Arts

Studio 107-B unveils politically charged exhibit on ecological crisis

Show was conceived and co-curated by artist-activist Anita Rodríguez

By Yvonne Pesquera
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 11/7/18

Seventy-five artists from around the Taos area have been invited to create a work of art based on the importance of honeybees, hives, and/or pollination, hence the exhibition's …

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Arts

Studio 107-B unveils politically charged exhibit on ecological crisis

Show was conceived and co-curated by artist-activist Anita Rodríguez

Posted

Seventy-five artists from around the Taos area have been invited to create a work of art based on the importance of honeybees, hives, and/or pollination, hence the exhibition's title, "To Bee or Not 2 Bee."

The opening reception is Saturday (Nov. 10) from 4-7 p.m. at Studio 107-B, 107-B North Taos Plaza. This is a free event and all are welcome.

The show was conceived and co-curated by Anita Rodríguez. "Anita is the brainchild of this show," the venue's owner Maye Torres said.

"I was thinking about the ecological crisis -- bringing with it not just my personal death but the death of species, such as rivers and things that took millions of years to make," Rodríguez said.

Beginning in 2006, beekeepers began to notice an unusual decrease and disappearance in their honeybee colonies, reports the website nature.com. Since then, beekeepers have reported between 30 and 90 percent of their honeybee colonies disappearing.The cause is thought to be use of pesticides, habitat loss, viruses and migratory stress. The problem for humans is that bees are one of the biggest pollinators in nature. Without them, we lose about one-third of our food supply, nature.com estimates.

Rodríguez is an artist, activist,and author. Her most recent book, "Coyota in the Kitchen" has won numerous awards. For this "bee show," she is exhibiting a mixed media piece titled: "La Santisima de Amber y Las Abejas."

"I studied La Santisima in Mexico. She is an ancient Mexican archetype, the goddess of the underworld. I started thinking about her and the hive mind," Rodríguez said.

She explains that every being in the hive has a job. The hive is one organism, and all of its citizens are different organs that keep the hive surviving as a whole. "I combined this thinking with her image. Let's work together and save the only hive we have," Rodríguez said.

Torres describes the group exhibit as a "Who's Who" list of artists. The press announcement highlights Sharon Dry Flower Reyna, Larry Bell, Joel Larson, Deborah Rael-Buckley, Kimberly Weber, John Suazo, Inger Jirby, Nikeesha Breeze, Leonard Salazar, Robert Cafazzo, K.C. Tebbutt, Richard Aspenwind, and Sarah Hart.

"This is our political show of the year," Torres explained. "Instead of being negative like the politicians who are so expert at that, we decided to do more."

She said that when she was in college, she had a professor who was really adamant about the power of magic possessed by art. "We want to bring attention to the animal world."

As the show is on view until the end of the year, Torres said some additional features could later include musicians, poets, writers and special presentations throughout the exhibition. "It is a community show with deep roots and heart," she said.

Some of the artists are beekeepers and the organizers are looking into contacting other beekeepers; local honey may be for sale. As of press time, this aspect of the show was not yet confirmed. Regarding the artworks, some are existing pieces, while others are being created anew for this show.

"This is some of the most exciting art being created in Taos," Torres said.

Kimberly Weber is an artist in this group exhibit, as well as a beekeeper and the owner of Untitled Fine Art, east of the venue on Kit Carson Road. She has been working with bees for almost a decade.

"I put myself in a position of service, working with their energy to let them know that we human beings appreciate and support what they're doing on a planetary level," she said.

Weber has known Torres for about 25 years. When she was asked to participate in this bee art show, she was thrilled because she already had a painting in the queue. Depending on the size, her work usually takes a year to complete as she works with 72-100 layers. She'll be exhibiting a 45-by-28 inch oil on panel piece titled "Path of the Pollen," in which beeswax was used in the painting process.

"I feel that the bees' message is to work collaboratively to serve their queen. If humanity can adopt even a small percentage of the wisdom of the bees and have the 'queen' be our earth, we may have our chance," Weber said.

The exhibition will be on view through Dec. 31. For more information, call Studio 107-B at (575) 779-7832.

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