Today I went to the Visual Arts Studio building to check out an art exhibit called “West Texas: Feast and Famine.” The exhibit was created by an artist named Mitzi Hallmark, who grew up in West Texas and is now pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Dallas. Mitzi has had her photography displayed throughout North Texas and focuses on bringing attention to the environment and economic state of West Texas.
“Feast and Famine” is meant portray the impact that natural resource gathering has had on the land. West Texas is primarily known for its reserves of oil and natural gas, and has a long history of drilling since 1923 when oil was first discovered in the Permian Basin. The exhibit, through pictures of the landscape and sculptures, helped me understand the barrenness of the land caused by the careless exploitation of the environment. The antlers of deer sit atop dead, dried out trees and surround them in a way that made me stop and think about the tragic destruction of the environment in West Texas.
The oil drilling, hydraulic fracking, and pipeline installations have damaged the habitats of much of the wildlife, and depleted natural water sources causing the land to become arid and a harsh place to inhabit. Before I stepped into this exhibit today, I knew little about West Texas, and was indifferent to it. Viewing these photographs sculptures elicited feelings in me about a place I’d never been to, and instilled a desire to learn more about the history of the state and West Texas. If the purpose of art is to create a response, I’d say this exhibit is successful in that one cannot view it without feeling something for West Texas. I think it’s great that art like this exists on campus throughout the year and is free to view. It gives students here the chance to enjoy exhibits, musicals, music performances, and have the chance to learn and grow as human beings.
B.S. Business Administration
Class of 2017
The University of Texas at Dallas