Watercolors paint culture

Liinda Nothnagle (left) and Penny Miller view the Water Colors of Mexico presentations Aug. 29 in Spiva Art Gallery.

Mark Schuster

Liinda Nothnagle (left) and Penny Miller view the Water Colors of Mexico presentations Aug. 29 in Spiva Art Gallery.

Scott Hasty

Kicking off the Mexico semester was the “Watercolors of Mexico” presentation, opening on Aug. 29. More than 50 watercolor paintings by the artists Maestro Eugenio Altamirano Gamino and Ruben Chavez Rivera were presented in Spiva Art Gallery.

“The paintings deal with culture of colonial Mexico,” said Val Christensen, associate professor of art.

“These watercolors bring the scenes of Mexico to life through colorful paintings and the ideas expressed in those paintings.”

Altamirano, one of the chosen artists of the exhibit, has more than 40 years of experience in teaching the art.

Also chosen, Chavez is one of Altamirano’s students, studying under him for the past eight years.

Both artists are native to Mexico and still reside in the city of Morelia.

“It was such a pleasure to meet these great artists,” Christensen said.

“Their works are very colorful and fresh and really express the true culture of Mexico.”

On opening day of the exhibit, several students had the chance to view the exhibit while listening to Mexican music, eating Mexican food and talking with others

about the exhibit.

“[With these paintings] I get a sense of what the culture is like,” said Jeff Youngblood, junior studio art major.

“The viewer sees how important death and spirituality is to Mexicans. It gives you an inside look as to how Americans are a little uptight to the subjects.”

Others get a sense of the culture as well.

“It feels like the [Mexican] culture likes bright colors,” said Desara Short, Southern alumna.

“Also, you can see how important landscape is to the culture. It seems to me they like warm and bright colors, which tells me they are a very calm, mellow culture.”

Others use their own experiences to view the paintings.

“From someone whose been there, I feel that [Altamirano and Chavez] have done a good job representing the Mexican culture,” said Sylvia Shirley.

Christensen described getting the watercolors here “a challenge, but an enjoyable one.”

“The language barrier was an interesting thing to work around seeing as neither artist spoke very much English,” Christensen said.

For those wanting to experience these watercolors, the works will be on exhibit from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 29 to Sept. 23 in the Spiva Art Gallery.