TONIGHT: Debra Baxter & Matthew Szösz.

Debra Baxter Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Debra Baxter, We Are the Champions, bronze, 11 x 11 x 2.5 in.

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 Glass Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Matthew Szösz, untitled (inflatable) no. 75g, glass, 19 x 9 x 19 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!

Opening: Debra Baxter | Tooth & Nail

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“This thing could fail, and it could be a nightmare,” says Debra Baxter. “But who cares?” The Santa Fe sculptor makes artworks that combine divergent materials—metal, glass and stone, for example—so there’s always a risk that they’ll split apart during the creative process. Informed by her passion for armor and weaponry, Baxter charges ahead fearlessly to create elegant and sometimes dangerous objects. Her new solo exhibition at form & concept, Tooth & Nail, includes flowing bronze breastplates that hold glittering minerals, and metal throwing stars that are cast from lace. There’s also a wicked bronze-and-quartz sculpture from her Smithsonian-collected brass knuckles series. “I’ll often emerge from these crazy material experiments bruised—but I’m never broken,” says Baxter. 

Baxter’s solo exhibition Tooth & Nail opens on Friday, April 27 from 5 to 7 pm, and runs through June 16, 2018. Baxter will conduct an artist talk on Saturday, May 19 from 2 to 3 pm.

Learn more about this exhibition.

Events

Opening Reception | Friday, April 27, 5-7 pm | RSVP on Facebook
Artist Talk | Saturday, May 19, 2-3 pm | RSVP on Facebook
Closing Reception | Saturday, June 15, 5-7 pm | RSVP on Facebook

Preview: Debra Baxter | Tooth & Nail

“This thing could fail, and it could be a nightmare,” says Debra Baxter. “But who cares?” The Santa Fe sculptor makes artworks that combine divergent materials—metal, glass and stone, for example—so there’s always a risk that they’ll split apart during the creative process. Informed by her passion for armor and weaponry, the artist charges ahead fearlessly to create elegant and sometimes dangerous objects.

Baxter’s new solo exhibition, Tooth & Nail, includes flowing bronze breastplates that hold glittering minerals, and metal throwing stars that are cast from lace. There’s also a wicked bronze-and-quartz sculpture from her Smithsonian-collected brass knuckles series. “I’ll often emerge from these crazy material experiments bruised—but I’m never broken,” says Baxter. Tooth & Nail opens on Friday, April 27 from 5 to 7 pm, and runs through June 16, 2018. Baxter conducts an artist talk on Saturday, May 19 from 2 to 3 pm, and hosts a closing reception on Friday, June 15 from 5 to 7 pm.

Debra Baxter Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Debra Baxter, Unapologetic Glory, bronze, alabaster, 20 x 8 x 6 in.

Baxter has exhibited her sculptures and jewelry at form & concept since the gallery’s founding in May 2016. She helped lay the foundations of the gallery’s mission: to challenge preconceived notions about art, craft and design and blur their borders. “Debra is a master of what I call ‘material inversion,’” says Frank Rose, Gallery Director at form & concept. “She might pair soft materials with hard ones, or take it one step further and make a dense medium look like it’s light and flowing. She creates invigorating visual and tactile experiences, but there’s also a boundary-shattering conceptual element to the work.”

Debra Baxter Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Debra Baxter, Wind Knocked In, amethyst, bronze, mopany, 9.5 x 16 x 5 in.

The artist moved from Seattle to Santa Fe in August 2015, a radical leap away from the city where she established her career. Originally from Nebraska, she earned her MFA at Bard College and moved to Washington State in the late 1990’s. Baxter drew inspiration from Seattle’s legendary punk rock scene to create a series of wearable sculptures. Her crystal brass knuckles, made from gemstones and bronze, caught the eye of a curator at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. One of the artworks landed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian in 2016. Baxter’s passion for bodily adornment also lead her to create a long-running jewelry collection called DB/CB, consisting of bronze pendants that cradle gems and minerals.

“The reason I got interested in jewelry had to do with the way that certain objects are more powerful on the body,” says Baxter. “Your body brings a certain energy to the object.” Not all of the works in Tooth & Nail reference personal ornamentation, but every piece carries a certain talismanic force. “Art can be transformational. It’s a hard thing to control, but no matter what medium I’m working with, I want to give people that experience,” Baxter says. Her process always begins with freewheeling experimentation.

Debra Baxter Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Debra Baxter, Face Down About to Get Up and Fight, cast glass, citrine, 4.5 x 5 x 3 in.

The artist 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.”

Tooth & Nail features artworks made from glass, bronze, minerals, wood, bone and alabaster—often in surprising combinations. “It usually starts with a seemingly impossible question: ‘I have this piece of lace, how do I make it metal?’” Baxter says. “Then it’s about play. My art would get very stagnant if I stopped playing around and pushing. It’s the risk-taking that’s important.” It’s inevitable that some of her experiments will collapse, but sometimes she finds unexpected success while wrestling with entropy. “Sometimes the failure is like, ‘Oh, now it looks better because I dropped it,’” Baxter says.\

Preview the full exhibition.
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Debra Baxter Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Debra Baxter, A Little Bit Like Fun, glass, picasso stone, 6 x 5.5 x 6.5 in.

Preview: Matthew Szösz | Minimal Tension

Matthew Szösz- Glass Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Matthew Szösz, Ouroboros, fused glass, 24 x 24 x 14 in.

For Matthew Szösz, setting up just one glass art experiment is an involved process. The preparation takes half a workday in some cases, and up to four weeks in others. It all leads to that pivotal moment, when the sculpture either takes its final shape or shatters into a million pieces. The Seattle-based artist has repeated this process countless times—with about 75% of his work instantly collapsing into rubble.

This spirit of fearless experimentation is reflected in his dazzlingly innovative, award-winning oeuvre. Szösz debuts new works from two of his ongoing series, Inflatables and Ropework, in his solo exhibition Minimal Tension. The show opens at form & concept on Friday, April 27 from 5 to 7 pm, with an artist talk on Saturday, April 28 from 2 to 3 pm. It runs through May 19, 2018.

“I am something of an outsider in my practice—lacking traditional training in glass, and autodidactic in my use of the material,” says Szösz. After studying furniture design for his undergraduate degree, he entered the glass world as a studio assistant. “I was a mold maker and a hardware person and a tool maker, and I just kept getting traded from one glass artist to another,” he says. By the time he entered the graduate program at the Rhode Island School of Design in his early 30’s, he was more than prepared to break every rule he’d learned in glass studios. In pursuit of unique and dramatic sculptural forms, Szösz began dreaming up experiments that would push the material to its limits.

Matthew Szösz- Glass Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Matthew Szösz, Floret, fused glass, 21 x 16 x 21 in.

“I had a professor who said, ‘no surprise for the artist, no surprise for the audience,’” Szösz says. “That surprise, where it’s as much a product of the material and circumstance that you set up as well as your own vision, is the thing that’s exciting for me.” He calls some of his experiments “material/process investigations” and others “bad ideas.” Either way, the key is to set up novel conditions in the studio, shifting heat, humidity and other variables to see how the glass responds. It’s a winding process—part scientific, part artistic—that has yielded significant treasures, such as Szösz’s Inflatables series.

Szösz builds the Inflatables using flat sheets of window glass, linking them together with tubes that channel air. He slips sheets of ceramic between the panes to keep the glass from fusing in certain places. The final step is to heat the piece to a molten state and blast air through the tubes, with the hope that it will inflate like a balloon but not burst. When he succeeds, Szösz emerges with a glass pod that resembles an enormous, clear chrysalis—or perhaps a lava monster’s pool toy. “There’s a certain amount of suspense and surprise,” Szösz explains. “When it actually does work, you get the idea that you’re working as a team with the material, kind of a partnership rather than just imposing your idea on something else.”

Matthew Szösz- Glass Sculpture- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Matthew Szösz, untitled (inflatable) no. 70b, fused and inflated glass, 10 x 8 x 8 in

The artist developed his Ropework series over the course of seven years. The project started as an attempt to capture the twisted, bulging lines of Japanese temple ropes called Shimenawa using glass fiber. “The exploration moved from the creation of glass fiber pulling machines to a re-purposing of industrial fibers, to studies of British Empire-era ropemaking and sailor knot tying culture to create the geometric forms currently produced as part of the series,” says Szösz.

Considering the breadth of his creative inquiries, it’s no surprise that Szösz has a full array of art world honors under his belt. He was an Emerging Artist-in-Residence at Pilchuck Glass School in 2007, and a Wheaton Fellow in 2008. In 2009 he was an artist-in-residence at Nagoya Institute for the Arts and taught a workshop at Toyama Glass Institute. Szösz won the 2009 Jutta Cuny-Franz Memorial Award, becoming the second American ever to do so. In 2011 he was a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant Winner, and a year later he was selected by the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery as one of the top young craft artists in America for their exhibition 40 under 40.

“We’re particularly excited for Matthew’s artist talk on April 28, when we’ll show some videos of his process,” says form & concept Gallery Director Frank Rose. “Whether you’re a glass nerd or totally removed from that universe, you will marvel at how he brings these sculptures to life.”

Learn more about this exhibition.
RSVP for the opening reception.
RSVP for the artist talk.

Zine Reading: MIRROR BOX

Strangers Collective‘s Mirror Box exhibition at form & concept features zines by emerging artists and writers. A number of the zine creators will read from and discuss their work at this event on Saturday, April 7 from 3-4 pm.

Mirror Box represents a network of early career creatives, starting in Santa Fe and spiraling across the nation. Its curatorial throughline presents a radical method for reflecting on place and identity through art objects.

Learn more about this exhibition.

Events

Opening Reception: Friday, 2/23, 5-8 pm | RSVP on Facebook
Curator & Artist Talk: Saturday, 3/17, 2-3 pm | RSVP on Facebook
Zine Reading: Saturday, 4/7, 3-4 pm | RSVP on Facebook
Closing Performance by Emmaly Wiederholt: Saturday, 4/14, 7 pm | RSVP on Facebook
$5-$25 suggested donation for closing performance.

Writers

Liz Brindley, Caryn Crimmel, Jordan Eddy, Pascal Emmer, Jess Haring, Katie Johnson, Israel Francisco Haros Lopez, Amanda Malloy & David McCarty, Erin Mickelson, Erica Nguyen, Yvette Serrano, Bucket Siler, Emmaly Wiederholt, Rachelle Woods, Michael Wilson

Image: Derek ChanMercury in Retrograde (detail), acrylic, silver leaf and collage on panel, 72 x 48 in., 2013. Photo by Jose Rivera.

Opening: Wesley Anderegg | ARIZONA

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“Everybody that lives in New Mexico goes to Arizona every once in awhile,” says Wesley Anderegg. “That’s the only reason Arizona exists, is to drive through to go to California.” It’s a particularly sacrilegious statement for a born-and-raised Arizonan, but Anderegg hasn’t lived there for decades. He’s also never directly revisited his wild childhood through his figurative ceramics—until now. “As you get older, you kind of get reminiscing,” says the California-based artist. “It’s like, oh man, I’m on the downslope these days. Time to look back.”

In a new series of diminutive ceramic tiles, Anderegg flattens his tragicomic sculptural figures with a playful nod to Pop Art paintings and comic book panels. The painted compositions evoke Anderegg’s experience growing up in the sun-drenched and lawless Sonoran Desert. Wesley Anderegg: ARIZONA debuts at form & concept on Friday, March 30 from 5 to 7 pm. Anderegg recognizes the humor of mounting a show called ARIZONA one state to the east, but it’s a simple matter of personal preference. “I thought about actually having it in Arizona, but I like you guys better,” he says with a grin.

Wesley Anderegg: ARIZONA debuts at form & concept on Friday, March 30 from 5 to 7 pm, with an artist talk on Saturday, March 31 from 2 to 3 pm. The show runs through May 19, 2018.

Learn more about this exhibition.

Events

Opening Reception: Friday, March 30, 5-7 pm | RSVP on Facebook
Artist Talk: Saturday, March 31, 2-3 pm | RSVP on Facebook

Julie Slattery | Strangers Collective | Mirror Box


Sculptor Julie Slattery shapes talismanic objects—such as the enormous bird skulls that appear in our Mirror Box exhibition—that become emotional reliquaries for specific events in her life.

Kyle Farrell, Alex Gill and Jordan Eddy, co-directors of Strangers Collective and the No Land art space, curate this exhibition of emerging artists and writers at form & concept. The show represents a network of early career creatives, starting 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 opened at form & concept on Friday, February 23 and runs through April 14, 2018. Click the links below to learn about the Mirror Box event series.

Learn more about the exhibition.
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Opening: MIRROR BOX | Strangers Collective

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Kyle Farrell, Alex Gill and Jordan Eddy, co-directors of Strangers Collective and the No Land art space, curate this exhibition of emerging artists and writers at form & concept. Mirror Box represents a network of early career creatives, starting in Santa Fe and spiraling across the nation. Its curatorial throughline presents a radical method for reflecting on place and identity through art objects. The show opens with a reception on Friday, February 23 from 5-8 pm, and runs through April 14, 2018. 

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.

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.

Learn more about this exhibition.

Events

Opening Reception: Friday, 2/23, 5-8 pm | RSVP on Facebook
Curator & Artist Talk: Saturday, 3/17, 2-3 pm | RSVP on Facebook
Zine Reading: Saturday, 4/7, 3-4 pm | RSVP on Facebook
Closing Performance by Emmaly Wiederholt: Saturday, 4/14, 7 pm | RSVP on Facebook
$5-$25 suggested donation for closing performance.

Art

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

Zines

Liz Brindley, Caryn Crimmel, Jordan Eddy, Pascal Emmer, Jess Haring, Katie Johnson, Israel Francisco Haros Lopez, Amanda Malloy & David McCarty, Erin Mickelson, Erica Nguyen, Yvette Serrano & Ryan Dennison, Bucket Siler, Emmaly Wiederholt, Rachelle Woods, Michael Wilson

Featured Image: Nate Masse, On Polyamory (detail), mixed media, 57.5 x 55″, 2013-2018

This Friday: Strangers Collective & Ford / Forlano

Alicia Piller Sculpture- Mirror Box Exhibition- Strangers Collective- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Alicia Piller, Celestial Body (detail), leather, mixed media, 50 x 17 x 17 in., 2014.

Opening
Strangers Collective
MIRROR BOX

February 23 – April 14, 2018

Opening Reception: Friday, February 23, 5-8 pm

Kyle Farrell, Alex Gill and Jordan Eddy, co-directors of Strangers Collective and the No Land art space, curate this exhibition of emerging artists and writers. 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.

Learn more about this exhibition.
RSVP on Facebook.

Ford / Forlano Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Ford / Forlano, Hydro Brooch #422, polymer, sterling silver, gold leaf.

Special Reception
Introducing Ford / Forlano

Friday, February 23, 5-8 pm

“The conversation is in every piece,” says David Forlano. “The input is the journey.” He and Steven Ford have collaborated for nearly four decades under the moniker Ford / Forlano, creating wearable artworks from polymer clay, sterling silver, gold leaf and many other materials. Over the years, their designs have undergone a spectacular evolution—as has the nature of their working relationship. Forlano moved to Santa Fe in 2005, putting almost 2,000 miles between the longtime collaborators. “It has actually made the work more dynamic, with an even bigger range,” Ford says. form & concept presents Introducing Ford / Forlano, featuring the artistic duo’s latest work.

Learn more about this event.
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Closing Reception: Thais Mather | Reckless Abandon

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As Thais Mather’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition Reckless Abandon approaches its closing date, join her for a final public engagement on Friday, February 2 from 5 to 7 pm. Light refreshments will be served. Reckless Abandon runs through February 10, 2018.

“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.

Learn more about this exhibition.

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
A Day of Ritual Prayer Performance | Saturday, January 20, 7 am-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook
Reckless Abandon: Closing Reception | Friday, February 2, 5-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook