Press Roundup: Matthew Mullins | The Sun In Our Bones

Tonight, Santa Fe artist Matthew Mullins presents his solo exhibition The Sun in Our Bones. Mullins’s work is inspired by the intrinsic links between humans and the natural world. He has a lot of ground to cover, which is why we’ve dedicated our entire ground floor to showcase his paintings, photographs, and sculptures.

We visited Matthew’s studio to talk about his process and inspiration for his show. “I want people to look beyond what’s right in front of us,” says Mullins. “And make them aware of our own cosmic origins.” Check out the video above to learn more about his artistic practice.

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Mullins also gave Megan Bennett of the Albuquerque Journal a tour of his studio. Here’s an excerpt:

Mullins thinks of the patterns as a representation of the human experience of being out there nature.

“If you’re in one of these places or in nature just staring off into the trees, I feel the mind kind of wanders a little bit,” he said. “Like you’re looking at the landscape, but other thoughts come in. You lose it, and then you see the landscape.

“So I like the representational qualities with the landscape, as well as the abstract patterns. The brain can go from experiencing the depth and light of the landscape to the flatness and rhythm of the abstraction. The brain toddles back and forth, and it creates a more dynamic experience that’s kind of uncontrollable.”

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Mullins was also the subject of Emily Van Cleve’s article in the Santa Fe Arts Journal. Check out this quote:

An award-winning professional artist who moved to Santa Fe in 2011, Mullins has been working on the pieces in “The Sun in our Bodies” for the past two years.

“My work draws upon my fascination with visual perception and the forces of nature,” he says. “By integrating human-made constructs with natural environments, I’m composing a relationship that is often deconstructed or forgotten in today’s society.

The press doesn’t stop there! The Santa Fe Reporter brought Mullins in for their 3 Questions Column. Here’s what he had to say about The Sun in Our Bone’s overarching theme:

The theme is trying to make art that can connect the viewer with nature and the cosmos. A lot of pieces in the show are about how the materials in our own body are made of the stars, and how the elements that give us life and the ability to have consciousness come from the stars. I’m really trying to drive that point home. The title of the show, The Sun in Our Bones, comes from a poem by poem by Nayyirah Waheed, and really conveys what I’m trying to do with art.

The Sun in Our Bones opens September 28th at 5 PM and runs through November 17th. Mullins will conduct an Artist Talk on the 20th of October.


Opening: Matthew Mullins | The Sun In Our Bones

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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.

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Friends of Architecture Forum: Housing Different

Friends of Architecture Santa Fe presents Housing Santa Fe: New Approaches to Solving Santa Fe’s Housing Crisis, a forum and kick-off event for a forthcoming design charrette.

An expert panel, together with participating designers and the public, will examine the nature and extent of the current housing shortage, review innovative housing strategies that have been successful elsewhere, and identify opportunities for meaningful change with in our city’s physical and political landscape. The discussion will be moderated by Friends of Architecture Santa Fe, and audience participation is encouraged. Confirmed panelists include:

  • Alexandra Ladd,  Special Projects Manager for Housing and Community Development, City of Santa Fe
  • Joseph Montoya, Executive Director of the Santa Fe County Housing Authority
  • Jamie Blosser AIA, Architect and Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute
  • Kevin Kellogg, Chief Executive Officer of The Housing Trust
  • Ed Archuleta, Executive Director of St. Elizabeth Shelters + Supportive Housing
  • Alexander Dzurec AIA, Architect and Principal of Autotroph
  • Mark Rea Baker, AIA, Architect and Principal of Baker Architecture + Design
  • John Quale, Chair and Professor of Architecture and UNM School of Architecuture + Planning

​The forum will serve as a kick-off for an open-format design charrette (also taking place at form & concept, on Saturday, November 3) where designers will respond with blue-sky design concepts for building sites, housing types, financial models, and/or policy solutions.

To learn more about Santa Fe’s housing crisis, read two excellent articles by Matt Grubbs—Building Up or Tearing Down and Affordable Reality—from Santa Fe Reporter.

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It’s World Rhino Day!

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Elana Schwartz, Meditation on Impermanence, bronze, 12 x 10.5 x 8.5 in. Available in two patinas.

September 22 is World Rhino Day! Just in time for the holiday, Elana Schwartz has completed a fantastical rhino sculpture in bronze. We’re donating 10% of the proceeds from the artwork’s sale to the International Rhino Foundation. Help save the rhinos, and add this stunning artwork to your collection.

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“The Earth is on the verge of a mass extinction event,” said Schwartz. “Today, plants and animals on earth’s surface are becoming extinct at a faster rate than ever before. The corruption of earth’s shared natural resources informs us that humanity is inseparable from the rest the natural world and leads us the confront and thus act on the untimely impermanence of all existence.”

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At the start of the 20th century, 500,000 rhinos roamed the earth. Today, only 29,500 rhinos survive in the wild. Learn more about the rhino crisis and how you can help here.


Preview: Matthew Mullins | The Sun In Our Bones

Matthew Mullins- The Sun In Our Bones- Oil on Canvas- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Matthew Mullins is an avid hiker and distance runner, and lately he’s been leaving artwork behind on his adventures through New Mexico’s high desert. He’ll install pinhole cameras in remote areas, note their coordinates, and return for them weeks or months later. The final images reflect the shifting path of the sun and other natural phenomena—that is, if Mullins can retrieve them. Weather and wild animals have destroyed several cameras, and others have vanished without a trace. Despite the occasional lost artwork, Mullins says his far-flung creative process is worth the risk.

“With these pinhole photos, I’m presenting different ways to look at nature and different ways of seeing time,” the Santa Fe artist explains. “The incredibly long exposures require the cameras to be in remote locations, which always involves leaps of faith.” In his solo exhibition The Sun in Our Bones, opening Friday, September 28 from 5 to 7 pm, Mullins presents photographs, paintings and sculptures inspired by the intrinsic links between humans and the natural world. An artist talk follows on October 20, and a closing reception takes place on November 17.

Matthew Mullins- Orphan Mesa- Oil on Canvas- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

When Mullins began working on The Sun in Our Bones last year, he was shooting for the stars. “I thought about making a series of artwork within a spectrum of very earthy and grounded to cosmic. I wanted to paint nature and natural processes from the subatomic world to the stars” says Mullins. “How do you encompass that staggering span, and pull someone all the way through it?” The Santa Fe artist has been working on a series of highly unconventional landscape paintings since moving to New Mexico from Berkeley, California in 2011. The works depict scenes from nature, often in a monochrome palette, with geometric patterns inspired by human-made designs cutting through them. A concurrent series of watercolor paintings features mandala patterns dotted with countless stars.

Branching out even further, the artist started experimenting with several new mediums. He gathered dry, twisted pieces of juniper wood on his outdoor excursions and brought them back to his studio, cleaning them, burnishing them and covering them with shiny graphite to accentuate their lines and textures. Through the pinhole photography series, Mullins found a method for depicting a temporal experience of landscape. “I really wanted to track time in a different way and also show the movement of our planet around the sun.  I didn’t think I could really get that in my paintings,” he says. “I love the idea of having these pinhole cameras out in the world. They’re working right now, so I’m making art 24/7.”

The Sun in Our Bones will span form & concept’s ground floor, the second show in the gallery’s two-year history (after Thais Mather’s Reckless Abandon in November 2017) to devote an entire level to a single artist. The title of the exhibition is a reference to an unconventional material Mullins has incorporated into some of his cosmic paintings: pigment made from burnt animal bones. “The calcium and phosphorous in those bones, and our own, are made in stars,” Mullins says. “It’s truly all connected.”

Matthew Mullins- Obsidian Ridge- Pinhole Photograph- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

For Mullins, the exhibition is a culmination of 15 years of work as a professional artist. Originally from the Bay Area of California, he received his MFA from University of California Berkeley. There, he began his career with his Artifacts & Archives paintings, a series of photo-realistic watercolors that replicate the archival environments and materials he had access to during his graduate studies.

Mullins received the prestigious Eisner Prize for Visual Art in 2010, a year before relocating to New Mexico. Following the move, he was inspired by the desolate, sweeping landscapes of the Desert Southwest to shift from an illustrative style to semi-abstraction. Through his latest work, Mullins has sought to show the connection between human consciousness and the natural world. “Humans are part of the natural world,” says Mullins. “But we often become so focused on our individuality that we lose track of that greater connection. My work is about reintegrating with nature and finding unity in that relationship.”

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Tangible Blessings.

Dalai Lama signing Murals of Tibet with Thomas Laird- Taschen Books- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

At a special event tonight, photographer Thomas Laird will tell stories of his long-in-the-making archive of Tibetan Buddhist murals. TASCHEN published the completed volume, Murals of Tibet, earlier this year in a SUMO-sized format with gilded pages and a rare signature from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The free talk is from 5-7 pm at form & concept, but make sure to arrive a bit early if you need a seat (or want an up-close look at the book). Michael Abatemarco of Pasatiempo covered the event in an article called “Tangible Blessings.” Here’s an excerpt:

After spending a solid month editing a photograph of a mural in Tibet — one of more than 200 murals he photographed — Thomas Laird began to see the faces of tantric deities from the mural in his dreams. Then, he saw the faces everywhere. “One day, I saw the face of Tara when I looked at my wife Jann Fenner,” he writes in the introduction to his new book. “ ‘You have now spent more time studying this image,’ I said to myself, ‘than anyone except the artists who painted it 500 years ago.’ ”

Dalai Lama- Murals of Tibet- Taschen Books- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Read the rest of the piece here, and make sure to check out an accompanying story by Jennifer Levin about Santa Fe’s Tibetan community. This is a tidbit from her report, titled “The Neighborhood Association“:

Monday through Friday, Tashi Gyalkhar is a staff manager in the state of New Mexico’s Human Services Department. The fast-talking thirty-six-year-old spends Saturday mornings as an assistant teacher at the Tibetan Association of Santa Fe, helping children learn the Tibetan alphabet. Gyalkhar immigrated to Santa Fe from Dharamshala, India, when she was sixteen years old, as part of a resettlement project of 1,000 Tibetans that began in the early 1990s. Her mother came first, among the first couple of dozen Tibetans to move to Santa Fe, and Gyalkhar followed with her father and older brother a few years later.

“In each city, there was an American community helping out. Here in Santa Fe, [the sponsor program] was started by Project Tibet,” she said. “People got to choose where they wanted to go. Everyone who came to Santa Fe chose it.”

Read more from Levin here, and we’ll see you tonight at Murals of Tibet with Thomas Laird! This event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

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Murals of Tibet- Mural Detail- Taschen Books- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Special Event: Murals of Tibet with Thomas Laird

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American photographer Thomas Laird appears at form & concept to tell stories of his new TASCHEN book Murals of Tibet, a first-of-its-kind photographic archive of Buddhist murals that took more than a decade to create. Visitors will get a chance to interact with the Collector’s Edition of the book. Light refreshments inspired by the cuisine of Tibet will be served. 

Using an innovative multi-image digital photography process, Laird captured murals as wide as 10 meters in life-size resolution. The publication of this unprecedented record of Tibetan art is so momentous that it caught the attention of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who signed all 998 copies of the Collector’s Edition. As the Dalai Lama has explained, these murals are not just objects of beauty, but serve as points of reference and guidance for practitioners of Buddhism, yoga, and meditation, as well as for anyone seeking to incorporate mindfulness into their daily life.

A display copy of Murals of Tibet appears at form & concept from July 12 through August 31, as part of a national tour. Come experience these hidden treasures of Tibet in all their sublime vastness and intricacy.

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Spotlight: Ceramics

Ceramic Art- Rachel Donner- Brian Giniewski- Susan Beiner- Form and Concept Shop- Santa Fe New Mexico

There’s a brand new array of charming ceramics in the form & concept shop. Rachel Donner‘s mugs, platters, and vases come in an array of fun colors and geometric forms. Brian Gienewski is a Philadelphia-based artist with a knack for creating oozing, colorful drips of glaze on cups, tumblers, and vases. When she isn’t making porcelain blooms, Susan Beiner crafts unique, eye-catching mugs with striking color combinations. Browse some of our favorite pieces below, and click the images to see more.

Rachel Donner- Ceramic Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Rachel Donner.

Brian Giniewski- Ceramic Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Brian Giniewski.

Susan Beiner- Ceramic Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Susan Beiner.

Video: Murals of Tibet

Thomas Laird, the photographer behind the new TASCHEN book Murals of Tibet, will appear at form & concept this Friday at 5 pm for a special event. He’ll talk about his journey of over ten years to create this stunning archive of Tibetan Buddhist art, and offer visitors an intimate look at the SUMO-sized Collector’s Edition of the book. Murals of Tibet has been on display in the gallery’s atrium since early July, and Laird’s appearance marks its final day here.

Ahead of the event, check out this incredible video series by TASCHEN about the creation of Murals of Tibet. Above, TASCHEN introduces the book in spectacular fashion. Here’s an excerpt from the narration:

For centuries, Tibet has been seen as an island in the sky. A remote land, close to the lights, beyond the mountains. A mysterious land, where monks practiced rituals and yoga that led to wisdom and power. What if, even in our age of increased accessibility, a great treasure still remained—hidden all of these centuries? Visions from another world. Visions created to inspire, as Tibetans say, liberation upon seeing.

Over the course of five expeditions, and using multi-image capture and render technology, Thomas Laird amassed the first catalog of life-size images of more than 200 Buddhist mural masterpieces—including the oldest and most important painted during the past 1,000 years.

In this “making of” video, the editorial team discusses the design process. Managing Editor Florian Kobel says:

The murals can now be appreciated much better than on site. They have never been explored to the extent as they have been now, because the walls are 9 meters high, the lighting is terrible. You never were able to look up and study the faces.

Frank Goerhardt, TASCHEN’s global publishing director, continues:

You cannot get the picture with one photograph. It is a sum of pictures taken digitally and stitched together.

Laird sat down with Richard Gere at the Explorers Club in New York for a conversation about the making of the book. Here’s what he had to say:

I spend the day shooting hundreds of images. That’s a lovely day in Tibet, in a dark room. […] You see the Buddha when you’re done that day, but you also have a headache. Then you bring that home, and you sit down in front of a computer, and your wife puts up with you for a month or six weeks. Then you say to her, ‘It’s very nice, but it’s not proper… so I need to go back to Tibet to recapture this.

Come meet Laird and learn more about Murals of Tibet on Saturday. This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited so make sure to arrive early.

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