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The Santa Fe Way

With a “tricfecta” of fairs and a plethora of gallery shows this summer, Santa Fe beckons art enthusiasts from all over the country and the world.

Christopher Benson, Tintagel, 2014, oil on linen, 16 x 20 inches;

Christopher Benson, Tintagel, 2014, oil on linen, 16 x 20 inches;

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Eclecticism is the name of the game among today’s collectors, who freely mix a variety of contemporary art with classic and historical works and regional folk art. And there’s no better place to create that mix than Santa Fe, which has built on Native American, Western, and American modernist local traditions and broadened itself into one of the world’s premier markets for contemporary art and design. While the “City Different” is a year-round art center, it really comes into its own during summer, when fairs and special gallery shows welcome visitors in search of the unique merger of great art and good living that Santa Fe offers.

The Art Santa Fe boutique fair of international and contemporary art will return for its 14th edition at the Santa Fe Convention Center from July 10–13. A total of 30 to 35 exhibitors drawn from the U.S and around the world will take booths, including Galeria Gaudi from Spain; Galeri MERKUR, from Turkey; and Gallery Edel, from Japan. This is not to imply that the fair doesn’t attract galleries that have shorter commutes; the Hulse/Warman Gallery, hailing from Taos, N.M., will shine its light on the holographic art of August Muth. Art Santa Fe will help by providing the specialty lighting the gallery needs to bring out the best in Muth’s captivating works of laminated glass that contain holographic images, such as his 2014 piece Lucid. “We try to bring in art that can be purchased, but is also very visual and thought-provoking,” says Art Santa Fe organizer Charlotte Jackson. The fair also continues to reinvent itself. The space once given to the “How Things Are Made” demonstrations will go to Meow Wolf, a six-year-old Santa Fe-based collective that will create an art installation.

Art Santa Fe continues to explore the power of three. The “Art Trifecta” concept introduced last year by Jackson will return, linking the boutique fair, the International Folk Art Market, and SITELines 2014, the successor to the SITE Biennial, by staggering their July dates to create a week-long art-centric extravaganza. “We made it so they were on different days so someone could come to all three events,” Jackson says. “It has brought all of our events closer together. There’s all these different things happening and I think eventually there will be many different events and entities we’ll want to work with. So we may have to think of another title if it’s not a trifecta,” she says, laughing.

After taking three years to reconceptualize its biennale, the SITE Santa Fe contemporary art space unveils the fruits of its efforts on July 20 with “Unsettled Landscapes.” Featuring the work of 45 artists and artist collaboratives from 16 countries and continuing through January 11, 2015, it is the first entry in the SITElines series, a six-year cycle of exhibitions that will meditate on the arts of the Americas. “Unsettled Landscapes” will plumb the thorny question of land and the meaning of land—who owns it, who sells it, who depends on it, who exploits it, who draws arbitrary lines across it, who despoils it, who defends it, who holds it sacred, and why. Among the works will be gelatin silver prints from Leandro Katz’s Catherwood Series, created between 1985 and 1995. The project took Katz to the sites of Mayan ruins, which he photographed while holding old engravings of the same views before his lens. Also appearing in Unsettled Lands is Kevin Schmidt’s A Sign in the Northwest Passage. The artist painted a large wooden sign with a selection from the Book of Revelations and placed it on the melting ice of rural Canada as a portent of the oil and natural gas concerns that will descend once global warming makes the region’s resources easier to reach.

A top-to-bottom rethink of the biennale was warranted for many reasons, says SITElines director Irene Hofmann. A chief one was ensuring its vitality, purpose, and relevance in the face of growing competition. When SITE staged its first biennale in 1995, “you could count the number of biennales on one hand,” she says. “But for almost two decades, they’ve been on a pace where they’ve multiplied almost exponentially.” Another was to remind people that SITE Santa Fe does a lot more than mount a massive contemporary art show every 24 months. “We wanted to show what SITE Santa Fe was without the biennale. People didn’t realize it was a year-round art space,” she says. “Now it has a greater infrastructure at the site, and a greater network of curators. It takes time to build those relationships. That’s what we were doing behind the scenes.”

On July 18, the Gerald Peters Gallery will unveil a new initiative, Peters Projects, and launch it with “Temporal Domain,” an exhibition, up through August 24, of six contemporary artists who work, or once worked, in and around Santa Fe. Peters Projects has been given 8,500 square feet within the expansive 44,000-square-foot single-story Gerald Peters outpost at 1011 Paseo de Peralta, and executive director Ylise Kessler has put it to good use, selecting pieces by Roxy Paine, Lynda Benglis, Agnes Martin, James Lee Byars, Harmony Hammond, and John McCracken for display. (Gerald Peters also produces the Santa Fe Art Auction held this year on December 6.)

Art Santa Fe is only one of Charlotte Jackson’s concerns. Her namesake gallery at 554 S. Guadalupe, in the Railyard District, will offer a full slate of exhibitions this summer, starting with a show of Anne Truitt’s paintings and works on paper that runs from June 27 to July 27. “This is a show I’ve wanted to do for many, many years,” says Jackson, who first saw Truitt’s art in the mid-1990s. “If you look at her history, she was overlooked, frankly, until she passed away. She was known for her three-dimensional pieces and collages, but her works on paper are just spectacular.” A sterling example is an untitled 1964 piece that depicts a square of celadon green. It is not a collage but an acrylic painting on paper.

Next up is “Ditching the Cardigan,” an exhibition of metal sculptures by Jeremy Thomas, taking place from August 1–31. The title is meant to suggest a departure from the expected, and Thomas’ work definitely does that—he welds discs of steel together and then inflates them with pressurized air. He’s been with Charlotte Jackson Fine Art for the last 10 years and has produced what he calls his “inflatables” throughout that time, advancing from tabletop-sized objects to larger forms as he gained confidence with the metalsmithing technique. He initially drew his inspiration from the clusters of brightly colored farm equipment that dotted the landscape of his native Oklahoma. His 2014 piece Datsun Green reveals how far Thomas has come over the last decade by combining multiple colors (in this case a candy apple red and an iridescent green) with a rust-like applied patina. “It’s got these three elements all living together very happily,” says Jackson. “I love it.”

The New Mexico Museum of Art, at 107 West Palace Avenue, placed its “Spotlight on Gustave Baumann” on February 1, 2014, and will keep aiming it at the German-born woodblock-print artist until 2015. Baumann’s involvement with Santa Fe dates almost precisely to the birth of the museum itself, and he remained a vital member of the city’s arts community until his death in 1971. Highlights of the show include Aspen Thicket, a 1943 color woodcut in alluring blues, yellows, and greens. Over on Lincoln Avenue, the New Mexico History Museum presents Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography. Opened on April 27 and continuing until March 29, 2015, it contains almost 225 images produced by the simplest of cameras. And the Museum of International Folk Art has turned itself into a zoo (after a fashion) with “Wooden Menagerie: Made in New Mexico,” which opened on April 6 and closes on February 15, 2015. Almost half of the 107 carvings in the show are the handiwork of the late master Felipe Archuleta or other members of the woodcarving dynasty that he founded, which includes his son, Leroy, and grandson, Ron Archuleta Rodriguez.

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, at 217 Johnson Street, continues to find new and fascinating angles on its headliner. A case in point is “Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawai’i Pictures,” which continues through September 17. Organized by the Honolulu Museum of Art, it opens a window on the works that O’Keeffe and Adams produced on commission at different times for different sponsors who recruited them to explore the beauty of the islands. “O’Keeffe started with flowers,” says curator Carolyn Kastner of the artist’s 1939 voyage, underwritten by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which later became Dole. “She’s both challenged, but in her comfort zone. Color is a comfort zone for her, and flowers are a comfort zone for her.”

Those who want to glory in more Adams photographs need only walk to the Andrew Smith Gallery, which is next door to the O’Keeffe Museum. It is continuing with its series of non-selling exhibitions of Adams images from the David H. Arrington Collection, which the Smith gallery helped to build. Its other delights include photographs taken by the English explorer Herbert Ponting during the South Pole expeditions of Robert Falcon Scott in 1911–12.

Maestros of black and white photography reign also at Monroe Gallery, located at 112 Don Gaspar Avenue. Opening there on July 5 is “Steve Schapiro, Once Upon a Time in America,” the third solo show at Monroe to focus on the American photojournalist, who issues limited editions of 25, maximum, per image. The exhibit spotlights photographs from the 1960s and 1970s but makes room for some taken as recently as 2011. The show, which continues through September 21, ranges from images of Martin Luther King marching in Selma to shots of Andy Warhol and members of The Velvet Underground exuding industrial-strength levels of coolness to a depiction of an angry housewife protesting high grocery prices.

LewAllen Galleries at 1613 Paseo de Peralta has a series of compelling exhibitions planned, among them solo showcases for abstractionist Henry Jackson, scheduled for June 27–July 27, and painter Christopher Benson, to be held August 1–29. Assembling the 20-odd pieces in the Jackson show, the first for the artist at LewAllen, was tricky, according to gallery co-owner and CEO Ken Marvel. “It’s a challenge to gather enough work,” he says with a laugh. “His work sells as fast as we can get it, which is very unusual in this market.” He believes Jackson’s power lies in his ability to paint abstracts containing shapes that suggest the presence of a human being. A worthy example is Untitled #1088, a 2010 oil and cold wax on canvas over panel. “If you look hard in most [Jackson] paintings, you can see some reference to the human figure, usually immersed in the emotional swirl and the blood passion of his intensity,” says Marvel. “The black figure at the top is a rough allusion to the human form.” Cold wax is a favorite material for Jackson, Marvel says, because it “brings both a depth to the painting and a certain kind of reflectivity to the surface.” The contemplative interiors and exteriors of Benson will follow the nervous energy of Jackson not unlike a soothing glass of milk follows a feast of hot peppers. Marvel says Benson’s innate command of color and composition gives his paintings “a very engaging sense of quiet” and “a remarkably pleasing sense of solitude.”

The Art of Russia Gallery, located at 225 Canyon Road, gives itself over to the paintings of Yevgeni Shchukin, which is really the only way you can react to a group of Shchukins. The Kiev artist’s brain is marinated in tales from mythology and religion, and he methodically moves his visions to linen via techniques he first learned from books on how Old Masters artists approached their canvases. His 2011 piece Fairytale blurs the lines nicely. It might be a reference to Greek myth of Daphne, the nymph who escaped the ardor of Apollo by transforming into a tree, but the title, and the white cat seated in the corner, confound that interpretation. Dianna Lennon, who invited Shchukin into her gallery’s lineup 18 years ago, says, “His work always is a deep mystery. For me, probably a lifetime will not be enough to reveal it all.”

Morning Star Gallery at 513 Canyon Road showcases its strengths in August with “Pueblo Splendor, Pottery and Photography from the American Southwest.” Exquisite examples of Native American pottery include a Powhoge storage jar dating to circa 1770, from a pueblo north of Santa Fe. Powhoge pots from that time period are especially scarce, with perhaps two dozen examples surviving outside of institutions. Also included are choice examples of a Zuni water jar, dating to 1875 or so, and a Kiowa storage jar from roughly 1825. All three are colorfully painted with enduring native motifs such as feathers. Pueblo pots were typically the work of one person, start to finish, and that person was almost always a woman. She built up the pot using the so-called “coil” method, rolling out long, thin ropes of clay and forming them into circles that she would stack, and she would fire the results in a pit. “I know making any pot is a labor of love,” says Henry Monahan, director of Morning Star Gallery. “To this day, they don’t use a kiln. It’s a very complex and labor-intensive effort. Most of the time, one person does it all.”

Further along Canyon Road, Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art will stage its biennial show of Australian Contemporary Indigenous art from June 27 to August 3. Working in concert with the Vivien Anderson Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, the exhibition will contain up to 50 pieces by indigenous artists from the country. In Ngalpingka Simms’s 2013 work Wayiyul, the crescent shapes at the bottom and lower left represent people, and the circles could designate water holes, bushes, or trees. “There’s an oral tradition of how to read these paintings,” says John Addison, director of Chiaroscuro. “What happens is only parts are allowed to be conveyed. There are things they tell me and things they can’t tell me about the work. There are things a female artist cannot speak of to males, and there are ritual or sacred-type tales that are not to be told outside their circle. But people can engage with the work on a more abstract level. We don’t need to define what the narrative is. In the end, the pattern and the feel of the piece comes through. That’s how I present it.”

Karan Ruhlen Gallery, at 225 Canyon Road, will be marking its 20th anniversary this summer, and among the celebrations will be an exhibition in August of the work of two local artists, Pauline Ziegen and Jinni Thomas. Thomas, who studied Italian Renaissance art history, creates abstract works in acrylic that incorporate Venetian plaster and, says Ruhlen, “bring to mind fresco paintings.” Ziegen, who is influenced by Japanese painting, “simplifies the landscape,” adding gilding to define the horizon line. About her stable, Ruhlen says, “We’ve prided ourselves on representing regional artists; probably half of our artists live and work in New Mexico. Their subject matter is generally derived from nature even if their work is not realism. In addition, Ruhlen has devoted herself to “bringing New Mexico modernists to the forefront,” including such figures as Beatrice Mandelman and Louis Ribak.

As always, Nedra Matteucci Galleries will provide a magnificent selection of historical American art. Located at 1075 Paseo De Peralta, it will offer gems such as Jade and Ivory, a 2014 oil on canvas by Terri Kelly Moyers. The details of the clothing, the plants, and the play of light are as complex as anything in a Gainsborough portrait, but the Southwestern setting and the complexity of the composition, which places its young female subject to the right of a potted plant, is distinctly modern. The dappled light on the wall finds its match in the intricacies of the woman’s fan and shawl, and the title playfully references the dominant colors of the canvas. The Forbidden Trail, a 2014 oil on canvas painted by Moyers’ husband, John, works as a gorgeous landscape with figures and a vision that is charged with meaning. It can be read as an image of Taos Pueblo peoples following a trail through the aspens to Blue Lake, the sacred site of their origins, and it can be read as a scene of triumph. Annexed under Theodore Roosevelt’s administration in 1906, the Taos Pueblo members fought the loss and finally got Blue Lake back in 1970. Pueblo records state it was the first land that the United States ever returned to Native American peoples; today, it is open to the Taos Pueblo people alone.

Painted almost a century earlier, Joseph Henry Sharp’s Winter Morning—Crow Reservation provides an intriguing contrast to the Moyers. Sharp had an affinity for the peoples of the Plains and built a small cabin on Crow Reservation territory at the turn of the previous century. Showing an above-and-beyond devotion to the principles of plein air (a French phrase that translates as “in the open air”), he would venture out into the punishing Montana winters, set up his easel, and paint until the daubs on his palette froze. Contemporary plein air painter Chris Morel turns his gaze on Taos Mountain in winter in Closing Down, a 2014 oil on linen on panel. In this work and other recent pieces he chooses to depict the fleeting moments of twilight and how it changes the color of the snow, the chamisa (sage brush), and the stands of pinon trees.

EVOKE Contemporary, at 550 South Guadalupe Street, will stage “Re-presenting the Nude III,” a biennial exploration of the nude in contemporary art, scheduled for June 27 through August 27. Returning to curate is John O’Hern, the driving force behind the Re-Presenting Representation shows at the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, New York, roughly two decades ago, and a champion of contemporary representational art. “Much of what I see in figurative art is either competent with no soul, or a good idea with poor execution,” says O’Hern. “I look for artists who are grounded in their medium and paint, sculpt, and draw with their own personal vision and not some imitation of the work of another.” Among the 30 or so artists chosen for the show is Lee Price, whose self-portrait Pink Cupcake, a 2014 oil on linen, belongs to an ongoing series that examines the charged relationship that women have with food. The women are always depicted from overhead to capture the sense of disassociation that can come with an episode of binge-eating—the sensation of knowing you are doing it but feeling unable to stop.

The Addison Rowe Gallery’s “Redefining Modernism” exhibition carries on through July 14, enlivened by compelling works such as Hilaire Hiler’s Gray Shadow Series: Run, a 1956 oil on board that meticulously and dynamically examines the spectrum between black and white, while puckishly setting off his color-drained lines and angles with a handful of tiny, well-placed triangles of red or orange. Hiler liberated his artwork from the limits of 2-D in a clever manner: he mounted the oil-on-paper to a piece of board with a curved back, and shaped the frame as well. “In doing that you get a play of shadow all through the frame area,” says Victoria Addison. “It’s probably one of the best pieces I’ve ever seen him do.” Following “Redefining Modernism” will be “Raymond Jonson, Post war paintings (1940s–70s), opening July 18 and closing on September 12.

The imaginations of Japanese contemporary artists run free in “IMPACTS!,” Zane Bennett Contemporary Art’s first collaboration with Mizuma Art Gallery of Tokyo. After a preview on July 25, the show will have its grand opening on August 22 and will close on September 20. The more than 50 pieces will include massive masterworks such as Ishihara Nanami’s Yama Onna. The 2012 piece, fashioned from Japanese pigment and acrylic gouache on cotton mounted on a panel, draws deeply on Japanese myths, legends, literature, and folklore, and features Yamauba, a character from Noh theater whose name means “mountain witch.” Looming on the left is an erupting volcano. Speaking in translation, the artist says: “In the main motif of this piece, the woman’s facial expression is clearly depicted. It’s as if to say, yes, there remains uneasiness, but that does not mean that tomorrow there is not hope, or there is not the vitality of life.” Kaneko Tomiyuki taps into something powerful and resonant with Red Banas Pati Raja, a 2012 piece from a long-standing series on what the artist dubs “animal gods.” Drawing inspiration from principles of Zen, Buddhist art, and a host of beliefs that simmer in the soup that makes up Japanese culture, it, too, is impressively large. Rendered in mineral pigments, transparent watercolor, pen, and foil on Japanese paper, it depicts a lion, but past works have focused on tigers, elephants, snakes, foxes, and fishes, or as Tomiyuki explains, “always creatures and animals that are slightly strange or different somehow.” As spellbinding as it is on the printed page, it is even stronger in person. “Sometimes at my solo shows, people are strongly affected by the sight of the real works,” says Tomiyuki. “They feel goosebumps, they tremble, they become dizzy, shake, or cry—in some cases they are unable even to enter the exhibition space.”

The David Richard Gallery at 544 S. Guadalupe Street offers a different take on southwestern plein air painting with “Gregory Botts, Madrid, Western Skys,” scheduled for July 18–August 23. It will be Botts’ first show at the gallery, and the “Madrid” in the exhibit’s title refers not to the Spanish capital but Madrid, New Mexico, a Santa Fe County town that has a population of 204, including the artist. For the Madrid series, he picked up his brush at different times of day, but never the mornings. Blue claims the afternoons; the warm yellows of sunset shape the early evenings; and blues, greys, and blacks define the late night. His canvas sizes are deliberately non-standard. The range of shapes and angles has a purpose. Botts likes to arrange the finished works in his studio, overlapping them and leaning them against each other in order to unite them in a painted montage. He doesn’t read as strictly figurative. That’s what I like about it,” says gallery manager David Eichholtz. “He’s not trying to be photographic.”

The granddaddy of Santa Fe must-attend art events is old enough to be a great-grandfather itself. The 93rd edition of the Santa Fe Indian Market will be held from August 18–24, with more than 600 artist’s booths spread across 14 downtown city blocks. Approximately 1,100 indigenous artists from across the United States and Canada, representing more than 220 recognized tribes, will offer textiles, baskets, beadwork, kachina carvings, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, paintings, and a wealth of related arts and crafts. The Best of Show ceremony, which bestows the most prestigious and important prize in the Native arts world, traditionally takes place the night before the market opens. Last year’s winner was Jackie Larson Bread, a member of the Blackfeet nation and a 15-year participant in the market, whose stunning beadwork portrait pieces triumphed in five rounds of secret-ballot voting among the judges.

The summer edition of the 63rd annual Spanish Market will commence at Santa Fe Plaza on July 25 and come to a close on July 27. Celebrating Spanish-inflected arts and crafts, it provides a platform for a range of artisans that include ironworkers, potters, and weavers as well as carvers of bultos, wooden sculptures on Christian themes; embroiderers of colcha, or bedcovers; and painters of retablos, or devotional images. Having continued for so long, the Spanish Market has seen generations of talented families mature and establish themselves. Bulto and straw appliqué master Felix López, a market stalwart, is the father of Joseph Ascensión Lopez, who shines as a maker of bultos and painted wood reliefs, and Krissa M. Lopez, an exceptional painter of retablos. Jimmy Madrid and his son, Nicolás, craft award-winning works in tin.

Impressively expanding the boundaries of what Santa Fe has to offer is the Objects of Art Santa Fe show, to be held August 15 to 17 at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe in the Railyard District. In addition to tribal, folk, American, African, and Asian art, as well as paintings and sculpture, the more than 65 exhibitors will bring books, jewelry, textiles, furniture, and fashions. Santa Fe dealer John Ruddy fascinates with his vintage 19th and 20th-century kimonos decorated in kicky and even trippy patterns, while Modern 2.0, a Santa Fe-based compendium of innovative 20th century design and art, will have a Braun “Atelier last edition” HiFi system.

Following the Objects of Art Santa Fe show in the same venue will be the Antique American Indian Art Show, scheduled for August 20–21. Exhibitors include several from Canyon road in Santa Fe, such as Economos Works of Art/Hampton Galleries, which will spotlight a circa 19th-century Upper Missouri River quilled and beaded shirt fashioned from tanned hides, and Michael Smith Gallery, which will have a variety of Navajo woven works. Particularly notable is a handspun wool pictorial rug dating to 1920 or 1930 with a rare motif of a Hopi Kachina maiden.

As of 2014, the Antique Ethnographic Art Show and the Antique Indian Art Show have been united in a single event. The Antique Indian and Ethnographic Art Show, taking place at the Santa Fe Community Center from August 16–18, will combine the best of both. Exhibitors include Spencer Throckmorton Fine Art of New York, which will have a rare Mayan incensario, or incense burner, dating from 600-900 A.D., and David Cook Galleries of Denver, Colo., which will have Sioux beaded vests made circa 1880.

Author: Sheila Gibson Stoodley | Publish Date: June 2014

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