New Mexico Becomes Photographer’s Land Of Inspiration

Two exhibitions in New Mexico with ties to SMU alumni showcase photographs by Debora Hunter, associate professor of photography in Meadows School of the Arts.

Hunter’s solo exhibit, “Land Marks: Photographs from Taos, New Mexico,” will continue through November 12 at James Kelly Contemporary in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

For the past 13 years, she has taught photography courses at SMU-in-Taos. “This project has grown from that experience,” says the artist, who joined the Meadows faculty in 1976.

Untitled, 2004, Debora Hunter

Hunter’s series of rich color images depicting both the natural and “built” environment “document a world in flux, where irony and grace, discord and harmony, grandeur and the mundane variously combine in this legendary Taos Valley,” according to the gallery notes.

James Kelly, a Meadows alumnus with a Bachelor’s degree in art history (’79) and Master’s degrees in business and arts administration (’84), opened his highly regarded gallery in 1997 in a renovated warehouse. The gallery, located in the Railyard District, which has become a center for contemporary art in New Mexico’s capital city, represents a host of notable photographers, painters, sculptors and video artists, including Hunter.

A second exhibition featuring Hunter’s work, “Contemplative Landscapes,” opens October 23 at the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. Through images captured by 24 photographers, the show explores the people, practices and sacred places of the state’s diverse religious communities. “Contemplative Landscapes” will continue through December 31, 2012.

The museum’s director, Frances Levine, earned a Master’s and a Ph.D. in anthropology from SMU. While a graduate student, Levine directed the archaeological survey and excavation program at Los Esteros Lake in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Hunter’s photographs have appeared in exhibitions around the country, and her work is part of the permanent collections of the Amon Carter Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Corcoran Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Houston Museum of Fine Art, Rhode Island School of Design Art Museum and the Yale University Art Museum, among others.

Locally she is well-known for creating eight permanent art panels for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail station at Skillman and LBJ Freeway. She completed the public art project in 2002.

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