Art Spaces Index

Sacred Space: Man and the Divine in Mexico, Central America, and the Southwestern United States by Carolyn Brown

Story + Photographs by JR Compton

in the Hall of State on the
Texas State Fairgrounds
September ~ October, 2000


Sacred Space: Man and the Divine in Mexico, Central America, and the Southwestern United States featured more than 200 photographs, many of them mural size, by Dallas photographer Carolyn Brown. The show was organized and presented by the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at Southern Methodist University and curated by Richard Brettell.

Sacred Space will transport visitors through 4,000 years of cultural history as they view sacred places from towering mountains and mystical ceremonial sites of the pre-Hispanic world to peaceful village churches and grand cathedrals of the 17th and 18th Centuries."


A 20' high photograph of scaffolding similar to
that used in the show in a Mexican church,
as seen through the show's real scaffolding.

Sacred Spaces was an amazing exhibition — a multitude of sacred spaces inside our own sacred Texas space. Both are expansive; together they were magnificent. The photographs were mounted in large-scale, metal scaffolding inside Dallas' most sacred repository of Texas history.

Carolyn Brown's large-scale, digitally reproduced photographs are exquisitly beautiful and spiritual. The juxtapositions of the Mezzo-American spaces inside Dallas' mural-filled Hall of State was delightful. The immense place is crawling with soaring visions, intricate histories and visually stunning juxtapositions.

The photographs are traditional compositions, though often shot from remarkable angles to include spectacular visions. The presentation is unique. The novel construction yields the sensation that we are actually exploring those sacred spaces — as indeed we are.

Walking through and among the intertwining show spaces in the several large halls of the Hall of State often feels like we are actaully entering through the ancient portals. It's almost as startling to look up into the soaring vaults in the exhibition as it would be if we'd walked around the spaces themselves.

This is the biggest exhibition I've ever seen, and — not unlike some of the architectural wonders portrayed, which must have taken centuries to complete, the exhibtion was still being constructed as we toured through it.


Curator Richard Brettell explains construction
of the show amid construction for the show.
Photo ©2000 by JRCompton.

It's a truly three- dimensional, architectural experience, perfectly appropriate for the superb, two-dimensional content. The Hall of State is already busy with the history of Texas, and the spaces created by the Sacred Spaces exhibition is interior to that noble expansion, with the constant reminder of Texas' own colorful history peeking through the many airy spaces in between .

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All Contents © 2000 by J R Compton All Rights Reserved. Individual art works are copyrighted by the individual artists. Commercial use or redistribution in any form, printed or electronic, is prohibited.