Experimentation with the Void is a collaborative showcase featuring 11 advanced students from The University of New Mexico College of Fine Arts Studio Art program. The show is at Exhibit 208 Gallery, one of the first physical shows since the pandemic shutdown began last year.

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These artists explore different perspectives, qualities, and arrangements of contemporary artwork, with a wide range of intentions: dismantling gender and celebrating queer culture, exploring the internal emotion life during COVID19, examining photographic vs. personal memory and the relationship of identity to objects, re-rendering nature tactilely and reconsidering markers of progress through the lens of post-colonialism, creating contemplative spaces through still life, and expanding photography to portray the self.

Each artist is presenting excerpts from a single semester-long exploration that is a culmination of their pursuits through the BA/BFA programs. Artists are Julia Andreas, Bridey Caramagno, Mathew Duda, Wanashe Frank, Bob Macdonald, Briana Moreno, Vince Navarette, Jacob Nunez, Consuelo Ortiz, Claire Plymale, and Elizabeth Wilkinson.

The exhibit will run through May 29 at Exhibit 208 Gallery, 208 Broadway Blvd, SE in Albuquerque.

Robert McDonald is a photographer and a non-traditional student at 61 years old and retired.

“I believe Experiment with the Void is a great show everyone has done a great job. There is great depth and breadth to the art all of us created and is showing now. I believe UNM is a wonderful school and the CFA has a great undergraduate photography program. I think to have one of the best graduate photography programs in the US it all comes a great staff, and the basis starts with the undergrad hands down.” See more of McDonald’s work at Theerrantphotographer.com.

Bridey Caramagno is a visual and performance artist currently based in Albuquerque. They were born and raised in the East Bay, Calif., where their interest in art began. They have spent the last 22 years experimenting and learning and hope to do the same for the rest of their life. See more of their work here.

Experimentation with the Void was a really rewarding experience and I'm super happy I got to learn all this stuff before I graduate and thank you to all my lovely models!”

Vincent Navarette is also a non-traditional student who retired from a career. He has been taking photos for almost 40 years but in the last 20 has pursued photography as an academic study, working toward a bachelor's degree in Art.

“My art is centered around people and portraits. However, I wanted to celebrate my queerness and I am now working on a body of work called Queer Spaces. I'm recreating images of queer spaces that I experienced while I was a teenager learning about myself and learning how to navigate the queer world. Back when I was growing into adulthood I (queers) did not have hookup apps like Grindr, and being queer was most times very dangerous. I remember park restrooms, bookstores, bus stops, or baths where gay men could meet for either companionship or sex. My art will now focus on those places as I try and recreate those images and feelings and associated impressions.”

Wanashe Frank grew up in northern New Mexico where she was inspired by the beauty that surrounds her everyday life. Ever since she got her first camera at the age of 10, she has been using this medium to capture the individual way she sees the world. Exploring the different aspects of photography, Wanashe approaches image-making as a way to tell her story and express the captivating perspective of life. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Arts, with a focus on photography and theatrical light design at UNM. See more of her work on her website.

“Being a student at The University of New Mexico has brought me so many opportunities, reasons to continue my education, and carry on pushing myself as an artist. Being a part of An Experimentation with the Void has helped me get to a higher point of professionalism as an artist and continue to dream for bigger things.”

Matthew Duda is a photographer from Randolph, N.J., shooting photographs mostly in black and white film. See Duda talk about his work here.

“For the most part, the subject of my work is often people, documenting humans and their environments... I work mainly in film photography, for most of my career up onto this point I have shot black and white film for assignments and dabbling here and there in color 35mm… My education at UNM has allowed me to take other forms of study (mainly philosophy) to create work with a deep root in conceptual practice. I believe if I am going to pursue something for the sake of artistic practice, I should dig as deep and wide as possible for information to back up my work… I want to see my work be a sort of multimedia experience utilizing analog and digital techniques to create a company that allows me to be self sustainable and create work for the rest of my life.”

Briana Moreno is a visual artist from El Paso, Texas, who engages in making photographs through utilizing various imaging processes. She continues to research technical photographic processes as a vital piece in the work she produces. Moreno will earn her Bachelors in Fine Arts from the UNM this month.

I have struggled with the idea of abiding to rigid social and political conformities without the use of further research in forming your own conclusions. A small hand-held digital camera is a technology that I was able to experience on my own terms and that was a step towards making my own investigations of the world around me. Image making gave me a platform to break free from a self I created for social acceptance. I share my visual perceptions to communicate various topics in lieu of words. Much of the work I have created tries to communicate a question of how humans utilize space in terms of (not limited to) surveillance, consumerism, and industrial uses. I connect with my images when they are described similarly to my own personality traits; Quiet, mysterious, surreal, familiar, night (low light) and intimate are some of the adjectives used to describe the images that I produce.”

Through their career as an artist and the medium of photography, Jacob Nunez aims to represent the ideas of presentation in a variety of ways. With the dreams people have in how they wish to see themselves through the recreation of fictional characters and the ways that one’s belongings can define them are their two main focuses in capturing people’s presentation of themselves. Cosplay is a form of craft where one chooses to don an outfit that a favorite fictional character would wear and the wearer presents themselves as that character. Nunez captures these moments of play and aims to create a scene through his photographs. Their photos allow viewers to see the kinds of people the subjects wish they could be through the outfits they wear and the scenes they create. See them talk about their work here.

Consuelo Ortiz works in painting, printmaking and photography. Her printmaking combines expression and storytelling. See Ortiz talk about her work here.

“A piece really becomes complete when there are many gray tones and a deep black shade. I believe that my artwork is very representative of where I am in life as well as being aesthetic and beautiful.”