Devotional Art Exhibition at Ray Drew Gallery

Image of Sacred Heart painting

Sacred Heart painting on deerskin by Adrian Montoya

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands presents its annual Northern New Mexico Devotional Art exhibition February 18 to March 29 in the Ray Drew Gallery in Donnelly Library at 802 National Ave.

The closing artists’ reception is March 22 from 4 to 6 p.m.

“Northern New Mexico devotional art is artistic expression that reflects Hispano culture and religious history through two-dimensional and three-dimensional images,” said Karlene Martínez, the Ray Drew gallery curator. “This style of art is unique since it is driven by faith and belief in unseen forces of a higher power that influence how we live our lives.”

Martínez said most of the images in the exhibition are Roman Catholic in nature, such as Christ, the Virgin Mary, and patron saints.

“The artists have such powerful beliefs and passion which transcends from the heart through the hand to create these symbolic artful objects. Some artists are so close to the craft that their art is created in the traditional way using elements from nature and the land,” Martínez said.

She said that historically this type of devotional art was created for churches or personal altars, but ultimately was motivated by the spiritual energy of its creator.

“This art form has survived through the history of Northern New Mexico since the 1700s because it is passed from generation to generation. Devotional art is very strong within Hispano culture and also appreciated across other cultures,” Martínez said.

There are 14 artists represented in the exhibition this year.

“We are fortunate to be in the midst of this art because of the large number of practicing devotional artists in Northern New Mexico. The exhibition offers a diverse representation of styles and interpretations from traditional art using natural materials such as wood to contemporary mixed media such as object collages,” Martínez said.

 Martínez said the exhibition features everything from tin work to paintings, sculpture, and retablos, traditional devotional images painted on flat wood.

The hours for the Ray Drew Gallery are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.