01 Dec
Fri / 2017

Inside the MFAH
Home Is an Intimate Space: Amalia Mesa-Bains & “Transparent Migrations”

The work of California-based artist Amalia Mesa-Bains is often autobiographical, relating to her Mexican and Catholic heritage. Her installation Transparent Migrations, on view in HOME—So Different, So Appealing, features a mirrored armoire, glass leaves, a gauze dress, a lace mantilla, and assorted crystal miniatures—an assemblage that evokes spiritual concepts such as “reflection,” “illumination,” and “transparency.” The surrounding glass landscape suggests the rugged terrain of Southwestern Mexico, home to plant life that symbolizes sustainability, endurance, and resilience.

Transparent Migrations embodies the idea of “home” through the use of her personal armoire and the most intimate detail: the mantilla, or veil, that she wore to her wedding 51 years ago. I talked with Mesa-Bains about the installation.

What do you hope visitors take away from Transparent Migrations?
I think it’s a work that invites contemplation. I want people to find some sense of peace and some sort of meditative quality, but also maybe to wonder what these things stand for even if they don’t have a background in Latino art history. I think the plants and the small dress hanging will give some sense that this is a place where people feel safe, and it’s a place where they can endure.

How does your work speak to the theme of “home”?
Most of my work as an artist has been around the theme of “home.” I am a first-generation Chicano [a person of Mexican origin or descent], and one of the roles I occupied was that of someone who made ofrendas—so most of my early work was centered around the home altar. I felt from the very beginning, when I learned of this exhibition, that this was a place for my work, because I had a long history of this theme.

What is significant about having your work on view in Houston?
Of course, Houston is a major venue for art, but it’s also important to me that it’s a city with a large Latino population. I feel very happy to be here among many artists, both from the United States and Latin America, in a city that embodies the Latino presence that is part of America now.

See more in “HOME—So Different, So Appealing,” on view in the Law Building through January 21.


Comments

Recent Posts

Post Archives

Tag Cloud

35mm 5womenartists abstract adolpho american ancient and angelica-kauffmann animals architecture art art-books art-of-the-islamic-worlds bayou bayou-bend bend bestowing-beauty bible biblical british buffalo-bayou-park-cistern campus chinese-art christmas cinema cisternrain color colors-of-the-oasis concrete conservation contemporary-art contemporary-arts-museum-houston countess curator degas degas-a-new-vision digital dinner drawings dynasty electronic emperor empress england e-records european family-programs fashion festival fiber-arts field film flowers french fun future futuremfah gainsborough gallery-interpretation garden gardens glassell glassell-school-of-art google-art-project habsburg halloween hirsch-library history homemfah homeso-different-so-appealing houston howe ikat impressionism interactive ipads kenwood king kodak latin latin-american-art latino-art learning-and-interpretation mail maria-fernanda-cardoso media mexican-film mexican-modernism mfah mfah-films mfah-in-the-community modern moneo movie movies mueck mueckmfah museum museum-education mythological new nhprc noguchi now-playing organic oscar-de-la-renta painting paint-the-revolution persian-art photographs photography picasso portrait prince princess prints prints-and-drawings programs rebel-jester-mystic-poet recipe rienzi ron-mueck rothko sculpture shepherds snail snapshot spring summer technology textiles the the-glamour-and-romance-of-oscar-de-la-renta valentines-day video vienna watercolor wave womens-history-month works-on-paper wtewael