La Frontera

On View
May 30, 2014 –
September 4, 2014
In the Main Gallery

Opening Reception – Friday, May 30, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
5:45 – Artist Talk by Sandie Zilker (Texas Masters Series)
6:00 – Curator’s Talk by Mike Holmes (La Frontera)
The opening will also feature Texas Masters Series: Sandie Zilker in the Front Gallery, and Taking Shape: Celebrating the Windgate Fellowship in the Artist Hall. The current resident artists will open their studios to the public following the artist talks.

La Frontera Mural (Title Wall) by Daniel Anguilu

Migrating Perspectives: A Conversation with Artists from La Frontera
Featuring Houston artists, Edward Lane McCartney,
Olga Starostina and Demi Thomloudis
Tuesday, June 17, 2014,
6:00 PM

Readings from the Border:
A Bilingual Literary Event with Hipolito Acosta & Sarah Cortez

Saturday, July 26, 2014
1:30 – 3:00 PM

Death by Policy: A Conversation in Partnership with the
South Texas Human Rights Center
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
6:00 – 7:30 PM

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is proud to present La Frontera (The Borderlands), an international exhibition of contemporary jewelry that explores the physical space where the complex relationship between Mexico and the United States is most evident. With startling results, 90 artists from the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Australia, and Latin America explore the underlying currents of the border environment within geographic, political, social, cultural, and ideological contexts.

At 1,969 miles long, the U.S.-Mexico border has the largest number of legal and illegal crossings in the world. An estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants currently live in the United States, according to studies by the Pew Hispanic Research Center. Concerns about illegal immigration, combined with the increase in drug trafficking and violence, instigated the controversial construction of the border fence, which is now 700 miles long and counting. This timely exhibition occurs as the U.S. Congress is considering an immigration reform bill that would extend the Border Wall an additional 700 miles and add another 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents. Still, the border is a vibrant and vital corridor, and its extremely porous nature allows not only the passage of illegal arms and drugs but also valuable ideas and projects, families and culture.

Inspired by the border’s tumultuous environment of deserts, mountains, rivers, and flow of diverse nationalities, the artists of La Frontera created 150 pieces of contemporary jewelry. The materials range from canvas, polyester, porcelain, water bottles, photos, and paint to more precious ones, such as steel, copper, silver, and gold. Cristina Celis, one of the participating artists from Mexico, explains her necklace, Dactilar, made of porcelain, gold, and silver: “The practice of erasing the information on fingers is common.  Knives, acid, fire, and even surgery are some of the mechanisms that undocumented immigrants are turning to in order to erase their fingerprints and avoid deportation.” The dangers of the border are also explored in U.S. artist Julia Turner’s brooch, Three Days Walking (Mourning Brooch), which features red dots that refer to the NGO Humane Borders’ map identifying the places where people die while attempting to cross the border.

In his essay for the exhibition catalog, Mexican writer, Benito Taibo, poetically described the show as “conceptual art that uses the body, the neck, the wrist, and the shoulders as a canvas to shape, in all its splendor, the bewitched, the fantasy, and also the sadness that is the frontier and what it signifies. It’s a final frontier that eats its children and the children of other territories and then spits them all over the land, transforming [them] into different beings, with different passions, all in search of a place in the world.”

La Frontera includes work by three celebrated Houston jewelry artists—Edward Lane McCartney, Olga Starostina, and Demitra Thomloudis—all of whom have shown work at HCCC in exhibitions or in the Asher Gallery.  HCCC Curator, Elizabeth Kozlowski, commented, “The works included in La Frontera cannot be easily categorized.  There is an impressive range of techniques, materials and personal interpretations regarding border issues. The exhibition comes to Houston at the perfect time, when immigration and U.S.-Mexico relations are at the forefront of current sociopolitical issues.”

La Frontera was curated by Mike Holmes and Elizabeth Shypertt, founders of Velvet da Vinci gallery in San Francisco, CA, and Lorena Lazard, from Mexico City, who has been a practicing jewelry artist for more than 20 years. The exhibition opened at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City in June, 2013, to wide critical acclaim from press and visitors.

Participating Artists

Rameen Ahmed, Pakistan | USA
Mayte Amezcua, Mexico
Eliana Arenas, Mexico | USA
William Austin III, USA | The Netherlands
Iacov Azubel, Argentina
Maria Fernanda Barba, Mexico
Brooke Battles, USA
Ela Bauer, Poland | The Netherlands
Victor Beckmann, Mexico | USA
Kristin Beeler, USA
Aline Berdichevsky, Mexico | Spain
Elvira Bessudo, Mexico
Raquel Bessudo, Mexico
Linnèa Blakèus & David Alexander Calder, Sweden | Mexico | Norway
Arturo Borrego, Mexico | Ireland
Sandra Bostock, Mexico
Alejandra Bremer, Mexico | USA
Gabriela Campo, Mexico
Jorge Castañon, Argentina
Cristina Celis, Mexico
Celeste Christie, USA
Thea Clark, USA
Kate Connell & Oscar Melara, USA
Bruno Cuervo Aceves, Mexico
Jessica Davies, USA
Alberto Dávila, Mexico
Clementine Edwards, Australia
Beate Eismann, Germany
Danielle Embry, USA
Nicolas Estrada, Colombia | Spain
Brenda Ligia Farias Lomeli, Mexico
Sol Flores, Argentina
Andrés Fonseca, Mexico Christine Forni, USA
Eduardo Graue, Mexico
Monica Guerra, USA
Elisa Gulminelli, Argentina
Pierce Healy, Irland
Heidemarie Herb, Germany | Italy
Thomas Hill, UK | USA
Holland Houdek, USA
Marta Hryc, Poland
Kevin Hughes, USA
Mary Frisbee Johnson, USA
Tammy Young Eun Kim, Korea | USA
Barbara Knuth, USA
Alejandra Koreck, Argentina
Claire Lavendhomme, Congo | Belgium
Lorena Lazard, Mexico
Ria Lins, Belgium
Criselda Lopez, USA
María Eugenia López, Puerto Rico | USA
Jorge Manilla, Mexico | Belgium
Alix Manon, Belgium
Carmen Marcos Martínez, Spain
Gigi Mariani, Italy
Judy McCaig, Scotland | Spain
Edward Lane McCartney, USA
Emma Messer, USA
Molly Mitchell, USA
Katharina Moch, Germany
Nancy Moyer with Mark Clark, USA
Dawn E. Nakanishi, USA
Alja Neuner, Austria
Brigid O´Hanrahan USA
Mabel Pena Argentina
Chiara Pignotti, Italy | Spain
Ramón Puig Cuyàs, Spain
Kerianne Quick, USA
Alexander Romero Reyes, Colombia
Poleta Rodete, Mexico
Jacqueline Roffe, Mexico
Zinna Rudman, Mexico
Elizabeth Rustrian, Mexico
Carmen Lucia Sandoval, Mexico
Chiara Scarpitti, Italy
Agnes Seebass, Germany | Mexico
Marina Sheetikoff, Brazil
Alejandra Solar, Mexico
Maria Solórzano, Mexico | Argentina
Martacarmela Sotelo, Mexico
Olga Starostina, Russia | USA
Rachelle Thiewes, USA
Demitra Thomloudis, USA
Sabina Tiemroth, Argentina
Julia Turner, USA
Martha Vargas, Mexico
Elizabeth Wilson, Australia |USA
Jette Zirpins, Mexico

For more information and photos of the Border Wall:

Reviews of the La Frontera opening at
Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City

Time Out Mexico
“La Frontera” review, ★★★★, by Alejandra Villegas, 6/21/13
“La Frontera is proof that art and beauty are not at odds when trying to raise public awareness about social issues. This collection of contemporary jewelry translates ideas of social, economic and political aspects in an intelligent and subtle way.”

El Pais
“La frontera de México es un collar” by Raquel Seco, 6/22/13
“Diego and Pachilú, visitors to the exhibition, are people of the border. They have lived in Nogales, Mexicali, Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. It is not strange to them to see immigrants hiding in the streets waiting for the opportunity to make the jump, fences and helicopters, and other complexities of living in a passage zone. But they are moved looking at the show and she sheds a tear. It is not just because they are the aunt and uncle of one of the artists, they can’t help but be touched by the experience.”

Vogue Mexico
June 2013 and
“When art is universal it has no limits. This is demonstrated by “La Frontera,” a dialogue among different artists who use jewelry to express how they understand this geographic reality…”

The Monitor
“Surface Tratment: La Frontera” by Nancy Moyer, June 24th 2013
“These modestly scaled works explode with big ideas, as La Frontera offers relevant and often poignant viewpoints regarding the social, economic and transient nature of the U.S.-Mexico borderland.”

Above: (1) Cristina Celis, “Dactilar,” 2013. Neckpieces. Modeled high-temperature porcelain, 24k gold leaf, silver. 3.2 cm x 5.1 cm with different length chains. Photo by Francisco Velázquez. (2) Beate Eismann, “Landscape III,” 2012. Brooch. Copper, gold. 7.1 cm x 12.1 cm x 1.8 cm. Photo by the artist. (3) Nicolas Estrada, “Suffering,” 2013. Necklace/Collar. Silver, quartz, wood, iron. 8 cm x 8 cm x 2.7 cm. Photo by Manuel Ocaña Mascaro. (4) Tom Hill, “Milagros: Black-spotted Newt,” 2013. Pendant. Copper, enamel. Approx 7 cm x 12 cm. Photo by the artist. (5) Marta Hryc, “Symbiomorphosis: Libert,” 2013. Pendant. UV hardened resin, silver. 8.2 cm x 2.4 cm x 3 cm. Photo by Emil Stankiewicz. (6) Kevin Hughes, “Untitled,” 2013. Necklace. Plastic water jug, duct tape, silver. 10.1 cm x 15.2 cm x 4.4 cm. Photo by the artist. (7) Judy McCaig, “No-Man’s Land,” 2013. Brooch. Steel, silver, tombac, perspex, paint, Herkimer diamond, taramita. 8.8 cm x 12.6 cm x 1.5 cm. Photo by Eduard Bonnin. (8) Edward McCartney, “If Bullets Were Jewels,” 2010. Brooch. Reclaimed sterling silver and 14k gold, cubic zirconia, reclaimed red gemstone. 8.8 x 4.8 x 1 cm. Photo by Jack Zilker. (9) Nancy Moyer with Mark Clark, “Border Fence Series: Border Scenarios (Mexican View),” 2013. Reversible neckpiece. Sterling silver, digital prints, glaze, steel, rubber cord. 7cm x 24 cm x 1 cm. Photo by the artist. (10) Ramón Puig Cuyàs, “Silent Conversations Beside the Wall III,” 2012. Brooch. Nickel silver. 5.5 cm x 11 cm x 2.5 cm. Photo by the artist. (11) Kerrianne Quick, “Vicente Carrillo Fuentes alias ‘El Viceroy,’ ‘El General,’” 2013. Key Fob. Leather, steel. 10 mm x 5 mm x 0.5 mm. Photo by the artist. (12) Alejandra Solar, “Murmullos 1,” 2012. Brooch. Onyx, slate, photo transfer, silver. 7.2 cm x 10 cm x 0.7 cm. Photo by the artist. (13) Maria Solórzano, “3185cm,” 2013. Necklace. Silk thread, ceramic. 0.1 cm x 31.85 cm. Photo by Paola Lambertini. (14) Olga Starostina, “The End of a Desperate Journey…,” 2013.Brooch. Recycled aluminum, copper, leather. 10.2 x 25.4 x 1.2 cm. Photo by Cara Murray. (15) Rachelle Thiewes, “Slipstream,” 2013. Necklace. Steel, auto paint. 28.5 cm x 30.5 cm x 2.2 cm. Photo by the artist. (16) Demitra Thomloudis, ‘Reconstructed: Framed,” 2012. Brooch. Cement, sterling silver, resin, steel, pigment, thread, duck tape. 8.9 cm x 6.4 cm x 4.4 cm. Photo by Seth Papc. (17) Julia Turner , “Three Days Walking” (Mourning Brooch), 2013. Brooch. Steel pins, vitreous enamel, steel, wood. 5 cm x 5 cm x 0.7 cm. Photo by the artist. (18) Martha Vargas, “Sueño y Realidad,” 2012. Choker. Sterling silver. 24 cm x 15 cm x 1.5 cm. Photo by

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft galleries are dedicated to interpreting and exhibiting craft in all media and making practices. Artists on view can range from locally emerging to internationally renowned and our curatorial work surveys traditional and experimental approaches to materials.

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft galleries are dedicated to interpreting and exhibiting craft in all media and making practices. Artists on view can range from locally emerging to internationally renowned and our curatorial work surveys traditional and experimental approaches to materials.

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