The Only Thing That Matters
by Nathan Ritchey 
on display from April 18 - April 22 in the
Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Gallery
Closing Reception: April 22, 6:00 p.m.



by Benjamin Hoyng
on display from April 11 - April 15th in the
Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Gallery
Closing reception: April 15th, 6:00 p.m.

ben hoyng

Depth of Soul
by Juliet Wells

On display in the Gypsy Ted Student Gallery
from April 11 - April 15th
Closing reception, April 15th, 6:30 p.m.
juliet wells 

Keep A Stone in Your Shoe

by Luis Contreras

The Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Gallery is pleased to present works by South Texas Artist Luis Contreras.

Luis Contreras is the Executive Director of the Weslaco Museum of Local History and Cultural Arts in Weslaco,Texas.  He is a practicing artist,business owner, and a part-time lecturer for the Departmentof Art at the University of Texas-Pan American. He received his Bachelorof Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the University of Texas-Pan Americanin Edinburg, Texas and a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Ohio StateUniversity in Columbus, OH. Keep A Stone In Your Shoe will be on display in the AmyGraves Ryan Fine Arts Gallery through April 8. 

luis contreras

Artist's Statement

“He said, “You know, college isn’t for the smart. It’s for those that can putup with the most crap.”  The words keep playing over and over in myhead as I begin my one mile walk from one corner of the campus toanother.  The heat is intense and the wind is dirty and warm.  It isnever a quiet walk around campus, but it seems louder than usual at thismoment.  The parked shuttle in front of Haskett Hall is behindschedule.  This is obvious since the driver is showing no mercy to thegirl running from behind me yelling, “WAIT! WAIT!”  The sidewalks alsoseem to have three hairline cracks at the top left corner in almost everysquare.  The fire hydrants are freshly painted red.  Every corner ofevery block seems to be the next turn for me, but isn’t, and I really need toget to my destination soon.  The sweat is now dripping and I can feel myshirt beginning to stick to my back.  The crosswalks look like gatheringsof people whose faces are all asking for water, it is so hot.  I'm pickingup my pace because time is running out, but my footing is a bit off.  My goodness,I swear, the moment I get there, I am gonna take my shoe off and curse the rockthat got into it back when I crossed the construction at 19th St.”   

I find interest in the concept of authority by instruction.  It has always been fascinating; not because of whom or whatcontrols, but in how control brings upon us a sense of subconscious reliabilityon governance.  Without signs, the structures existing all around us wouldbe mazes.  The inside of an edifice with no signs is a maze offering manyoptions that one would have no control over.  My work is not about aspectsof pessimism.  It is about questioning.  This displays thinking, andthinking is simply noticing.        

My early work evolved from prints to hand painted billboardsto electronic signs.  Prints were important because of the relativeprocess of instruction.  Prints were not very loud.  Billboard signsvoiced the concept of my work, but had very little interaction with a massaudience when installed.  Electronic signs interacted, but eventually hadthe same effect as the billboards. Each work brought up new questions changingthe face of my art.  I wanted my work to become indirect.  I foundthis in the maze. 

My current work uses the process of serigraphy.  A mazeis printed on one side of 8”x10” sheets of white paper.  Twenty-fourprinted sheets are then pasted on the panel’s surface, four going across andsix going down.  In the end, the panel presents a 48”x40” maze.  Animage is then projected and outlined on the surface.  I go back with afine tip ball point pen and a straight edge ruler to draw lines within thepaths of the maze depicting the figurative form. 

The backs of figures represent a directive.  The mazeis a metaphor with its characteristic strengths of bewilderment to provokevulnerability.  The maze forces that reliability on signs in order toconduct ourselves.  In general, the figurative form is trusted because ofwhat it represents-us.  We understand and can cope with the actions ofanother figure.  We rely following someone when they guide the way. In my work, the figure becomes an instruction, it becomes a sign.

So, keeping a stone in your shoe only makes you a bit more aware.

(in)visible demarcations
by Nil Santana


The Big Country High School Art Competition


Senior Exhibits and Receptions for November, 2010:

Join Eliana Fanous at the artist reception for her Senior exhibit titled Twist of Fate this Friday, November 19, at 7:00 p.m. in the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Gallery.


Join Alicia Morales and Nicolas Nieves II at the artist reception for their Senior exhibit titled Glitter Freeze this Friday, November 12, at 6:00 p.m. In the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Gallery.

Glitter Freeze

Glitter Freeze: by Alicia Morales and Nicolas Nieves II
On display from November 8 – November 12, 2010
in the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Gallery
Artist Reception: Friday, November 12, at 6:00 p.m.

Join Stephanie Fitts at the Artist Reception for her
Senior exhibit titled Vanish this Friday, November 12, at 6:30 p.m.
in the Gypsy Ted Student Gallery.

Vanish: by Stephanie Fitts
On display from November 8 – November 12, 2010
in the Gypsy Ted Student Gallery
Artist Reception: Friday, November 12th, at 6:30 p.m.


Art Show

During McMurry’s 2010 homecoming celebration, Art Alum Cynthia Bach, McM ’82, will display a mini-retrospective exhibition, Climb of Passion, in the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Gallery.  In addition, the University will host a business-art lecture conducted by Cynthia for local university students on Thursday, October 14 at 12:00 p.m.  The lecture, as well as an artist reception on Friday, the 14 at 5:30 p.m. will be open to the public. The exhibition will be on display October 14 – 29 and will feature a variety of works beginning with some of Cynthia’s first pieces crafted at McMurry University and ending with some of her most recent works worn by stars on the Red Carpet. Cynthia hopes to be able to share her story with local and student artists and to help them see the possibilities of success that come with perseverance and passion. 

Los Angeles -based jeweler Cynthia Bach has been working in the jewelry trade for 30 years.  From her collections carried by Neiman Marcus to her exquisite pieces worn by Hollywood stars on the Red Carpet, each item exhibits Cynthia’s fine craftsmanship and classic, innovative style.  After living and working in LA for almost twenty years, Cynthia is returning to Abilene to visit the McMurry University Campus where her journey began.
As a child of the Air Force, Cynthia Bach spent thirteen years of her young life in Germany and before her family was stationed at Dyess, she spent two years apprenticing in Europe in metalworking and jewelry. When she arrived in Abilene, it was time to choose a college. Because of its sense of community and camaraderie, Cynthia chose McMurry. At first, the university didn’t offer a jewelry course, but when five students mentioned to Professor Bob Howell that they wanted to study jewelry making, he made it work. The jewelry courses at McMurry allowed Cynthia to practice the basic techniques in jewelry making and experiment with some of the earliest forms of casting. She fondly remembers doing sand-castings behind the Ryan Fine Arts Building and says that through this, she learned jewelry-making from the basics. Because of this experience, Cynthia was able to explore the ideas that were launched in her mind as an 8-year-old child.  Her father had given her a small treasure chest he purchased while traveling around the world. Cynthia would play with her mother’s stones and put them in the chest and dream of making jewelry. To this day, she marks this story as the start of her career. 

Studying at McMurry allowed Cynthia the time to apprentice with local jeweler Jim Matthews and have access to equipment she needed to hone her craft. She walked into Jim’s workshop in the basement of his jewelry store, showed him an amethyst piece she had made and they’ve been working together ever since. Cynthia and Jim opened their own jewelry shop in 1981 and Cynthia finished her B.A. in art in 1982.  For ten years, Cynthia and Jim ran their shop on Leggett Street creating custom designs for clients. During this time, Cynthia was an active member of art-happenings downtown and the Artist League of Texas which would, in time, grow to be the Center for Contemporary Arts. In 1991, Cynthia and Jim moved to LA to work for Van Cleef and Arpels, a historic jewelry company. Shortly after arriving in LA, Cynthia launched her line of miniature crowns through Neiman Marcus and became their first jewelry designer. In addition to numerous collections she has developed for Neimans over the years, she has expanded her reach into Europe and Asia, and her designs can often be seen on the Red Carpet.