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Santa Fe Trail


Art & Antiques presents a complete guide to the summer arts and culture bonanza of Northern New Mexico.

Gary Niblett, Canyon Overlook, 2015

Gary Niblett, Canyon Overlook, 2015;

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Santa Fe is an arts destination year-round, but things heat up in the summer months and stay busy into the fall. Here are just some of the gallery, fair, festival, and museum happenings in and around America’s oldest capital city.

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (217 Johnson St.) is a Santa Fe must-visit. The museum, which marks its 20th anniversary in the month of July, recently installed thematic galleries that explore aspects of O’Keeffe’s life and career. The section devoted to her time in New York includes 17 works by her and picturing her, as well as a few Alfred Stieglitz photographs. Stieglitz is fully intertwined with her New York life; she moved to the city in 1918 and married him six years later, only moving to New Mexico full-time after he died. But the memory of the metropolis never left her. Untitled (City Night), an oil on canvas of a skyscraper canyon that O’Keeffe painted sometime in the 1970s, testifies to that.

The Millicent Rogers Museum in nearby Taos (1504 Millicent Rogers Rd.) celebrates Native American painting in the exhibition “Picturing Home: Landscapes of the Southwest.” It contains 20th-century works by self-taught artists and artists who joined what became known as “the Studio” at the Santa Fe Indian School, a government boarding school. The Studio lasted until the 1962 debut of the Institute of American Indian Arts. Among the works on view is Deer with Yucca, by Percy Sandy, who was also known as Kai Sa. Sandy painted the watercolor in 1935, when he was a 17-year-old student at the school. “I have noticed this piece to be a favorite of visitors as they move through the exhibition space,” says Carmela Quinto, curator of collections at the Millicent Rogers Museum. “It is very well executed and creates a whimsical feeling.” The show opened on May 1 and will close precisely one year later.

Frida Kahlo once lived in the artistic shadow of her husband, Diego Rivera. Fortunately, she has long since caught up to him, and may even have surpassed him, judging by the popular interest in her life and work. The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe (750 Camino Lejo) burnishes her legacy with “Mirror, Mirror… Photographs of Frida Kahlo,” which opened on May 6 and continues through October 29. More than 50 photographs of the mesmerizing Mexican artist are on show in an exhibition that originated at Throckmorton Fine Art in New York. The Museum has augmented the show with works created in homage to Kahlo as well as large-scale photographs of the Casa Azul, Kahlo’s one-time home in Mexico City, taken by William Frej.


The New Mexico Museum of Art hosts “Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to Now: from the British Museum,” a riveting look at a fundamental aspect of art. It spans six centuries—the 15th century to now—and shows the importance of drawing by presenting works by dozens of legendary names. Michelangelo, Dürer, da Vinci, Mondrian, Picasso, Cézanne, Picasso, Bridget Riley, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Franz Kline are just some of the artists who are represented. The exhibition opened on May 27 and continues through September 17.

New to the Santa Fe scene is OTA Contemporary (203 Canyon Road), which debuted on May 12. Its summer programming kicks off with “Surfaces,” a showcase for multimedia artist Pasquali Cuppari and digital artist Wayne Charles Roth, which runs from June 8 through July 9. Next up is “Symbols,” which takes place from July 13 through August 13 and celebrates the work of painter and printmaker Carlos Frias alongside that of painter Raul Villarreal. Summer at OTA Contemporary comes to a close with “Connections,” running from August 17 through September 17 and featuring Mario Martinez, who works with acrylic on paper, and sculptor Somers Randolph. Villarreal will contribute Ambos Mundos, a 2014 oil on linen, to “Symbols.” The Cuban-born artist explains, “Ambos Mundos pays tribute to my love of the sea. The painting alludes to The Old Man and The Sea, my favorite work by Hemingway.”

LewAllen Galleries (1613 Paseo de Peralta) starts the summer boldly with “Fritz Scholder: Figures of Paradox,” which opens on June 9 and closes July 23. Ken Marvel, the gallery’s owner, says that a Scholder show of this nature has only been attempted by one other institution—the Smithsonian. “He’s generally thought of as the most important Native American painter in art history,” Marvel says. “He completely broke the mold for how Native Americans are depicted in fine art.” “Jivan Lee: Summer Showcase” begins on June 23 and finishes on July 23, and will spotlight the work of an artist who uses kitchen spatulas and sticks to convey the paint to the canvas and shape it. New York-based painter Wolf Kahn, who turns 90 this year, receives his first solo exhibition at LewAllen Galleries from July 28 through September 10. John Fincher will also feature in a self-named show at the gallery during the same dates. The painter and mixed-media artist finds glory in meditating on details of natural Western flora, as he does in Burst, a recent painting that hones in on a cactus.

Opening on July 14 and ending on August 19, “Anthony E. Martinez” will feature five or six pieces by the 67-year-old Santa Fe native. “Peter de la Fuente: Cuentos” is the gallery’s first solo show for the Spanish-born master of the tricky medium of egg tempera. It takes place during the same dates as the Martinez exhibit. In tackling egg tempera, de la Fuente follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Peter Hurd.

“Gorge Songs: Woodblock Prints, Watercolors and Folios by Leon Loughridge” debuts on July 14 and ends on September 30. The show has about a dozen works, some watercolors and some woodblock prints, several of which are inspired by the artist’s visits to the Rio Grande gorge. “Convergence: Stories and Territories” is a group show that explores the evolving narrative and imagery of the contemporary West. Starting on July 28 and finishing on September 30, it brings together paintings, sculpture, photography, and works on paper.

The Ellsworth Gallery (215 East Palace Ave.) unveils “Taking Wing,” an exhibition featuring a trio of artists, on June 16 and continues it through August 16. On view are the hyperrealistic visions of Arin Dineen, the sculpture of Claire McArdle, and the encaustics of newcomer Lorraine Glessner. Hallie Brennan, director of the gallery, says the three are united by their choice to use well-established, even ancient media to communicate with contemporary audiences. “Creative Nation II,” to be held from August 18 through October 20, will showcase a range of works by contemporary Native American artists. “When we started it, we hoped we could make it a tradition,” says Brennan, who adds that last year’s inaugural exhibit contained about 20 works in media ranging from sculpture to sand painting to charcoal on paper. A total of 10 percent of the gallery’s net profits from “Creative Nation II” will go to the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), the nonprofit behind the beloved Indian Market.

Nedra Matteucci Galleries (1075 Paseo de Peralta) offers “William Berra: Inspired by Nature” from June 24 through July 22. It will show off Berra’s deft command of color, light, and composition with works such as The Dive, an oil on linen of a bikini-clad snorkeler who seems to hover in space. Other works in the gallery include Walt Gonske’s Talpa Chamisa, a 2017 plein air painting that expertly captures the changing seasons reflected by the landscape, as well as Gary Niblett’s 2015 painting Canyon Overlook. Niblett, who grew up in a ranching family and has earned membership in the Cowboy Artists of America, focuses on the life and environs of the working cowboy. “Gary has a familiarity and genuine passion for the role of the contemporary cowboy in the West,” says Nedra Matteucci. “His paintings capture the lifestyle through his experience, models, and photography of his subject over decades.”

The gallery also displays paintings by the much-admired 20th century artist Joseph Henry Sharp. His portrait of Hunting Son, a favorite model from Taos Pueblo, makes for a sensitive and powerful picture. “Sharp was well-trained, and paintings such as Hunting Son reveal his skillful draftsmanship,” she says. “He also captures character with an eye for color and detail, lending to the important historic significance and appeal of his paintings.”

The gallery’s sculpture garden is not to be missed. Here, Dan Ostermiller is king—or, rather, his bronze menagerie is, with as many as 10 of his works on view at any time. Ostermiller’s father was a noted taxidermist, and while he did not follow his father into the trade, he puts his knowledge of animals to good use in limited-edition sculptures such as Playful Cubs and Peacocks, a regal pair of bronze birds perched on pedestals.

Also notable are the sculptures of Michael Naranjo, who has been with Nedra Matteucci Galleries for 11 years. Though a grenade blast in Vietnam cost him his sight and the use of his right arm, he has built a strong artistic career. “Essentially, he articulates with only one arm, but has some mobility with it,” Matteucci says. “Michael literally has adapted to ‘see’ by thousands of finger touches that allow him to visualize as he works. Remarkably, he does not use studio assistants—only the occasional verbal input or extra hold on an armature from his wife, Laurie, who has also modeled for some of his figure work.”

On June 30, the Monroe Gallery of Photography (112 Don Gaspar) opens “Tony Vaccaro: From War to Beauty,” featuring more than 50 images by the 95-year-old artist. He got started by shooting photographs as an Allied infantryman liberating Europe and went on to a postwar career that included commissions for virtually every major English-language periodical of the mid-20th century. The exhibition continues through September 17.

Gerald Peters Gallery (1011 Paseo de Peralta) is typically busy during the Santa Fe summer. Harold Joe Waldrum earns the spotlight in an eponymous show of 25 works. Running from June 16 through July 22, the show includes treasures such as Adumbracion, a 1982 work named for a Spanish word that describes shade in a picture. The acrylic on canvas actually shows an adobe structure, but it is much more than that. “It’s very striking. It’s one of the reasons I chose it,” says Evan Feldman, director of contemporary art at the gallery. “It points to Waldrum’s strengths as an artist. He is able to reduce the forms of whatever he’s looking at and get abstract and beautiful compositions. At the same time, he pays tribute to New Mexico and its surroundings.”

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art (554 S. Guadalupe) offers “Power Play: A Group Exhibition” from June 30 through July 26. Works include Robert Kelly’s My Brother, Myself VII from 2014, an oil and mixed media on canvas that makes a wry comment about his siblinghood: Kelly has a fraternal twin. “It’s got two elements in it that are alike, but not identical,” says Charlotte Jackson. “Some elements are horizontal and some are vertical, but the colors are identical.” Also in “Power Play” is Charles Arnoldi’s Ironclad (06.38) a 2006 oil on aluminum from a series that the artist named after types of ships. He assembled Ironclad (06.38) from monotype plates that were discarded when they were too laden with ink to be used any longer. The show will also include a whole wall of small polyester cube boxes by William Metcalf and a large truck-hood work by Paul Sarkisian.

Following this will be a three-man show dubbed “Heavy Metal: Pard Morrison, Elliot Norquist & Jeremy Thomas,” which takes place from July 30 through August 28. Each artist works with metal, hence the title, and each will contribute at least six pieces to the show. Thomas will be represented by inflated steel sculptures; Norquist will have steel wall pieces such as Four Green Squares, a painted and powder-coated sculpture from 2016 with an eminently straightforward name; and Morrison will offer Flower, a multi-colored metal cube sculpture made in 2017. He applied pigment to the welded aluminum and fired it, baking on the color in a process that resembles the creation of enamel.

From September 1 through October 2, the gallery will host a solo show by Johnnie Winona Ross, who creates labor-intensive grid-based paintings. The exhibit will include S E E P I I, an unusually large piece on stretched linen that involves mineral pigments burnished on black gesso. Its creation spanned 2013 to 2017. “It’s the biggest size he does. We’ve never had one that big, ever. I can barely fathom how long it took him,” says Jackson. “His works are really incredibly beautiful. You feel as if you could walk into them. He creates that sensation.”

The summer schedule at the Couse-Sharp Historic Site in Taos (46 Kit Carson Road) includes the exhibition “Seldom Seen: Archival Stories,” which delves into the role that research plays in interpreting and understanding the works of the Taos Society of Artists (TSA). It opens on July 1 and continues through October 28. Among the archival items on display is a collection of material related to Sunlight (Sunshine), an E.I. Couse painting that has been promised to the Couse Foundation. The items include its original photo study, pencil sketch, sales book, and exhibition book.

“The point is that not one piece of archival information alone is necessarily significant, but that together, we are able to provide important contextual information about the artist E.I. Couse and his artistic process and his career,” says Davison Packard Koenig, executive director and curator of the Couse-Sharp Historic Site. “For example, the gridded photograph tells us that Couse worked directly from life. He would bring his model out in nature and locate the scene he wanted to depict. The photograph also captures the play of sunlight that is essential to the final painting. He would then create a pencil drawing, further working out the composition and distilling it to the essential elements, while accentuating the contrast of light. Together, these pieces of archival information give us a better understanding of the final painting, informing us that Couse faithfully reproduced this natural setting through direct observation, transforming it through his artist’s eye and skillful brush into an inspired work of art.”

Marking its 17th year is Art Santa Fe, a fair that takes place from July 13 through 16 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. More than 60 exhibitors will attend, slightly more than in 2016. The common curatorial theme of the fair and its slate of programming is [FUSION], which describes the creative energy that sparks from all of the artists and galleries coming together to show their work. Pieces as different as Siri Hollander’s Cinco, a monumental horse sculpture, and Rhett Lynch’s colorful and somewhat menacing work, HAMSA, connect with the theme, says Linda Mariano, managing director of marketing for Redwood Media Group, which produces the event. “The very manner in which each of them is inspired, the materials that they use, and the creative outcome of the piece of artwork is [FUSION]. Then exhibiting at Art Santa Fe fusing their creativity and their artwork in an environment for the collector is another illustration of the concept and [FUSION] theme.”

Art Santa Fe will also import a concept from a cousin fair, Artexpo New York: [SOLO], a showcase devoted to established and emerging independent artists. At least a dozen will participate in the inaugural [SOLO] at Art Santa Fe. “We received so many requests from independent unrepresented artists to be part of the show that it made sense to distinguish their exhibition under the [SOLO] brand,” says Mariano.

More than 160 artists hailing from 53 countries will attend the 14th annual International Folk Art Market, which takes place on Museum Hill from July 14 through July 16. A total of 54 newcomer-artists will join 106 returnees to greet an estimated 20,000 visitors to the market. Featured artists include Rupa Trivedi, an engineer who launched Adiv Pure Nature, a company that employs women to hand-dye fabrics using dyes derived from plants and flowers.

Addison Rowe Gallery (229 East Marcy St.) presents “Making Marks: The Painting of David Einstein” from July 14 through September 22. The show represents a sharp departure for the gallery, which concentrates on historic 20th-century American art by artists who worked in the Southwest. Einstein is a contemporary artist who dwells in Palm Springs, Calif. “I met David three years ago at the Palm Springs Art Fair, where the gallery has exhibited for the last four years, and we began an association of art talk and common art interest,” says Victoria Addison of Addison Rowe. “I have visited his studio several times since and seen the progression of his work. On my first studio visit, as I was leaving, a beautiful piece was hanging in the front room, and I had to have it. It is an amazing work from his Naissance series, and is the only work by a living artist I own. The strong colors, the movement of the paint, and the inner glow the work expresses in a simple, rich composition demonstrated the beauty of this work.” “Making Marks” will feature 35 pieces, including 12 from the Naissance series.

True West (130 Lincoln Ave., Suite F) has several events planned for the Santa Fe summer season. It will welcome Hopi kachina carver Timothy Talawepi as its artist-in-residence from July 18 through July 22, while Rosemary Lonewolf, a ceramicist, will take the artist-in-residence torch from August 4 through August 6. Painter Rhett Lynch will host a workshop that lasts from August 15 through August 17. True West will also throw parties to mark the start of Spanish Market on July 27 and Indian Market on August 17. A weekend of related events follows each.

True West events also include an August 4 appearance by Choctaw storyteller artist Randy Chitto. He will present as many as six new works and will talk about how he brings his turtle and bear figures to life. “Randy’s turtle storytellers and bears are cheerful and charming,” says Lisa Sheridan, partner at True West. “They make you feel happy and lighter. His work has evolved from being very simple in appearance and color 20 years ago to the vibrant pieces he creates today. Every piece is one of a kind.”

Owen Contemporary (225 Canyon Road) will present “Shapes and Surfaces: Martha Rea Baker and Bret Price” from July 21 to August 3. Baker is an abstract painter from New Mexico, and Price is a sculptor from California. Her works gain strength from built-up layers of paint, which provide visual texture. His sculptures turn rings and bands of metal into brightly-colored, seemingly weightless ribbons.

The Center for Contemporary Arts (1050 Old Pecos Trail) welcomes summer, and a new sculpture garden, with “Tom Joyce: Everything in Hand,” an exhibition that takes place from July 28 to December 31. Joyce, a 2003 winner of a MacArthur “genius” grant and a longtime Santa Fe resident, forges powerful, often experimental sculptures that explore his decades-long fascination with iron.

Gallery 901 (555 Canyon Road) has an intriguing show by a pair of Spanish father-son artists. Fortunately, the name of the show, “Oil & Water: The Masterful Works of Jesús Navarro & Iban Navarro,” does not describe the state of their relationship. Jesús, 65, paints with oils, while Iban, 35, favors watercolors. Both create hyperrealistic images. Between 15 and 20 works, all created between 2015 and 2017, will appear in the exhibition, which opens on July 28 and continues through August 28.

The 66th annual Traditional Spanish Market is scheduled for July 29 and July 30 on Santa Fe Plaza. Around 250 Spanish colonial artists from New Mexico and Southern Colorado will appear, showing examples of weaving, jewelry, tinwork, ironwork, retablos, filigree, colcha, pottery, and other traditional arts and crafts. The market is operated by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, which is hosting a show of photographs of Frida Kahlo at its associated museum.

Morning Star Gallery (513 Canyon Road) will open a best-of-show exhibition of around 30 North American Indian art pieces on August 5, which will run through the end of the month. Works include a basketry degikup (basketry bowl) woven around 1908 by Dat So La Lee, a renowned Washoe artisan who was also known as Louisa Keyser. She created this particular basket for the Emporium Company of Carson City, Nevada, and it comes with its original certificate. “The degikup is a favorite form for her, what she’s known for most,” says Henry Monahan, director of the gallery. Also on show will be a pair of silver and inlaid bookends decorated around 1940 by Zuni artist Leo Poblano. Primarily famed as an inlay artist, he did not do any of the silver work but instead enhanced the large, central kachina figure on each, which is shown performing the Shalako, a Zuni winter solstice dance. Poblano used mother-of-pearl, jet, and turquoise on the figures, and highlighted the moccasins with the shells of spiny oysters. Monahan notes that both are “usually something out of my area” because they date to the 20th century and not earlier, “but they’re so outstanding, how could I not put them in the show?”

The eighth annual edition of Objects of Art Santa Fe will take place from August 10 to August 13 at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe. Its 70-odd dealers and galleries will spotlight a broad but well-chosen range of art and antiques, from Margaret Keane paintings to Indonesian textiles to modernist furniture.

Following directly in the same space will be the Antique American Indian Art Show, happening from August 15 to August 18. About 50 of the world’s best dealers of pre-1950 American Indian art will display their wares. Both shows will have opening galas that benefit New Mexico PBS, and both will share a special exhibition in common: Homage to the Square, which places about 25 early (circa 1870 to 1950) Navajo rugs and blankets alongside modern artworks. “The whole point of the exhibit is the comparison between modern art and Navajo art, with no cross-cultural dialogue between them,” says John Morris, co-producer of the fairs.

The 96th Santa Fe Indian Market will take place on August 19 and August 20 on the city’s historic plaza. Present at one of the 700 artist’s booths will be Isaac Dial, a Navajo creator of jewelry. A 2016 bracelet that he fastened from sterling silver, red coral, turquoise, 22k yellow gold, and fossilized chocolate ivory graces the home page of the Southwest Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), the non-profit that produces the annual event.

The 24th annual Santa Fe Art Auction will happen on November 11 at 1011 Paseo de Peralta. The 2016 sale did typically well, with an 82 percent sell-through rate, a grand total of $12.5 million, and a top lot, Frank Tenney Johnson’s 1929 canvas Mountain Meadows, which accounted for roughly 10 percent of the total, pulling in $1.2 million.

Last year’s edition also notched an auction record for artist Raymond Jonson, whose undated painting, Santa Fe Placita, fetched $128,700 against an estimate of $75,000 to $150,000. This year, Jonson, who died in 1982, will be represented by two major early works: Untitled (New Mexico Vista), painted in 1925 and estimated at $60,000–100,000, and The Night, Chicago, painted in 1921 and estimated at $80,000–120,000.

One of Jonson’s old students, Richard Kurman, will make his auction debut at the Santa Fe event this year with the undated landscape El Nevado del Toluca, estimated at $4,000 to $6,000. “El Nevado del Toluca is a superb example of the artist’s mastery of a modernist style clearly influenced by his teacher,” says Jenna Kloeppel, administrative director of the Santa Fe Art Auction. “Kurman manages to capture a landscape that is at once fragmented and geometricized but which features a clear flow of line and form.”

SITE Santa Fe is in repose for the summer as it readies to unveil its expanded premises in early October, with a gala dinner and an opening exhibition (details were unavailable at press time). The project, which broke ground in August 2016, will increase the facility to 36,000 interior and exterior square feet, adding a new auditorium, an entrance sculpture court, and a lobby with a larger store and a snack and coffee bar. The grand re-opening events will take place from October 5 through October 8.

Two new exhibitions will start concurrently on October 7. The first is “Future Shock,” a large-scale exhibition by 10 contemporary artists who will explore the impact of the ever-increasing pace of change on our lives. The second exhibit is “Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art,” a solo exhibition by the San Francisco artist that will be shown in the new, 2,000-square-foot SITElab Project Space. The Ezawa show closes on January 10, 2018, while “Future Shock” will continue through May 20, 2018.

The Hotel Chaco, which Heritage Hotels & Resorts unveiled in Albuquerque, N.M., has the makings of a great destination property, to go along with the company’s other properties, which include the Eldorado Hotel & Spa and the Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe, the Inn and Spa at Loretto, and El Monte Sagrado in Taos. The Hotel Chaco’s 110 guest rooms glory in the views of the Sandia Mountains or the hotel’s gardens and pool terrace. And its interior designer, HH&R favorite Kris Lajeskie, commissioned Native American artists to enliven and enrich its spaces. A notable choice was Tammy Garcia, a Santa Clara Pueblo artist best known for her bold ceramics. She contributes several key architectural features, including a glass oculus, measuring 20 feet in diameter, that presides over the lobby. “She was my inspiration when I first rendered the design for the lobby ceiling four years ago,” says Lajeskie. “Tammy has worked in glass in collaboration with artist Preston Singletary on several occasions. However, our interaction with Tammy was for her distinctive design style only. We commissioned her for her design on the ceiling to fulfill the original vision, and also asked her to submit a design for the entrance doors, which were then laser-cut in metal and inset into the doors.”


By Sheila Gibson Stoodley

Author: Art & Antiques Magazine | Publish Date: June 2017

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