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Apr 1, 2022
2:00 PM to 5:15 PM
Painted Reflections: A Virtual Symposium for New....
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
Official program is forthcoming. The event will include a virtual tour with the exhibition curators, a panel discussion surrounding the origin of isomeric design, a second discussion about future implications for isomeric design, as well as several opportunities for conversations with the curators and contemporary artists. Speakers will include: Dr. Joseph Traugott, Dr. Scott Ortman, Tony Chavarria (Santa Clara Pueblo), and Dr. Bruce Bernstein, among others.


Painted Reflections emphasizes the sophisticated aesthetic qualities of Pueblo art through the study of reversible optical illusions and ambiguous figure-ground relationships. Beginning around 900 AD, Ancestral Pueblo artists began producing new designs on their ceramics—they painted pairs of motifs called isomers, or equal forms. From a conventional perspective, these works appear as painted motifs on unpainted backgrounds, but simultaneously, they also appear as unpainted images on painted backdrops. Importantly, the exhibition contextualizes isomeric design within larger artistic trends and trajectories, bridging the gaps between art history, anthropology, and archaeology, and includes examples of isomeric designs made by both ancestral and contemporary artists. Painted Reflections demonstrates the ways in which contemporary Indigenous artists are using isomeric design in their work, placing ancestral ceramics in conversation with the innovations of contemporary artists.


Painted Reflections is co-curated by Joseph Traugott, Ph.D., retired curator at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Antonio R. Chavarria (Santa Clara Pueblo), curator of ethnology at MIAC, and Scott G. Ortman, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado—Boulder.


This program is made possible with the support of the New Mexico Humanities Council.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Mexico Humanities Council.


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