TONIGHT | Guns to Art Benefit Show

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:

Martin Helldorfer Artwork- Guns to Art Benefit Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Martin Helldorfer, Six Shooter, steel, ceramic, aloe vera, dirt, 14 x 14 x 11 in

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:

Corey Pickett Artwork- Guns to Art Benefit Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Corey Pickett, Rimfire 2, wood, foam, fabric, 45 x 20 x 7 in.

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.”

Learn more about the exhibition here, and check out this preview of the artwork. Make sure to RSVP on Facebook for more updates!

Don Redman Artwork- Guns to Art Benefit Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Don Redman, October One, steel, 9 x 7 x 15 in.

Jaque Fragua in Neon.

Jacques Fragua Neon Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Jacques Fragua, Sold Out, neon, 29 x 48.25 x 3 in.

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. Crave reported on Fragua’s early influences in a profile last year:

Jaque Fragua Neon Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Jaque Fragua, Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipe, neon, 16.5 x 48.25 x 2.5 in.

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.

Jaque Fragua Neon Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Jaque Fragua, Drive Through Liquor, neon, 24 x 23.75 x 3.75 in.

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 Project touched 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.

City Lights

Sandy Zane with George RR Martin, N Scott Momaday and Max Manzanares- 2017 Mayors Arts Awards- Santa Fe New Mexico

Our own Sandy Zane accepted a Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts this weekend! Here she is with fellow honorees George R.R. Martin, N. Scott Momaday and Max Manzanares. Here’s what Michael Abatemarco of Santa Fe New Mexican had to say about the evening and Sandy’s involvement in the local arts community:

Since 1991, Santa Fe’s mayor has been honoring members of the arts community with annual awards for excellence in the visual arts, literature, performing arts, philanthropy, and more. The awards celebrate Santa Fe as an arts destination that plays a crucial role in preserving and expanding local and regional culture and history and in supporting the city’s economy. The awards, presented this year by Mayor Javier M. Gonzales and the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission, are given out at a dinner and ceremony. […]

Sandy Zane, co-owner with her husband, Ned Bennett, of Zane Bennett Contemporary Art and Form & Concept, her more recent contemporary art space, gets an award as a major supporter of the arts. Zane has represented established and emerging artists with a commitment to showcasing works by younger generations and local and international talent working in a variety of media. Zane’s philanthropic activities include support of New Mexico School for the Arts, the New Mexico Museum Foundation, and other organizations, and she has served on the boards of the New Mexico State University Foundation and Creative Santa Fe, and more.

Click here to read the full piece.

* Photo by David Jaffee

Press: Wookjae Maeng

Wookjae Maeng Ceramic Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Wookjae Maeng, Balance- Lion B, stoneware, 14.5 x 9.8 x 10.6 in.

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.

Read the rest of the blurb here, and make sure to swing by the opening reception on Friday, October 27 from 5-7 pm. Make sure to RSVP on Facebook to show your support!

Wookjae Maeng Ceramic Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Wookjae Maeng, Balance- Deer A, porcelain, 12 x 7.9 x 7 in.
Wookjae Maeng Ceramic Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Wookjae Maeng, Happy Pigs- A, porcelain, wood, felt, 7.7 x 7.7 x 4 in.
Wookjae Maeng Porcelain Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Wookjae Maeng, Adaptation #03- Big Horn Sheep, porcelain, wood, 18.87 x 11.62 x 8.37 in.

Last Look: Broken Boxes

Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

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 Artwork- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

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.

Nani Chacon Artwork- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

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 Artwork- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

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 Artwork- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

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.

Mayor’s Arts Awards 2017

Sandy Zane- Form & Concept Gallery- Mayor's Arts Awards 2017- Javier Gonzales- Santa Fe New Mexico

Our very own Sandy Zane is a recipient of the 2017 Mayor’s Arts Awards. She will be honored by Mayor Javier Gonzales at a ceremony next month. Here’s an excerpt from Megan Bennett’s write-up on this year’s award recipients in Albuquerque Journal North:

Along with being a gallery owner, Sandy Zane is serving on boards at Creative Santa Fe, Creative Startups and the Santa Fe Community College Foundation, where she heads the Art on Campus Committee. She has also sponsored Currents New Media nearly every year. She also supports the New Mexico School for the Arts.

“I’ve always been passionate about whatever it is I’m doing,” said Zane about why she enjoys giving back to the Santa Fe arts scene. “I don’t like to do anything halfway.”‘

Read the full article here.

Time to break the box.

JESS X SNOW Art- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
JESS X SNOW, TO SURVIVE, I TURNED MY BODY INTO A PRAYER FOR THE EARTH, digital photography and poetry.

It’s opening weekend of Broken Boxes, an exhibition featuring the art and ideas of over 40 visual artists, filmmakers, sound artists, activists, performance artists and community organizers from around the world who are effecting change through their work. The show is co-curated by Ginger Dunnill and Cannupa Hanska Luger, and all invited artists have participated in an interview on Dunnill’s Broken Boxes Podcast over the past 2 years. Here’s Megan Bennett’s take on the show from today’s Albuquerque Journal North:

 Ian Kuali'i Art- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Ian Kuali’i, For They Know Not What They Do/Those Who Don’t, hand-cut paper and mixed media.

A local podcaster is giving a platform to artists from outside society’s mainstream experience through a gallery exhibition starting this evening.

The exhibition, titled “Broken Boxes” after Ginger Dunnill’s podcast of the same name, is displaying work from some of the people Dunnill has interviewed since starting her show in 2014. All the artists, activists or community organizers involved in the show are either Native American, queer-identifying or non-binary, transgender, women, or people of color.

“My main focus for the podcast is to celebrate artists that are outside of the scope of the cis(gender) white male format that is really prevalent in the art world,” said Dunnill, who is co-curating the show with husband and Native artist Cannupa Hanska Luger.

“I wanted to celebrate … people who are doing the really important work in society and often don’t get to share their stories in a personal way with community members that can really benefit from hearing what their work is doing,” she said.

Click here to read the rest of the article. Michael Abatemarco covered Broken Boxes in Pasatiempo‘s Mixed Media column:

Valentina Gonzalez Art- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Valentina Gonzalez, Cultural Value-vs-Property Value, 2017, aerosol paint and wood.

[Broken Boxes is] a good adjunct to the Native arts festivals happening around town this weekend, providing a look at some of the more challenging and cutting-edge works done by Native and non-Native artists alike. “I am interested in creating content that honors the intersections where our stories overlap, and which refuses to box us out of each other’s narratives,” said Dunnill in a statement.

Click here to read the full column, and join us for the Broken Boxes opening weekend events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tonight’s opening reception (8/18, 5-8 pm) features an appearance by Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth and documentarian Keri Pickett. A traveling show called Art of the Indigenous Resistance, curated by Kim Smith, fills the downstairs of our atrium. Broken Boxes spans our top floor, anchored by monumental installations by Chip Thomas, Nani Chacon and Demian DinéYazhi’. Get all the details on the Broken Boxes exhibition page, and make sure to RSVP for opening weekend on Facebook.

Best of Santa Fe

Best of Santa Fe 2017- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

form & concept is nominated for Best Gallery in Best of Santa Fe 2017! Make sure to cast your vote before polls close on May 31. Our category is in the Arts & Entertainment section. Thanks to Santa Fe Reporter for putting on this awesome local contest. It would be an honor to receive your vote!

form and concept- Best Gallery- Best of Santa Fe 2017

Native Realities

Native Realities- Arigon Starr- Santa Fe New MexicoIndiginerds assemble! Native Realities: Superheroes of Past, Present, and Future opens tonight (Friday, Nov. 11) from 5-7 pm. Join us at form & concept to meet professional Native comic artists and their pint-size sidekicks from Zuni Pueblo. Lee Francis IV, CEO of Native Realities Publishing, united all of them for this special exhibition that celebrates a brand new pantheon. Now more than ever, the world needs superheroes!

Jackie Jadrnak of Journal North investigates:

Step aside, Spider-Man. Fold your wings, Batman. Super Indian and leagues of other Native American comic book superheroes are coming to Santa Fe. … [Native Realities] is a warm-up for what is being hailed as the first, ever or anywhere, Indigenous Comic Con, which will be held at Albuquerque’s National Hispanic Cultural Center on Nov. 18-20 and will include the artists whose work will be on view in the Santa Fe exhibit. They are Weshoyot Alvitre (Tongva), Jonathan Nelson (Diné), Jon Proudstar (Yaqui), Ryan Singer (Navajo) and Arigon Starr (Kickapoo).

Native Realities- Zuni Pueblo Youth Create Comics- Santa Fe New Mexico

Meanwhile at Pasatiempo, Casey Sanchez reports on Lee’s work with Zuni Pueblo youth:

“We encouraged the Zuni students to think about the everyday superheroes in their life,” Francis said. “Your mechanic, your water delivery man, your school teachers are heroes solving problems every single day. We also asked students to think in comic-book terms about how they would solve a crisis happening in the Zuni community.” For example, one sixth-grade girl created Yucca Girl, a comic superhero who brings rain to Zuni gardens. In a press release, she described how the character coalesced out of the yucca basket-weaving she had been doing to grieve her sister’s death. The Zuni comic project came out of a joint initiative by tribal leaders, Creative Startups — a Santa Fe- based incubator for art entrepreneurs — and the University of New Mexico’s Indigenous Design and Planning Institute.

Click here to learn more, and make sure to fly by the exhibition tonight to meet the artists and munch on traditional food. On Saturday, Nov. 12, return to form & concept for a Gallery Talk featuring Lee Francis IV, Michaela Shirley and Ted Jojola of Indigenous Design + Planning Institute, and Alice Loy of Creative Startups on Saturday, from 2-3 pm. RSVP to the Gallery Talk on Facebook for updates.