Matthew Szösz’s Minimal Tension exhibition might be over, but his glass sculptures are still on view across our ground floor. While the Seattle-based artist was in Santa Fe for his show, we interviewed him about his artistic process and career. He discussed his Inflatables and Ropework series, which figured prominently into the exhibition. Watch the video above to learn more about Szösz, and browse all of his available artwork in the form & concept collection.
From a human perspective, the night sky is a densely layered cultural landscape. Long before they were subjects of scientific study, stars were laden with countless overlapping mythologies. Fortune tellers, sailors, writers, architects and artists have all projected profound meaning into the cosmos, tying earthly events to the movements of heavenly bodies.
form & concept is pleased to present Inner Orbit, a group exhibition of contemporary artists who carry forward this grand tradition. They meld fine art and craft mediums with technology to create personal or cultural visions of the firmament. Inner Orbit opens on Friday, May 25 from 5 to 7 pm, as part of form & concept’s Second Anniversary Celebration. Some of the artists will appear at a gallery talk on Saturday, June 9 from 2 to 3 pm.
Under the banner of Santa Fe Futurition, a number of local cultural institutions have banded together to present forward-thinking programming throughout the month of June. There’s the Currents New Media Festival (June 8-24) and Santa Fe Institute’s Interplanetary Festival (June 7-8), both in the Santa Fe Railyard, along with exhibitions and events presented by Meow Wolf, Axle Contemporary and the Thoma Foundation’s Art House.
“The Railyard will anchor a complete solar system of tech and science-themed exhibitions and events next month,” says form & concept Gallery Director Frank Rose. “We’re kicking things off at the end of May with a show that presents outer space not as a dark void, but as a rich source of artistic inspiration.”
Inner Orbit stands out as the first entry in Futurition’s formidable lineup—and also as perhaps its most down-to-earth program. During the curatorial process, Rose sought out artists who view outer space as an enormous cultural mirror.
Painter Katie Dorame recasts space aliens as European colonizers descending upon the Americas. New media artist Andrew Yang presents a two-channel video titled Interviews with the Milky Way, which weaves together cosmic imagery with sound bites from conversations about the stars. In a series of densely detailed graphite drawings, Nina Elder examines the history of meteorites stolen from Indigenous lands by the United States government. Artist duo Hillerbrand + Magsamen contribute portraits of their family in spacesuits, à la Lost in Space.
“These artists work with their hands as much as they’re using computers,” says Rose. “They’re blending technology with other, more analog artistic mediums to tell powerful stories.”
The White Sands Missile Range is a world-famous site of military bomb testing, but its recent history is tied to an isolated village 600 miles to the north. For ten years during the Cold War, Green River, Utah was the launch site for test missiles that detonated in White Sands. That’s the reason Arizona artist Erika Lynne Hanson landed there for a month-long research project in 2017.
Hanson’s time in Green River marked the start of a major body of work regarding the scraps from the missile tests. In a new series of weavings and video artworks, Hanson uses a little-known language to inspire nuanced perspectives on these sites. Her artworks pose open questions about the nature of humanity and our relationship to nature. Movement Choir: Landscape Scores opens at form & concept on Friday, May 25 from 5 to 7 pm, and runs through June 23, 2018. Hanson will conduct an artist talk on Saturday, May 26 from 2 to 3 pm.
“Green River was the stage for a fascinating chapter in American history,” says Hanson. “We were quite literally bombing ourselves for a ten-year span.” During her stay in Green River, Hanson became fascinated with the considerable marks—both psychological and physical—that the project left on the community and its surroundings. “These parts of the missile would fall off and land in the landscape, leaving behind scars,” she says. Hanson researched the sites of this accidental jestam. She returned to her loom with a challenge: how to explore the significance of these unintentional land artworks through fiber?
Hanson is accustomed to tackling creative projects that span many miles and artistic mediums. She’s an Assistant Professor of Fibers and Socially Engaged Practice at Arizona State University, and also maintains a multidisciplinary artistic practice that has taken her from Alaska to Iceland. Broadly, her artworks propose potential connections between material, history and place. Recently that has manifested in a series of imagined dialogues between humans and different elements of the landscape. Before her Green River excursion, Hanson completed a project in White Sands, New Mexico where she planted gypsum-colored flags as tributes to the land.
“The idea is to say, ‘I will weave a flag in your honor, and then we will have a conversation,’” Hanson explains. “It’s a funny proposition to think that a human can broker a dialogue between, say, a gypsum crystal and the White Sands dunes. It never totally works, so it becomes an absurdist proposition. I’m in this landscape, I don’t fully understand it, but I’m going to try.” Flags appear in Hanson’s body of work for Movement Choir: Landscape Scores as well, though they’re more than just offerings.
To incorporate the story of the missile fragments into the work, the artist turned her banners into semaphores of sorts. She used the Labanotation system, invented by 20th century choreographer Rudolf Laban for dance performance scores, to indicate how the viewer might move their body through each site. Video artworks of Hanson planting the flags will also appear in the show. “By suggesting how the body might move through these spaces, I’m proposing potential connections amongst material, history, and place,” the artist says.
After all, Hanson points out, the places that were in the paths of the missiles were hardly empty. “They picked Green River to deploy these missiles because they said it went over the least amount of inhabited lands to reach White Sands,” she says. “It goes over all of this National Park and BLM land, so it’s not really uninhabited, it’s just uninhabited by people.” If the landscape could speak, Hanson wonders if it would complain about these rusty thorns in its side. “Is it a trauma when the landscape is hit with a missile?” she asks. “What does a rock care, or does it care? Maybe I’m just reflecting my mortality into this, which is a very short span in the face of geologic time.”
Opening Reception: Friday, May 25, 5-7 pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, June 9, 2-3 pm
From a human perspective, the night sky is a densely layered cultural landscape. Long before they were subjects of scientific study, stars were laden with countless overlapping mythologies. Fortune tellers, sailors, writers, architects and artists have all projected profound meaning into the cosmos—tying earthly events to the movements of heavenly bodies. Inner Orbit spotlights contemporary artists with personal or cultural visions of outer space. Many of the featured artists meld fine art and craft mediums with technology for a fresh look at the firmament.
Above: Hillerbrand + Magsamen, Higher Ground- Family, archival inkjet print, 2015.
Erika Lynne Hanson
Movement Choir: Landscape Scores
Opening Reception: Friday, May 25, 5-7 pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, May 26, 2-3 pm
Arizona artist Erika Lynne Hanson weaves a hidden history of the Southwest into her solo exhibition Movement Choir: Landscape Scores. Using a coded language in her fiber and new media artworks, Hanson charts the paths of Cold War missile tests from Green River, Utah to White Sands, New Mexico. The rusty remnants, scattered over more than 600 miles of desert, represent open questions about the nature of humanity and our relationship to nature.
Above: Erika Lynne Hanson, Movement Choir: Green River, site specific installation, 2017.
Danny Hart‘s latest series of wearable artworks is spectacularly varied in material and technique. To create the new line, he carved walnut, olive, coolibah and tiger woods, and shaped brass and bronze. The result is an elegant collection that’s as versatile as it is visually unified. Look below for some of our favorite new works by the New Mexico-based artist.
Click here to view more wearable artwork by Danny Hart.
Come meet Debra Baxter and join her on an interactive tour of her exhibition, Tooth & Nail! She’ll conduct an artist talk today (Saturday, 5/19) from 2-3 pm. The show opened late last month, and Albuquerque photographer Suzanna Finley stopped through to take some incredible photos of the reception. Scroll down for more shots, and make sure to stop by form & concept today.
Photos by Suzanna Finley.
form & concept marks its second anniversary with a spectacular celebration, featuring the unveiling of a 10-foot-tall “fiber bombed” sculpture by the Las Tejedoras Fiber Arts Guild. The party is an opening reception for the exhibitions Inner Orbit and Erikka Lynne Hanson | Movement Choir: Landscape Scores, and includes a space-themed feast, music by DJ Feathericci, and maker demonstrations by Meltdown Studio. It takes place on Friday, May 25 from 5 to 7 pm.
One evening last spring, members of the Las Tejedoras Fiber Arts Guild descended upon Colette Hosmer’s beloved trout sculpture installation at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. They stitched colorful outfits onto the enormous granite fish as a guerrilla marketing campaign for the first annual New Mexico Fiber Crawl. “We called it ‘sculpture couture,’” says Virginia Lee, president of the guild. The City of Santa Fe swiftly dismantled the unsanctioned installation, but the community response was so great that the Santa Fe Arts Commission officially invited Las Tejedoras to revive the project for the second New Mexico Fiber Crawl (May 18-20).
They’ll painstakingly add patchwork fiber installations to large-scale sculptures around town—including Guy Dill’s 10-foot-tall bronze artwork Boon that stands outside form & concept. The “fiber bombed” sculpture debuts at the Second Anniversary Celebration. “We loved the idea of this rebellious crew of fiber artists stitching their way across town,” says Frank Rose, Director of form & concept. “You’ll see countless fiber art techniques in their crazy quilted installation, which is a perfect visual mission statement for our gallery.”
“Something symmetrical or identical is simple. You only work out one problem,” says Montreal designer Janis Kerman. “When you have to work out something that has to be balanced—that is a pair, but not identical—that is for me more challenging and much more fun.” That’s Kerman’s philosophy in a nutshell, and it has taken her to the upper echelons of Canada’s contemporary jewelry world. She creates one-of-a-kind designs with precious metals, gems and alternative materials. Her vast array of influences—from art to architecture, fashion to furniture—made her a perfect fit for form & concept. Kerman believes there is a symbiotic relationship between art, craft and design, a conceptual fluidity where influences move freely between disciplines. We just added 16 new pieces by Kerman to our collection—browse some of our favorites below.
Click here to browse all of Janis Kerman’s work.
“In my mind, it’s become ‘the impossible album,’” says Paris Mancini, known professionally as PSIRENS, of her new project. As its title indicates, ALIVE (Matron Records) was supposed to be a live album. “I really focused on writing these simple, raw and true songs, just the bare bones,” the Santa Fe musician explains. “So it made sense to try to record them with a full band.”
When she attempted to schedule a Santa Fe recording session with a number of far-flung musicians, things got a little too complicated. In lieu of bringing a band together, Mancini traveled across the nation to record with each of her accompanists. The result is a 12-track album of stripped-down, jazz-inflected songs that will debut at form & concept on Friday, May 11 from 6 to 9 pm. The ALIVE Album Release Concert is presented by Matron Records, and will feature the first-ever live performance of the new album.
As PSIRENS, Mancini has built a reputation for her inventive use of layering and loops. She bends vocals and instrumentals into interlinking Möbius strips, building atmospheric compositions that draw the listener into vast electroacoustic landscapes. “It’s easy to pull someone in with a lot of layers, something they can get lost in because it’s a forest of notes,” Mancini says.
For ALIVE, she made a daring shift, pairing live vocals with acoustic instrumentation and subtler looping. “I tried to give what I could for the song’s benefit—and nothing else,” she says. “It’s kind of terrifying, because it really pushes my lyrics to the forefront. For the most part, you hear every word.”
Mancini wrote all of the songs on ALIVE, and contributed vocals, looping and bass guitar. Last summer she traveled to the San Juan Islands in Washington State to record with pianist Grisha Krivchenia on his off-the-grid property. “I would wake up with the sun, hop in the pond to wake up, and we’d record first thing in the morning,” Mancini recalls. “It gave the album this freshness, whereas the rest of the PSIRENS albums are darker and murkier.”
Later, she swung through Boise, Idaho for sessions with harpist Matthew Tutsky and cellist Jake Saunders. In her sometime home of New York City, she recorded additional vocals. Back in Santa Fe, she worked with sound engineer Will Dyer to weave it all together. “It sounds like we’re all in the same room, which is so hard to do,” Mancini says. “It has this jazz-like quality to it that’s really special.”
For the ALIVE Album Release Concert, Mancini will perform among sculptural set pieces of her own creation. The task of uniting all of her collaborators still eludes Mancini, but Krivchenia will accompany her on piano live from the San Juan Islands. CDs of ALIVE will be available for the first time, along with other PSIRENS merchandise. “What’s funny is that it isn’t really a live album, but I had to fight so hard for its existence,” says Mancini. “So it is remarkable that it is alive.”
Hear Paris Mancini and Eliza Lutz discuss the making of ALIVE on the inaugural Matron Records “MatronPod” podcast, and make sure to RSVP on Facebook. form & concept will ask for a $5 to $25 donation at the door, in support of the artists and the gallery.
Santa Fe sculptor Debra Baxter presents a new series of sculptural artworks in her solo exhibition, Tooth & Nail. The show opened on April 27, 2018. Baxter will appear at an artist talk on Saturday, May 19, 2-3 pm, and a closing reception on Saturday, June 15, 5-7 pm. On a studio visit this winter, she talked about her work as a sculptor and jeweler, her influences, and the new body of work.
You moved to Santa Fe from Seattle almost three years ago. How has your practice changed since you got here?
I feel really happy here, and solid. That solidity and happiness and the sunshine all make a massive difference in my joy. I feel like there might be more levity and light in me that might come out in the work.
That makes sense. It seems like part of your practice is about bringing your emotional world into the third dimension.
A good example of that is this idea of attachment. My husband is a woodworker. In order to make the things connect correctly, they have to both be flat. There’s a level of detail that’s insane that he’s really good at and can advise me about.
In an emotional sense, I feel like I’m looking for a secure attachment and I almost get too attached to people and things. The thing about attachment is that you try to control it. That’s when it gets dangerous, when you’re trying to control someone else or the relationship. I made a sculpture once that was called It’ll Stop Screaming if You Let Go of It.
Sculpting seems like a good way to work through those feelings. You’re constantly picking up new materials and swapping and combining and dropping them.
Yeah, I’m always trying to figure out new, different materials. I’m trying to manipulate them, to figure out the edges of what I can control and what I can’t. It’s about realizing that sometimes you can only control so much, and after that you have to let it be what it is.
My art would get very stagnant if I stopped playing around and pushing. The thing about play that’s important is that failure is fine. It’s the risk-taking that’s important. This thing can fail and it could be a nightmare—maybe I wasted time and money—but who cares? Sometimes the failure is like, “Oh, now it looks better because I dropped it.”
Does your work as a jeweler help you take bigger risks as a sculptor?
The processes definitely influence each other. I use sculpture processes on my jewelry—like using an angle grinder to grind things, which no one in their right mind would do. On the flip side, If I took some of my sculptural stuff to a jewelry caster, they would probably say, “That’s way too big! That’s not going to happen!” The possibilities open up a lot more, the more processes you learn.
The reason I got interested in jewelry, as much as I wanted to make jewelry, had to do with the fact that certain objects are more powerful on the body. Your body brings a certain power to it. With the crystal brass knuckles series, it’s so much more powerful on the hand.
In addition to jewelry and adornment, you’ve recently taken a big interest in drapery.
I’m really interested in the history of drapery in art. It’s such a weird ancient practice, to draw drapery. Sculptors have been carving drapery out of stone forever. It made me wonder how else I could translate fiber into other materials, like the bronze throwing stars that are cast from lace.
How does all of this play into your solo exhibition, Tooth & Nail?
I’m doing a lot of inversion in the show. It’s about the relationship and the tension between two objects. Sometimes they’re almost touching, but not.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how can art be transformational. That’s a hard thing to control. Maybe my art can give other people power to make their art. I love that idea, that your power is giving other people power. Again, it’s about letting go.
Click here to browse all of the artwork in Tooth & Nail.