Opening Tonight: Jared Weiss & Rebecca Rutstein

Join us tonight for the debut of two painting exhibitions, Rebecca Rutstein: Fault Lines and Jared Weiss: He’s Either Dead Or It Was His Birthday. Weiss is a Santa Fe artist who draws from Freudian theory and his own memory to create compositions infused with a sense of déjà vu. Rutstein, who lives in Philadelphia, explores geometric abstraction with a vision inspired by scientific data. Both artists will appear at the opening reception on Friday, June 30 from 5-7 pm.

Kathryn Davis of ArtBeat Santa Fe interviewed each painter about their work. Scroll down for links to the interviews, and to read excerpts from other recent press.

Rebecca Rutstein

ArtBeat Santa Fe with Kathryn Davis- Artist Rebecca Rutstein Interview- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico

“There’s an oppeness to this work that reminds me of being here in this part of the world, where the sky goes on forever and it feels like you can see forever,” said Kathryn Davis of ArtBeat to Rebecca Rutstein. “[There’s] a lot of play with shadow, surface and dimensionality.” Listen to the full interview here.

A write-up on Rebecca’s work appeared in Albuquerque Journal North‘s “Top Picks for the Week” feature by Megan Bennett. Here’s an excerpt:

While spending time learning and creating among geologists and oceanographic cartographers, [Rutstein] was able to study the terrain and the ocean floor, and began painting based on what she saw. For this show, she will show work depicting “seismic events that occur deep in the Earth’s crust.”

Emily Van Cleve of Santa Fe Arts Journal interviewed Rebecca for a feature story. Here’s a teaser:

“I took a geology class as an undergraduate that had a huge impact on me,” Rutstein says. “Recently, I looked back at the geology textbooks I used in college. The collision of the Earth’s plates, which has inspired the work in my Santa Fe show, seems like a metaphor for what has happened in my life and other people’s lives.”

Make sure to read both stories, and stop by tonight’s opening from 5-7 pm to meet Rebecca and see Fault Lines. She will appear at an artist talk on Saturday, July 1 from 2-3 pm.

Jared Weiss

ArtBeat Santa Fe with Kathryn Davis- Artist Jared Weiss Interview- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

“You are a painter’s painter,” Kathryn Davis of ArtBeat told Jared Weiss. “I think you’re going to get a lot of painters showing up to see this show. I encourage that, because of the use of color, the brushwork. The immediacy, and then the denial—you step back and realize, ‘I don’t know what this is about.'” Listen to the full interview here, and make sure to check out Jared’s takeover of Santa Fe Reporter‘s Instagram for sneak peeks at the show.

Elizabeth Miller of SFR did a great story on Jared’s work last year, for his Adobe Rose Theater show You Can’t Have Your Horse In Here. Here’s an excerpt:

Like those candy-colored memories from childhood, Jared Weiss’ paintings can’t really be trusted to tell you the whole story, or to relay the details that could cue an accurate interpretation of what happened. But the effect of that obfuscation—of dark canvases in which the faces are lost in shadow or blurred into the background, of gestures only half finished and unclear in their direction, of the strange juxtapositions and those random objects that do come oddly and sharply into focus—is to render visible some pieces of what was, but what has been largely buried by what might also have been.

Come meet Jared and see He’s Either Dead Or It Was His Birthday tonight from 5-7 pm. He will appear at an artist talk on Saturday, July 22 from 2-3 pm.

Opening: Rebecca Rutstein | Fault Lines

When your painting studio is set adrift on the open sea, things can get a little messy. Philadelphia-based painter Rebecca Rutstein spent her last three artist residencies in close quarters with oceanographic cartographers, examining never-before-seen images of the ocean floor and translating what she learned into undulating, semi-abstract paintings. She grew accustomed to the constant motion of the boat and its unpredictable effect on her brushstrokes.

In Fault Lines, her first-ever solo exhibition in New Mexico, Rutstein returns to dry land. Using the sunburnt palette of the high desert, the artist turns her attention to seismic events that occur deep in the Earth’s crust—and employs some tricks she learned at sea to imbue her compositions with dynamic motion. Fault Lines opens at form & concept on Friday, June 30, 5-7 pm. Rutstein will appear at an artist talk on Saturday, July 1 from 2-3 pm, and the exhibition runs through August 12, 2017.

RSVP on Facebook.
Learn more about this exhibition.

Opening | Jared Weiss: He’s Either Dead Or It Was His Birthday

Jared Weiss has forgotten much of his subject matter. Or rather, the scenes that he paints are often buried somewhere deep in his unconscious. Reviving suppressed memories can be a dangerous game, but the Santa Fe artist has some heavy hitters on his side: Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek. Weiss draws inspiration from the famous line of psychoanalysts in his new solo exhibition at form & concept, He’s Either Dead or It Was His Birthday. Opening Friday, June 30, the show conjures a strange sense of déjà vu. Weiss’s figurative images—which resemble warped photographs from a massive theater production—are sure to lodge in the back of your mind.

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Learn more on the exhibition page.

Introducing Elana Schwartz

Elana Schwartz Artwork- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Elana Schwartz, Aphia (detail), linden wood, pine, mahogany, 52″ x 29″ x 14″

“It gave me something that was a little unbelievable, that I could believe in,” said Elana Schwartz in a phone interview from Albuquerque. It was a few days before she was headed up to Santa Fe to deliver her artwork, and we were just beginning to explore her mythological universe.

Elana has been building a pantheon of ethereal characters since just after she graduated high school. “I’d make these characters and these puppets, and I wanted them to come alive,” she said. In the BFA program at University of New Mexico, she started carving her deities from wood and forming tableaus that recounted entire fables. She graduated in 2012, and has maintained a studio practice that she likens to spiritual meditation. “Carving and making art is what brings me to the present,” she said. “That’s what I’ve discovered is my religion.”

With a process that blends art and craft—and incorporates myriad materials, including animals that the artist taxidermies herself—Elana was a perfect fit to join form & concept’s stable. “I’ve come to think that my work as a combination of sculpture and craft,” she said. “It’s kind of in between, because I really value and think about the process and the materials. I think about the concept too in the end, but the concept grows out of the process. So I consider myself a craftsman at this point.”

Several days later, the artist loaded her delicate creations into a Pensky truck and drove up I-25. Check out images from the installation below, along with excerpts from our interview. You can browse all of Elana’s work on her artist page.

Elana Schwartz at Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Elana Schwartz with her sculpture Aphia.

How did growing up in Albuquerque influence your work?

I was very influenced growing up with all of the Native American culture, and retablos, and Catholic folk art. Those things really inspired me. I was always doing art, but I didn’t really consider myself an artist until after high school, which is kind of late.

This sounds kind of weird, but what really started me into making art was my obsession with the Puppet Master movies. I became fascinated with making characters come to life.

What appealed to you about creating your own characters and stories?

It gave me something that was a little unbelievable, that I could believe in. It was like my own religion, something to believe in that seemed a little magical. I’d make these characters and these puppets and I wanted them to come alive.

Elana Schwartz Artwork- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Elana Schwartz, Chojor “Spiritual Wealth”, taxidermy whitetail, mahogany, zebrawood, linden wood, padauk, walnut, curly maple, resin, moss, foam, steel, crushed turquoise, paint, styrospray, 95″ x 36″ x 36″

How did you start wood carving?

I got really into working with wood at UNM, when I took a class in sculpture with Steve Barry. He ended up being my art mentor. He was really harsh on everyone, and I loved it. I felt like a lot of other art teachers are just like, ‘That’s so great.’ Steve took it a lot more seriously, and he got me to take it a lot more seriously.

I did one project in wood, and fell in love with the process of reductive carving. I could create these allegorical and mythological creatures from solid blocks. I really liked the reductive process because you have to imagine what’s there and remove everything else around it.

Part of the reason your characters seem so vividly alive is because of the material. The wood has an inner glow to it.

I love working with wood because it has a history of its own. I’m creating this character and personality from what was already there, and just bringing it out of the wood. It really inspires me to create characters that have their own lives, their own histories, and their own futures that are separate from mine.

Elana Schwartz Artwork- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Elana Schwartz brushing up her sculpture, Chojor “Spiritual Wealth.”

What does the beginning of your process look like?

I’ll get ideas and then do these preliminary sketches. With some of my smaller pieces, I create them from one block. For larger pieces, I have to puzzle things together. I’ll make the head and the body and the limbs, and I have to fit them together. I’ll clamp them into place and just keep whittling them down.

It sounds like your carving process is almost trance-like.

I’m not a specific religion, but carving and making art is what brings me to the present. That’s what I’ve discovered is my religion. It’s this meditative process for me.

I’ve actually gotten heat stroke a few times from being in my shop and not eating or drinking for long periods of time. I just lose track of everything. I kind of love that, though. It’s like yoga or meditation for someone else.

Elana Schwartz Artwork- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Elana Schwartz, Shrine for Transformation, linden wood, purpleheart, mahogany, 24″ x 10″ x 6″

Is your process reflected at all in the finished sculptures?

In my work, I keep returning to these themes of transcendence, and meditative spirit, and a spiritual in-between space. The process of creating definitely shows up in the sculptures. I talk to the sculptures a lot as I’m creating them. Right when I make the eyes, that’s the moment where I’ll say, ‘Now you can see where you are in the world and develop your own identity.’

How did you and Frank select the first round of works that will appear at form & concept?

I’d like to think of them as all living in the same universe, on the same plane. I’m bringing up an eclectic lot.

Elana Schwartz Artwork- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Elana Schwartz with Shrine for Transformation and other sculptures.

What appealed to you about showing at form & concept?

All the work is very eclectic. It’s lots of different mediums, but they go together really well. I think my work fits in there perfectly, because it’s a completely different medium. It’s one of the few mediums that the gallery doesn’t have.

“I’ve come to think that my work is a combination of sculpture and craft. It’s kind of in between, because I really value and think about the process and the materials. I think about the concept too in the end, but the concept grows out of the process. So I consider myself a craftsman at this point.

We’re headed to Elana’s Albuquerque studio in March to create a studio visit video and learn more of the artist’s story. In the meantime, make sure to check out the artist’s work in our downstairs galleries or on our website.