Leadership

(Jonathan Thorpe / Instagram: @jthorpephoto

Taras W. Matla is Associate Director of the University of Maryland Art Gallery. At the Art Gallery, he oversees its day-to-day operation and a permanent collection of over 4,500 works of art. During Matla's tenure, the permanent collection has doubled in size, with a broader emhasis on artist diversity and representation. He has also curated and coordinated several key exhibitions at the Art Gallery, including: Christopher Bartel: The Skinwalker Ranch Portfolio (2021), Observations: Selected Works by Jamilah Sabur (2020), Pause, Play: Selected Works by Jonathan Monaghan (2020), Lia Halloran: The Same Sky Overarches Us All (2019), Here and Now: Recent Acquisitions (2019), Glances From Infinity (2018), Laid, Placed, and Arranged (2017), Wynn Bullock: Revelations (2016), Process It All: Selected Works by Chip Lord (2014), and John Baldessari: Four Short Films, 1972-1973 (2014).

In addition to his curatorial work, Matla established the Visiting Artist Lecture-Project (VALP) initiative in 2015. This initative's aim is to bring emerging and mid-career artists from diverse backgrounds to UMD, thereby allowing them to work collaboratively with the Art Gallery, students, faculty, and surrounding community on a site-specific project on campus. Past participants include Kim Schoenstadt, Christine NguyenRachel Hayesand Carlos Martiel. In 2016, he brought the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon to UMD. Held annually in March (Women's History Month) and co-organized with the Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture, this event emphasizes direct student involvement and activism in order to close information gaps related to gender, feminism, and the arts on Wikipedia. Matla is also a Research Affiliate of Harvard University's Galileo Project

Prior to joining the University of Maryland Art Gallery, Matla worked in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as well as in the Communications and Corporate Relations department at The J. Paul Getty Trust. A native of Los Angeles, California, Matla holds a BFA in Printmaking from California State University, Long Beach and an MA in Aesthetics and Politics from California Institute of the Arts. Follow him on Twitter @tarasmatla

STAFF PROFILES 

(Jonathan Thorpe / Instagram: @jthorpephoto

Patricia Ortega-Miranda is Registrar and Curatorial Assistant at the University of Maryland Art Gallery, where she manages key aspects of the gallery related to the permanent collection and exhibition development. She processes new acquisitions, collaborates with faculty to enhance student engagement, and assists with the research and logistics of art exhibitions. Ortega-Miranda has co-curated and organized exhibitions of two important internationally recognized Cuban artists, Carlos Martiel and Glenda León. In January of 2021, she became the primary organizer of the Guest Curator Initiative for Now Be Here, a non-profit project and visual artist directory for international and national women-identifying and non-binary artists. In this role, Ortega-Miranda joined together a series of conversations between artists, art specialists, and scholars (all of which are currently available for viewing), and also performed her own curatorial intervention with the virtual exhibition Solid Objects: Debra Broz, Karolina Maszkiewicz, Donna Mccullough, Cheryl Riley.

Ortega-Miranda is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History & Archeology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned her Master’s degree in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote her thesis about the documentary work of Afro-Cuban artist Nicolás Guillén Landrián. Ortega-Miranda has held fellowships from important institutions such as the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas; the International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. 

 

(Jonathan Thorpe / Instagram: @jthorpephoto

Melanie Woody Nguyen is Registrar and Curatorial Assistant at the University of Maryland Art Gallery, where she manages key aspects of the gallery related to the permanent collection and exhibition development. She processes new acquisitions, collaborates with faculty to enhance student engagement, and assists with the research and logistics of art exhibitions. Nguyen is the inaugural curator of Video in the Atrium (VITA), a display of video art in a well-trafficked corridor of the Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building on campus. In September 2021, she became the primary organizer of the the Guest Curator Initiative for Now Be Here, a non-profit project and visual artist directory for international and national women-identifying and non-binary artists. 
 
Nguyen is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History & Archeology at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studies contemporary American art. Her dissertation is titled "Embodied Ecologies: Intersections of the Body and the Natural World in the Work of Ana Mendieta, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Maren Hassinger," and brings together histories of performance art with histories of environmental art from 1969-1989. Nguyen's research interests center on ecocriticism and its intersections with gender and race in American art, broadly considered, of the postwar period. Nguyen has previously held positions in the curatorial department at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden as well as at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.