Artist Renders Daily Reports of Citizens of Narco-battered Borderlands in Her Amalgam of Classic and Contemporary Imagery Coaxing Narratives from European Art History

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Alice Leora Briggs: Asylum, an exhibition of the artist’s sgraffito drawings and woodcuts, opens at Evoke Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Friday, September 26, 2014, and will continue through October 26. The artist finds her subject in the narco-violence that plagues Ciudad Juárez and in an asylum built by a visionary on the outskirts of this Mexican border city.

La Anexada (the attached) is sgraffito on kaolin clay panel by Alice Leora Briggs is featured in an art exhibition at EVOKE Contemporary September 26 - October 26, 2014 in Santa Fe, NM in the Railyard Arts District.  www.evokecontemporary.com

Alice Leora Briggs | La Anexada, 2014, sgraffito on kaolin clay panel, 11" x 14"

The use of historical visual references in her sgraffito drawings enforces the connections. The asylum in the title of her exhibition refers to an “asylum for the city’s disinherited. This makeshift refuge is the distillate of the city and houses some 115

Human frailty and worldly conceits are integral to the art of Alice Leora Briggs and are clearly displayed in the prints and drawings in the current exhibition at EVOKE Contemporary.

Briggs uses ancient methods of representation to depict contemporary life and death in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. She has steeped herself in the tragic struggles of Juárez, struggles she sees as timeless even though they are happening today. The use of historical visual references in her sgraffito drawings enforces the connections. The asylum in the title of her exhibition refers to an “asylum for the city’s disinherited. This makeshift refuge is the distillate of the city and houses some 115 souls,” she explains.

Also included in the exhibition are her woodcut prints created in response to the poem, The Room, by U.S. poet laureate Mark Strand. Each print responds to one of the twelve lines of the poem. The images glimpse into concealed longings and secrets, like looking into someone’s emotional closet. In her persistent way, all of Briggs’ work links our contemporary anxieties, desires, and expectations with those of the past.

Brigg’s explains her drawing process: “I cut white marks into black surfaces with a knife. Called sgraffito, my drawing method originated in 13th century German wall decoration, and later was used to embellish ceramics in 16th century Italy.” The stark black and white drawings emphasize the harsh realities of the drug related violence and its aftermath that she experienced first-hand in the company of the late Charles Bowden. She and Bowden collaborated on the book Dreamland: The Way Out of Juárez.

She chose to make limited edition woodcuts for The Room. “I had wanted to do images based on Mark Strand’s poems,” Briggs says. “I was always dumbfounded when I would read them. His imagery is so rich, so perfect, and so complete; it left me no point of entry. Then I had the conception to work with one poem, treating each line as food for an image. It’s been a long process. I’ve been working on it for about a year.”

Her woodcuts for The Room often include references to Juárez in response to the poet’s written imagery. Flatbed Press will publish a limited edition boxed suite of the 12 prints when it is completed.

The artist will be present at the opening which takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery in the Santa Fe Railyard Arts District on Friday, September 26th.

About EVOKE Contemporary:
EVOKE Contemporary showcases provocative and compelling representational contemporary art of international acclaim. The gallery is known for its strong focus on figuration with wide diversity ranging from hyperrealism to abstract expressionism. All events open on the Last Friday of each month along with the celebrated Last Friday Art Walks in the Railyard Arts District.

EVOKE Contemporary is located at 550 South Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501. Telephone 505.995.9902. For more information, visit the EVOKE Contemporary website at http://www.evokecontemporary.com.

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Kathrine Erickson
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