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Artist explores inner space with exhibit at the Nave

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
March 12, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Updated March 11, 2014 at 10:12 p.m.

Sculptor and performance artist Amber Eagle unveils her new art car - Rosebud - on the lawn of the Nave Museum. Eagle's new exhibit, "Ride: New Works by Amber Eagle," is on display at the Nave.

Soft rays of early morning sunlight bounced off the gray cobblestones and mid-rise sandstone buildings.

Early risers walked the streets of the central Mexican city, San Miguel de Allende, sweeping the front entrances to their shops and eateries and preparing for the start of a new week of customers.

Amber Eagle, a performance and sculpture artist and near-permanent Mexican resident, was also up early.

She and her husband, Guillermo Rosas, were out at dusk, taking an early morning test drive of Rosebud - Eagle's newest art car - designed to resemble an alien's Earth buggy.

"When I put the last part on the car and it was all finished, we drove it through town. That was our celebration ride," Eagle said, describing the bumpy ride over the uneven colonial cobblestone streets about a month ago. "It was a very hard ride. That will probably be the hardest drive of its life."

Rosebud is a circular, motorized and hand-crafted ship built to express the alien qualities that everyone has within them, what Eagle refers to as their mysterious inner space.

To illustrate such a message, Eagle and her husband dress in cream spacesuits with hand-carved wooden helmets while driving the vehicle, performing in real time the strangeness of what it would be like if an alien ship arrived on Earth or humans arrived on an alien planet.

"It was great driving it through town that morning. It was almost like a little alien invasion," Eagle said.

On Thursday, Rosebud arrived at the Nave for Eagle's newest exhibit, "Ride: New Works by Amber Eagle."

The car was transported, though not driven, across the Mexico-Texas border for its premier showing at the Nave.

"We had a great turnout at the member preview, and attendance has been strong the first few days of the exhibit," said Amy Leissner, executive director of the museum. "People drive by and see the car in front of the Nave and want to come on in, which of course is wonderful."

Leissner commented that she was personally moved by Rosebud, mentioning the irony of observing Eagle's personal life mimicking themes of alienation conveyed through her art.

"I watched her wave goodbye to her husband the afternoon before the (exhibit) opening because they had been waiting two years for him to receive an interview for his green card," she said. "When the interview was scheduled at 7 a.m. the morning after her opening, they weren't about to try and change it, so instead of being at the Nave with her celebrating their wonderful collaboration, he was driving back to Mexico. I found that very poignant and a little ironic."

Eagle's "Ride" exhibit will be on display until May 4. Her works are on display throughout the museum and include a slideshow of photos and short film in the rear gallery.

"I want people to leave happier than when they came in," Eagle said. "All of us have a certain amount of aliens in the world, and this is a form of art that sort of drives up and surprises you."



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