Nohemí Pérez’s art captures the fraught relationship between humanity and nature, a theme that persists in her Artpace exhibition, No Man’s Land.
The Texas landscape forms the background of the drawings, hinting at notions of migration, as Texas is an entry point into the United States for many migrants, especially those uprooted from their homes in southern countries. While this new work is a continuation of Pérez’s previous artwork, it expands new landscapes and relationships between men and nature. In this case, it is a study on seeking refuge in another land.
In No Man’s Land, the large scale conveys the vastness of the land, while the use of charcoal reflects the artist’s commentary on the exploitation of natural resources (which in Latin America, Pérez’s home country, brings with it war and displacement). The charcoal is messy, smudged, and imperfect, in layers of black, brown, and white. Hidden among the smokey landscape, you might find figures making their way across the terrain and delicate threads of embroidery delineating borders.
Completing the exhibition are small watercolor studies of travelers and paintings of the landscape, which serve as the main source of color in the installation. The watercolor paintings are encased in Ziploc bags, pinned to the wall, and surrounded by landscapes as if both the artist and the environment offer protection to the weary travelers. Pérez shared with Artpace, “Many people migrate to escape or in search of a better future for their children. One of the places they see as the promised land is the United States.” Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the gallery’s landscape, offering a window into the vast expanses of land where people wander and seek new opportunities.