Curator’s Statement

After meeting Montena and getting acquainted with her work, I have come to recognize the depth of commitment to her artistic vision and potential for a career in studio art. Her windblown, animated, visual vocabulary is further enhanced by her natural eye for strong composition and craft. Her photographic work, in black and white especially, gives ample evidence to an innate understanding of compositional movement and image placement within the picture plane.

When we see a leaf or a cottonwood plume borne aloft by the wind, we think of freedom or flight. When that same leaf per chance lands on the surface of a pond, eventually becoming waterlogged or partially submerged, then the allusion to freedom or flight inverts to a sense of captive entrapment. These everyday occurrences often slip under our radar and are easily dismissed, but when such a moment is eloquently captured in a photograph or painting, a transformation toward poetic metaphor and awareness of the human condition begins to take place.

The torn, twisted, and windblown elements, sometimes lyrically beautiful, other times grotesque, evokes the human experience within a complex world full of regimentation, snares, and temptations which hold us captive. Here we find ourselves in a place where no one is immune or able to escape. Now we are confronted with a sense of both tragedy and hope, especially as we consider the winds of change evident in these compositions. We find tragedy in the grip that the world has upon our fleshly existence, as we maneuver to avoid its barbs and confining limitations. But the winds of change also bring to life an intense desire for unbridled exhilarating expressions of freedom and joy.

Tim High 04/12

Associate Professor, Department of Art and Art History

University of Texas at Austin

VAM Gallery Curator