Santa Fe artist Matthew Mullins presents a solo exhibition of paintings, photographs and sculptures, inspired by the intrinsic links between humans and the natural world. Known for his mixed-media paintings that visually connect landscapes with human-made, geometric patterns, Mullins broadens his practice to encompass photography and sculpture. With this expanded artistic palette, he draws viewers across time and space—from a windswept patch of grass to the swirling cosmos.
The monumental body of work, which will fill form & concept’s ground floor, is united by patterns that repeat throughout the universe at infinite scales. The Sun in our Bones debuts on Friday, September 28 from 5 to 7 pm. Mullins will host an artist talk on Saturday, October 20 from 2 to 3 pm and closing reception on Saturday, November 17 from 5 to 7 pm.
Check out new wearable artworks by three artists from the form & concept shop—including two designers who are new to our roster!
Suzanne Schwartz first discovered the freedom that art could bring when her grandmother taught her to sew and knit. Textiles inspired her even as a child: with their variety of patterns and textures, they opened her eyes to art’s boundless possibilities. As an adult, her creative medium moved from textiles to metals, but the stitches came with her, as seen in her Interwoven Collections. She finds texture and form in nature all around her: the surface of a leaf, the pattern of lichen on a branch, the curve where hills meet, the shadows of water over rocks. These lines and fluid shapes become part of her jewelry.
Julie Slattery‘s wearable sculptures explore emotional responses of attachment and loss. The objects she creates reflect sensations of unease, oddity, and a recognition of something that was or could have been. Slattery is an Albuquerque-based artist who works at the Los Ranchos Fine Art Foundry. Through the process of casting, she creates artwork that necessitates the destruction of an original object. This is often representative of crucial moments or pivotal experiences in her life.
Kat Cole finds meaning through the observance and intimate awareness of the places she inhabits. With each geographic change, she has become more attuned to the natural and man-made attributes that make a location unique. She looks to the built environment of the city where she lives for the formal qualities of her work: materials, forms, colors and surface qualities. The steel and concrete structures that surround us are evidence of human inhabitants, past and present. Cole distills her experiences of these monumental structures into the intimate scale of jewelry. They are completed when worn on the landscape of the body.
Click here to browse the complete form & concept shop collection.
Our director Frank Rose spent months on a national search for artists who explore personal or cultural visions of outer space in their work. The resulting exhibition, Inner Orbit, presents the cosmos not as a dark void, but as a densely layered cultural landscape. We asked Frank to discuss two of the artists who appear in the show for a new video series called Curator’s Selection. First up is St. Paul-based artist Eric William Carroll, who contributed several works from his Standard Stars series to Inner Orbit. Watch the video above for Frank’s take, and read Eric’s thoughts on the body of work below.
My project Standard Stars draws from three years of research at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), located an hour outside of Asheville, North Carolina in the small town of Rosman, and surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest.
One of PARI’s missions is to collect and digitize the largest archive of astronomical glass-plate photographs, known as the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive, commonly referred to as APDA. Currently, APDA is a collection of over 200,000 public-domain glass plate negatives that have been acquired from institutions and individuals all over the world. The visual wealth of APDA is unparalleled, as it documents the history of photographing the sky from the late 1800’s until the end of the 20th century on a now obsolete medium. There is an undeniable physical beauty to these photographic objects, which explains why I have made many trips over the years to immerse myself in the collection.
With just over 1% of the archive scanned, most of the photographic plates sit in boxes and on shelves, slowly deteriorating. The emulsion peels off of the glass plate in a variety of patterns, as if nature is trying to creep back into these scientific studies. In these images I have carefully composed the flakes of emulsion and photographed them on a light table and then inverted the image. In some cases, such as NA8302, the astronomer accidentally spilled oil on the plate. In NA8075, the exposed plate wasn’t processed in enough developer solution. These errors bridge the gap between galaxy and astronomer.
All in all, I have made high-resolution scans and photographs of over 500 plates from APDA. Visually and metaphorically, APDA represents the human attempt to study, represent, and organize the Universe. The fact that this collection is in danger of disintegrating and being forgotten is sadly and beautifully poetic.
June is Emerging Media Month in Santa Fe, as declared by this rebellious crew of new media pioneers! We’re proud to be part of the Emerging Media Alliance, along with local legends such as Meow Wolf, Simply Social Media, Descartes Labs and SITE Santa Fe. This launch party for EMA offers an inside look at the Currents New Media Festival exhibition—and an opportunity to mingle with our new mayor, Alan Webber. This is a free, registration-only event. Sign up at the link below.
Join Debra Baxter for a last look at her solo exhibition Tooth & Nailat this closing reception on Friday, June 15 from 5 to 7 pm. The show officially closes on June 16, 2018.
Baxter frequently picks up materials she’s never used before, searching for novel ways to engage the histories of sculpture, jewelry, weaponry or drapery. For Tooth & Nail, the events of the #MeToo movement have fed into her continued interest in the strength, vulnerability and the raw power of the female voice. The courage of these women has activated work with a blend of toughness and vulnerability. “These contrasting materials carry a similar spirit,” she explains. “My sculptures sometimes look delicate, but when they’re finished, they are structurally resilient.”
Image: Debra Baxter, Basta, alabaster, cedar, quartz crystal, 9 x 10 x 13 in.
Saturday, June 16th, 7-8:30 PM
The gallery will ask for a $5-$25 donation at the door in support of the artist.
Composer and multidisciplinary artist Nathan Wheeler ensnares form & concept in a web of “ghost detection circuits”—also known as EMF meters—for this improvisational music and dance performance. The psychic energy of Wheeler and his spectators will trigger the sensors and influence swirling visuals and soundscapes. Wheeler is a New York-based artist who works at the intersection of sound design, dance, clothing design, video, and interactive programming. He has shown work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Denver Art Museum, and at festivals around the globe.
We’re in the final stretch of voting for Best of Santa Fe 2018! form & concept was nominated by Santa Fe Reporter‘s readers in the Best Gallery category. We were in the running last year, and won second place. This year we’re going for the gold! If you like what we’ve been up to, make sure to cast your vote before the contest closes at midnight on May 31. You can vote in one click below.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Tonight (Friday, 4/27) from 5-7 pm, form & concept hosts an opening reception for two sculpture shows: Tooth & Nail by Debra Baxter, and Minimal Tension by Matthew Szösz. Both solo exhibitions have received some great coverage in local press over the past few months. Baxter was the cover artist for The Magazine‘s February issue, and the subject of a feature article by Jenn Shapland. Here’s an excerpt:
Debra Baxter has just chucked something across her studio. A five-pointed throwing star sticks firmly into the opposite wall. She’s about to throw another, but first she shows it to me. It’s elegant lace made of metal. The tips have been sharpened. Baxter’s work occupies several unlikely but generative intersections: between the fierce and the sentimental, between museum pieces and ready-to-wear jewelry. Since her early pieces in alabaster, Baxter has tried to find a way to use sculpture to harness a woman’s voice, her source both of power and of vulnerability.
Tooth & Nail also scored a shout-out in this week’s Santa Fe Reporter. Here’s a tidbit from Alex De Vore’s calendar pick:
Sculptor Debra Baxter’s propensity for crafting armor and weaponry-adjacent pieces from metal, stone and wood belies the subtly elegant touches rampant throughout her work. […] Representational this is not; intriguing and borderline dangerous it is. Good luck not getting sucked in.
Matthew Szösz is in town this weekend for the opening, and will also conduct an artist talk on Saturday, April 28 from 2-3 pm. His exhibition of glass sculptures, Minimal Tension, got a spotlight in this week’s Pasatiempo. Michael Abatemarco writes:
Matthew Szösz’s sculptures are dynamic works in glass made using a variety of tools and techniques. Minimal Tension, an exhibition that draws from two ongoing series, Inflatables and Ropework, opens Friday, April 27.
The show was also featured in Santa Fe Arts Journal‘s email newsletter, in a write-up by Emily Van Cleve:
For Szösz, setting up just one glass art experiment is an involved process, with preparation taking anywhere from a half a day to four weeks. Sometimes the sculpture works out fine, but it also can shatter into a million pieces.
Preview both shows on our exhibition page, and make sure to stop by for the opening reception tonight and Matthew’s artist talk tomorrow!