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El Paso artist redefines Deere model

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An El Paso artist whose work revolved around re-creating a Deere tractor out of clay bought a real Deere tractor on which to base her artistry.
An El Paso artist whose work revolved around re-creating a Deere tractor out of clay bought a real Deere tractor on which to base her artistry.

A Texas woman is using a John Deere tractor to manufacture a statement.

Margarita Cabrera of El Paso created a John Deere Model #790 tractor out of clay, according to a published report. The artist typically bases her work on the U.S. and Mexico's economic and cultural relationship, and this one underscores migrant laborers' work for agriculture juxtaposed with the government's anti-immigration policies.

Known as "Arbol de la Vida" - Spanish for Tree of Life, in Spanish - the tractor Cabrera is made of an earthy clay that is light brown in color and from Acatlán, Puebla, which is southeast of Mexico City. Having bought a Deere tractor, she creates molds of actual parts within the agricultural machine she had dissembled.

The 37-year-old's artwork is currently featured at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. The exhibition, called New Image Sculpture, features the work of 13 artists.

Flowers, birds and butterflies - all dried in a kiln - cover Cabrera's tractor.

"Rather than employing found objects from the real world combined to create something wholly new, the artists of 'New Image Sculpture' interpret objects from the real world as aesthetic objects removed from their original function," said William Chiego, director of the museum. "Their works question our common understanding of what is real and further expand the definition of sculpture."

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