Amos Eno Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Rosemary Meza-DesPlas: La Tercera y Última: Miss Nalgas USA. The exhibition is on view May 4 to June 4, 2023.

Grounded in intersectional feminism, this gallery installation addresses socio-cultural issues of ageism, beauty standards, and identity. La Tercera y Última: Miss Nalgas USA translates to "The Third and Last: Miss Buttocks USA," referencing that this is Meza-DesPlas' third and final manifestation of the creative project Miss Nalgas USA.

Miss Nalgas USA 2022 began as a one-night performance artwork staged in Farmington, New Mexico, on November 12, 2022. This invented beauty pageant, conceived and executed by multidisciplinary artist Meza-DesPlas, focused on women over fifty and featured contestants vying for the honor of being Miss Nalgas USA 2022. Meza-DesPlas portrayed the character and pageant winner Miss Refried Rosi Frijoles. Meza-DesPlas's humorous contemplation of the preferred figurative trait of the Latina, a bodacious booty, is inspired by the book From Bananas to Buttocks:The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture by Myra Mendible.

Subsequently, a video by the same title premiered in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on December 3, 2022, as the project's second manifestation. A video screening of Miss Nalgas USA 2022 will be held on Saturday, May 6th at 12:30 p.m. at the gallery, followed by a Q & A with the artist led by gallery director Ellen Sturm Niz. Meza-DesPlas translated her satirical performance artwork into this multimedia installation at Amos Eno Gallery that includes performance documentation, upcycled costumes, soft sculptures, and video art. The multimedia environment includes the installation The Invisible Woman Syndrome; the title refers to what happens to women over 50 in society.

Meza-DesPlas' work reflects the commodification of ethnicity and is influenced by Arlene Davila’s book Latinos Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People.

Meza-DesPlas received a Latinx Artist Fellowship in 2022. Administered by the US Latinx Art Forum and funded by The Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation, this fellowship recognizes 15 of the most compelling Latinx visual artists working in the United States today. Meza-DesPlas' Fulcrum Fund grant financed the performance artwork Miss Nalgas USA 2022. This award, managed by 516 ARTS, was funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, a multidisciplinary Latina artist, incorporates fiber art, drawing, installation, painting, performance art, and video into her studio practice. The human figure takes center stage in her artwork. Amplifying the voices of women, her work reflects the female experience within a patriarchal society. Socio-cultural issues, gender-based burdens, political agency, and ethnic stereotypes, are explored through an intersectional feminist lens. The tenacity of her eight aunts in the face of personal tragedies and adversities was an early inspiration; their narratives contributed to her embrace of feminist ideology. Thematic continuity links Meza-DesPlas’ visual artwork with her academic writing and poetry. This written discourse provides a foundation for her performance artwork. In 2022, she was honored with a Latinx Artist Fellowship by the Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation. She was awarded a Fulcrum Fund grant in 2022 to create and stage a new performance artwork titled Miss Nalgas USA 2022. Her work has been exhibited at Museum of Sonoma County, 516 ARTS, New Mexico Museum of Art, and Art Museum of Southeast Texas. Meza-DesPlas received a BFA from the University of North Texas and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

As a multidisciplinary artist, I create figurative artworks exploring the intersection of gender inequality, political agency, and cultural misconceptions. Challenging beauty standards, the feminine body is portrayed with attention to veracity. Portraiture work emphasizes the mutable nature of the face. My studio practice varies from labor intensive hand-stitched hair art to large on-site, multimedia installations.

Feminism and ethnicity are referenced in a common material, human hair, employed in my studio practice. I sew with the first fiber: hair. My sewing can be contextualized within the 1970s women’s craft movement, yet I stitch hair from a drawing-based background. The hair serves as an archive of my body and reflects the aging process. A carrier of DNA, hair symbolizes ethnicity and race.

Identity and culture manifest in my traditional art forms of painting and drawing. Displayed multiples create sizable and organized installations. Through appropriation, these traditional media works are reinvented into specialty fabrics and embedded into performance art and video.

I forefront myself in the performance art and video works; thereby, alluding to the multiplex experience of being an American Latina woman. My poetry anchors the performance art and video works. Academic research and writings reinforce thematic inquiries into gender topics, socio-political issues, and cultural stereotypes.

(Rosemary Meza-DesPlas)