Inspired by a medical process created by Dr. Doris Taylor, where a heart’s blood cells are removed until only a “protein scaffold” remains. The now colorless, lifeless heart is then injected with millions of bone-marrow stem cells, until the heart begins beating once again.
This phenomenon caused Debra to consider the boundary between life and death, and how the line is more amorphous that previously believed.
Roq La Rue explains, “Simultaneously, she became intrigued with the popular Victorian era iconography of disembodied hands that existed predominantly in jewelry, in glass and on gravestones. The attributed meaning of that symbolism is depicting the spirit of a passed person guiding a dying loved one into the next life.”
Ghost Heart debuts alongside Rebecca Chaperone, a painter that also incorporates crystals into her body of work. As the gallery says, “Crystals are an integral aspect to both the hard earth science of geology, as well as a key component in various mystical studies, with an array of attributes and powers attributed to them. Occasionally dismissed as just fluffy ‘woo woo’ mystical mumbo jumbo coming from the New Age movement, crystals actually have been revered by various cultures throughout time both for their perceived occult qualities as well as their sheer beauty.
Ghost Heart opens April 11th at Roq La Rue in Seattle, Washington and runs through May 5th.
Crop Top, recycled t-shirts & aluminum pull-tabs, embroidery, 32 x 50 in
Nika Feldman’s solo exhibition Spirits in the Material World opens Saturday, January 25 from 5-7 pm, coinciding with our sister gallery Zane Bennett Contemporary Art’s Stitched Ink. Both exhibitions deal with textiles, but with largely different implications.
“A culture’s clothing has its own language,” begins Megan Bennett of Albuquerque Journal’s write-up of Nika. “What that language is, or how cultural identities and values are reflected in garments, is what drives Nika Feldman’s work.” Bennett interviewed Feldman early this winter, excerpted here:
The pieces are intentionally made to be “garment-like” rather than actual clothing items, said Feldman, with the exception of an XXL black T-shirt she didn’t want to cut apart, and instead decorated with tabs and fringe tassles made from other shirts.
“When it’s artwork, people have to investigative, people have to go deeper into those narratives,” she said. “If it’s a wearable garment, it doesn’t go any farther than that. People see it as fashion, they want to know if it comes in their size, they want to know how much it is.”
Hooded Cape, recycled t-shirts & aluminum pull-tabs,embroidery, 50 x 40 in
Emily Van Cleve covered Spirits in the Material World in a feature on the Santa Fe Arts Journal. Here’s an excerpt:
“All around the world, people wear t-shirts,” says Feldman, a Santa Fe artist who moved to town from Nova Scotia at the end of 2017. “T-shirts were originally an undergarment. But now, through their logos, they inform others about the specific groups, companies, rock bands and organizations we like.” Feldman liked the idea of putting pull-tabs in her work for the same reasons she was drawn to t-shirts. They’re readily available. There’s an abundant supply of them. They’re also an integral part of Western culture.
Camo Dress, recycled t-shirts & aluminum pull-tabs,embroidery, 50 x 45 in
The Santa Fean also covered Spirits in the Material World for their Holiday Issue. Here’s an excerpt:
Nika Feldman describes herself as a textile artist, rag picker, and costume stenographer, and her job history includes stints in fashion design, social work, and sorting through clothing in a thrift store. Feldman weaves these disparate threads into a whole in the eight pieces displayed in Spirits in the Material World.
Spirits in the Material World opens January 25 and runs through March 23. Nika Feldman will conduct an Artist Talk on January 26 at 2 pm.
Tonight, Santa Fe artist Matthew Mullins presents his solo exhibition The Sun in Our Bones. Mullins’s work is inspired by the intrinsic links between humans and the natural world. He has a lot of ground to cover, which is why we’ve dedicated our entire ground floor to showcase his paintings, photographs, and sculptures.
We visited Matthew’s studio to talk about his process and inspiration for his show. “I want people to look beyond what’s right in front of us,” says Mullins. “And make them aware of our own cosmic origins.” Check out the video above to learn more about his artistic practice.
Mullins thinks of the patterns as a representation of the human experience of being out there nature.
“If you’re in one of these places or in nature just staring off into the trees, I feel the mind kind of wanders a little bit,” he said. “Like you’re looking at the landscape, but other thoughts come in. You lose it, and then you see the landscape.
“So I like the representational qualities with the landscape, as well as the abstract patterns. The brain can go from experiencing the depth and light of the landscape to the flatness and rhythm of the abstraction. The brain toddles back and forth, and it creates a more dynamic experience that’s kind of uncontrollable.”
An award-winning professional artist who moved to Santa Fe in 2011, Mullins has been working on the pieces in “The Sun in our Bodies” for the past two years.
“My work draws upon my fascination with visual perception and the forces of nature,” he says. “By integrating human-made constructs with natural environments, I’m composing a relationship that is often deconstructed or forgotten in today’s society.
The press doesn’t stop there! The Santa Fe Reporter brought Mullins in for their 3 Questions Column. Here’s what he had to say about The Sun in Our Bone’s overarching theme:
The theme is trying to make art that can connect the viewer with nature and the cosmos. A lot of pieces in the show are about how the materials in our own body are made of the stars, and how the elements that give us life and the ability to have consciousness come from the stars. I’m really trying to drive that point home. The title of the show, The Sun in Our Bones, comes from a poem by poem by Nayyirah Waheed, and really conveys what I’m trying to do with art.
The Sun in Our Bones opens September 28th at 5 PM and runs through November 17th. Mullins will conduct an Artist Talk on the 20th of October.
From Spanish and Mexican silversmiths to Navajo and Zuni jewelry makers, New Mexico has gained a reputation for finely wrought baubles. But the blending of cultures and their traditions didn’t stop there. By tracking the evolution from the 1870s to the 21st century, visitors to the Albuquerque Museum exhibit, American Jewelry from New Mexico can essentially trace the history of the state. “There is so much jewelry being created here that’s never been shown as New Mexico jewelry,” says curator Andrew Connors.
Other pieces lean more toward the outrageous. Santa Fe artist Debra Baxter created a set of silver and crystal brass knuckles from quartz and silver-plated bronze. The internationally known artist recently completed a show at Washington, D.C.’s Renwick Gallery. “It’s much more of a conceptual piece,” Connors said. “It’s about power and authority and the idea of protecting yourself.”
More recently, Grace Parazzoli covered the exhibition for Santa Fe New Mexican and also mentioned Debra’s work:
The modern pieces, like those earliest in the exhibition, are materially innovative, from Debra Baxter’s brass knuckles crowned with aqua aura quartz (2017) to Kristin Diener’s New Orleans and Alabama/Mississippi Gulf Coast Love Story: Loss and Lament: Fertility Reliquary II (2005), a reliquary that sits upon a mannequin as though it were a chastity belt. The piece’s 23 materials include toy scissors, a Route 66 guitar pick, a candy wrapper, and vintage nude photographs. (Baxter and Diener live in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, respectively; both are from the Midwest.)
Opening weekend for Armond Lara‘s Flying Blue Buffalo installation has arrived! On Thursday, August 16 at 5:30 pm, we’re hosting a preview of the installation. Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez, a Santa Fe-based scholar who is writing a book on the topic of Native slavery, will speak in our atrium under the installation. This Friday, August 17 from 5 to 7 pm, Lara will appear at form & concept for the official opening reception of the piece. In addition to the installation, a number of Lara’s artworks are on view in the gallery, along with an exhibition of Native teen artists. The final event of the weekend is an artist talk on Saturday, August 18 from 2 to 3 pm, which will take the form of a conversation between Lara and his collaborator Joseph Riggs.
Suspended from the ceiling is a herd of blue buffalo, seventy-five of them, flying on wings. The buffalo tell the story of thousands of Native American children who, from the 17th Century through the 19th, were abducted from their families and enslaved on ranches and in homes across the Southwest. The Flying Blue Buffalo installation is the creation of veteran Santa Fe artist Armond Lara, and it’s on view starting August 17 at the Santa Fe gallery, form & concept.
You can listen to two versions of the radio segment on the KUNM website— one that’s 4 minutes and one’s that 7 minutes. Both stories include this gorgeous quote from Armond:
I decided that all I would see was a cloud of blue. I thought it would be a beautiful presentation. That’s the whole philosophy for Navajo people. Walk In Beauty. It has to be in a beautiful way. It doesn’t have to be ugly, even though it is ugly. We can take the pride and the endurance of still being here. Like the buffalo.
Meanwhile, we’re deep in the installation process for Armond’s show. You can see the grid system we’re using in the photo above, which will support all of the sculptures in the piece. Come see it on opening weekend, August 16-18!
Later this month, when Armond Lara sends 75 winged buffalo sculptures into the stratosphere of form & concept’s atrium, he’ll fulfill a long-held dream. Lara has been depicting buffalo in his artwork for years, but more recently they’ve turned blue and sprouted wings. The Flying Blue Buffalo series is a reference to the Santa Fe artist’s family history: his grandmother, who was Navajo, was kidnapped as a small child and forced into servitude by a Mexican family. Across three centuries of Spanish, Mexican and American rule, thousands of Native children were similarly enslaved as household servants or field hands.
The Pueblo people called these abducted youths “Lost Bluebirds,” a symbol that Lara combined with the buffalo to create a new icon of Indigenous resilience. He dreamed up a massive installation of 75 winged buffalo sculptures, which came to fruition through a Kickstarter campaign and 3D printing technology. We’re hosting a preview of the installation on Thursday, August 16, featuring a talk by Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez of Santa Fe. The installation opens with a reception on Friday, August 17, and Lara conducts an artist talk on August 18.
“My grandmother didn’t talk much, but if she did talk, you listened,” says Lara. He’s known the story of his grandmother’s abduction for as long as he can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that he learned how common the practice was. “My sister was doing genealogy research on the family, and she found a list of all the Native American kids who had been ‘adopted’ by Mexican families in the Four Corners area,” says Lara. “It dawned on me, whoa, this is really widespread. That’s when I started asking other people about it.” He learned about the kidnapping and enslavement of an enormous number of Native American children over several centuries—from the 1600’s when the Spanish arrived, through the period of Mexican Independence, until the late 1800’s under the government of the United States. A number of Lara’s close friends revealed that they too had ancestors who were taken.
For Lara, this growing web of stories reminded him of his grandmother’s resilience, which has been an enduring source of inspiration. “I looked to my grandparents for guidance. The strongest voice was my grandmother’s voice,” Lara says. “She didn’t talk about it, she just did it. If she needed something, she’d make it. If she needed a robe, she’d weave one. I really admired that quality.” He dreamed up an art installation and storytelling project that might communicate this ethos, and inspire people to learn more about their heritage. A series of five winged blue buffalo marionettes that Lara carved from wood over a number of years became central conceptual elements.
With the help of his frequent collaborator Joseph Riggs, an artist and retired attorney who lives in Santa Fe, Lara pitched the idea to form & concept. The gallery commissioned a digital model and several mock-ups of the buffalo from Albuquerque technology firm 3D Proven Systems, while Lara and Riggs started gathering stories for the project. “We’ve represented Armond’s work for years, and were so excited to help bring his vision into reality,” says Sandy Zane, Owner of Zane Bennett Contemporary Art and form & concept. “For a project at this scale, we turned to 3D printing technology to capture the original carvings in high fidelity.” The gallery mounted a Kickstarter campaign to fund a round of 3D-printed sculptures, which were used to create molds for a final series of 75 cast resin sculptures.
Riggs says the scale of the installation is vital to the project, because it communicates the staggering number of children, families and communities affected by the issue. “I’ve lived in the Southwest my whole life, and I was unfamiliar with the story,” says Riggs. “You can’t find it in history books in New Mexico, but as I learned, there were slave markets all across this region. It became a deep part of the culture of the Southwest.” Each of the 75 buffalo sculptures will represent the story of one “Lost Bluebird,” with oral and written accounts of their fight for survival. “People in New Mexico have been searching for a way to explore this part of their family history,” Riggs says. “They can take pride in the fact that they’re Hispanic, and they’re Native American, and they’re American. There’s so much division in our country. We need to find ways to show our unity, to show how much we’re alike rather than how we’re different. And I think we can do it through this story.”
form & concept’s Annual Exhibition 2018 opens tonight from 5-7 pm! The show features work by all ten of our represented artists, including two new pieces from Mark Newport‘s Sweatermen series (above). “The Sweatermen are heroes of my own invention,” he says. “In each of these works I forge a link between childhood experience and my adult exploration of protection, masculinity, and heroism.” Michael Abatemarco of Pasatiempo covered the Annual Exhibition in this week’s Exhibitionism section. Here’s an excerpt:
Each summer in July, Form & Concept presents its Annual Exhibition featuring works by its represented artists including Heidi Brandow, Debra Baxter, and Wesley Anderegg. “From the beginning, we were interested in reimagining what an art gallery could be,” gallery director Frank Rose said. “The natural starting point was asking, ‘What’s been exhibited, and what or who has been excluded?’ ” The gallery’s roster includes artists whose works explore the diaphanous borders between art, craft, and design.
Click here to read more, and we’ll see you at the opening tonight!
Readers of Santa Fe Reporter voted us “Best Gallery” in the publication’s annual Best of Santa Fe contest! Thanks to everyone who helped boost form & concept from last year’s #2 slot, all the way to #1. Here’s what SFRhad to say about the gallery:
Paintings? Check. Music? Check. Video, sculpture, dance and pretty much any kind of contemporary awesomeness you can imagine in the Railyard Arts District? Check, check, check and check.
Click here to read more, and come celebrate with us at the form & concept Annual Exhibition 2018, opening this Friday, July 27 from 5 to 7 pm. The reception overlaps with SFR‘s annual block party, which is a short walk away in (and around) the Railyard Market Pavilion from 5 to 9 pm.
As much fun as it would be to get lost in the multiverse forever, one has to come back to reality once in awhile. While in this dimension here’s our list of the best things to do during summer in (and around) Santa Fe that will keep your journey thriving.