El ojo fino/The Exquisite Eye: Nine
Mexican Women Photographers
-- At the Mishkin Gallery, Feb. 9 to March 10, 2005 --
generations of Mexican women photographers— mentors,
friends, colleagues— all of them artists of great individuality
and passion—will be on view in El ojo fino/The Exquisite
Eye at the Mishkin Gallery, Wednesday, February 9 through
Thursday, March 10, 2005.
The extraordinary work of these artists reflects the varied landscapes and indigenous peoples of Mexico. Not all of these photographers were born in Mexico, but all fell under its unique spell. In Mexico “everything fascinates me and stimulates me,” wrote Mariana Yampolsky (1925-2002), who became the first female member of the influential Taller de Grafica Popular (Popular Graphic Arts Workshop). Whether they opted for the documentary style, for individual portraits or staged images, the work of these photographers combines raw power with the telling detail that can only be perceived by “the exquisite eye.”
All the women whose work appears in this exhibition were independent self-supporting artists. In this, they followed the example and the spirit of Lola Alvarez Bravo (1905-1993), the undaunted pioneer of Mexican women photographers. Lola and her husband Manuel were intimately involved in the Mexican cultural renaissance of the 1920s and ’30s; she was part of a circle of friends and colleagues that included Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco. Though Lola Alvarez began her career as an assistant to her photographer husband, she soon struck out on her own. “After her example, women dared to paint, to write, to act, to take their destiny in their own hands,” notes Elena Poniatowska, who contributes a catalogue essay for this exhibition.
El ojo fino/The Exquisite Eye is curated by Connie Todd, curator of the Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern and Mexican Photography at Texas State University in San Marcos. The exhibition is organized by the Wittliff Gallery and toured by ExhibitsUSA, which is a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1972. El ojo fino/The Exquisite Eye is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The nine women whose work is represented in this exhibition of 49 black-and-white photographs combine social realities—harsh, mysterious, often beautiful—with personal vision. Their chosen subjects range from the 1994 Zapatista uprising in Chiapas to street urchins and prostitutes of Mexico City. In rural settings, the solitude and desolation of the landscape often reflects the condition of the people. The flowers, religious shrines and vernacular architecture of the Mexican countryside also appear as an abiding influence. Collectively, the photos bespeak a remarkable visual eloquence.
The Sidney Mishkin Gallery regularly presents small, museum-quality exhibitions that highlight innovative scholarship, significant artists and multicultural perspectives. The Mishkin Gallery is located at Baruch College, 135 E. 22nd Street, New York City. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, noon to 5 pm; Thursday, noon to 7 pm.
ExhibitsUSA is generously supported by Altria Group, Inc.: The Brown Foundation, Inc.; James H. Clement Jr.; ConocoPhillips; the Cooper Education Foundation;; Maureen and Robert Decherd; Douglas County Bank/Ross and Marianna Beach; DST Systems, Inc.; The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation; Houston Endowment, Inc.; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; Edward Jones; the Helen Jones Foundation; the William T. Kempner foundation, Commerce Bank trustee; the Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation, Inc.; the Meadows Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust; The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation; the Woods Charitable Fund; and the state agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Zane Berzins, News Manager
Sandra Kraskin, Mishkin Gallery