UTRGV art students showcase work at Neuhaus Tower Gallery

BY Amanda A. Taylor

The artistic works of students pursuing a master’s degrees in Fine Arts at URTGV is on display through March 2018 at the Cielo Properties Gallery in the Neuhaus Tower in McAllen.

The eight students – Alexandria Canchola, Angela Scardigno, Carlos Limas, Eva Williamson, Iliana Salazar, Jesmil Maldonado, Josie del Castillo and Lourdes Ballard – were selected to have their work showcased for their unique, abstract concepts.

“We chose works that would best represent our program,” said Carlos Limas, co-curator of the exhibit and a Fine Arts student pursuing a master’s degree in studio design. “We wanted to exhibit different lines of work, from the abstract to the very figurative, and show how well these students executed their main ideas.”

Limas, whose works are representative of both the surreal and harsh reality of violence, used his son as a model for one of his works, in order to incorporate the idea of innocence.

“My son is wearing a mask in the painting. It represents that he’s still a child and doesn’t fully understand what life is yet,” he said. “I didn’t want to use elements of gore in my projects, so I used symbolism to incorporate these ideas.”

All the works on display were conceptualized and executed through the UTRGV Master of Fine Arts program under the direction of Dr. Robert Bradley and Dr. Donald Jerry Lyles. Dr. Elena Macias, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and gallery director for the School of Art, oversees the public gallery and helps guide students in gallery affairs.

“This is all part of the learning experience for our students,” Macias said. “It’s important to get these students involved in curating exhibits, managing collections and cataloguing artwork, in order for them to take these skills with them into the future for related fields.”

Robert Gandy III, asset manager of Cielo Properties, said it is important for students to be able to showcase their work in a public gallery, as it allows them to get feedback on their work.

“This art is important to have, and the space is a nice gallery setup; there’s a lot of traffic,” Gandy said. “It’s important to give people exposure to the arts within our community, and the artwork from students at UTRGV get a lot of compliments.”

Macias switches out the artwork every so often to accommodate the work of additional students and keep the gallery fresh.

The gallery is open to the public and remains open during normal business hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed Sundays.