Paintings by Tonya Engel (top) and Deborah Roberts

UTSA painting exhibit highlights women artists during Black History Month

(Feb. 1, 2005)--As part of Black History Month, UTSA hosts the painting exhibit, "Subjective Visions: Contemporary Art by African American Women," highlighting the work of five Texans ranging in age from the mid 20s to early 60s. The exhibit, free and open to the public, runs through Feb. 28 at the Durango Building gallery on the UTSA Downtown Campus.

An opening reception hosted by UTSA President Ricardo Romo is 6-9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10 in the Southwest Room, adjoining the gallery. The reception, free and open to all, is an opportunity to meet the artists. A student reception is 4-5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8. Regular gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Artists Tracey Durland, Tonya Engel, Vonja Kirkland, Vicki Meek and Deborah Roberts created the 19 works in the exhibit from a variety of media including watercolor, oil and acrylics.

"We're excited to feature the work of these talented artists in representing African American culture," said curator Bernice Appelin-Williams. "Each artist gives critical insights into the circumstances of race, gender, class representation and identity in the ongoing struggle to establish the voice of black, women artists."

Vicki Meek's work, known internationally, is featured at the Houston Museum of Art. Her art connects the icons of the Yoruba religion with historical African American figures including slave-revolt leader Nat Turner and civil-rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer.

Deborah Roberts contrasts early African American stereotypes such as minstrels and Aunt Jemima with contemporary hip-hop images. Exhibited internationally, her work is in the collections of entertainers such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby and Nancy Wilson.

Tanya Engel has exhibited her work as far away as the Netherlands. Part of the collection of the UT Austin Department of African American Studies, her paintings use old-world colors and techniques to address contemporary issues such as defining beauty.

Vonja Kirkland has exhibited her art in the National Gallery of Art in Senegal, West Africa, the Smithsonian Institution Anacostia Museum and Copenhagen, Denmark. In watercolor and oil, she uses abstract, colorful images and the grain in wood to evoke mythological characters.

Tracey Durland, a self-taught artist, participates in her first exhibition with work in a folk-art style inspired by spirituality and dreams.

For more information, contact Arturo Almeida at (210) 458-4101 or Bernice Appelin-Williams at (210) 227-6960.

--Tina Luther