Syn- Ger Xiong & Cierra Redding MFA Thesis Exhibition 2021
April 23 – May 15, 2021
Virtual opening reception Friday, April 23, 5:30PM


The New Mexico State University Art Museum will present three new exhibits: “Syn-” 2021 MFA Thesis Exhibition, “DISPOSITIONS” BFA Exhibit and the 2021 “Juried Student Show” featuring a variety of work created by NMSU students. 

The exhibitions will be open to the public starting April 23 through May 15 through a timed ticket reservation system, allowing up to ten people to enter in 30-minute blocks. In addition to the in-person components, the exhibitions also will be featured online to provide access beyond the local community.

The art museum will host a virtual opening reception for all the exhibits at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 23. 

The annual “Juried Student Show” showcases a variety of artwork created by students from various majors. The art museum receives a variety of submissions from undergraduate and graduate students seeking an opportunity to showcase their artwork and receive cash awards. The 2021 “Juried Student Show” was judged by Texas/Mexico City-based curator, writer and scholar Leslie Moody Castro. Thanks to community donations, this year’s student artists will receive at least $3,000 in awards at a ceremony at 6 p.m. during the opening night reception. 

“Syn-” 2021 MFA Thesis Exhibition will be displayed in the Contemporary Gallery along with the “Juried Student Show” and will feature the work of master of fine arts candidates Cierra Redding and Ger Xiong. The MFA exhibit takes a deeper look at how each artist navigates their identity through the use of materials, form and objects.

Born with a rare eye condition, called nystagmus, Redding explores her surroundings through touch. Her work focuses on her personal loss of interactions in a world of human separation and social isolation. She was inspired by the philosophy of renowned family therapist Virginia Satir, who prescribes eight daily hugs to maintain emotional well-being. Redding sculpted eight “hug” impressions to document and display the loss she has endured.

Redding hopes to leave a lasting impression on her viewers by, “creating sculptures that evoke a sense of rediscovery of the importance of comfort, support and human connection.”

Similarly, Xiong’s work is personal to him but the theme relates to many – navigating his cultural identity as a Hmong American. Through the lenses of migration, colonization and resilience of being Hmong, his finely crafted textiles are visual narratives that tell stories of his family’s migration from Thailand when he was a child. 

“My work is to tell my Hmong American experience in hopes that others can relate it to their own experience and begin telling their stories and conversations of our cultural identity and history.”

Redding and Xiong also will present a virtual artist talk at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 6. The event is free and open to the public. 

The BFA exhibit, featuring the work by graduating bachelor of fine arts students Jiyong Kim, Blanca Martinez and Jesus Del Rio, will be on display in the Mullinix Room along with two other exhibits. 

After moving back to South Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim is grateful for the opportunity to showcase his work online. “There are no physical boundaries in online exhibitions,” Kim said. “There is a great advantage that you can open the content whenever you want. But personally, I am grateful to be able to do online exhibitions as I live in Korea.”

Kim uses his photography work to capture emotions and thoughts. He hopes that the viewers of his work will be freed from emotional isolation through his photos.

Martinez’s art focuses on family relationships and emotions. She uses illustrations to create a conversation about how families interact with one another and how their emotions can carry on to future generations.

Del Rio uses his sculptures to tell stories about his upbringing as a first-generation queer man and his childhood, facing many hardships growing up with his mother, who raised him and his seven siblings alone.

“I am hoping I can shine a light on the perspective of a person of color,” Del Rio said. “The influences for my current work are the injustices I see people like me face. I have delved into what the American experience as a person of color is.”

Del Rio, Kim and Martinez will have an artist talk at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 13. The event is free and open to the public. 

To learn more about these exhibits and other upcoming events, visit  UAM.

CONTACT:  Jasmine Herrera, Art Museum Coordinator, NMSU University Art Museum (575-646-2545;