GOING WITH THE FLOW: ART, ACTIONS, AND WESTERN WATERS exhibits works by artists and collectives based in the Southwestern United States exploring the role of water in the arid Southwest during the current extreme droughts. In addition to artworks shown in the museum, participating artists will engage the city of Santa Fe and surrounding regions with temporary artworks, interventions, community collaboration, talks, and performances that raise consciousness around pressing issues of water. The play between public actions and the more conventional mediums (including video and film) are key to the curatorial strategy, demonstrating that artists need not be confined to institutional spaces or to public venues, but can combine the two, creating a dynamic that overrides an either/or approach to crucial issues like water in the west.
About the Artists
Paula Castillo is a Latinx artist based in her hometown of Belén, NM. Castillo attended Yale University and then worked in an electronics factory, where she began to forge her early career in contemporary art. The complex and malleable intersections between the physical and cultural landscape are the primary source of Castillo’s inventiveness. Castillo utilizes both the literal and symbolic aspects of home places to experiment with ideas related to the broader Southwest region to create allegorical narratives that highlight causes and solutions. Castillo’s work is in various national collections, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Marisa Demarco surfaces and interrogates contemporary truths through performance, worn sculpture, installation, sound composition and journalism. She’s the founder of Gatas y Vatas festival for boundary-pushing performance and Milch de la Máquina, a women’s performance art crew. She’s also a leader with Death Convention Singers, the largest noise collective in the Southwest. Her work has appeared in galleries and museums, such as the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the UNM Art Museum, GRAFT Gallery, CFA Contemporary, and at the Carlsbad Museum as part of the Atomic Culture series. Demarco received her MFA in Experimental Art + Technology from the University of New Mexico.
Fulbright Scholar, Basia Irland, is an artist, author, and activist who creates international large-scale community-based water projects featured in her books, “Water Library” and “Reading the River, The Ecological Activist Art of Basia Irland.” She is Professor Emerita, Department of Art, University of New Mexico, where she founded the Art & Ecology Program. Irland had a major retrospective in the Netherlands; has lectured globally; written a chapter for the book, “Water Culture,” published by UNESCO; and she is a Knowledge Network Expert for the United Nations.’ In 2021-2022, she represented the United States in the Biennale de Cuenca, Ecuador, curated by Blanca de la Torre. Her projects have been featured in over 70 international publications. basiairland.com
M12 Studio is a small artist-constructed studio and non-profit organization committed to amplifying the aesthetics of rural cultures and landscapes. M12’s projects vary in form, ranging from large-scale sculptural installations to small books and ephemeral events. M12 Studio has been featured in exhibitions worldwide, including those at The 21st International Art Biennial of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia; Landmark Arts at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX; The 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy; The Kalmar Konstmuseum, Kalmar, Sweden; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; The Santa Fe Art Institute, NM; Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC; IASKA Australian Biennial, Perth, Australia; Biennial of the Americas, Denver, CO; The Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD; and The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Culver City, CA / Wendover, NV. Project Team: Richard Saxton, Margo Handwerker, and Trent Segura.
Richard Saxton is an artist and University of Colorado professor whose work focuses primarily on rural knowledge and landscape. He is the Founder and Creative Director of M12 Studio.
Margo Handwerker is a practitioner with M12 Studio and serves as Chief Curator and Director of the Texas State Galleries at Texas State University.
Trent Segura is a practitioner with M12 Studio and independent graphic designer.
Dylan McLaughlin is a multidisciplinary artist looking critically to ecologies of extraction and threatened ecosystems. He weaves Diné mythology, ecological data, and environmental histories while holding space for complexity. What transpires is the sonification of relationships to land through experimental music composition and improvised performance. In his multi-media installation and performative works, he looks to engage the poetics and politics of human relations to land. He is a current recipient of the NACF LIFT award. He received his BFA in New Media Arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and his MFA in Art & Ecology at the University of New Mexico. He is currently an Early Career Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.
Born in Edinburg, Texas, on the South Texas borderlands with Mexico, educated in finance and economics at the University of Texas and Harvard University, Sharon Stewart now resides in the mountain village of Chacón, Mora County NM. For three decades she has extensively photographed the economic, social, familial, and religious influences that define the cultural landscape of Northern New Mexico in Exit West: A Cultural Confluence. Stewart’s engagements with her community have included serving on its Agua Pura Mutual Domestic Water Association board, coordinating the successful effort to save Chacon’s 125 year old postal service, and contributing to a yearly celebration of Mora Valley rituals and traditions, La Cultural Cura. As well, her long form survey of El Cerrito, NM, El Agua es la Vida (Water is Life), explores village life and acequia culture. This and her photonarrative, Toxic Tour of Texas, portraying the efforts of grassroots environmental activists to protect the health of their land, water, air, families, and culture from the effects of hazardous waste policies of government and industry, are included in the Water in the West Project and Archive. The eleven member photographers self-directed projects to document the politics and history of water use in the American West. Stewart is now actively chronicling the continuum of effects from the 2022 Hermit’s Peak + Calf Canyon conflagration in her home valley.
Jessica Zeglin’s work centers on knotty particulars of intersections between human and ecological social systems, emphasizing listening and awareness towards our fundamental entanglement with other’s lives. Her works in drawing, sound, textiles, and installation begin from research practice founded in concepts of deep time, process, and emergence; looking critically at personal, colonial, and layered histories of living and contested space. Her work has been shared through venues such as the UNM Art Museum, the Studios at Mass MoCA, the Tallgrass artist residency, the Weisman Art Museum, Trapdoor Projects Gallery, in zines and artist books, through soundwalks, and through conversation. She holds an MFA in Art & Ecology from the University of New Mexico and an MPH in Public Health Administration & Policy from the University of Minnesota, and maintains a studio practice based in Albuquerque, NM.