Roswell Museum and Art Center

Roswell, NM



Ranchwomen of New Mexico


"Ranchwomen of New Mexico," a traveling exhibit of photographs by Ann Bromberg, continues through July 16, 2000.

Bromberg, an Albuquerque photographer, spent the summer of the fifth year of her life on a dude ranch in Durango. This experience fostered a lifelong interest in ranch life and the determined women that made their way in this male dominated world.

Left to right: Jane Shafer, Carrizoso; Gretchen Sammis and Ruby Gobble, Cimmeron; Felicia Thal, Mora; Alice Moore, Raton; Linda Davis, Cimmeron. All photographs © Ann Bromberg

"Ranchwomen of New Mexico," joins forty-six of Bromberg's black and white photographs documenting ten ranchwomen - reflections of a personal, soul capturing journey for Bromberg - with the poignant commentary of Albuquerque writer Sharon Niederman whose profiles of ranchwomen have appeared in noted regional and national publications. "I am moved and inspired by the stories of their lives," states Niederman. "In their stories we find character, strength and purpose."

Through Bromberg's lens, the spirited tenacity of ten New Mexico ranchwomen comes to life in this exhibition organized and circulated by The Albuquerque Museum. "1 want the audience to see the strength of the hands of each woman rancher. Their hands express the very spirit involved in the work, a difficult lifestyle.that most women are not equipped to do. The hands of these women are tough and weathered, yet their eyes capture the gentleness of the daughter, wife and mother." This is an absorbing and gritty portrait of western women who are part of a unique American way of life that is driven by a tough inner spirit. (right: Evelyn Fite Fune, silver print, 20 x 24 inches, © 1998 Ann Bromberg)

"Ranchwomen" introduces the viewer to many diverse personalities. Included are Felicia Thal who settled an a ranch in Watrous, New Mexico, and through her successful cattle operation earned the prestigious honor, "Cattleman of the Year." Dorothea Begay, a Navajo sheep rancher, possesses a deep respect for and understanding of the land in which she dwells, and the sheep that help to sustain her. (right: Dorothea Begay, silver print, 20 x 24 inches, © 1998 Ann Bromberg)

Nogal rancher and rodeo pioneer Fern Sawyer is perhaps the most colorful and well known among these women. In her book Cowgirls, Teresa Jordan states, "Fern lives full-throttle and always has. She minces words with no one ... Feral and unquenchable, she embodies the exotic self-indulgence of an F. Scott Fitzgerald heroine gone West." Fern Sawyer passed away in 1993, in the saddle, with her boots on - shortly after the inception of the "Ranchwomen" project. Yet it is Bromberg's images of Fern, coupled with Niederman's words, that inspired this exhibit. (left: Fern Sawyer, © Ann Bromberg)

The Museum is located at Eleventh and Main Streets in Roswell. The address is 100 West Eleventh Street, Roswell, NM 88201. (information as of 3/00)

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