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Summer Season: Santa Fe

By Aline Brandauer

While the rest of the art world takes a vacation, the Southwest’s cultural capital offers a full slate of fairs and gallery shows.


Santa Fe’s summer art fest traditionally begins with the opening of the Santa Fe Opera.This year, on July 1, a new production of Gounod’s Faust takes the stage. Will Faust give up his eternal soul to Mephistopheles? Or will it simply rain in the middle of the first act? The visual arts follow this salvo with a bang the next weekend, when two of the art events open together, setting the tone for the following two months.

Art Santa Fe (July 7–10) celebrates its 11th year as a boutique art fair with an increasingly serious international presence. Every year the fair expands and further defines itself. In 2008, 59 galleries from 19 countries exhibited their work. In 2011, those numbers are yet to be determined, but be assured that the quality and diversity of the participating galleries will only increase. The fair also hosts a series of juried project rooms in which non-profits and galleries can install one-person installations.

As part of the fair, Art Santa Fe organizers sponsor several artworks. Standouts this year include Regine Schumann’s Sublimity, co-sponsored with Munich’s Galerie Renate Bender. Right away the title announces the artist’s connection with the great German romantic tradition is announced. Indeed, many refer to Schumann as a painter because of her interest in light and color. Schumann has constructed an environmental experience verging on the ineffable, an installation in a darkened, UV-lighted room in which viewers can wander through glowing, tremulous, plastic spheres of various colors. Throughout the fair, attendees will participate with artist Peter Weber by treading on a folded canvas. Called the Footstep Projects, these collaborations end with a ritual unfolding and display of the work. Former museum director and critic Jan Adlmann writes that these pieces are “an especially spectacular, utterly novel conflation of performance and—in effect—printmaking as well, a work of startling beauty, a confluence of accident and design.”

The International Folk Art Festival (July 8–10) a relative newcomer to the scene, operates at the intersection of art and international development. More than 150 artists from around the world—and often from the poorest countries—bring their work and cultures to Santa Fe to sell and meet each other and folk art collectors. Last year’s market yielded over $2 million in sales, of which an astounding 90 percent went back with the artists. Much of that has served to support art collectives and general development. In a speech at last year’s event, New York Times pundit Nicholas Kristof said, “This is a very healthy way to chip away at poverty globally.” It’s also an enormously big, beautiful way to enjoy the astounding creativity of much of the world.

SOFA West 2011, the third annual Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair, has become such a great hit that the organizers have decided to include a subsidiary show, the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art. The Santa Fe show (August 4–7) follows many years of successful SOFA events in Chicago and New York.

Spanish Market (July 30–31, with opening festivities July 29) and Indian Market (August 20–21) are the two venerable old ladies of the Santa Fe season. Writer Mary Austin and painter Frank Applegate formed the Spanish Colonial Society in 1925 in order to preserve and revive the local Hispanic art traditions. The market itself was formed shortly after that, and during the political upheavals of the Chicano movement became known as the traditional Spanish Market when a splinter group formed the concurrent Contemporary Hispanic Market.

During early August, leading up to Indian Market, several ethnographic fairs take place, plus the new Santa Fe Show. First is the 28th annual Ethnographic Art Show (August 11–13) which features more than 150 dealers specialising in Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, African, Asian, Indonesian and other ethnographic art from around the world, followed by the 33rd annual Antique Indian Art Show (August 14–16), which is one of the country’s largest venues for antique Indian art. The Santa Fe Show, in its second year, takes place in El Museo Cultural on the weekends of August 13–15 and August 19–21. The wares include a wide variety of material from historic and contemporary paintings to rugs, furniture and ethnographic material.

On the weekend of August 20, after a week-long series of events celebrating Native American culture, Indian Market will bring roughly 100,000 visitors to town. Indian Market was founded to bring attention and income to Native American artists. As with Spanish Market, many families have been participating for generations.

The city’s plethora of galleries provide art and happenings for a wide range of tastes. For those collectors interested in historical material, Nedra Matteucci Galleries and Alan Barnes Fine Art showcase figurative work from the 19th and 20th centuries, along with contemporary artists. Matteucci, whose superb sculpture garden is worth visiting any time, has a showcase exhibition of Taos artist Walt Gonske’s plein-air views of Northern New Mexico (through July 15). Barnes, newly arrived in Santa Fe from Dallas and London, continues a family tradition of restoring and selling artwork that dates from the 18th-century. In his tiny jewel of a shop on Old Santa Fe Trail, Barnes will also show living European artists who intrigue him. In July, Irish artist John Kingerlee’s work, very little known in the United States will be featured.

Another new gallery, S.R. Brennen Fine Art, located on art-saturated Canyon Road, brings a fine range of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and various types of Realist work. One standout is 34-year-old Adrian Gottlieb, whose painterly work has evolved from portraiture to other figurative themes. Gottlieb’s strength is his ability to capture that moment between a live sitter and the artist that animates the work of art. Also on Canyon, the Art of Russia Gallery concentrates on figurative historical and contemporary Russian work. When it was founded in 1995, it was focused exclusively on the works of Yevgeni Shchukin (born 1959) whose lyrical and colorful work is indebted to Eastern European mystical traditions. Run by Dianna Lennon, a Kiev native, the gallery makes it part of its mission to help Russian artists with material support and by bringing them into the mainstream. In August, for those with historical Modernist leanings, Peyton Wright Gallery will mount a stunning show of Stanton Macdonald-Wright, including some key Synchromist canvases.

The newly-formed Canyon Road Merchant’s Association is creating a critical mass of communication, marketing and preservation of one of the most famous roads in the United States. By bonding together the roughly 100 businesses there, the group will be able to act as a powerhouse in both the Santa Fe and art communities. Canyon Road is already designated a Historic Road, the name given to those that meet stringent criteria for their contribution to American history. The Association has expanded its Fourth Fridays, in which galleries synchronize their openings to create a festive ambience. All businesses are encouraged to stay open late on every Friday throughout the summer months—and, of course, some of the town’s best restaurants, like Geronimo’s and the Compound, are on Canyon.

After the Historic Road designation four years ago, artists and merchants on Canyon Road wanted, “to give something back to the city,” according to Connie Axton, director of Ventana Fine Art and a major player in the Association. When the Association teamed up with the Santa Fean magazine as sponsor, the annual Paint Out event was born. Every year on the third Saturday in October, artists turn out en masse to paint outdoors and schoolchildren play music along the way. This attempt to reanimate the spirit of the old, funky artist’s colony results in one enormous street festival that brings discovery, community and cash-back to music programs in the Santa Fe Public Schools.

At Ventana Fine Art, Doug Dawson’s series of atmospheric pastels, Town and Country, will be on view from July 29 through August 18. Dawson’s fine reputation as a pastel artist is attested to in these scenes, evoking the mystery and plenitude of the night. Down Canyon Road at New Concept Gallery, director and artist Ann Hosfeld will feature three-person shows this summer. In July, “Three Visions” presents three very different reactions to nature with works by Hosfeld, Jane Abrams and Reg Loving. Abrams concentrates on her physical reactions to what she calls “sensory wandering” in such pictures as Capricorn Morning, while Hosfeld and Loving are more formal, concentrating on the play of light and form.

Morningstar Gallery, another part of the Matteucci constellation of galleries, is widely regarded as one of the best and oldest purveyors of Native American Art. The gallery steps a bit out of its comfort range with “Classic Historic & Modern Masters” (opening August 13), juxtaposing historic and contemporary works including pottery, beadwork, basketry and textiles. From the highly finished pottery by sixth-generation potter Nathan Youngblood of Santa Clara Pueblo to the often tongue-in-cheek but slightly tragic ledger drawings by Dwayne Wilcox, of Oglala Lakota heritage, this exhibit will be a treat.

At Darnell Fine Art, Claire McCardle and Rachel Darnell team up in August for Mysterium, a concept that underlies one of the founding missions of the gallery. Speaking of her idiosyncratic method of weaving canvas and combining it with gold leaf, Darnell says in her artist statement that she “developed the technique of woven canvas to represent and emphasize the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things. It is a simple structure, yet profound in its strength.”

Gaugy Gallery is dedicated to the works of the Linear Expressionist Jean-Claude Gaugy, who draws on his artisanal family history to create a major body of work in wood and paint. According to director Michelle Gaugy, “Jean-Claude was, until recently, the only artist working in this manner. He single-handedly pulled carving 500 years into the present in his work. He transformed a traditional craft into a whole new genre of fine art.” Winterowd Fine Art has now stood the test of time on Canyon Road with an eclectic and remarkably affordable stable of artists. Owner Karla Winterowd has purposely sought this niche in the market, she says, because she wants good art to be available to a wide range of collectors. Another eponymously named gallery, Mark White Fine Art, will feature its owner’s work this summer. During July, White’s paintings on metal ground with metal dyes and his kinetic sculptures will form Ocean’s 20 11, a body of work inspired by White’s time in Laguna, Calif. He writes, “I engrave the metal surface to reflect light like a three-dimensional object. Clouds appear to be sculpted….The patterns of reflected light change as the viewer moves.” White’s ability to make the metal seem to evanesce provides the vital force in these new pieces.

As part of the focus on figurative work at Giacobbe Fritz Fine Art, realist painter Wendy Chidester will exhibit her careful depictions of old and perhaps neglected objects. Gallery director Deborah Fritz remarks, “Wendy Chidester is a collector and is herself often drawn to old, worn objects. She brings new life to these old objects and evokes memories of days past in each painting.” Goldsmith Tresa Vorenberg provides a look into Santa Fe galleries focused on fine craft. Representing over 30 jewelers, her gallery is temptation itself. Vorenberg’s comments reflect what many people feel about this revitalized yet traditional part of town: “What I love about Canyon Road is its evolution through the ever changing art scene. It is a gift to witness the spectrum of offerings from the cinco pintores (the Anglo painters who lived on Santa Fe’s East Side in the early 20th century) and traditional art to the most avant garde. To celebrate my 28th year selling and creating designer jewelry in this environment is quite an honor!”

Downtown near the Plaza, older galleries handling traditional work sit cheek-by-jowl with new contemporary galleries and four major museums—the New Mexico Museum of Art, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and the New Mexico History Museum. The O’Keeffe’s exhibtion “Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph” (through September 11) explores the complex, fruitful interaction of painting and photography. Curated by Barbara Buhler Lynes and Jonathan Weinberg, it brings together roughly 75 works of art by artists as diverse as Thomas Eakins, Cindy Sherman and O’Keeffe herself.

At Patina Gallery, Claire Kahn will exhibit her crocheted bead works that are often inspired by snakes and their patterns. DavidRichard Contemporary mounts Southern California Painting, 1970s: Painting Per Se, curated by David Eichholtz and Peter Frank. It will be the first of a series of four exhibitions reassessing the various movements of that place and time. The shows sets the groundwork for later experimentation. Traditional art-making materials are still largely in place in these works, as are figuration and gesture. The Vietnam War, feminism and other social movements are inextricably bound up in many of them. The formalist impulse is still very evident but not yet fully morphed into Light and Space. The gallery will also host a panel discussion with several of the artists, including Judy Chicago and Tony DeLap, in conjunction with Art Santa Fe on July 8.

The Railyard District, anchored by SiteSantaFe, has emerged over the past five years as home to several upscale contemporary galleries. The increasingly eclectic LewAllen Galleries will mount Pablo Picasso: Selections from la Suite Vollard at its Railyard space through July 24. Named for famed Parisian dealer Ambroise Vollard, the show is divided into five themes: Battle of Love; Sculptor’s Studio; Rembrandt; The Minotaur; and The Blind Minotaur, as well as a further 27 prints on disparate themes. Twenty of the works on view represent the Sculptor’s Studio theme within the suite. The Sculptor’s Studio is a clean, neo-classical series in a style Picasso adopted during the early 1920s and used again here in 1932–33 and explores the complications and relationships inherent in the creative connection between artist, model, muse and the history of sculpture.

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art has a group show of gallery artists in July, followed by an exhibition by New Mexico artist Constance DeJong in August. DeJong has long been concerned with form and how it affects light, most often utilizing metal supports. Also in August, at Box Gallery, Holes, Walls and Slabs highlights Tom Miller’s explorations of vision, materiality and politics. In Curtain, Miller’s restrained depiction of a corrugated wall implies a barrier to sight, a mass-made imposition into the fiction of natural sight. At Zane Bennett Contemporary Art Gallery, two longtime New Mexico artists will display their fascinating and idiosyncratic work. Holly Roberts combines painting and photography to create often-fragmented haunting depictions, while Colette Hosmer has moved over the last few years from extraordinary still-life installations toward stone depictions of animals. Across the street, Tai Gallery specializes in museum-quality bamboo and textile art, with the recent addition of Japanese photography. This summer (July 8–22) Tai features the work of renowned bamboo artist Nagakura Kenichi.

As the season ends on the first weekend of September with the Fiesta de Santa Fe—the religious celebration of the 1693 re-conquest of Santa Fe by Spain—and the traditional burning of gloom in the figure of huge puppet Zozobra, it seems more than likely that visitors and residents alike will have had their visual desires sated in the City Different.

Author: Art & Antiques Magazine | Publish Date: July 2011

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