Danielle Shelley, who earned critical acclaim as a painter, has found similar success as a textile wizard. "My artistic concerns didn’t change when I morphed from a painter into a fiber artist,” writes Shelley in her artist statement. “I am still a passionate colorist, in love with shapes and lines. But I also find satisfaction in being part of the movement that has reclaimed stitch work, a long-dismissed women’s medium.”
New Mexico Artists to Know Now
Justin Richel infuses his paintings and sculptures with incisive, humorous, and exacting layers of commentary. He studied the technique of icon painting at the Franciscan monastery in Kennebunk, Maine, in 2004. This thoughtful Franciscan attention to color and the creation of signifiers informs his work, but his use of these methods is unique.
“My photos illustrate the blood pumping through Albuquerque,” Frank Blazquez told the Guardian in 2018. The portraits—largely captured along the east-west belt of Central Avenue—capture human faces, yes, but each carries a story in and of itself.
William T. Carson’s work brings a unique perspective to the adage “The medium is the message.” He works with coal to explore a multitude of significations. Beyond the economic, political, or environmental meaning of the substance, Carson reminds us that coal is prehistoric, born of ancient metamorphosis.
David Gaussoin, a Santa Fe jewelry artist of Picuris Pueblo, Navajo, and French descent, comes from a long line of creatives, ranging from silversmiths and painters to rug weavers, sculptors, and woodworkers.
All year long we share the stories of artists from across our state, but this special issue is our way of focusing on a sample of some of the premier talent continuously emerging from New Mexico. These are artists whose works are shaping the landscape of contemporary art in the Southwest.
Southwest Contemporary is pleased to announce an open call for art to be featured in the second annual "12 New Mexico Artists to Know Now" publication and group exhibition. Artists living and working in New Mexico are welcome to submit artwork in any medium.
Adaptation, experimentation, and evolution are all crucial concepts within Heidi Brandow’s practice, which usually takes the form of layers of paint, drawing, and paper on canvas, but also includes a social practice in her photography projects.
Francoise Barnes’s titles give the viewer a quick point of entry to her abstract, mixed-media paintings on canvas, panel, or paper.
Mira Burack’s artwork is a space of rest, contemplation, and the contemplation of rest. Her wall-sized collages of photos of rumpled bedclothes enlarge the space where sleep takes place and, in doing so, enlarge a viewer’s attention to sleep and its landscape.
Vincent Campos injects a sense of whimsy and strangeness into a form that is often serious and pious. Campos’s retablos stick to this script, representing saints and other Catholic imagery, but his figures have odd or humorous details: a caricatured face, a bag of Wonder Bread.
Charming plushy animals walk the razor’s edge between life and lifelessness in Vanessa Gonzalez’s paintings. Each creature—a sloth, a jackalope, a flock of birds—has its limbs wrenched from its tiny body, with threads and fiberfill stuffing poking out of wounds.
Dorothy Melander-Dayton is an interdisciplinary artist working at the nexus of performance, theater, and installation, as well as works on paper and sculpture. The artist’s process is grounded in research into various subjects which span artistic influences, texts, material research, and experimentation.
In Rosemary Meza-DesPlas’s work, she renders female figures by hand-stitching her own hair into various surfaces. Some of these figures are anguished, some contorted, some vulnerable—each is rendered in delicate, tremulous lines that speak to the traditionally feminine realm of textiles.
Martín Wannam’s photos are an explosion of glitter and color, with an underlying hint of darkness. His work is unabashedly queer but operates in response to a repressive heteronormative society encrypted by religious imagery.
Heather Gallegos-Rex’s tapestries are strikingly minimal in their design, often incorporating only two or three colors. She leans toward spare geometric shapes but does not shy away from landscapes and increasingly layered compositions.
Jennifer Vasher’s installations and sculptures evoke the desire for purity and the environmentally toxic consumer culture of cleanliness. Lotion bottles, aspirin, and other pharmaceuticals appear as decorative art objects within the domestic landscapes of her installations.
When we first dreamed up the Artists Issue, we thought of it as a way to share—with New Mexico and beyond—a sample of the most vibrant and engaged artists working in New Mexico right now. Artists whose work deserves sustained attention, whether or not you’ve ever heard of them before.