Into the Dirt

Katie Broyles, Jenelle Esparza, Haley Hill, Gabriela Muñoz, and Aziza Murray

March 29 - May 11, 2019


Opening Reception: March 29, 7-10pm

“In the landscape, body still determines some sense of proportion; in the desert the proportion is that of a very small, visible, vulnerable figure alone in a vast plane, central but infinitesimal. But proportion is a portion of beauty.” - Rebecca Solnit, The Desert: Scapeland

But then, what does belong in a place, a location, a time? What should be in the picture? Landscape seems a word that is swept clean by a new broom before it can be witnessed, an image refined and smoothed, all the edges gone…all of our kind exiled from the sacred ground.” - Charles Bowden, Desierto: Memories of the Future

Landscape is often seen as a place of refuge or escape.

To be gazed upon, enjoyed, explored, developed, conquered. For the taking. 

Vast, empty. 

Instead, the artists of Into the Dirt consider landscape not merely as a subject, but a collaborator. 

Full of history, life, future. 

What does it look like to inhabit it? to work with it, for it to work through you?

What belongs here?

Does the land we traverse permeate our identities?

The artists offer some answers to these questions, pulling on threads of familial history, tracing paths for some remaining tracks, gathering dust. Drawing on a connection to place, we see portraits of its people, created with the earth of their region; we picture ourselves within it; we see the most basic of its elements gilded, immortalized; we dance in its peculiarity. We consider what will come after.

There is a common notion of two people, in different places, looking up at the same moon. In this desire for connection and understanding, it may be similarly discovered when we instead look down, into the dirt.

About the Artists

Katie Broyles

Born in Austin, Texas and raised in New Mexico, Katie Broyles has been influenced heavily by the desert in her work. She is a fourth year Studio Art major pursuing her BFA at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work primarily focuses on expressing the complexities of human forms and landscapes through video, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Her films have been selected for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival and the Austin Spotlight Film Festival. She is a recipient of the Deans Studio Art Award and other artwork has been shown in the FAB gallery, ISAS Fine Arts Festival, and the Fieldworks gallery.

Jenelle Esparza

Jenelle Esparza is a South Texas native originally from Corpus Christi, Texas. She is a multi-media artist with interdisciplinary practices that include installations in fiber, photography, and sculpture. She received her BFA in photography from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2010 and is co-owner of Presa House Gallery in San Antonio, TX. She was the recipient of the 2015 NALAC (Nat’l Association of Latino Arts and Culture) Artist Grant for her project El Color de la Obra about the interconnected histories of South Texas cotton fields, and was the Texas resident artist for the Artpace International AIR in the summer of 2018. She has exhibited nationally and currently works as a Museum Educator of Family Programs at the McNay Art Museum.

Haley Hill

Haley Hill is in her final semester at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing her BFA in Studio Art. Her focuses include installation sculpture and image-based media. She is interested in appropriating the language, tools, and aesthetics of the advertising world, specifically the commercial food photography industry. By employing these delusive techniques, she reanimates objects for the camera as well as the viewer. Haley is the Programming and Events Coordinator of UT’s student-led curatorial collective, Center Space Project. She has shown her work in various places across Texas including the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas, OUTsider Fest in Austin, Texas in collaboration with Brooke Johnson, and the Museum of Human Achievement in Austin, Texas as a member of Fleet Performance Collective. She is a recipient of the Kay Pearson Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Art, an Ox-Bow Scholarship Recipient, and a participant of the 2018 New York Arts Practicum.

Gabriela Muñoz

Gabriela Muñoz is an interdisciplinary artist, arts educator, and arts administrator. Her studio practice is rooted in her experiences living in the Southwest and is concerned with movements of social justice and equity. Her installations and printed works function as a growing archive that documents and re-centers alternate stories and histories.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Arizona State University. As an active contributor to Arizona’s art community she is regularly engaged in artist residencies, serves as a juror and panelist, leads artist workshops and presents lectures for local and national audiences.

Aziza Murray

Aziza Murray is a New Mexico based artist working primarily in photography. In 2015 she graduated with an MFA from the University of New Mexico where she also worked as a pictorial archiving fellow for the Center for Southwest Research. Since then, Aziza has worked in different capacities in the film industry in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, further piquing her interest in cinematography. Much of her work stems from a well of nostalgia for objects and moments, the materiality of photography, and her personal history–from experiencing tragic loss at an early age, to her multilayered experiences as a biracial person growing up in Washington, DC. She has shown her work in DC at Connersmith Contemporary and in Albuquerque at the Harwood Art Center, the Bernalillo County Courthouse and, the UNM Art Museum. Currently Aziza has work in the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s group show Because It’s Time: Unraveling Race and Place in NM.