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.
Di Wae Powa: They Came Back, an exhibition which opened in the fall of 2019 at the Poeh Cultural Center, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), is a step towards reconciling a muddy and violent history of colonialism in the Southwest.
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.
In Outside the Castle (2019), Atmus the deer sits on a lawn outside Disney’s Cinderella Castle. Atmus is a fur-suit. The person inside is Tommy Bruce. The lawn is artificial. And the castle is an image. Bruce is a furry. He goes to conventions, participates in online discussions, and documents the community. His also takes self-portraits in his fur-suit.
Lynch makes hand-built, smoke-fired vessels, some as large as five feet tall, others small enough to fit in the hand. Her color palette is minimal and plays the whiteness of the clay against the deep graphite blacks achieved by saggar firing, a process that sometimes also deposits hues of blue and brown. Her work is simple to describe but is not necessarily easy to talk about...
Southern Nevada–based artist Justin Favela’s work embodies the qualities of Las Vegas by affirming the startling originality of smart near-copies. Last spring, I visited Favela in his temporary studio at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Reliably buoyant, Favela can shed light on seemingly any aspect of the folklore of contemporary Las Vegas...
In this day of broad familiarity with Philip Guston’s figurative paintings, it’s hard to comprehend the shock of his 1970 show at Marlborough. Remember, though, that by then Guston, first a muralist and then a part of the New York School, had been painting his gestural liquid masses to much acclaim for over twenty years.
In Nari Ward: We the People at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Harlem-based mixed-media artist subtly yet powerfully confronts America’s sordid legacy of racism and discrimination as well as overall American identity in his show of sculptural pieces constructed from discarded materials.
The exhibition, H. Joe Waldrum: Retrospective, at Rio Bravo Fine Art is a first-of-its-kind overview of works from the H. Joe Waldrum Trust, which inherited a majority of his pieces after his estate closed in 2014. The exhibition, curated by Eduardo Alicea-Moreno—director and president of Rio Bravo Fine Art, the Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, gallery Waldrum founded shortly before his unexpected death in 2003—showcases the depth and breadth of Waldrum’s high-volume career.
Gina Adams considers herself an Indigenous-hybrid artist involved in a variety of craft-based work rooted in her heritage. Yet her commitment to art-making is equally matched by the extensive research she conducts in libraries, museums, and databases. Its Honor Is Hereby Pledged: Gina Adams is the product of Adams’s deep-dive into American history. It is a stunning collection of works intent on truth-telling, making it all the more relevant and poignant.
Erin Mickelson’s book-based artwork plays with translation, in every sense of the word. In LIMINAL betwixt/between, her series of work displayed in form & concept’s Superscript show in 2018, text is translated to sound, sound to image, and image fed into an algorithm, chopped up, and assembled into new images. Her collaborating artists are Twitter bots and long-dead authors, and her process a visible part of the product. In everything she makes, there’s a degree of absurdity and flux: how many times can you translate something and still call it the same thing?
The evolution of the art of printmaking is practically a human inheritance of knowledge from which we all benefit. We experience printmaking in our daily lives, from the clothes we wear and the books we read to poster advertisements for performances we attend and the money we spend. Printmaking is a three-thousand-year-old art form that reveals within itself an intimacy probably only found in the throes of a fight: gouging, biting, scraping, pressure, scarred surfaces, trenches dug. Years of battling the grain to carve images into wood leave the artists’ hands bent and curved like tree roots, maybe even burned from caustic processes that can scar the hand in the effort of creating visual landscapes.
Unlike most other traditional printmaking technologies, the invention of lithography can be traced to a specific person and time. Like most artists before and since, German actor and playwright Johann […]
As ABQ Zine Fest 9 approaches, we take a look at how print media has endured and the spaces that are building culture through the celebration of zines, books, and comics.
IAIA’s Museum of Contemporary Native Arts showcases its student printmakers from the ‘60s and ‘70s in their explorations of form and psyche.
Globular figures seem to wiggle, tumble, float, or crawl across pieces of thick, white paper. Two particularly large sheets of paper cascade down from the ceiling at the center of the gallery. Sometimes they’re partially covered by a layer of clear film. About thirty smaller iterations occupy the walls. Here and there: a curled hand wearing what could be an elbow-length glove; firm, flexed ballet feet; sturdy legs in the air; and extra-long legs with powerful thighs...
To Survive on This Shore is the product of five years of research and travel across the U.S. The show pairs Dugan’s photographic portraits with Fabbre’s interviews with transgender and gender-nonconforming adults, all aged fifty or older. I’m drawn immediately to Duchess Milan, 69, Los Angeles, CA (2017). “I just know I’m me,” begins the text beside the photo. “I identify as Duchess.”
Shimano is worried that the culture of making is diminishing as technology becomes more omnipresent. She has noticed the decline in drawing skills as well as even everyday life skills among incoming students in the classes she teaches. We spoke of this phenomenon and the potential consequences which range from physical abilities in art-making to the power of having personal experiences that are unmediated by any device.
Zuni potter Timothy Edaakie considers himself something of a revivalist in the world of natural pottery. While conventional ceramicists opt for the speed and convenience of modern throwing and firing methods, everything about Edaakie’s meticulous approach is slow, spiritual, and aimed at celebrating the seminal work his ancestors pioneered. As 2019’s Rollin and Mary Ella King Native artist fellow, Edaakie traveled from his home on the Zuni Reservation to Santa Fe this fall to live, work, and speak at the School for Advanced Research. Specifically, he plans on re-creating two Zuni pieces from SAR’s collection using clay and other materials collected from Zuni land during his fellowship: an A:shiwi olla jar and a traditional stew bowl.
Claire Kahn’s design sensibilities are applied across a staggering range of media. From architecture to water features (she was the project designer and a choreographer on the team that designed the Bellagio fountain, among many notable others) to jewelry, she seeks to discover, distill, and express the essence of her subjects. Her upcoming jewelry exhibition at Patina Gallery, Signs of Life, explores the twelve months of the year through pieces composed of their birthstones and crocheted beads.
Virginia Dwan, best known in the Southwest for her support of land art and artists, as well as the Dwan Light Sanctuary in Montezuma, New Mexico, boasts a career that reaches far beyond the desert. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dwan got her start in Los Angeles with the Virginia Dwan Gallery, which eventually expanded to New York, where she represented artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Yves Klein, Sol LeWitt, Edward Kienholz, and many, many more. Dwan, the heiress of manufacturing conglomerate 3M, was able to take risks on challenging art. She played a major role in supporting some of the most definitive earthworks, such as Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson, The Lightning Fields by Walter De Maria, Double Negative by Michael Heizer, and the still-in-progress Star Axis by Charles Ross. She is still a passionate supporter of the arts and speaks fondly of working with artists and being a part of the creative process.
We took a seat at the table in the center of the warehouse-turned-home (turned-“work, brainstorming, and studio space”) where artists Cannupa Hanska Luger and Ginger Dunnill live in Glorieta, New Mexico. Taped to the kitchen cabinet was a wall-size paper schedule of impending deadlines for numerous projects. Every line was filled out, and notes were made in black marker, even in the margins. “Welcome to my life,” Dunnill laughed as, never skipping a beat, she outlined their individual projects—while the couple’s two children ran in one door and out the other...
The tone of my studio visit with Santa Fe artist Ted Larsen was set early when he declared that he would likely be both circumspect and like a blowtorch when talking about his thoughts on his studio practice, life, and work. Now fifty-five, the trained painter has been showing his art since before he graduated college. By the time he was twenty-two, he had already exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, making big strides early on in a career that has now spanned decades.
Sashiko greets me as I enter the gallery for Shizu Saldamando’s show, held at SMOCA as part of southwestNET’s series showcasing mid-career Mexican and U.S. artists from the Southwest. Hushed and intimate, each work seems to demand all of one’s attention, a bid made more poignant by Saldamando’s insistence on portraying friends and family and, according to the wall text, “refus[ing] any notions of subjugation” in the artist-subject relationship. A multifaceted artist of Mexican American and Japanese American heritage, Saldamando focuses on “often-overlooked communities of color: punks, queers, activists, and artists.”
Rapheal Begay is a Diné photographer and curator from Window Rock, Arizona, (the capital of the Navajo Nation) currently showing his work at Trapdoor Projects, near downtown Albuquerque. The medium is photography, but the methods are strikingly conceptual, requiring viewers to finish the work in their minds. His work evokes memories of family, as well as harshly beautiful landscapes and the animals who populate them—especially sheep—in the Navajo Nation.
Quietly, a new foundation has come into being in Santa Fe that promises to have a significant impact on art history and art-making, not just in the Southwest, but internationally. The Holt/Smithson Foundation (HSF) was literally willed into existence by artist Nancy Holt—creator of the massive concrete art installation, Sun Tunnels, in the Utah desert— who lived in Santa Fe the last two decades of her life, until her death in 2014.
Dorielle Caimi’s paintings have been described as absurd, humorous, truthful, and empowered. Those adjectives adequately describe Dorielle the painter, too, though I would add that she is extremely funny, smart as a whip, and masterful in her execution and rendering of the female figure. Both articulate and open in speaking about her work, Dorielle effectively integrates her emotional and physical experiences into her studio practice. Balancing expressive and brutally honest portrayals of the female form with jarring pop-surrealist color, animal characters, and cartoonish elements, she offers viewers something vibrant and complex.
"What Endures is, and is not, a question. It’s not incidental that I’m focused on the elemental details of my surroundings, that I want to take apart the anthropogenic landscape, break it down into its simplest ingredients. This act is central to Nina Elder’s process—and to the subjects of the featured work, which spans from 2011 to the present."
Denver artist Jonathan Saiz believes in the value of shock and surprise, as evidenced in two overlapping solo exhibitions. One is #WhatisUtopia, in which ten thousand miniature squares come together in a mosaic-like column given its own space at the Denver Art Museum. The second exhibition, at K Contemporary, is darker in tone, shocking you to attention with foreboding images.
"Several unfinished works in the show are naturally among the most heartbreaking. Unfinished . . . is a rare capsule of work created at the intersection of talent and years of great development. There is an adolescent fearlessness in these paintings, and Stewart allows viewers to see the remarkable efforts of a young artist making use of her rapidly expanding world. Unlike most eighteen-year-olds, the perspective Stewart applied to her work made magical use of a young life evidencing wisdom beyond her years."
Mira Burack’s artwork on view at 516 Arts in Albuquerque evokes themes of rest, comfort, and home—with a dark underside.
The work that Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) and Apache artist Ian Kuali’i makes today is largely born out of a longstanding connection to the landscapes he has lived and worked in, as well as a sense that these different places each hold unique lessons for their inhabitants. As the Ronald and Susan Dubin Native Artist Fellow at the School for Advanced Research, Kuali’i is putting his talent to work to create intricate works of hand-cut paper, as well as an expansive earthwork on a slice of the center’s undeveloped acreage.