Review: “Nuestra Delta Mágica” in Brownsville and Humberto Jimenez in Matamoros

by Michael Flanagan May 20, 2023

Nuestra Delta Mágica: Settler Imaginaries & Community Resistance at 924 E. Levee St, Brownsville, Texas, April 1 – June 1, 2023 

Inside a temporarily repurposed commercial space in downtown Brownsville, a series of wall texts and photographs explore a history of racism, colonization, and exploitative labor practices in South Texas. They are presented alongside protest signs painted by the local Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe, one of which reads “STOP DESTROYING OUR SACRED LAND.”  In another corner of the room, a compact library of activist and revolutionary literature, including titles like They Called Them Greasers: Anglo Attitudes toward Mexicans in Texas, 1821–1900 and Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands, is displayed next to a small television screening the 2003 film Valley of Tears, which documents three decades of farm worker struggles on the Texas border.  

Installation view of works and texts on a wall

Installation view of “Nuestra Delta Mágica: Settler Imaginaries & Community Resistance”

Curated by artists Nansi Guevera and Monica Sosa, and supported by a grant from the Anonymous Was A Woman Environmental Art Grants program, the exhibition also features work by local artists and activists that looks at the “untold South Texas history of land settlement, addressing racial and environmental injustices happening in the Rio Grande Valley.” Futuro Conjunto, a multimedia installation by Charlie Vela and Jonathan Leal, explores a fictionalized history of South Texas from the year 2200. Other artworks featured in the show include conceptual installations by Josue Ramirez, paintings by Anel Flores, multimedia collage by Bonnie Ilza Cisneros, and 8mm film projections by the ENTRE Film Center


Bifurcación y Convergencia at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Tamaulipas, Matamoros, Mexico, March 23 – June 18, 2023

Installation view of 2 dimensional images hanging in a museum

“Bifurcación y Convergencia,” installation view at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Tamaulipas

Born in Mante, Tamaulipas in 1955, the Matamoros-based artist Humberto Jimenez mounts a large-scale retrospective of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Tamaulipas. A wall text describing the show written by Mexican artist Dulce Lozano Pepi translates to say: “He speaks of life, creation, the cosmos and the universe; like he’s trying to tell us: we’re alive, but there’s more… The pointillism, the organic forms, the free brush strokes, the color.”

Bifurcación y Convergencia [Bifurcation and Convergence] includes work that dates back to the artist’s early days as a student in Mexico City, where he studied under artist Luis Nishizawa at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking. This early work includes some of the few examples of figuration present in the show, suggesting that the artist may have moved beyond an interest in painting the human form, and instead decided to use abstraction as a means of depicting the inner lives of his subjects. 

Portraits of family members on a window shaped panel

Humberto Jimenez, “La familia en la ventana” [The family in the window], 1976, oil on canvas

Abstract image of people in dialog

Humberto Jimenez, “Dialogo Intimo #14” [Intimate Dialogue #14], 2018, acrylic on paper.

The smallest piece in the show, a painted, wooden construction less than ten inches tall, called Doble Cara [Two Face], was also one of the strongest, and was reminiscent of the understated beauty found in much of Texas artist Forrest Bess’s work.

Small abstract painting on wood

Humberto Jimenez, “Doble Cara” [Two Face], oil on wood

Showing signs of continued creative evolution, the most recent work in the show explores new territory. Jimenez, who for many years worked as a manager of government-funded cultural spaces throughout Tamaulipas, would often be required to travel throughout the state. It was during these drives that the artist collected the bones we see used in Sin Comentarios [No Comment], a work that implies a shift in focus from the cheerfulness of midday toward the somber contemplations of twilight.

Installation view of animal bones on a wall and on the floor

Humberto Jimenez, “Sin Comentarios” [No Comment], mixed media installation

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