Rosemary Meza-DesPlas

nevertheless, She Persisted

Live Wall Drawing: January 23 – February 1

Soft Opening:  February 2

Exhibit Reception: March 2, 5-7pm













February 2–March 3, 2018

January 23 – February 1

Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday, March 2 at 5-7pm
Spoken Word Performance by Rosemary at 6pm

Barbara Conrad Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday
10am – 5pm

Entry to Durango Arts Center galleries is always free.  The galleries are closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays.

Farmington, NM-based Latina artist, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas is known for exploring gender, sexuality, and identity issues through hand-sewn human hair drawings, watercolors and on-site drawing installations. Born in Garland,Texas, she was raised and lived for many years in the Dallas/Ft.Worth metroplex. She received an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (Hoffberger School of Painting) and a BFA from The University of North Texas.  

Ms. Meza-DesPlas has been sewing with her own hair since 2000. Her decision to collect and sort hair to utilize as a vehicle for making art is informed by socio-cultural symbolism, feminism and body image, and religious symbolism.  An article on her hand-sewn human hair drawings was featured in the Huffington Post Arts & Culture section in 2015.

In 2013 Toby Kamps, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Menil Collection, selected her hand-sewn human hair drawings and watercolors for the exhibition Art on the Edge at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe. Ms. Meza-DesPlas was the exhibition director for the exhibition and cultural exchange Half the Sky: Intersections in Social Practice Art presented in Shenyang, China in 2014. She worked in partnership with the International Caucus of the Women’s Caucus for Art and LuXun Academy of Fine Arts.

Ms. Meza-DesPlas parallels the themes in her artwork with the written word and spoken word performances. She recently presented her paper titled Heaviness, Hardship, Heft: Gender-based Burdens in Images at the 8th International Conference of the Image in Venice, Italy. As an art historian, she has presented papers for the Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh, National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies in Baton Rouge, LA and the Modern Art Conference at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul, Turkey. Ms. Meza-DesPlas’ spoken-word performances for 2017 were at the Feminist Art Conference, Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto, Canada; Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM, and ARC Gallery in Chicago, IL.


The personalization of social issues in a serial format is the framework for my artwork. Societal impositions upon body image, transformative perspectives about women and violence, and the socio-cultural burdens endured by women are the most recently explored topics. Social issues are viewed through a multifarious lens of mass media, social media and art history.

Wispy, curling tendrils, wiry, frizzy ends stitch through a picture plane to create images; I collect and sew my own hair into drawings which accentuate line and texture. Scratchy, nervous lines trail across a wall in my drawing installations. These large, on-site installations are drawn with conte; sometimes they incorporate vinyl appliques, liquid graphite and specialty fabric. Voluptuous layers of watercolor stain canvas and paper to create figurative forms. Washes of color depict the imperfections of flesh. The depiction of flesh is not merely about accuracy for color and form, but it is about having an eye for the bump — and the lump– and the chunk of blemished flesh.

“The body – what we eat, how we dress, the daily rituals through which we attend the body- is a medium of culture. The body, as anthropologist Mary Douglas has argued, is a powerful symbolic form, a surface on which the central rules, hierarchies, and even metaphysical commitments of a culture are inscribed and thus reinforced through the concrete language of the body.” (Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, 1993) I examine gender role expectations and prevailing stereotypes in mass media through the lens of socio-cultural structures.



Non-Traditional Approaches to the Drawing Process with Rosemary Meza-DesPlas

February 24, 2:00 – 5:00pm

Members – $70 / General – $90

Drawing is a democratic process because it can be done easily without expensive tools by a child or an adult. It is merely the process of making a mark. There are various traditional media utilized in drawing for mark-making such as pencils, charcoal, conte, chalk pastels; however, the language of mark-making is expansive and includes non-traditional instruments as well. This workshop will focus on innovative approaches to the drawing process: the physicality of drawing will be stressed – the pull, push and drag of a mark-making tool across a surface. Participants will be using a variety of non-traditional tools to create finished artworks. A combination of wet and dry media will be utilized in this workshop. The emphasis will be on the visual element of line. Line has the potential to convey direction, texture, and emotion; it can imply value, suggest motion, define boundaries and imply volume.  In considering the unlimited potentiality of drawing as a medium, it is recommended participants look at artwork by the following artists: Vik Muniz, Rebecca Carter, Monika Grzymala and Il Lee.