The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art will celebrate its 15th anniversary on Friday when Brownsville artist Ray Smith presents “Pansy Pensamientos,” an exhibition dedicated to his mother Pansy Yturria Smith, Frank and Fausto Yturria’s sister.

Ray Smith was born in Brownsville but grew up in Mexico City. He was the featured artist when the museum had its grand opening in November 2006. He is well known nationally and internationally, having done well over 100 shows in the United States, Mexico, Europe and beyond.

Pansy Pensamientos will exhibit many works that were part of the European version of the 2006 show but did not make it into the Brownsville and Corpus Christi exhibitions, he said.

Artist Ray Smith stands in front of his large painting Regata that will be part of his Ray Smith:Pansy Pensamientos exhibition at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art as BMFA celebrate their 15th Anniversary Gala this Friday. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

Omar-Pascual Castillo, the curator for the 2006 show, describes Smith in an entry on the BMFA website:

“Ray Smith is a trans-border artist, migratory in every way, Texan-Mexican, resident in NYC and Cuernavaca (Mexico) for more than three decades, forged in the arduous waters of postmodernity and the transition from the analog universe to that of the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, what sociologists call “the hybrid generation”, who experienced the Cold War and the birth of the virtual universe, he is an artist who, migrates with great ease from one language to another, from pictorial to sculptural, from sculpture to drawing, and from drawing back to pictorial, in an infinite loop, perhaps due to the transitory juncture in his DNA.”

In an interview Wednesday morning, Smith said he did not grow up with a border resident’s understanding of Mexico, but rather with a sensibility that comes from having lived in the capital city.

“My mother had taken us down there because my father was a cotton merchant” as part of the post-World War II effort to introduce American methodology to Mexico’s agriculture industry, Smith said.

Smith has dedicated himself to painting since age 8.

“All his work is a displacement that turns on itself, forever returning to its origin,” Castillo says of the artist’s perspective.

“There’s a method I use all the time, which is to paint out of the corner of your eye,” Smith said. “I want the image to appear to me like a sort of ghost, somewhere between the corner and straight on.”

Artist Ray Smith walks by his painting Ghosts at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art as BMFA will celebrate their 15th Anniversary Gala with Ray Smith: Pansy Pensamientos exhibition. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

With Frank and Fausto Yturria as uncles Smith uses the Yturria Ranch in Raymondville as a studio of sorts.

“Some of the paintings (in the exhibition opening Friday) were exhibited in Spain but not here,” he said. “All of them were done with inspiration from here. … The exhibition is like the border in a sense, entering from one reality into the other.”

Pansy Pensamientos will have its 15th anniversary Gala grand opening at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. Group rates are available and pricing is on a fundraising basis.

The exhibition continues Saturday through January 28 at regular museum price: $5 for adults and $2.50 for children, students, seniors and veterans.

Deyanira Ramirez, BMFA executive director, said she feels honored to have a part in the exhibit.

“For me it was an honor to collaborate in hanging the exhibition and to welcome Mr. Smith, his family and crew on behalf of the board of directors and staff,” she said.

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