Saturday, July 13, 2024

The Arts: Discovering the luminous world of Carmen Menza

By Elizabeth Brannon, Flower Mound Cultural Arts Commission

In Highland Village there lives and works a prolific artist named Carmen Menza. Her name might be new to you, but she’s been part of the North Texas/Denton County arts scene since graduating with a BFA in Jazz Guitar Performance from UNT in 1999.

She started her professional career in broadcast television, but when her son was born, she was able to start her career as an artist by painting when he was sleeping. Thanks to the naps her son took, we can embrace Carmen as an interdisciplinary artist who creates fine art and technology-based installations utilizing light, painting, interactive software, music composition and sound design. She explores themes of space, color, perception and human connection, and original videos, movies and music accompany many of her installations.

For the last decade, her concentration in art has been color and light and how light reacts with color. Carmen said she fell in love with light and space and light-based work. Because her works include lighting, music, video, light refraction and optical qualities, her works are considered complex and dynamic “installations.”

Carmen Menza

Carmen has displayed her installations throughout North Texas, Denton, and out of the Metroplex in Amarillo, Virginia and New Orleans. She has had numerous exhibitions starting in 2005, with some of her most exciting work currently at Meow Wolf in Grapevine. Her professional work has included presenting at student workshops, supporting numerous local charities and presenting artist talks in locations like the Perot Museum and the Amon Carter Museum. Her works are part of selected public collections in hospitals and charitable organizations. Carmen has received awards and grants for her work from TWU, TACA and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She is a published writer and is a founding member of Texas Vignette, a non-profit that promotes the arts by providing support, education and the production of the Vignette Art Fair, showcasing the work of women artists throughout Texas.

With the opening of Meow Wolf, Carmen’s works are now easily available to see, experience and enjoy locally. Carmen has four dioramas at Meow Wolf; three light-based works paired with musical scores and one interactive work created in collaboration with Joel Olivas. Carmen harnesses light to animate small and large spaces and the varying degrees of intensity and color are her greatest inspirations. When she adds time to the dimensions of color, light and space, she sets the stage for her spiritual and inspirational works that move viewers and artists alike. Her work is an ever-changing and interactive bit of art and technology.

In an interview with V. Cardenas in April 2023, Carmen said, “I hope that my work inspires a kind of reflection, a pause in time for the viewer to connect to something deeper. My works are meant to contain a level of interplay and I hope to change their perspective to something they may not have seen before.”

See more work at her Instagram @carmenmenzaart and message her for inquiries. Carmen would be happy to have to you visit her studio to see works in person in addition to visiting Meow Wolf. Learn more about Carmen and her works at

North Texas is privileged to have Carmen as a resident creative.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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