Preview: Jodi Colella | Unidentified Women

Artist Jodi Colella- Unidentified Women Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

It started somewhere among the vast archives of the Historic Northampton Museum in Northampton, Massachusetts. Fiber artist Jodi Colella was working on an art project inspired by the museum’s headwear collection, and she stumbled upon a series of daguerreotype portraits. “They were like little 18th and 19th century selfies,” Colella says. “I noticed that all the men in the images had every single detail of their life listed in the catalog. About 80% of the women were labeled ‘unidentified.’” The artist was fascinated by these forgotten, female faces, and the contrast between the women’s fleeting social visibility and their invisibility to history. After hunting down similar portraits in flea markets and antique shops, Colella stitched intricate embroideries across the images, further obscuring the women’s identities. The body of work, titled Unidentified Women, makes its Santa Fe debut at form & concept on Friday, January 26 from 5-7 pm. Colella will appear at the opening reception, and also conduct an artist talk on Thursday, January 25 from 2-3 pm.

Artist Jodi Colella- Unidentified Women Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

“In the end, these women were lost,” Colella says. “I think of it as lost lives and labor. By using labor that’s often culturally identified as feminine, I wanted to bring out their identities.” She first exhibited the Unidentified Women embroideries in 2016 at the Historic Northampton Museum, along with a series of wearable sculptures that referenced the history of women’s headwear. Both projects centered on the cultural interplay between conformity and individuality, personhood and objectification. The works examine ways that gender, race, social status and economic power has dictated who was recorded—and how they were presented—through history. “In many of the images, the women are hiding or being hidden in some way—but they’re also being shown,” Colella says. “So it’s that tension between showing that they’ve been hidden and celebrating their visibility.”

Artist Jodi Colella- Unidentified Women Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Colella grew up in Massachusetts, in a family of artists and craftspeople. As a child, she developed a passion for knitting, embroidery and other fiber arts. After completing a certificate program for graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, she launched a successful career as a designer that spanned nearly two decades. In 2000, she took a break to focus on fine art, and never went back. Colella has since exhibited her fiber artwork across the nation, including in the Surface Design Association’s international juried exhibition Shifting Landscapes at form & concept in February, 2017.

Artist Jodi Colella- Unidentified Women Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

“For Shifting Landscapes, we showed two of Jodi’s China Samplers, which are meticulous embroideries on Mao propaganda magazines from the 1960’s,” says Frank Rose, Gallery Director of form & concept. “In that work and in Unidentified Women, she’s bringing complex realities of the past to light with compassionate attention and incredible skill. These artworks can help us understand how we’ve arrived at our present cultural and political moment.” Unidentified Women will appear on form & concept’s staircase and catwalk. The original set of 16 embroideries, measuring 2 x 3 inches, will appear with a never-before-seen series of larger works from the ongoing series. “After the project at the museum, I knew I wasn’t done with the daguerreotypes,” says Colella. “There’s a poignancy to these images that has kept me working. These are women I don’t know, no one knows them anymore, but I’ve found a way to meet them again.”

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Announcing Strangers Collective’s Mirror Box.

Nate Masse Painter- Strangers Collective- Mirror Box Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Nate Masse, On Polyamory (detail), mixed media, 57.5 x 55″, 2013-2018

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form & concept and Strangers Collective occupy far-flung domains in Santa Fe’s art community. The former is a nearly 10,000-square-foot gallery in the city’s Railyard District, the latter is an emerging arts group that operates the three-room experimental art space No Land on the Santa Fe Plaza. From opposite ends of the scene, these two organizations have worked in complementary ways to elevate local, emerging artists.

Their paths intersect this winter with the debut of Mirror Box, an exhibition of artists and writers curated by Strangers Collective’s co-directors Alex Gill, Kyle Farrell and Jordan Eddy, and hosted by form & concept. The show engages a network of early career creatives, anchored in Santa Fe and spiraling across the nation. Its curatorial throughline presents a radical method for reflecting on place and identity through art objects. Mirror Box opens at form & concept on Friday, February 23 from 5 to 8 pm, with a curator and artist talk on March 17 and a closing performance titled “Don’t You Want to Dance?” by Emmaly Wiederholt on April 14.

Emily Mason Photographer- Strangers Collective- Mirror Box Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery
Emily Mason, cannonball, archival pigment print, 20 x 30 in., 2015.

The term “mirror box” originates in the medical field: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran invented the box with two back-to-back mirrors in the center to help amputees manage phantom limb pain. The patient places the “good” limb into one side, and the “residual” limb into the other, making mirrored movements that can trick the brain into believing that it’s moving the phantom limb. “It’s a tribute to the incredible power of grey matter,” says Eddy. “If our minds are capable of conjuring a nervous system from thin air, can we link up with people, places or things in the same visceral but invisible way?” The curatorial team realized that art, like the mirror box, can act as a conduit for this type of transcendent—but also highly tangible—experience.

“As we turned over the idea of a ‘mirror box’ in conversation, its meaning evolved to represent a sort of theoretical art object,” says Farrell. “If you imagine a cube made from mirrors floating in a landscape, it reflects you and your surroundings across six different planes. By peering into it, you begin view identity and place in novel ways.” The show’s participants interact with the world in a similar fashion, reflecting, filtering and distorting their varied contexts to create visions of the world that are requisitely imbued with their own experiences.

Kevin Bond Photography- Mirror Box Exhibition- Strangers Collective- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kevin Bond, Lumen Test #6, gelatin silver paper exposed to nature for 1 month, 5 x 7 in., 2017.

Photographer Emily Mason makes images of her surroundings, collages them onto sculptural props, and photographs the finished assemblages to create images that flicker between dimensionality and abstraction. Painter Nate Masse creates layered figurative compositions that compress visual details from multiple moments into a single, sensuous image. Sculptor Julie Slattery shapes talismanic objects—in this case, enormous bird skulls—that become emotional reliquaries for specific events in her life.

“The artworks and zines are mapping out this ‘complete picture’ of an experience,” says Gill. “We’re asserting that fully realized artistic expression can communicate something truer than, say, a hasty smartphone snapshot of a particular person or place.” In an increasingly polarized world, it’s a radical act of empathy to dive through the looking glass.

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Participating Artists

Kevin Bond, Derek Chan, Kyle Farrell, Alex Gill, Erin Gould, Julia Haywood, Kat Kinnick, Shannon Latham, Emily Mason, Nate Masse, Drew MC, David O’Brien, Sarah Palmeri, Alicia Piller, Julie Slattery, Stephanie Thompson, Dion Valdez, Emmaly Wiederholt, Ona Yopack

Participating Writers

Caryn Crimmel, Melissa Dow, Jordan Eddy, Juro Gagne, Jess Haring, Katie Johnson, Shannon Latham, Israel Francisco Haros Lopez, Erica Nguyen, Yvette Serrano, Bucket Siler, Stephanie Thompson, Charlotte Thurman, Emmaly Wiederholt, Rachelle Woods, Michael Wilson, Liz Brindley

Smitten Forum: Curator’s Talk

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Call it a mobile artist colony, a colorful social experiment or a crafty piece of performance art. Each year since 2014, Sara Brown and Marissa Saneholtz have invited a new group of pioneering jewelers and metalsmiths to work side-by-side in a communal studio for 7 days. The initiative is called Smitten Forum, and invitees range from emerging to well-established makers who employ a staggering array of mediums and techniques. This year’s participants are headed to Abiquiu, New Mexico in late December, but they’ll also leave their mark on the nearby art center of Santa Fe. The form & concept shop is excited to present the Smitten Forum exhibition, which features wearable artwork from all of this year’s artists. A curator’s talk featuring Brown, Saneholtz and 2014 Smitten Forum participant Robert Ebendorf will take place on Wednesday, January 3 from 2-3 pm.

The show opens on Friday, November 24 from 5-7 pm, in conjunction with the exhibitions Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon and MICROCOSMSmitten Forum runs through January 6, 2018.

Smitten Forum Events

Opening Reception | Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm— RSVP on Facebook

Curator’s Talk | Wednesday, January 3 from 2-3 pm | Featuring Sara Brown, Marissa Saneholtz & 2014 Smitten Forum participant Robert Ebendorf. RSVP on Facebook

Participating Artists: Sarah Perkins, Melissa Cameron, Bryan Petersen, Cappy Counard, Cheryl Rydmark, Tanya Crane, Rebekah Frank, Anika Smulovitz, Don Friedlich, Laritza Garcia, Leslie LePere, Hannah Oatman, Marissa Saneholtz, Sara Brown

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A letter from Sandy Zane.

Creative Santa Fe- Building Futures- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

I have been a board member of Creative Santa Fe for several years and I believe passionately in the mission of this organization. I want you to know about some very exciting new projects happening in 2018. In addition to addressing Santa Fe’s urgent affordable housing crisis with the Siler Yard Arts + Creativity Center, a low income, 60 unit, live-work space for artists, we are launching a new initiative called the Disruptive Futures Dialogues Series.

This series will be a year-long community engagement in partnership with organizations throughout the city and the region to envision the future of Santa Fe. We will focus on the key question: What do we want Santa Fe, and the world, to look like for Future Generations, and how do we get there from here?

Each dialogue will address a critical issue our city faces which also reflects global issues, including: affordable housing, job creation, the upcoming mayoral election, the environment, film & technology, nuclear weapons, and cyber connectivity. We recognize that progress can only be made by breaking down silos, bringing diverse voices to the conversation, and finding what connects rather than separates us. It is our goal that at the end of this year of engagements and dialogues that we will have a clear action plan to continue working on key initiatives and building ongoing partnerships to strengthen our economy and help build a sustainable future for our city.

Your interest and support is vital for Creative Santa Fe to become a leader in connecting our community, creating city-wide conversations, and effecting positive change throughout the city. We hope you will support Creative Santa Fe with a year-end gift to help us continue on our path to ensure that Santa Fe is a healthy, vibrant, and thriving city for generations to come.

To donate and/or to be on our mailing list, click here, mail a check to PO Box 2388 Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87504, or call Executive Director, Cyndi Conn at 505-288-3538.

Thank you in advance for your support and belief in Creative Santa Fe.

Wishing you the very best for the holidays and the new year,

Sandy Zane, Owner

Zane Bennett Contemporary Art | form & concept

Reckless Abandon: Performance

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The gallery will accept a sliding scale donation of $5-$10 in support of the artists.

Thais Mather unites activist and feminist artists for this special holiday event. Todd Ryan White, David Mcmaster, Tim Reed, Ekalos Reed and Niomi Fawn will join Mather to present a series of performance vignettes among the artworks of Reckless Abandon.

Reckless Abandon is Mather’s first major show in Santa Fe, though she hesitates to call it a solo exhibition—at least in a traditional sense. “I feel like the concept of the male genius artist, presenting his solo magnum opus is a Greenbergian farce. Everything you create is influenced by other artists, by your mentors, by your relationships, by the music and literature you adore.” she says.

Mather considers the participating performers—and gallery visitors—to be collaborators when they cross the show’s threshold. The exhibition will evolve through these contributions and interactions, inspiring community members to return multiple times and experience new surprises. Inspired by the art movement called magical realism, Mather aims to weave moments of transformation into everyday life.

Reckless Abandon Events

Opening Reception | Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook
Reckless Abandon: A Reading | Saturday, November 25, 2-3 pm — RSVP on Facebook
Reckless Abandon: Performance | Friday, December 15, 5-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook

Learn more about this exhibition.

Part of the proceeds from Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon will benefit the ACLU of New Mexico and the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter

Reckless Abandon: A Reading

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At this special event, Thais Mather will read excerpts from writings that span two years of her creative process, which culminated in the body of work for Reckless Abandon.

“I’m really contemplating humanity: how culture began, where we are now, and where that might evolve,” says Mather. Reckless Abandon comprises hundreds of artworks that will fill form & concept’s ground floor, tracing thousands of years of natural and human history.

Reckless Abandon opens at form & concept on Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-7 pm, and runs through February 10, 2018.

Reckless Abandon Events

Opening Reception | Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook
Reckless Abandon: A Reading | Saturday, November 25, 2-3 pm — RSVP on Facebook
Reckless Abandon: Performance | Friday, December 15, 5-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook

Learn more about this exhibition.

Part of the proceeds from Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon will benefit the ACLU of New Mexico and the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter

Small Business Saturday @ form & concept

Small Business Saturday is an annual shopping tradition dedicated to supporting small businesses and celebrating communities across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, it’s celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, you can get out and support the places you love with the people you love on Nov 25.

For this tribute to local entrepreneurship and ingenuity, we’re offering 10% off everything in the form & concept gallery and shop on Black Friday (Nov. 24) and Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25). On Cyber Monday (Nov. 27), shop our collection on the form & concept website for 10% off any online purchase. 

Opening | Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon

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“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. Reckless Abandon opens at form & concept on Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-7 pm, and runs through February 10, 2018.

Reckless Abandon Events

Opening Reception | Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook
Reckless Abandon: A Reading | Saturday, November 25, 2-3 pm — RSVP on Facebook
Reckless Abandon: Performance | Friday, December 15, 5-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook

Learn more about this exhibition.

Part of the proceeds from Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon will benefit the ACLU of New Mexico and the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter

Opening: Smitten Forum

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Call it a mobile artist colony, a colorful social experiment or a crafty piece of performance art. Each year since 2014, Sara Brown and Marissa Saneholtz have invited a new group of pioneering jewelers and metalsmiths to work side-by-side in a communal studio for 7 days. The initiative is called Smitten Forum, and invitees range from emerging to well-established makers who employ a staggering array of mediums and techniques. This year’s participants are headed to Abiquiu, New Mexico in late December, but they’ll also leave their mark on the nearby art center of Santa Fe. The form & concept shop is excited to present the Smitten Forum exhibition, which features wearable artwork from all of this year’s artists. The show opens on Friday, November 24 from 5-7 pm, in conjunction with the exhibitions Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon and MICROCOSM. A curator’s talk featuring Brown, Saneholtz and 2014 Smitten Forum participant Robert Ebendorf will take place on Wednesday, January 3 from 2-3 pm. Smitten Forum runs through January 6, 2018. 

Participating Artists: Sarah Perkins, Melissa Cameron, Bryan Petersen, Cappy Counard, Cheryl Rydmark, Tanya Crane, Rebekah Frank, Anika Smulovitz, Don Friedlich, Laritza Garcia, Leslie LePere, Hannah Oatman, Marissa Saneholtz, Sara Brown

Smitten Forum Events

Opening Reception | Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm— RSVP on Facebook

Curator’s Talk | Wednesday, January 3 from 2-3 pm | Featuring Sara Brown, Marissa Saneholtz & 2014 Smitten Forum participant Robert Ebendorf. RSVP on Facebook

Learn more about this exhibition.

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.