In an unassuming warehouse, quite literally off the beaten path in Mesquite, New Mexico, artist Laura Turón works meticulously on her latest project. Turón is known for her signature mark-making work, usually displayed in large-scale, single-plane installations.
Her current canvas is a conspicuous dissention—it’s a retired school bus that she scored for a pretty great deal on Craigslist. Paint, plexiglass and other elements amalgamate in the unconventional innovation.
Using tape, Turón creates a visual pattern through a technique called “paradox drawing” to produce a 3-D illusion on the external walls of the bus. Inside, beyond the driver’s seat, the bus is completely gutted. She plans to continue the paradox motif in the interior, installing plexiglass domes and LED lights to evince the way that 2 dissimilar elements can harmonize. The natural and electric lights will play off of each other to create beautiful and interesting visuals that change with the position of the sun.
The project’s paradoxical elements aren’t just happenstance, they’re physical implementations of the broader concept that Turón has been exploring. Concepts of interference and time have motivated Turón’s work in the past. She found herself confronted with the idea of the paradox as a natural expansion of her work about time.
Through her research, she came across a definition of paradox, explaining the notion as something that can be perceived in different ways, which resonated with Turón: “It promotes critical thinking, and it lets the viewer create their own concept and meaning.” The piece is called Paradox Traveling Art, and it carries several purposes, with room for myriad perceptions. The piece is a mobile art installation and El Paso’s first mobile art gallery. As a standalone artwork, it will also house other artworks, acting as an invitation for viewers to enter the piece, move through it and become, for a time, a part of the piece, too.
It’s fitting that she’s titled her work Paradox, because it’s a true manifestation of the concept on so many levels. The piece is completely different, yet almost entirely the same at once. The aesthetic overhaul makes the structure nascent and new, but the art bus ultimately retains its most basic, fundamental purpose, which is, to transport people to an immersive learning experience.
Turón plans to use the moveable art piece as a vehicle, literally and figuratively, to facilitate artistic encounters throughout the region: “I want to take art to spaces that have limited access to museums, galleries and workshops—make it accessible.”
Paradox Traveling Art will be unveiled at the upcoming Last Thursdays El Paso Art Walk on July 27th in a special event with the El Paso Museum of Art. The project unveiling is one reason to make your way out to Last Thursdays, but there’s lots of others. Turón is one of the organizers for the Last Thursdays El Paso, a casual monthly project presenting art exhibitions, architectural tours, art markets, live entertainment and pop-up galleries throughout downtown El Paso—and it’s absolutely free.
The EP art scene is diverse, with emerging artists introducing new perspectives to the dialogue every day. Last Thursdays gives these artists a platform to showcase their projects to the community. “We have a lot of local talent . . . contemporary, abstract [art], photography,” Turón said. “We present performances, and we set up art markets at The Mix.”
The art walk is a great place to purchase gifts and original artwork for the home. It’s a far superior alternative to the conventional, mass-produced items you’ll find at your every-day retailer or online.
Last Thursdays have been happening for a few years now, and the event keeps expanding. Partnerships with the Museum and Cultural Affairs Department, Paso Del Norte, the Texas Trost Society and local art businesses and vendors have shaped Last Thursdays into a compelling, multifaceted opportunity to delve into El Paso’s art milieu. “[People] get to engage and experience an event that’s different, to interact with artists [and] the art scene. To walk around our beautiful downtown and support the local art community.”
Turón’s main motivator in all of her ventures is to encourage people to engage with local creators and to pursue artistic encounters more often. Turón knows well that art is a special kind of therapy. “When you’re surrounded by art and interacting with art . . . you get this really good feeling, subconsciously you get relaxed. Trying to understand things that are new to you takes your mind away from the daily stress. And it also makes you see things differently.”
Turón has a lot planned for the region in the coming months. If you’d like to get involved or learn more about the Paradox project, upcoming workshops and other projects, feel free to email Turón at email@example.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram @lauraturonart and @turonlaura, respectively. For all things Last Thursdays, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Last Thursdays on Facebook and Instagram @LastThursdaysEP. To give to the Paradox project, please visit https://54306.thankyou4caring.org/paradox-artists-grants–workshops. To give to Last Thursdays EP, please visit https://54306.thankyou4caring.org/last-thursdays-el-paso.
Text: Chantel Baul
Photos: Laura Jaquez Bustillos & Mario Rojo
Photo Gallery: Brioch