Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release


New Mexico Museum of Art

September 02, 2014


(SANTA FE, August 8, 2014) Opening on August 28 is the second suite of exhibitions in the series Focus on Photography:

Delilah Montoya: Syncretism  is a survey of work by an innovative Southwestern artist who has consistently explored the tender boundaries of ethnicity and gender in her photography and installation work

This exhibition of more than 25 photographs begins with Montoya’s series from the 1990s that interrogates the cross-cultural significance of El Sagrado Corazón, the Sacred Heart symbol that is popular throughout New Mexico and the Southwest, followed by a later series on the continuing resonance of La Guadalupana, the Virgin of Guadalupe. More recently, Montoya has photographed the thriving world of women’s boxing in the Southwest for the series Women Boxers: The New Warriors. She has also turned her attention to the humanitarian issues of migrants along the United States and Mexico border, in her body of work titled Sed: The Trail of Thirst. The exhibition includes an installation of water bottles with aspirational labels designed by Orlando Lara and a video Montoya collaborated with him on, titledElizabeth’s Story. Albuquerque artist Mike 3sixty, who worked with Montoya on her series El Sagrado Corazón, was commissioned to paint a mural in the gallery to complement that body of work.

Montoya’s spectacular 1998 installation piece, La Guadalupana is part of the art museum’s collection and is currently on loan to the New Mexico History Museum for the exhibition Painting the Divine: Images of Mary in the New World, where it is on view through March 29, 2015.

“Delilah Montoya is a provocative and thoughtful artist,” said Katherine Ware, curator of photography at the museum. “Her transgressive work is meant to catch our attention and to get us to think beyond the surface of issues. She is fascinated by the many tributaries that contribute to our identities, whether racial, cultural, or gender.”

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Montoya has deep roots in northern New Mexico through her mother’s family and earned her MA and MFA degrees at the University of New Mexico. She has been recognized for consistently giving voice to the Chicana experience and for her inventive and collaborative approach to photography. She currently divides her time between Albuquerque and Houston, where she teaches photography at the University of Houston.

On September 19 at 5:30 p.m. the artist will give a gallery tour and talk about her career in art.

Cameraless, the concurrent group exhibition, includes more than two dozen photographs made without a camera. One type of cameraless image, the photogram, sometimes known as a sun print, is one of the oldest and most basic forms of photographic picture-making, requiring simply a light source, a subject, and photo-sensitive paper. The exhibition showcases this and other creative techniques that contemporary artists have used to make photographs without using a camera. Works on view include Albuquerque-based artist Leigh Anne Langwell’s biomorphic Shadow series, Caleb Charland’s minimalist Artifact, and David Ondrik’s creative repurposing of a compact disk.

A fascinating group of images of explosions in the desert are featured in an installation of work by Phoenix artist Christopher Colville titled Works of Fire. Another unusual installation is Wait and See, by Swiss artists Françoise and Daniel Cartier, in which expired photo paper is hung on the wall and exposed over the course of the exhibition.

Cameraless images really challenge our sense of what a photograph can be,” says curator of photography Katherine Ware. “All of these pictures are very literal but they can be hard to read and understand because they don’t offer us a narrative. You have to take the picture on its own terms and enjoy the beauty of forms, lines, and light.”

Cameraless photographs by Susannah Hays, Carol Panaro-Smith and James Hajicek, and Norman Sarachek will also be on view.

On October 10 at 5:30 p.m. artist Leigh Anne Langwell will give a gallery talk about her work and a tour of the exhibition.

Photo Lab, the third component of this series of exhibitions is a changing educational space. Using work from the museum’s collection, some of which are recent acquisitions, the Photo Lab offers an opportunity for viewers to explore the boundaries of the photographic process. The newest installation in the Photo Lab concentrates on alternative approaches to photography and includes non-traditional work by a variety of artists, including New Mexicans Bobbe Besold, Betty Hahn, Judy Herzl, Holly Roberts, Nancy Sutor, and Will Wilson. Other artists include Jayne Hinds Bidaut, Ian van Coller, and Melanie Yazzie. Some photographs in the show are printed on metal, some on fabric, some on hand-made paper, while other works incorporate printmaking, alternative chemistry, oil paint, and embroidery.

Historic camera equipment, on loan from the Photo Archives at the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, acquaints visitors with the changing technology of the medium, ranging from a home-made pinhole camera to a Polaroid camera and various other accessories. Visitors are encouraged to linger in the Lab to enjoy books and articles and to share their ideas about photography on a comment board. A touch-screen monitor offers instructions on how photographs are developed in a darkroom and other topics.

 Focus on Photography continues through March 15, 2015 in the upstairs galleries of the New Mexico Museum of Art. These three exhibitions will be on display August 28 through December 7, 2014 before giving way to the final group of three shows that open in late December. The yearlong initiative highlights photography in New Mexico and places it in a broader context while exploring contemporary issues. The state art museum collection includes more than 8000 photographs ranging in date from about 1836 to 2013.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: On Sunday, September 28, visitors are invited to make their own cameraless photographs during the museum’s Upstairs/Downstairs Family Activity Day, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. (admission is free). 


Steve Cantrell, PR Manager



Katherine Ware, Curator of Photographs




Museum exhibitions and programs supported by donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its Director’s Leadership Fund, Exhibitions Development Fund, and Fund for Museum Education.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.


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