Decommissioned firearms aren’t the most pliable artistic medium, but that hasn’t stopped faculty and students at Santa Fe Community College from reshaping them into stunning artworks. They’ve been hard at work bending, slicing, shredding and melting old guns into sculptures, jewelry and even apparel. Tonight, the art will appear at a special reception, live auction and silent auction, along with juried works by artists from across the world that reflect on gun violence prevention. Part of the proceeds from the Guns to Art Benefit Show go to the artists, art and welding scholarships at SFCC, and the 501(c)3 non-partisan organization New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. Come to the event tonight (Friday, 11/17) from 4-7 pm. The live auction starts at 5:30 pm sharp!
Sara Yingling of KRQE News 13 drove up from Albuquerque to report on the exhibition in a segment that debuted today (embedded above), and we’ve appeared on the Richard Eeds Show and The Big Show with Honey Harris to talk it up. Santa Fe Reporter featured the show in their calendar last week, and Megan Bennett of Albuquerque Journal North penned a preview of the show. Here’s a tidbit from her piece:
When told that his art class at Santa Fe Community College would be using guns as work material, Marty Helldorfer said it at first felt “overwhelming and threatening.”
“My initial reaction was what could you possibly do … What in God’s name can you do to turn this into art?” Helldorfer said.
A retired hospital administrator who now spends most of his time making ceramics and steelwork, Helldorfer said the gun material is very different from the mild steel most artists work with. It’s difficult to forge and takes more time to change its original form. But in his “Forging for the Artist” course this spring, he manipulated three gun barrels to resemble aloe leaves and placed them alongside an actual potted plant.
Helldorfer, his classmates and dozens of other students at the community college over the last year were given decommissioned guns to turn into art as part of the New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence’s gun buyback program. Selected student works, along with a juried show of art commenting on gun violence, will be shown and auctioned off at form & concept gallery starting Tuesday.
To top it all off, Jennifer Levin of Pasatiempo wrote a beautiful report on the show in this week’s issue. Here’s an excerpt:
NMPGV obtained the guns that got turned into art at SFCC by holding gun buyback events around the state, at which they gave food and gas cards to members of the public who turned in unwanted guns. Each gun was checked by law enforcement to make sure that it wasn’t loaded or stolen, and hadn’t been used in a crime. “We’ve never actually gotten a crime gun,” said Miranda Viscoli, co-president of NMPGV, which was founded in 2013 in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. “Once the guns go through that process, we hand them off to be cut in half, according to ATF standards, so that they can never be used again.”
Jeremy Thomas, a sculptor and SFCC faculty member, started working with NMPGV a year ago when his students began using the decommissioned gun parts as raw materials. As one of the show’s juried artists, he used stainless-steel gun parts to make inflated and deflated forms that fit in with his larger body of work. Thomas, himself a gun owner, now privately volunteers to decommission guns that NMPGV buys from the public.
“There is a big difference between owning a firearm and being responsible for it, and allowing an excess of firearms into society,” he said. “There’s been a real shift of focus over the past 30 years — from guns being a tool used in ranching and hunting or things like that, to a tool that is used in self-defense, or claimed to be used in self-defense. I own guns personally because of my family, my history — and that also brings about the idea that gun culture is passed down generation to generation. It’s not like it’s a brand-new thing. Culturally, I’m involved in that, whether I like it or not.”
We’re pleased to present this initial offering of artworks from the Guns to Art Benefit Show. The exhibition features art made from decommissioned firearms by faculty and students from Santa Fe Community College, along with diverse works reflecting on gun violence prevention by artists from across the globe.
The preview is available until 5 pm on November 16. Any items not purchased here will appear in our silent auction at the reception on November 17. 50% of the proceeds go back to the artist, and 25% will support art and welding scholarships at Santa Fe Community College and the 501(c)3 non-partisan organization New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence (NMPGV).
Neon has been in use an artistic medium for decades, but there’s something about it that seems perpetually of the “now.” Its glow makes it feel like a living thing, and the low hum it gives off could be friendly or threatening. The blue-green quality of neon light conjures a feeling of Americana and a gritty futurist sensation at the same time. Jaque Fragua bends this culturally loaded medium to his will in a series of provocative sculptures that illuminate the walls and windows of form & concept. Fragua’s neon creations parody the kitsch of curio shops and critique the appropriation of Native American aesthetics with biting wit. Cravereported on Fragua’s early influences in a profile last year:
From humble beginnings and a large family, Fragua grew up in an adobe house on Jemez Pueblo, about an hour northwest of Albuquerque. He began painting ceremonial objects for dances and cultural rituals in his youth. As an adolescent, he attended high school in Denver, and got into graffiti (along with some trouble). Formal training at the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe followed.
Pre-Internet, the mainstream public didn’t know what was happening on reservations or in contemporary Native culture; Fragua saw an opportunity to use his experiences as the basis for his body of work. “I felt like the art I was interested in making could be a conduit for dialogue and to spread that awareness,” he says.
Fragua discussed the experience of moving through the world as a Native artist with Santa Fe Reporter in 2015:
The reality is that it is twice as oppressive as being just a Native person. I feel like there’s so much pressure on young Native people to rise to a certain occasion or level of being or just adulthood…I don’t know what it is, but there’s all this pressure to be something that I don’t feel like we’re necessarily meant to be. It might be capturing the American Dream, or go to college and get your master’s in oil engineering, and there’s these things that our parents or the generation before have been trained or conditioned to do for so many years. Now, I feel like because we’re in a current state of society [where] people are having difficulty deciding what exactly they want to do, with that comes more pressure.
VICE‘s Creators Projecttouched on Fragua’s recent activist work in an article late last year:
The artistic abilities Fragua honed with graffiti eventually pushed him toward activist endeavors. “I came into the social justice sector by accident. A friend of mine asked me to help him make a banner for a specific Native organization fighting for water rights in Northern Arizona. This was 2007. Since then, I have been creating art every year for different indigenous campaigns and struggles, separate from the art I create for myself.” This past summer, Fragua traveled to North Dakota to help fight the Dakota Access Pipeline. “Part of my role there was to educate about art as a visual communication through non-violent direct action. The banner was created for an action that was deployed the morning after I arrived,” says Fragua.
Visit Jaque Fragua’s artist page to learn more about his work.
A menagerie of golden-eyed, ceramic creatures has arrived at form & concept for Wookjae Maeng’s solo exhibition BALANCE this Friday. The animals were accompanied by a small media circus this week. BALANCE was prominently featured in Santa Fe Reporter‘s calendar section, and Emily Van Cleve covered the show in Santa Fe Arts Journal. Here’s an excerpt from her write-up:
“The theme of my work is to represent the complex, ambiguous and uncomfortable relationship between man and animal,” says Wookjae Maeng, a South Korean artist whose porcelain wall hangings and pedestal pieces of deer, rhinos, lions, bighorn sheep and other creatures are on display in form & concept’s show “Balance” that opens on October 27.
Some animals are presented like hunting trophies, while other sculptures highlight the invisibility of the animal world to the human eye. All of Maeng’s animals have golden eyes that confront the viewer.
Click here to read the full piece, which includes a quote from our director Frank. This Friday, Pasatiempo covered the show in its Exhibitionism section. Here’s a snippet of Michael Abatemarco’s write-up:
Maeng’s wall-mounted portraits of deer, rhinos, lions, and bighorn sheep, beautifully rendered in porcelain, call our attention to animals brought to the brink of extinction and crises in biodiversity. Hung in a trophy-like manner, they also underscore the separation between humankind and the rest of the animal kingdom.
It’s easy to forget that the world is experiencing a crisis in biodiversity, one that some scientists have called a “sixth extinction.” Humanity has grown ever more isolated from the rest of the animal kingdom, hiding away in climate controlled boxes and behind glowing screens. In his new solo exhibition at form & concept, Korean ceramicist Wookjae Maeng ushers animals out of the wild and into the spotlight. His detailed porcelain sculptures of deer, rhinos, lions, bighorn sheep and other creatures bring viewers back in touch with beings that are often pushed to the margins. Wookjae Maeng: BALANCE opens on Friday, October 27 from 5-7 pm. Make sure to RSVP for the reception on Facebook, and scroll down to preview more works from the show.
“The theme of my work is to represent the complex, ambiguous and uncomfortable relationship between man and animal,” says Maeng. “The human is on the top of the ecological pyramid now and can manage all kinds of fellow creatures. However, the environmental situation continues to worsen and that tension is what I wish to explore.” Maeng’s animal portraits often bear evidence of human intervention. Some are presented like hunting trophies, with their disembodied heads mounted on wooden boards. Other sculptures highlight the invisibility of the animal world to the human eye, camouflaging the creatures on patterned panels. All of Maeng’s animals have one thing in common: golden eyes that confront the viewer with an unblinking ferocity.
Maeng lives in Seoul, South Korea, where he received his PhD in ceramic design from Kookmin University in 2015. He has lived in Sweden, and traveled extensively through Europe and North America. His encounters with animals in the United States and Canada helped inspire his artistic explorations of the natural world, a fixation that’s visible in his earliest work as a BFA student in Korea. The artist has exhibited in Santa Fe once before, in a 2015 group show at Peters Projects titled Trophies & Prey: A Contemporary Bestiary.
Though Maeng’s work often highlights humanity’s negative impact on the animal kingdom, he seeks to inspire a new awareness in his viewers. “In order to thrive, [humanity’s relationship with animals] demands careful coexistence and balance between the urban and the natural… and empathy for less visible creatures,” Maeng says. “In my work I hope to provide an opportunity—however brief—for modern man to consider the realities of the environment in which he exists, even as he continues his daily existence indifferent to it.”
Our Broken Boxes group exhibition has had quite a few returning visitors, and there’s a good reason for that. Curator Ginger Dunnill worked with 40 activist artists who’ve appeared on her podcast to fill our upstairs galleries with over 50 artworks. A number of the pieces are interactive, and all of them feature intricate storytelling that takes time to fully absorb. One visitor spent a solid two hours poring over each and every piece, while others have worked their way through at events over the course of show’s run.
Broken Boxes comes to a close on Sunday, but there’s one last chance to take it all in. Stop by form & concept this Saturday, October 21 from 1-3 pm for an interactive walk-through with Dunnill. She’ll talk about the process of putting the show together, and answer questions about the artists and their work. The Broken Boxes catalog, launched at an event last month, will be available for sale.
Among the show’s recurring guests was Alicia Inez Guzmán, who wrote a great review of Broken Boxes in this month’s issue of THE Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
I felt as if the space had been successfully engaged; there were intimate works that pulled me in but also art that cascaded from the ceiling, attached itself to walls like barnacles, settled into the corners, brought the outside in, and celebrated the booty in grand scale. It was as if the envelope of the gallery (another kind of box) was slowly being pulled apart, at least stretched to bear the voices of those compelled to break the box.
Guzmán’s piece inspired the form & concept staff to sound off on some of our favorite artworks from the exhibition. Scroll down for meditations on several pieces that you need to see before the show closes on Sunday.
Valentina Gonzalez, Free Time – 10 Years of Paint, acrylic, latex and spray paint epoxy, aluminum screws, brass cabinet pull, 10 x 2.5 x 2.5 in. (right)
Frank Rose, our director, writes:
It’s hard to choose, but I love Valentina Gonzalez’ Free Time – 10 Years of Paint. I’m a big fan of what I call “material inversions”: using materials in a way that masks their true nature creating a moment of surprise for the viewer. The way Gonzalez has taken a wall slathered with 10 years of paint and turned it into a spray can is delightful.
Nanibah ‘Nani’ Chacon, Between a Black Cloud and a White Cloud He Found Her, broken boxes, black and white charcoal, paint. (center)
Clara Holiday, our sales manager, writes:
Nanibah ‘Nani’ Chacon’s work really resonates with me. The expression is at the same time fierce and strong and yet it is also joyous and irreverent. There is a beautiful resilience to the piece.
Chip Thomas, Meditation on a Cloth Signifier, inkjet print/regular bond paper with wallpaper paste, inkjet print on cotton/silk voil. (center)
Jonathan Meade, our sales associate, writes:
There’s a sweet and sinister element to this work. It’s the innocent expression of the child on the side of the bead shack, the tattered American flag the child gazes upon, and the dust-filled and desolate canyon landscape where the shop sits. The way these elements express a hope-filled aspiration amidst deprivation, feelings all too common to indigenous populations across the country – under-served and oftentimes overlooked by the colonial patriotic government that perpetrated these impoverished conditions upon the native people, and yet has been apathetic to respond to their needs or to come to a resolution for the injustices endured in their survival. We’re left contemplating what the future of this country means staring in the eyes of the little child who searches for meaning in that tattered American flag, where we to find ourselves wondering what end it serves…
Kate Martin, our sales & marketing assistant, writes:
My favorite work in Broken Boxes is Meditation on a Cloth Signifier by Chip Thomas. Every time I look at Meditation I feel like I’m seeing it for the first time. There are so many details to stop and consider. I could spend hours looking at it.
Maria Hupfield, In Case of Emergency, found objects and industrial felt, 11.75 x 18.5 x 3.25 in. (left)
Jordan Eddy, our marketing manager, writes:
Maria Hupfield compiles a survival kit for the modern protester, complete with a Sharpie paint pen, a silver emergency blanket and bandages made from grey felt. It’s a neatly organized reminder of a messy, never-ending struggle for justice. This is one of just a few intact boxes in the show, but it was made to be broken. Brilliant!
Click here to learn more about Broken Boxes, and make sure to RSVP on Facebook for Ginger Dunnill’s final walk-through on Saturday.
The high season is coming to a close in Santa Fe, but form & concept has an action-packed autumn in the works. We’re throwing a David Bowie costume party, hosting a musical tribute to Lou Harrison, and launching Laila Farcas-Ionescu’s fierce new feline-themed jewelry line. Korean ceramicist Wookjae Maeng and local feminist artist Thais Mather debut solo shows, and artists from around the world reflect on gun violence prevention in a powerful group show. A crew of maverick jewelers presents wearable artworks in the form & concept shop, and our represented artists gather for a holiday art making workshop (with hot cider and cookies) in our atrium. In a fitting finale for 2017, artists from a number of past form & concept shows reconvene for an invitational small works exhibition in our stairwell. Learn more about all of our upcoming exhibitions and events below, and watch our event page for updates.
For one wild evening in October, the InterPlanetary Project will ride David Bowie’s star-dusted coattails to the outer reaches of the imagination. The InterPlanetary Ziggy Stardust Costume Party lands at form & concept on the weekend of InterPlanetary’s fall event series. Hosted by Creative Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Institute, the party is a free, RSVP-only event with a cash bar by Santa Fe Spirits and interstellar hors d’oeuvres by form & concept. Guests who wear David Bowie-themed costumes will be entered into a raffle for fun prizes.
October 27 – December 23 Opening Reception: Friday, October 27, 5-7 pm
It’s easy to forget that the world is experiencing a crisis in biodiversity, one that some scientists have called a “sixth extinction.” Humanity has grown ever more isolated from the rest of the animal kingdom, hiding away in climate controlled boxes and behind glowing screens. In his new solo exhibition at form & concept, Korean ceramicist Wookjae Maeng ushers animals out of the wild and into the spotlight. His detailed porcelain sculptures of deer, rhinos, lions, bighorn sheep and other creatures bring viewers back in touch with beings that are often pushed to the margins.
Image: Wookjae Maeng, Grey adaptation-Rhino, porcelain, wood, 8.7 x 11.5 x 11.8 in.
Pussy Bites Back Jewelry Line
Saturday, October 28th, 5-7 pm
It’s no mistake that Laila Farcas-Ionescu’s launch party for the Pussy Bites Back jewelry line falls just before the anniversary of last year’s presidential election. The series is filled with imagery of fierce felines, in reference to the Pussyhat phenomenon and the political scandal that incited it. Still, Ionescu would rather look forward than back. “It’s more than just a visceral reaction to the political situation, it’s a symbol of empowerment,” Farcas-Ionescu says. “At this party, everyone will have the chance to release some pent-up energy with a good, long roar.” Ionescu will unveil rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants from the new series, along with a powerful manifesto and some fun surprises.
November 7 – 17 Reception & Live Auction: Friday, November 17th, 4 – 7 PM
Decommissioned firearms aren’t the most pliable artistic medium, but that hasn’t stopped faculty and students at Santa Fe Community College from reshaping them into stunning artworks. They’ve been hard at work bending, slicing, shredding and melting old guns into sculptures, jewelry and even apparel. This fall, the art will appear at a special reception, live auction and silent auction in support of in support of art and welding scholarships at SFCC and the 501(c)3 non-partisan organization New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, along with juried works by artists from across the world that reflect on gun violence prevention.
November 24th, 2017 – February 18th, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm Reading: Saturday, November 25, 2-3 pm Performance: Friday, December 15, 5-7 pm- $5-$10 suggested donation
“I think people are getting these catastrophic feelings, that this is the end,” says Thais Mather. “I don’t believe in that. I think this is a beginning.” The feminist artist’s new exhibition, Reckless Abandon, comes at a time of cultural, political and environmental upheaval. It’s an ideal moment to examine human history from a revolutionary stance—and present urgent questions that can reveal a new path forward. Through a monumental art installation and an interconnected series of performances and events, Mather will challenge viewers to abandon patriarchal structures in favor of a transcendent vision for humanity.
November 24 – December 23
Opening Reception: Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together,” said Vincent Van Gogh. form & concept takes this thought to its logical conclusion in MICROCOSM, a holiday exhibition of small works by contributors to the gallery’s previous exhibitions. Over 20 artists, craftspeople and designers return with diminutive and dynamic offerings that measure 8 x 10 inches or smaller. The show fills the gallery’s stairwell and atrium, forming a charming microcosm of the space’s history—and representing a new chapter in each contributor’s story.
Nicola Heindl, Bunny Tobias, Charles Greeley, Mandy Cano Villalobos, Vanessa Michel, Susan Beiner, Wesley Anderegg, Priscilla Dobler, Jason Villegas, Garth Amundson + Pierre Gour, Jonathan Nelson, Lisa Klakulak, Katie Craney, Rena Detrixhe, Robert Ebendorf, Matthew Mullins, Aleta Braun, Heidi Brandow, Mark Newport, Ryan Singer, Brian Fleetwood
November 24, 2017 – January 6, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm
Smitten Forum is an annual gathering of visionary makers from the metals and jewelry field. A new group of artists is selected each year by Sara Brown and Marissa Saneholtz, and meets for one intensive week to make work and share inspiration. The next gathering takes place in Abiquiu, New Mexico, coinciding with the debut of the Smitten Forum exhibition at form & concept in Santa Fe. The show includes artwork by all of this year’s Smitten Forum participants, a tribute to the crackling energy of this ever-growing creative community.
These days, the most popular holiday gifts are seamless slabs of glass and metal, but unique and hand-hewn objects are making a serious comeback. The makers who exhibit artworks and jewelry at form & concept are living proof of this phenomenon, and they’ll gather this holiday season to celebrate the traditional tools and techniques that bolster their contemporary creativity. The public is invited to sip cider, munch on gingerbread cookies and engage with form & concept artists at the Holiday Makers Workshop. form & concept will offer a special 10% holiday discount during the event. The Holiday Makers Workshop also features the debut of the first-ever form & concept annual, a free publication that includes a first look at the gallery’s 2018 schedule, artist profiles and more.
West Coast composer Lou Harrison’s 100th birthday party has been a yearlong, global affair. The Harrison House in Joshua Tree, California live streamed a 24-hour celebration, Bill Alves and Brett Campbell published a sweeping new biography, and renowned musicians have played tribute concerts from New York City to San Francisco. Harrison passed away in 2003 at age 85, but his influence as a composer, instrument builder, environmentalist, pacifist and gay rights activist is as resonant as ever. This autumn, the party rolls into Santa Fe at an event presented by Albuquerque percussion ensemble Gamelan Encantada and LGBTQ advocacy nonprofit Equality NM. In Honor of Lou features a concert of Harrison’s works for gamelan instruments, along with a screening of the biographical film Lou Harrison: Cherish, Conserve, Consider, Create. All proceeds from the event will benefit Equality NM.
“Even if your intentions are so the best on trying to ‘save’ something, if you don’t have a personal connection to it, if you don’t know it the way that I know it, don’t just go draw a circle around a map and say, ‘This is going to be a marine sanctuary.’ It’s like, ‘No, that doesn’t make any sense.’ It just goes to show why we need to all have conversations.”
Broken Boxes, an exhibition curated by Ginger Dunnill and Cannupa Hanska Luger, features Kim Werner and 40 other creators from around the world who are effecting change in their work. All of the participants have appeared on Dunnill’s Broken Boxes Podcast.
There will be a catalog realease event at form & concept on Friday, September 29 from 5-7 pm. Click here to learn more, and make sure to RSVP on Facebook.