Painted Reflections: Isomeric Design in Pueblo Pottery, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Painted Reflections emphasizes the sophisticated aesthetic qualities of Pueblo art through the study of reversible optical illusions and ambiguous figure-ground relationships. Beginning around 900 AD, Ancestral Pueblo artists began producing new designs on their ceramics—they painted pairs of motifs called isomers, or equal forms. From a conventional perspective, these works appear as painted motifs on unpainted backgrounds. But simultaneously, they also appear as unpainted images on painted backdrops. The exhibition contextualizes isomeric design within larger artistic trends and trajectories, bridging the gaps between art history, anthropology, and archaeology, and includes examples of isomeric designs made by both ancestral and contemporary artists.

Painted Reflections is co-curated by Joseph Traugott, Ph.D., retired curator at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Antonio R. Chavarria (Santa Clara Pueblo), Curator of Ethnology at MIAC, and Scott G. Ortman, PhD, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado—Boulder.

Museum Hours
The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture is open Tues-Sun 10am – 5pm but closed on January 1, Thanksgiving, and December 25.  From May through October, the museum is open each day from 10am-5pm.



  • Admission is $5 for residents of NM (First Sundays are free!)
  • Admission is $9 for non-residents


  • Admission is $5 for senior residents of NM (Free every Wednesday!)
  • Admission is $9 for non-resident seniors


  • Admission is $5 for students residing in NM
  • Admission is $9 for students living outside NM

KIDS (16 and Younger):

  • Admission for children is free, regardless of residency


  • Always free admission (see information below)

710 Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87505


Feb 06 2022 - Mar 12 2023


Museum is Closed Mondays
10:00 am - 5:00 pm


Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe
710 Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail Santa Fe, NM 87505