The Unexamined Portrait

Art Talk: February 22, 1 PM
Reception: February 22, 5-7 PM

Mixed media by Len Davis and Jessie Burciaga
January 17 – February 26, 2017
On display at the South Texas College Pecan Library

New mixed-media exhibit explores the unexamined portrait


The Library Art Gallery at South Texas College invites community and students to a special talk by Los Angeles, mixed-media artist Len Davis on February 22 at the Pecan Library Rainbow Room at 1 p.m.

The South Texas College Library Art Gallery, in collaboration with the college’s Black History Month Celebration, has curated an exhibit entitled, “The Unexamined Portrait” featuring Davis’s work that will be on display until February 26, 2016. The exhibit is located on the second floor of the Pecan Campus Library.

The talk will be followed by a reception from 5 – 7 PM in the Library Art Gallery. The Pecan Campus Library is located at 3201 W. Pecan Blvd., Bldg. F in McAllen, Texas. All events are free and open to the public.

The exhibit will also feature local printmaker and mixed-media artist, Jessie Burciaga. Burciaga will give an informal talk with Davis during the reception at 5:00 PM.

“The two artists create highly-skilled, layered work that evokes nuanced, overlapping meanings and metaphors; Len Davis through collage and Jessie Burciaga in his mixed-media paintings,” says Gina Otvos, STC Art Gallery Associate. “For centuries, artists have used varying motifs to conjoin real and fantastic to the interior and exterior world. Both Davis and Burciaga join in tradition to help us explore the unexamined portrait.”


Len Davis was born in Philadelphia, PA, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from East Carolina University in North Carolina, and later moved to Los Angeles. Since 2004, Davis has been exhibiting and lecturing across the United States and working on television and movie set designs for popular sets on Showtime, HBO, ABC, NBC and others. Davis works mainly in assemblage and collage where he uses found objects, drawings, graphite, gouache, and acrylic. About his work, he says, “My artwork is about the people we are, what we create, our capabilities and the issues with which we deal.”


Jessie Burciaga (Brownsville, TX) is a local printmaker and painter who received his degree from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Burciaga grasps the soul of his border town and imprints it through portraits of its hardworking people. The intention behind these portraits is to capture, immortalize, and display the level of resilience of each person. He says, “My subjects, often considered average by outsiders, are our local urban heroes.”


STC’s Library Art Gallery exhibits regional, national and international artwork, explores new visions and theories of creativity, and introduces innovative artistic expressions to the South Texas region.

For more information, contact Gina Otvos at gotvos@southtexascollege.edu or (956) 872-3488. For a complete listing of events visit: http://library.southtexascollege.edu/LibraryArt



This is Not a Cat

Collages by Carl Vestweber


On display at the South Texas College Starr Co. Library

January 17 – May 12, 2017


Carl Vestweber’s work explores his interests and experiences as an artist, husband and father living in the 21st century. His preferred media ranges from illustrative drawings and paintings to anthropomorphic cat art and abstracted dot collages. While the materials of this work may vary, the colors, themes of playful interaction, family, culture and power structures overlap and represent his experiences and understandings of the world around him.


Interpreting Vogue


Paintings by Carlos Ochoa

Art Talk & Reception: March 2, 6 PM

On display at the South Texas College Technology Library

January 24 – March 9, 2017

Carlos Ochoa is a graduate of the UTRGV Studio Art Program. In his recent Vogue series, he paints over models to embellish the commercial ideal of beauty by manipulating ads found within Vogue magazines. In his newest Vogue series, the viewer is left to interpret the altered art form as well as their own perspective on how companies sell their products by misusing the viewer’s notion of beauty.





Recharge at the Library and CLE with Free Coffee and Popcorn during Finals Week!

To help make finals a little easier, the South Texas College Libraries and Centers for Learning Excellence (Tutoring) will be offering FREE coffee and popcorn during Finals Week!

Throughout the week the Pecan and Starr Campus libraries, and the CLEs, will be brewing fresh pots of coffee. The Mid-Valley, Nursing & Allied Health, and Technology Campus libraries will be popping fresh popcorn each day. See the flyers below for more information.

Good luck during Finals!

Pecan Campus

 Mid-Valley Campus


Nursing & Allied Health Campus


Technology Campus

Starr Campus

Who Knew? Finding Bestsellers in the Library

Does the end of the semester have you feeling stressed? Relax with a bestseller at the library. To find a listing of these titles, go to the library’s homepage and click on the Library Catalog link. On the next page, in the drop down selection for Location, choose Bestsellers, as shown below, and search. Or, simply come in and browse the bestseller shelving display.


Contributed by Librarian, Maureen Mitchell


“False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical “News” Sources”

When searching for information online, it can sometimes be challenging to identify reputable resources. There are many websites that might appear legitimate, but they might actually post fake or misleading information alongside accurate information. What steps can be taken to help sort through potentially misleading information?


*Note – Numbers represent categories explained in the full document linked below.

Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, put together a publicly available Google Document cataloging “False, misleading, clickbait-y and satirical ‘news’ sources.”  The document offers up sites that are known aggregators – they take news stories from other sources and rewrite them with more inflammatory headlines and without contextual facts. The document also lists some tips for analyzing news sources, and for how people can identify potentially fake news. Things like strange domain names, unusual domain extensions, and using ALL CAPS should be warning signs.


To see the document in full, please follow this link: False, misleading, clickbait-y and satirical ‘news’ sources

Contributed by Library Specialist, William Heinrich

Collection at 3201: Number One – Landscape

Collection at 3201 is a project to promote accessibility and visibility of South Texas College’s Permanent Art Collection to students, faculty, staff and the community. We invite faculty and staff to pick an artwork from the collection and talk about how it has influenced the way they see the world. We hope this intersection of art and ideas inspires learning about art and culture in the Rio Grande Valley.

Sylvia Benitez, Guadalupe, Guadalupe, Oil on canvas, 84 x 72 inch. benitez

Contributed by Jessie Rodriguez, STC Library Art Gallery

When I look at Guadalupe, Guadalupe by Sylvia Benitez I am reminded of a Sigmund Freud quote: “the mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.” The analogy works here. Like the tip of the iceberg, what can clearly be seen in Benitez’s Guadalupe, Guadalupe is a view of a natural landscape depicting an inky orange sunrise at the Guadalupe River near her home in Seguin, Texas. Though the work is skillfully painted, I’m most drawn to the part of the painting that draws the subconscious mind. The emotions and feelings lie underneath the surface like the base of the iceberg that stretches far below the ocean. Beyond what we see, landscape painting, the viewer is transported into pockets of distant shadows and allowed to discover and walk into the depths of the painting or the corners of the subconscious mind. The viewer is drawn in, transported, submerged into the memory of the previous dawns and the context of those experiences.

Benitez’s large scale painting alludes to the Romantic era of the 1800s and explores the vastness of the natural world in her landscape paintings. By placing the horizon line lower in the painting, she creates a dreamlike atmosphere of a bright orange morning where we can catch a glimpse into a moment in Benitez’s vision. The dreamlike environment that she paints draws the viewer into this otherworldly realm. What fascinates me about Guadalupe, Guadalupe is how sublime the nature is even with the gestural brushstroke landscape. It becomes a vehicle for expressing a range of psychological and emotional states by the artist. Although I could never know the emotions and feelings going through an artist’s mind, I can only interpret what it means to me and connect in a more spiritual way or remember a feeling that I only experienced at a certain time and place.

Sylvia Benitez trained as an abstract painter in the 1970s at the University of Maryland. She moved to NYC in 1980 and lived there for twenty years until eventually relocating to Seguin, Texas. Her painting was accepted into South Texas College’s Permanent Art Collection in 2016.



Jose de la Luz Saenz Veterans Lecture Series Presents” Dr. Selfa Chew”



The Center for Mexican American Studies and Library Services presents “José de la Luz Saenz Veterans Lecture Series” an author talk followed by a book signing with Dr. Selfa Chew.  This event will take place, Thursday, November 10 at 1:00pm in G-191 Mid-Valley Auditorium G-191 & at 6:00 pm at the Pecan Campus Library Rainbow Room.


Selfa Chew holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Science from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She received an MFA in Creative Writing, and her PhD in Borderlands History from The University of Texas at El Paso. She was Interim Director of the African American Studies Program in 2015-2016. Dr. Chew was an editor for Border Senses Literary Review and translator for Memorias del Silencio, a migrant workers publication. She coordinated the Mexican Contemporary Literature Journal and Conference from 1999 to 2012. She published Mudas las Garzas in 2007, released in English as Silent Herons by San Francisco, Berkely Press, in 2012.  Her play “Night Stalker: Mi hermano siamés” was included in the National Theatrical Exhibit (Mexico, 2013).  In 2015, the Universidad Autónoma de Cd. Juárez awarded her the Voces al Sol Publication Prize for her book Cinco Obras de Teatro. Currently, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History, University of Texas at El Paso. She is completing her second doctoral degree in the Sociocultural Foundations of Education Program at the same university.


Dr. Chew’s research focuses on racial relations and the Asian and African diasporas. Her book, Uprooting Community: Japanese Mexicans, WWII and US-Mexico Borderlands (The University of Arizona Press, 2015) was finalist for the International Latino Book Award in September 2016She currently teaches United States History, Afro-Mexican History, Contemporary Latin America, and African American History at the University of Texas at El Paso and New Mexico State University.


Dr. Chew presented “The Japanese Mexican Expulsion from the U.S./Mexico Borderlandsby special invitation from the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.  (Un)Silencing the Past: Narratives of Trauma in Comparative Perspective, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Symposium, University of New Mexico, October 24-25, 2013. Among her academic publications are: “The Japanese Mexican Community During World War II: Mexicanidades de la Diáspora Asiática,” Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of MALCS, 2015; Recovering Afro-Mestiza Identities in a Borderland Classroom”in Intersections in the Latina and African Diasporas, ed. Marion Rohrleitner and Sarah Ryan. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, December, 2012; and, Re-Imagining Collectivities: The Mexican Japanese During World War II,National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Proceedings, San Jose State University Scholarworks, 2008.




Who Knew? NewsBank Database – National Hispanic Heritage Month

Need to research a local topic? NewsBank Database is a great place to start by following the link to Lower Rio Grande Newspapers and searching your topic. If you need ideas for a topic, follow the links to Hot Topics or Find a Topic. Check out one of the October Special Reports, such as 2016 Elections or National Hispanic Heritage Month. (To access this link to the database off campus, you will need to enter your JagNet username and password.)

Additionally, explore National Hispanic Heritage month at the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian.


Contributed by Librarian, Maureen Mitchell