Go For Baroque | #GoForBaroque
Full disclosure: I am from New York, so I wasn’t expecting much at the Go for Baroque fashion show, a #DRProjects presentation at David Richard Gallery on April 23. After all, I thought, street fashion in Santa Fe is rather, shall I say, ‘comfortable.’
Designer Kay Khan with model Mark Oppenheimer in her design “Skin” at Go For Baroque Fashion show at David Richard Gallery in collaboration with @SimplySantaFeNM
However, what was presented immediately disabused me of such preconceptions. I was rather blown away by the creative sparks that radiated from all of the submissions. Imaginative use of traditional and non-traditional materials was very much the order of the day. Outrageous fantasy was provided by Kay Khan and Alicia Piller, through their adoption and adaptation of the unexpected. Their work was complemented by the exotic luxury of a hand-embroidered silk robe by Kathleen Ferguson-Huntington.
Alicia Piller, designer and model, Graffiti Baroque in New Baroque fashion show at David Richard Gallery in collaboration with @SimplySantaFeNM. (photo David Eichholtz)
Kathleen Ferguson-Huntington, Designer (right), “The Mistress of Mercantile A Visual Codex of Silk Road Trade” in Go For Baroque fashion Show at David Richard Gallery in collaboration with @SimplySantaFeNM. (photo by tseringchoney)
Ezra Estes led the ‘ready-to-wear’ category with a collection of serious fun designs for men and women. Beautiful fabrics and intricate patterning defined the pieces – clothes that one could conceivably find in trend-setting shops like Barney’s in New York.
Erza Estes, designer and model, Santa Fe Community College Fashion Club in Go For Baroque fashion show at David Richard Gallery in collaboration with @SimplySantaFeNM. (photo by David Eichholtz)
Upcycle designer Olivia Hawkins presented an embroidered skirt and top resurrected from a past life and one of Estes’ students, Rose Willey, an elegant evening ensemble. Elegance was also the byword for the hand-painted and batik raw silk pieces by Andrea Vargas-Mendoza.
Alicia Piller & Andrea Vargas-Mendoza, designers in front of their creation “After Life (Tribute to Ana Mendieta)” at Go For Baroque fashion show at David Richard Gallery in collaboration with @SimplySantaFeNM. (photo David Eichholtz)
Rose Willey, designer, Elegent Chiffon, in Go For Baroque fashion show at David Richard Gallery in collaboration with @SimplySantaFeNM. (photo David Eichholtz)
Whimsy was on hand with the OTT leopard-print hoodie and hot pants set by Ann Jag (accompanied by a mutant stuffed animal pull-toy) and the amusing and complex embroidered handbags by Ellie Beth Scott.
Ann Jag, Designer, Glamorized Track Suit and Honey Poodle, in Go For Baroque fashion show at David Richard Gallery in collaboration with @SimplySantaFeNM. (photo David Eichholtz)
Ellie Beth Scott, designer, “Chick Purse” in Go For Baroque fashion show at David Richard Gallery in collaboration with @SimplySantaFeNM. (photo Greg Zinniel)
For my money the visual highlight was the ensemble created by Dylan Anderson. A black velvet brocade farthingale with a long train was coupled with a painful-looking tightly fitted black corset. A sensational as the outfit was, it was made even more so by Anderson wearing his own magnum opus.
Dylan Anderson, designer and model, Shawl / Neck Piece and Train, in Go For Baroque fashion show at David Richard Gallery in collaboration with @SimplySantaFeNM. (photo Greg Zinniel)
The event was emceed by the super-professional Amy Shea, who choreographed the catwalk and introduced each designer and their pieces with an élan befitting the creations.
So hats off to all of the designers, to Amy Shea, to David Richard Gallery and to social media collaborators @SimplySantaFeNM for showing a very special side of the creative energy to be found in Santa Fe, ‘The City Different.
Follow all of the images from the fashion competition and catwalk at #GoForBaroque. Join us for the photography competition and pop up show at the closing night of the exhibition, “New Baroque: The Imperfect Pearl” on Saturday, May 7 at David Richard Gallery.
2016 April 25
Michele Bubacco participates in the 7th Annual VAF Foundation Prize at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome
Michele Bubacco joins 14 other young artists in the VAF Foundation’s annual showcase of contemporary Italian art. This year’s selection opens at the MACRO in Rome on April 14th and runs till May 29th, 2016. The exhibition will then travel to the Stadtgalerie in Kiel from June 10th through August 28th and then on to the Kunstsammlungen in Chemnitz from November 10 till February 12th 2017.
The Franfurt-based VAF Foundation is a private organization founded by Volker Feierbabend in 2000. Dedicated to presenting trends in contemporary Italian art, it seeks to foster a creative dialogue for visual arts culture between Italy and Germany. The Premio Fondazione VAF is an annual curated invitational comprised of Italian artists under 40 years of age.
Michele Bubacco, The Addiction, 2015, Oil and collage on wood, 62.5 x 45.25″. © Michele Bubacco
Justice Whitaker’s Reading at a Strangers Collective Salon Celebrating Meow Wolf’s 8th Anniversary at David Richard Gallery
To celebrate the 8th Anniversary of Meow Wolf and in advance of it’s grand opening of The House of Eternal Return on March 18, David Richard Gallery and Meow Wolf joined forces to showcase the innovative and surprising visual artists working in Santa Fe today.
“Given our respective commitment to the contemporary arts scene in Santa Fe, this exhibition is a perfect partnership between Meow Wolf and David Richard Gallery,” says gallery co-director David Eichholtz. “We see this as an opportunity to support the young artists who are pushing boundaries and bringing something new and exciting into the mix.’
In the 8 years since Meow Wolf formed, the arts production company’s runaway success has helped embolden a new wave of young creatives. In honor of the group’s anniversary, David Richard Gallery collaborated with one of Santa Fe’s newest art collectives for a special tribute. As part of the gallery’s Happy Birthday Meow Wolf! Benefit Exhibition, emerging writers and artists group Strangers Collective invited local writers to share Meow Wolf-inspired work in a special Strangers Salon on Saturday on February 20th.
Says David: “Strangers Collective is another example of the wealth of creative talent to be found in Santa Fe. With a focus on the written word, a new generation of poets, creative writers, journalists and critics are contributing voices to the city’s cultural landscape.”
Setting the tone for the evening’s exchange was Justice Whitaker’s INFiNITE8: A Spoken Word Critical Inquiry to the Artists of Meow Wolf. Delivered in true Beat style Whitaker perfectly nailed the spirit of the event:
This is for a birthday celebration that feels soooo so great. This is for the Infinite 8.
It’s a graphic representation, those of us that work in art should be able to identify.
The Infinity swirls and curves just like the years it takes to give the hours, that give the power to EVEN celebrate 8.
& I recognize the power that Meow Wolf has created for themselves in this beautiful community, and that I respect more than anything else. To create something with the longevity with the vision that looks as beautiful as a piece of art on the wall.
& to see what they have created out of that vision, manifested through the structures, through installations, makes me not want to be patient. Makes me want to be the Infinite 8 – The infinite 8 — that surges forward powering through my work, power through and create. But the Infinite 8 DOES need patience to create.
For, to create something over a distance of time to create something that has longevity and vision requires a community that understands and is behind — a community that pushes.
That’s the Infinite 8.
That’s the Infinite great! Its the Infinite Art. It’s the Infinite Heart. It’s the Infinite 8.
You can see it from now, until the stars: that was 2015!
5 & 1 & 2: That’s the infinite 8,
but now its 2016 and we are propelled ON for the next 8!
for the next 18!
for the next 88!
because Infinity will propel us, if that’s what WE create.
And that’s an important point about the Infinite loop. It does need that inertia, it needs the first push. It does need that community, it does need me and you, it needs the Infinite Art, it needs the infinite Heart, that’s the Infinite 8.
So when we celebrate what’s great about the Infinite 8, we understand that to get there takes power, it takes those 10,000 hours, it takes that commitment from each and every individual that comes thru the Infinite 8 to make the Infinite Great.
That’s the Infinite:
that’s the Infinite this, and the infinite that,
it’s the Infinite white and the Infinite Black
— Well Meow Wolf’s really not that Black —
but that’s Infinite truth,
and that’s the Infinite youth,
and that’s the Infinite ME and that’s the Infinite YOU
So when we look at our Infinite truth, when we look at the Infinite 8; the Infinite Great, what we have created from now to the past? We have to ask, To where does our Infinity continue? How do we reach every nook and cranny of our community & make sure that our Infinite 8 is infinitely great – not the past, but the future Infinite 8.
because thats the infinity we have to think about. If we create future. If we create totems. If we create idolatry. If we create structures & buildings & architecture. If we create paintings on the wall —
& organizations and structures that are just as beautiful as that.
We have to make sure that they are Infinitely rooted and Infinitely embedded. That’s the Infinite Greatness, that’s the Infinite ART, that’s the Infinite community, & when they come together that’s the Infinite HEART.
That’s the infinite great.
& I praise Meow Wolf for what they did seek out to create
& I question Meow Wolf for what they will create for their NEXT Infinite 8
In the coming days the presentations from the other writers who participated in the Salon Evening will be posted. Stay tuned.
2016 February 20
Meow Wolf artists – Esteban Bojorquez, “Target Practice” and Nico Salazar and Sarah Bradley, “Jackal”
Meow Wolf artists, Patrick Barrow, “Shapes of Wrath”, Dylan Pommer, “The Rattlesanke Queen”, and Esteban Bojorquez, “The Manta” and “Steel Royal”
Meow Wolf artist, Dylan Pommer “Buffalo Girl Color Way 3 Circus” and “Buffalo Girl Color Way 3 Death”
Seismic Change in Santa Fe
April 1, 2016
Kathryn M. Davis
In the 1960s, New York City’s SoHo district began to recast itself in a new image. The outmoded manufacturing district emptied of industry and was drastically recreated by an incoming population of artists with their eternal quest for— what else—cheap live-work spaces. As the once- affordable neighborhood in downtown Manhattan slowly evolved into a ridiculously chichi part of town (by the ’90s), Chelsea became the new SoHo. Now, of course, the borough of Brooklyn has been gentrified to its own mortification, and Queens and the Bronx have increasingly become default locations for the great percentage of New Yorkers who can’t afford to live in Manhattan or Brooklyn.
The old days of SoHo’s rise from ignominy represented a seismic shift in the Western world’s art capital, economically and generationally, a shift that meant that a whole new neighborhood was flooded with new residents of the “creative” sort. Watch out for them—they’ll transform your once-funky neighborhood into a bastion of hipsterism! And you just might find yourself priced out of a home.
Here in Santa Fe, we’ve known that kind of gentrification for at least 100 years, or as long as painters have been committing Modernist concepts to canvas. Bohemians from the East Coast started moving into Canyon Road in the early twentieth century. These “Nuts in Mud Huts” were frowned upon by the more upwardly mobile Hispanos and Anglos who chose to live downtown in their Victorian homes. Like any other arty types, the nuts had other priorities. In the 1900s, the road into the foothills was more than unpretentious. It was—and this is unfathomable now—affordable. Maybe the house you lived and worked in had broken windows and your fireplace didn’t work, but if you drank enough, you could keep those inconveniences at bay. Bars were plentiful, and artists and other outsiders thrived on Canyon Road.
Until, that is, it no longer served artists to live and work there, as a neighborhood popular for its affordability was overtaken by the commercial side of art—that is, galleries. Today, the old road is relegated to tourist-attraction status. You’ll see visitors staggering down the road of an afternoon, exhausted from a day devoted to oohing and aahing at the whirly- gig sculptures and sofa-coordinated paintings. Canyon Road is no longer an artists’ colony. It still lays claim to some great galleries, but its days as a bastion for eccentrics are over. It seems fair to say that the last nail was pounded into Canyon Road’s coffin when the art- supply store, Artisan, moved away in the late 1990s.
Meanwhile, artists and other broke types continue to move farther and farther away from the historic districts of Santa Fe as the pinch on Middle America plays out in New Mexico, one of the nation’s poorest states. Since 2008, the situation has become dire. But forward-thinking artists and students have always lived on the fringes, where space is cheaper. This means they gravitate toward previously undesirable areas, full of warehouses, garages, and abandoned bowling alleys.
If you’re not from here, you may be unfamiliar with the buzz being generated by the Santa Fe–based arts collective Meow Wolf. If you’re from here and are really, really hip, you’re already tired of hearing about Meow Wolf. The rest of us excitedly await the opening of the arts complex in the previously unconsidered area roughly bordered by Agua Fria and Cerrillos on the north and south, with Siler Road cutting a swath right down the middle. Siler has long been the main road of a mixed-use neighborhood that includes low-income housing, the back ends of big-box chain stores, mechanics’ and auto-body shops, gas stations and empty lots. The Siler-Rufina District is in the process of rapidly transforming into the new “it” neighborhood. Whether you call it Mid- Town, SiRuDi, LSD (Lower Siler District), or simply SiDi, it is happening now, as the essence of Santa Fe shifts from an adobe Disneyland to a place its sons and daughters can come home to.
GAME OF THRONES MEETS MEOW WOLF: A SONG OF MUD AND SKY?
Television’s ratings-grabber fantasy series, Game of Thrones, has an odd but powerful connection to Santa Fe in the person of co-producer and author George R.R. Martin, a long-time resident of the Fe. He has partnered with Meow Wolf members (many of whom grew up here) to turn an empty bowling alley in the SiDi into an art and entertainment complex set to open as this issue goes to press. Already covered by The New York and Los Angeles Times, and numerous art and pop-culture magazines, it’s definitely not your usual Santa Fe tourist fare. Not only will Meow Wolf change the way the general public experiences “art,” the new complex promises to transform a previously undervalued part of the country’s oldest capital city into a southwestern Bushwick of sorts. The psychological impact of this shift cannot be underestimated. If Meow Wolf succeeds in their vision, it will mean that a whole new generation of Santa Feans can look well beyond the Plaza, Canyon Road and other “quaint” neighborhoods to a viable part of town that isn’t miles from its cultural center, or priced out of reality.
The art collective, formed in Santa Fe in 2008, has been hard at work building their House of Eternal Return for just over a year, having negotiated a ten-year lease with landlord Martin. Their website describes Meow Wolf as “an arts production company” whose “immersive” “fusion of art and entertainment” is part “jungle gym, haunted house, children’s museum,” and part permanent art installation for “audiences of all ages.” When Meow Wolf co-founder and CEO Vince Kadlubek initially proposed buying the old bowling alley, Martin was immediately intrigued with the idea of a house whose tragic backstory caused it to fracture into new dimensions.
BRIEFLY, WHAT THE HOUSE OF ETERNAL RETURN IS AND IS NOT:
The Meow Wolf that’s garnering all the media’s attention right now is a 20,000 square-foot, permanent follow-up to the group’s wildly successful The Due Return, exhibited in 2011 at Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts. The art complex on the old Silva Lanes’ two and a half acres will also offer artists’ studios to rent, a gift shop, and a more traditional gallery space for resident artists. The David Loughridge Maker Space, 3000 square feet of workshop available to the public, will include a laser cutter, a CNC router, high-end sewing machines, kilns, soldering tables—all programmed by Meow Wolf’s Arts Education Program, CHIMERA, a non-profit organization. MAKE Santa Fe will be a valuable addition to the local arts community, offering classes in new media that our colleges do not.
The House of Eternal Return exhibition and the gift shop are for-profit ventures. As such, visitors will pay an admission fee of $15 per person to tour 20,000 square feet of what could be described as steampunk Disney meets interactive art. An annual family pass costs $150 for up to five people; an individual annual pass is available, and a lifetime membership costs $2000. You pay to play, folks, because . . .
Meow Wolf believes in paying artists and other creatives for their work. This is a concept that Santa Fe would do well to take to heart. This means that you’ll be paying to look at art. But you’ll also be paying for a purely fun experience that you’ll want to share with loved ones. (For context, see the Disney reference above.) The complex has employed up to 150 artists and technical experts so far, and reflects what Meow Wolfers call a “new art market model” that consciously transcends the rubrics of art versus entertainment. As an arts collective, they are interested in how to expand an art audience without alienating the viewer or diluting artistic vision. No small feat.
The collective’s aesthetic might best be described as a found-object, Maximalist Rococo style in which anything goes, including psychedelia. Burning Man is an influence, as is the City Museum in St. Louis. Throw in a sense of world-creating that aligns with Martin’s storyteller sensibilities, and you’re getting there. Discussing style is, however, misleading, as each artist works individually and in small teams to manifest their own visions. Call it radical collaboration; Meow Wolf is hardly manifesto driven.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
These days we’re all focused on the opening of Meow Wolf’s exhibition after a year of hype and hope. But the SiDi and other points south of downtown have presented viable alternatives to pricey Santa Fe for several years now. Major players there include artist Michael Freed, whose Offroad Productions at 2891-B Trades West converts his working studio into a gallery space, complete with guest curators (Linda Durham is currently on deck), as it has done on a quarterly basis for years now; Gregory Waits and Carolyn Parrs are FreSH Santa Fe at 2855 Cooks Road, where they show “art without a résumé” and host performances of all kinds. Then there’s Radical Abacus, at 1226D Calle de Comercio. Co-producer John McKissick summed up the Rad Ab’s history in an email:
The space has gone through a multitude of habitations and identities. Back when Kiki Smith and others were using Dwight Hackett’s bronze foundry and project space [on All Trades Road, now occupied by MAKE Santa Fe], the fabricators crashed here. I’ve been told that the space went through a grim black-metal nocturne. When I first visited Radical Abacus, there were aerial fabrics hanging from the ceiling for circus practice. Although I’ve lived here with four or five people (in an unheated loft with very thin walls), there are only two of us in residence now. My housemate Angelo Harmsworth and I decided to enhance the austerity of the main space by painting it white and eschewing the permanent presence of furniture, murals, and designated work spaces for the temporary allocation of performance actions, exhibitions and object assemblages, and social gatherings.
McKissick’s focus remains on organizing small group shows by younger practitioners from Santa Fe and beyond; he and Harmsworth have shown work by Martha Tuttle, Krista Peters, and (Meow Wolf co-founder) Sean Di Ianni, among others.
Then, because this is life and life doesn’t obey geographic bounds, there is the gallery and project space known as David Richard Gallery. Co-owners David Eichholtz and Richard Barger committed to moving out of the overpriced Railyard Arts District; their grand re-opening took place at the beginning of this year. During their time in RAD, they were known for specializing in Post-War American Abstraction, but their recent, and excellent, programming brings in a younger, alternative crowd that most other Santa Fe gallerists often ignore. Visit them on the outskirts of the fashionable districts, at 1570 Pacheco Street—another neighborhood of warehouses, car mechanics, featureless little houses and striking contemporary lofts, an upscale design center with the lovely restaurant Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen, and the Pink Church Art Center.
Most Santa Feans haven’t lived in its historic districts for decades. Change may not be easy, but inevitably it offers the opportunity to remake what we hold dear to this place. Matt King, another founding Meow Wolf member, mused to LA Times reporter David Wharton in a front-page article filed on February 23rd, “How do we do this and remain true to ourselves?” That is the question, Santa Fe. If anyone has a vision for the century to come, it’s our artists.
Meow Wolf at David Richard Gallery
Santa Fe is now the permanent home to one of the most ambitious visual art extravaganzas anywhere. The much anticipated launch of the Meow Wolf Art Collective’s The House of Eternal Return was March 18, 2016. The immersive experience includes massive installations, digital and video artworks, a laser harp, vignettes, dioramas and individual artworks.
Meow Wolf started eight years ago as a loose association of Santa Fe artists and performers and over the years has seen 500 artists move in an out of the group. Currently there are over 130 members working together to create an immersive, experiential installation housed in a former bowling alley.
To celebrate the 8th anniversary of the collective, David Richard Gallery hosted a benefit exhibition from February 19-March 5, featuring a selection of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and digital media by several members of the group. Quite a bit of talent was on display, but there were a few standouts, especially the paintings by Matt King. King’s colorful abstractions possess an impressive degree of resolution and confidence. There’s a sureness of hand in the application of color and line and the results really ‘hold the wall.’
Anne Farrell’s tiny iPad video, The Pond, was an unexpected hit at the show. Despite the small scale, there is a richness of depth and fluid movement in the piece – a kinetic collage of drawings, photographs and digital manipulation.
Esteban Bojorquez – sculptor, luthier, surfboard maker (what’s he doing in the desert?) and overall master craftsman – contributed several pieces. The star among them was unquestionably Steel Royale, a fully playable lap steel guitar fashioned from an old jerry can and other shiny bits and pieces. Perfect for an aspiring Nashville rhinestone cowboy.
Particularly noteworthy was the multi-generational makeup of Meow Wolf, with emerging artists fresh out of school working alongside established artists, veterans of many decades and yet-to-be-discovered artists. It demonstrates a true sense of collective spirit and a communal desire to make something really special.
The opening reception on the 19th was heaving, with collectors, artists, and the curious in full attendance. It was an impressive show of local support for the collective’s activities and underscored how dynamic the local arts scene in Santa Fe truly is.
Visit the exhibition page for the press release and to view individual artworks and the installation:
Featuring Matt King (left) and Nichloas Toll (right). Courtesy Meow Wolf, Santa Fe.
Anne Farrell, The Pond from Island of Pal Diorama, 2016, video
Esteban Bojorquez, The Manta, Electric lap steel guitar brass, 2003, 40 x 13 x 3 inches
Local Flavour: Meow Wolf lays down its marker
The opening of the visual arts extravaganza that is the art collective Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return may, in one swell swoop, put Santa Fe firmly back on the map as a serious art destination.
By now the plot should be familiar to anyone paying attention to what’s going on here in Santa Fe: A very large and mixed group of seriously talented artists embark upon an odyssey to create a permanent installation of scale ambition that has never been seen before. They enlist another local talent, Game of Thrones magus George R.R. Martin to provide them with a piece of real estate in a slightly scruffy, quasi-industrial part of town. With begging bowl in hand, they approach the public and private sectors, and, amazingly, get the buy-in they need to pull the whole thing off.
Within the old Silva Lanes Bowling Alley a full-scale Victorian house is erected, complete down to the minutest details. Passing through rooms, up and down staircases, the mash-up of hand-made construction, light and sound installations, painting, sculpture, is nothing short of visual and technological wizardry. Caves with stalactites house a musical mastodon skeleton. A refrigerator door or a fireplace are portals leading to other-worldly experiences. A contemporary version of a Hanging Garden of Babylon replete with trees, interactive mushrooms, spiral staircases and tree houses is to be found somewhere in the center of the complex, with endless visual distractions and surprises radiating out in all directions. To say there is nothing like it anywhere is no hyperbole.
The House is not a mere kaleidoscopic hodge-podge of disparate virtuoso elements; there is a basic narrative: it was the home of the (fictional) Selig family whose members seem to have suddenly vanished, leaving photographs, notes, drawings and other personal items behind, perhaps as clues. It becomes (somewhat) clear that the house is a time machine of sorts or a port of entry to other universes.
There are no maps, no single or right way to travel through the house. Visitors are simply left to their own devices to make discoveries. The House of Eternal Return cannot be fully experienced with just one visit and that was the intention. It will require multiple trips to the old bowling alley to unlock its mysteries.
Whatever the future holds for the artists of Meow Wolf, this is one tough act to follow.
David Richard Gallery hosted an anniversary celebration and pop-up benefit exhibition, Happy Birthday Meow Wolf, as part of its DR Projects. The exhibition featured artworks by individual artists of Meow Wolf and a portion of the proceeds from sales went to those artists and Meow Wolf. See the individual artworks and installation using this link: http://www.davidrichardgallery.com/Exhibit_Detail.cfm?ShowsID=297.
Howard Rutkowski and David Eichholtz
Santa Fe, NM
March 24, 2016
Meow Wolf, Matt King’s “Ghost Town” and band stage
Meow Wolf, Dylan Pommer, 20’s Cartoon Room
Meow Wolf, Erika Wanenmacher’s Animal Eye Dome
Meow Wolf, Nico Salazar, 100% hand drawn using only sakura paint markers
Local Flavor – Radical Abacus
Radical Abacus, an alternative space run by John McKissick, is on a street in Santa Fe that more than adequately describes the neighborhood, Calle de Comercio. It’s a little side street off the main drag of Cerillos Road and parallel to Siler, peppered with auto body shops, garages and other gritty enterprises. The street entrance to the space is marked by a cipher (only part of which I can identify as the square root of something). The interior is appropriately raw and reminiscent of the sort of spaces one saw in Lower Manhattan in the 70s or Berlin in the 90s. It’s the kind of place where one can imagine that something unusual and different could happen and indeed, it does.
According to McKissick, the address served in the past as a crash pad for artists and artisans, something he ambiguously describes as ‘A grim black metal nocturne,’ and a practice hall for circus performers. McKissick wanted to create a venue for actions, exhibitions, performances and social gatherings. So far this program has ranged from performances by neo-Goths Them Are Us Too and Drab Majesty to very thoughtful, personal exhibition installations of artists from Santa Fe and beyond. These projects are not curated in the traditional sense, but are more like gatherings of kindred spirits. They are not intended to delve deeply into motivations, concepts or even process. As McKissick explains: “For each show I wrote a fragmentary series of remarks elaborating/digressing upon the show’s title. The main point of the exercise was to establish rapport with the artists and to share a common excitement. I used this text to invite artists to consider how their practices could be altered/transformed by them.”
Radical Abacus’ next offering is the premiere on April 23rd of Grisha Kriychenia’s Refuge Cycle with soprano Tara Khozein, a benefit for the Middle Eastern refugees.
Radical Abacus is located at 1226D Calle de Comercio, Santa Fe, NM 87505
By Howard Rutkowski
Santa Fe, NM
Following: Installation Images from the most recent exhibition at Radical Abacus, “Raylets”, Feb 5-29, 2016. Artworks by: Maya Bush, Henry chapman, Nicholas Chiarella, Felix Fan, Krista Peters, Lauren Seiden, Lucrecia Troncoso, Martha Tuttle, Scotty Slade Wagner. http://www.raylets.xyz/exhibition. Courtesy Radical Abacus, Santa Fe.
“Untitled” by Krista Peters. © Krista Peters. Courtesy Radical Abacus.
“Animal Sketch” and “Crying” by Henry Chapman. © Henry Chapman. Courtesy Radical Abacus.
“Untitled” stoneware vessels by Lucrecia Troncoso. © Lucrecia Troncoso. Courtesy Radical Abacus.
“Clear Sound (7)”, “Clear Sound (8)”, and “Clear Sound (9) by Martha Tuttle; “Raw Wrap 21″ by Lauren Seiden.” © Martha Tuttle. © Lauren Seiden. Courtesy Radical Abacus.
International Women’s Day – Celebrating Women Artists at David Richard Gallery
In my long travels I learned early that most artists reject labels, preferring to be known by their work, rather than where they come from, the color of their skin or their gender. Still, whether they inform the work or not, people still feel these hyphenated additions useful, if not important. Not to long ago at an opening for a show I curated in Santa Fe, a local art critic commented on the absence of women artists. My thoughts at the time were that a visual presentation should focus on concept and content and not come with a multi-cultural/mixed gender checklist. Most artists would, I am sure, agree.
Subject, message and position have been intertwined with visual art practice since the cave painters of Lescaux. Still, we should approach imagery from a formal aesthetic construct first, then, look to the message later. Regardless of what a painting is trying to say, it still has to be good.
There are five women artists showing at the David Richard Gallery; three in its current exhibition New Baroque: The Imperfect Pearl and two to be included in the next show The Narrative Figure. All satisfy the requirement that the work must be vigorous and intelligent and therefore successful in formal terms. Yet each approaches the making of art a very different ways.
Catherine Howe, Carborundum and Silver (Mantis), 2016, Acrylic, encaustic, metal leaf, carborundum grit on canvas, 48″ x 36″
Leila Farcas-Ionescu, Young Couple 1, Porcelain, stoneware, engobes, glazes, silver, 13 x 15 “
Catherine Howe’s focus is on process. Beginning with the tradition of still life painting, the complex amalgam of materials – almost a chemical reaction – send the representational origin far into abstraction.
Magic-Realism is the source of Laila Farcas-Ionescu romantically spooky ceramic sculpture. They possess a medieval or Renaissance appearance that suggests a fantasy narrative – a Game of Thrones in clay.
Angela Fraleigh imbeds a clear, yet subtle point of view in her swirling, multi-color canvases of female figures appropriated from Baroque and Rococo painting. Her compositions move these women from the objectified role they played in the original paintings and by creating a veil between them and the viewer, provide them with their own private identities.
Angela Fraleigh, Watching the Moon Move, 2015, Oil on canvas, 48″ x 60″
Not noticeable at first glance, the porcelain and mixed media sculpture of Daisy Quezade carries the most searing of messages – that of the physical and psychological abuse of women in Latino culture. The human figures are not visible in the actual work, but are represented by the clothing that become vestiges of their existence.
The painted, collaged compositions of Tschabalala Self are, on the other hand, celebrations of black women. There is strength and confidence in these representations and the figures stand for a matter-of-fact acceptance of existence and identity.
So yes, these are five extremely talented and serious artists who just happen to be women and like good artists anywhere they deserve the support of the entire art community and the general public.
2016 March 08
Daisy Quezada, Arbol de Violencia No. 5, 2014, Porcelain, plexiglass. Courtesy Daisy Quezada.
Opening Launch of David Richard Gallery’s New Space on Pacheco Street
Visitors to the opening night reception on January 14 at David Richard Gallery’s new HQ on Pacheco Street were treated to a visual smorgasbord from around the world, around town and literally from around the corner. Paintings, sculpture, found objects, ceramics presented a multi-cultural and multi-generational kaleidoscope of things to look at and take in.
Front and center was senior Royal Academician Paul Huxley, showing his latest body of work based on his installation at last year’s Venice Biennale. These were large, bold canvases featuring his signature tension between geometry of form and color harmonics.
Installation: Paul Huxley, “Recent Paintings After The Venice Biennale”, 2016.
Another room serendipitously paired Monte Coleman’s ceramic ‘Heads and Hands’ (actually skulls and bones) with paintings by the young Italian Michele Bubacco. Bubacco’s dark and uncertain narratives were steeped in the art history lessons of Caravaggio, Goya and Bacon, with a gestural nod to Baselitz. Coleman, despite his potentially grisly subject matter, provided a rather humorous counterpoint with his elegantly thrown vessels, filled and adorned by skeletal bits and pieces.
Installation: Michele Bubacco, “Serenade”, 2016.
Installation: Monte Coleman, “Heads and Hands”, 2016
There was some serious heavy metal going on in “Industrial Strength Santa Fe’, featuring local lads Chris Collins, Tim Cox and Jack R. Slentz. Bullet-riddled desert trash (no, not the human kind) was spectacularly reincarnated through Collins’ alchemical application of gold, silver and copper leaf. Cox’ aluminum paintings and miniature cast aluminum sculptures of dumpsters and other receptacles contributed to the industrial feel of the project. Slentz continues his explorations of materials with a new body of show incorporating rubber inner tubes and hand-fabricated steel elements: cage-like restraints, chains, locks and manacles, resulting in a fetishistic, B&D experience.
Installation: Tim Cox, Chris Collins and Jack Slentz, “Industrial Strength Santa Fe”, 2016
Last – and certainly not least – were Erik Gellert’s fascinatingly complex ceramic Squares. Endless strands of hand-rolled clay were woven, like skeins of yarn into undulating surfaces suggestive of coral or seaweed floating on the tide. Pure visual pleasure.
Installation: Eric Gellert, “All Square”, 2016
An added treat was the fact that all the participating artists were present for the festivities: Huxley flew in from London, Bubacco from Vienna, Coleman from New York, and the local guys from various parts of Santa Fe (and Los Alamos). Guests came early and stayed till the end and the 250 capacity parking lot was filled from start to finish.
The evening was capped by a dinner at the hotel Santa Fe’s Amaya restaurant to celebrate and congratulate the talent that fired a pretty impressive first salvo.
David Richard Gallery’s new home on Pacheco Street
#EmergeSantaFe. Jeff Medinas, @jeff_medinas, #EmergeSantaFe 107, 2016, Photograph, Ed. 5
The gallery takes a bold step in laying claim to its position as Santa Fe’s preeminent showcase for serious, cutting-edge art. Its new gallery space is located within a low-key neighborhood populated by design and architect firms, artists’ studios and the hipster hangout Sweetwater Café – a far cry from the generic tourist-centric Railyard District where they resided for the past four years.
“The gallery has always been a destination for our clientele, especially for the historical abstraction from the 60s and 70s that we have presented over the years, so in some ways location was less important,” notes co-director David Eichholtz. “However, when we launched DR Projects to promote emerging artists, we realized the necessity of being closer to the creative community.”
As the only commercial gallery supporting serious, emerging local talent, the timing of the move couldn’t be more fortuitous. There is an undercurrent of creative energy that hasn’t been seen in Santa Fe for years. Whether the stars are in alignment or for other reasons, alternative spaces like Radical Abacus, groups such as Meow Wolf, Strangers Collective and the Santa Fe Collective are setting the stage for a renaissance of sorts. Add to this mix the myriad individual creative sparks in the ‘City Different’ and a paradigm shift is very much in evidence.
The new gallery has a more accessible feel to it in comparison to the aircraft hanger-like space that was their former premises. Multiple rooms allow for a flexibility of what can be shown, from large group exhibitions to discreet project spaces. “The goal was to have the ability to stream different art projects simultaneously and to host a variety of events that tie in to and support the local scene.”
The gallery’s pioneering move to 1570 Pacheco Street mirrors the organic development of creative environments in other cities in the US and Europe. The Mitte in Berlin, the East End of London and the outer boroughs of New York City began as migration points for young artists and galleries and are now firmly fixed upon the map of the art world. Whether this will happen in Santa Fe remains to be seen, but already the gallery has experienced a positive effect, as Eichholtz observes: “In the first month on Pacheco Street we had more visitors than in all of 2015.” No doubt other galleries in town will be taking note.
David Richard Gallery 1570 Pacheco Street, A1 Santa Fe, NM 87505 (505) 983-9555