, fotografía, zines y actuación.

– Zac Thompson



PDF Download 

Zac Thompson is an artist and performer, known as Zacrilegious, whose work quietly addresses the often-oppressive impact of home and a desire to rebuild through a combination of drawing, photography, zine-making, and performance. Born in Colorado Springs, CO, they received their BFA in Drawing from the University of Florida and their MFA from the School of Visual Arts. They are currently co-curator of ArtpartmentNYC and their work has been featured in Hyperallergic as well as exhibited in group shows at the Craig Krull Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, the SVA Chelsea Gallery in New York, NY, Vox Populi in Philadelphia, PA and they have been a resident at the Visual Arts of Chautauqua Institution. They currently live and work in Brooklyn, NY.

For more information:


Uncovered Spaces

Student Crossroads: Contemplating Uncovered Spaces

A student Art Exhibition curated by UTRGV MFA Alumni Cristina Correa and Fatima Lai presenting works by high school art students in San Juan and Brownsville will be exhibited at the IMAS May 19 through July 10, 2022. This exhibit was inspired by Uncovered Spaces and created by students in Brownsville ISD and IDEA Public Schools. Student artwork can be viewed in the Welcome Pavilion of the International Museum of Art & Science.

Related Articles

2022-07-11T13:29:42-05:00May 19, 2021|Exhibit Archive|0 Comments

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Go to Top