Join us at form & concept on Saturday, April 7 from 3-4 pm (that’s today!) for the Mirror Box zine reading. The event is hosted by Strangers Collective, the local alliance of early career creatives that curated the group exhibition Mirror Box in our second-floor galleries. About half of the Strangers are writers, and they produce zines of all shapes and sizes that appear alongside the visual art in the group’s shows. The zines in Mirror Box feature poetry, short fiction, illustrations, documentary photography and much more. Check out the list of participants below, and make sure to RSVP for the zine reading on Facebook to show your support. We’ll see you in a bit!
Israel Francisco Haros Lopez
“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, on Friday, February 23 from 5 to 8 pm.
Ford and Forlano met in Rome, where they were both in a study abroad program through Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art. “We had studios next to each other, but our styles of painting and thinking about art were worlds apart,” says Forlano. “I had never met someone like him.” Forlano had a passion for color theory and aesthetics, while Ford was more focused on structure and materials. After returning from Italy, they moved into a big house with some college friends. “I think because we were in art school and hungry, we were fascinated with the opposites,” Forlano says. “It opened both of our worlds to looking at things from the perspective of the other.”
Not long after they graduated, a friend of Ford’s sparked his interest in polymer clay as an artistic medium. At the time, the material was widely considered a toy for children. Ford had studied glass art early in his college career, and was interested in applying that skill set to polymer clay artworks. He and Forlano set about experimenting with the material, using a technique called caning (known in the glass world as millefiori) to create and scale patterns in the clay. “In the beginning, we really promoted the work as ‘hey, look at this interesting material and what we can do with it.’” says Ford.
They built a successful business teaching workshops and selling polymer clay jewelry to shops and galleries across the nation. “Eventually, we found that our work was not evolving because we were teaching the same things over and over again,” Ford explains. The artistic use of polymer clay had also become more popular—in large part due to Ford and Forlano’s work—and they were looking to distinguish themselves in the burgeoning market. “We stopped teaching, which was scary,” says Ford. “But our work took off then and got really interesting.”
In 1999, Ford / Forlano began working with a metalsmith to incorporate sterling silver and other precious metals into their polymer clay designs. The move vaulted them into the world of fine jewelry. “The best galleries, the ones we had watched at craft shows for years, stopped at our booth,” says Forlano. “They said they’d been hoping we would do that for years.” Their transition from wholesale to high-end was successful, and the duo zeroed in on a signature aesthetic. “In particular, the way we use color is a voice. That’s something that I feel like kind of secures a little corner for us,” Forlano says. “I think that’s how we got to be who we are.”
Both artists like to compare their use of color to mixing paint on a palette. “Ultimately, polymer should be like paint, it’s just a material for expression,” says Ford. “I want to think about color, line and texture—all of the things that a painter thinks about.” Towards the beginning of their careers, when they’d just left art school, the duo took this quite literally. “At that time, we really had no idea what jewelry was or meant,” Forlano says. “We just made basically little paintings.”
Then came Forlano’s big move. In 2005, he decided to resettle in Santa Fe to live with his partner, actress Debrianna Mansini. “Frankly, I thought we were doomed when he did that,” says Ford. “We’d been working literally side-by-side up until that point.” Forlano cleared out his workstation in their Philadelphia studio, a building that filled an entire downtown city block, and headed Southwest.
Ford and Forlano’s ability to provide instant feedback to each other was replaced by phone calls, emails and the U.S. Postal Service. It slowed the pace of production, but took their work in compelling new directions. “When Dave moved to Santa Fe, I noticed that his colors got really desert-like and dusty,” says Ford. “I wanted cool, bright gem tones and he would send me these sandstone-looking things.”
Ford has since left their old space for a smaller studio nearby, and Forlano married Mansini not long after his move. Through transitions large and small, their collaboration has endured. “We have lots of battles, we’re kind of like an old married couple,” says Ford. “But when he says something, I understand it in a way that I don’t think many people would.” Forlano adds, “As artists, we of course bring our egos to the table. We have a voice, we want to be heard. In a really healthy collaboration, that’s not going to get pushed under the table or pushed aside. It’s going to enhance the other person’s vision.”
This special event coincides with the opening reception for Strangers Collective’s Mirror Box group exhibition. Click here to learn more about both events.
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.
We’re pleased to present this initial offering of artworks from the Guns to Art Benefit Show. The exhibition features art made from decommissioned firearms by faculty and students from Santa Fe Community College, along with diverse works reflecting on gun violence prevention by artists from across the globe.
The preview is available until 5 pm on November 16. Any items not purchased here will appear in our silent auction at the reception on November 17. 50% of the proceeds go back to the artist, and 25% will support art and welding scholarships at Santa Fe Community College and the 501(c)3 non-partisan organization New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence (NMPGV).
The high season is coming to a close in Santa Fe, but form & concept has an action-packed autumn in the works. We’re throwing a David Bowie costume party, hosting a musical tribute to Lou Harrison, and launching Laila Farcas-Ionescu’s fierce new feline-themed jewelry line. Korean ceramicist Wookjae Maeng and local feminist artist Thais Mather debut solo shows, and artists from around the world reflect on gun violence prevention in a powerful group show. A crew of maverick jewelers presents wearable artworks in the form & concept shop, and our represented artists gather for a holiday art making workshop (with hot cider and cookies) in our atrium. In a fitting finale for 2017, artists from a number of past form & concept shows reconvene for an invitational small works exhibition in our stairwell. Learn more about all of our upcoming exhibitions and events below, and watch our event page for updates.
For one wild evening in October, the InterPlanetary Project will ride David Bowie’s star-dusted coattails to the outer reaches of the imagination. The InterPlanetary Ziggy Stardust Costume Party lands at form & concept on the weekend of InterPlanetary’s fall event series. Hosted by Creative Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Institute, the party is a free, RSVP-only event with a cash bar by Santa Fe Spirits and interstellar hors d’oeuvres by form & concept. Guests who wear David Bowie-themed costumes will be entered into a raffle for fun prizes.
October 27 – December 23 Opening Reception: Friday, October 27, 5-7 pm
It’s easy to forget that the world is experiencing a crisis in biodiversity, one that some scientists have called a “sixth extinction.” Humanity has grown ever more isolated from the rest of the animal kingdom, hiding away in climate controlled boxes and behind glowing screens. In his new solo exhibition at form & concept, Korean ceramicist Wookjae Maeng ushers animals out of the wild and into the spotlight. His detailed porcelain sculptures of deer, rhinos, lions, bighorn sheep and other creatures bring viewers back in touch with beings that are often pushed to the margins.
Image: Wookjae Maeng, Grey adaptation-Rhino, porcelain, wood, 8.7 x 11.5 x 11.8 in.
Pussy Bites Back Jewelry Line
Saturday, October 28th, 5-7 pm
It’s no mistake that Laila Farcas-Ionescu’s launch party for the Pussy Bites Back jewelry line falls just before the anniversary of last year’s presidential election. The series is filled with imagery of fierce felines, in reference to the Pussyhat phenomenon and the political scandal that incited it. Still, Ionescu would rather look forward than back. “It’s more than just a visceral reaction to the political situation, it’s a symbol of empowerment,” Farcas-Ionescu says. “At this party, everyone will have the chance to release some pent-up energy with a good, long roar.” Ionescu will unveil rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants from the new series, along with a powerful manifesto and some fun surprises.
November 7 – 17 Reception & Live Auction: Friday, November 17th, 4 – 7 PM
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. This fall, the art will appear at a special reception, live auction and silent auction in support of in support of art and welding scholarships at SFCC and the 501(c)3 non-partisan organization New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, along with juried works by artists from across the world that reflect on gun violence prevention.
November 24th, 2017 – February 18th, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm Reading: Saturday, November 25, 2-3 pm Performance: Friday, December 15, 5-7 pm- $5-$10 suggested donation
“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.
November 24 – December 23
Opening Reception: Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together,” said Vincent Van Gogh. form & concept takes this thought to its logical conclusion in MICROCOSM, a holiday exhibition of small works by contributors to the gallery’s previous exhibitions. Over 20 artists, craftspeople and designers return with diminutive and dynamic offerings that measure 8 x 10 inches or smaller. The show fills the gallery’s stairwell and atrium, forming a charming microcosm of the space’s history—and representing a new chapter in each contributor’s story.
Nicola Heindl, Bunny Tobias, Charles Greeley, Mandy Cano Villalobos, Vanessa Michel, Susan Beiner, Wesley Anderegg, Priscilla Dobler, Jason Villegas, Garth Amundson + Pierre Gour, Jonathan Nelson, Lisa Klakulak, Katie Craney, Rena Detrixhe, Robert Ebendorf, Matthew Mullins, Aleta Braun, Heidi Brandow, Mark Newport, Ryan Singer, Brian Fleetwood
November 24, 2017 – January 6, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm
Smitten Forum is an annual gathering of visionary makers from the metals and jewelry field. A new group of artists is selected each year by Sara Brown and Marissa Saneholtz, and meets for one intensive week to make work and share inspiration. The next gathering takes place in Abiquiu, New Mexico, coinciding with the debut of the Smitten Forum exhibition at form & concept in Santa Fe. The show includes artwork by all of this year’s Smitten Forum participants, a tribute to the crackling energy of this ever-growing creative community.
These days, the most popular holiday gifts are seamless slabs of glass and metal, but unique and hand-hewn objects are making a serious comeback. The makers who exhibit artworks and jewelry at form & concept are living proof of this phenomenon, and they’ll gather this holiday season to celebrate the traditional tools and techniques that bolster their contemporary creativity. The public is invited to sip cider, munch on gingerbread cookies and engage with form & concept artists at the Holiday Makers Workshop. form & concept will offer a special 10% holiday discount during the event. The Holiday Makers Workshop also features the debut of the first-ever form & concept annual, a free publication that includes a first look at the gallery’s 2018 schedule, artist profiles and more.
West Coast composer Lou Harrison’s 100th birthday party has been a yearlong, global affair. The Harrison House in Joshua Tree, California live streamed a 24-hour celebration, Bill Alves and Brett Campbell published a sweeping new biography, and renowned musicians have played tribute concerts from New York City to San Francisco. Harrison passed away in 2003 at age 85, but his influence as a composer, instrument builder, environmentalist, pacifist and gay rights activist is as resonant as ever. This autumn, the party rolls into Santa Fe at an event presented by Albuquerque percussion ensemble Gamelan Encantada and LGBTQ advocacy nonprofit Equality NM. In Honor of Lou features a concert of Harrison’s works for gamelan instruments, along with a screening of the biographical film Lou Harrison: Cherish, Conserve, Consider, Create. All proceeds from the event will benefit Equality NM.
Seattle-based artist Matthew Szösz approaches materials with an innate impulse to alter, build and investigate. Using glass as his primary medium, he creates performance-based experiments that bring the material into a state of flux. His completed sculptures capture the dynamic lines of molten glass. Szösz harbors an enduring fascination for the “state change” of glass from solid to liquid (and back again), but producing the necessary conditions to successfully reshape the medium is a delicate process. A sculpture can shatter if just one of many variables tips in the wrong direction. “You can never really force glass,” he told us. “If it’s not happy, it just breaks and that’s that.”
Szösz says 75 to 80% of his artworks break, though working through the process is the real reward for him. He sets up the conditions for a state change, but nature is the ultimate decider. We spoke to Szösz about his path to becoming a glass artist and his penchant for unbridled experimentation:
You started working with glass in graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design. What did you do before that?
I got my undergraduate education in furniture design, but within the first couple of years after I graduated, I started working for glass sculptors in non-glass roles. 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. I spent about 8 years between undergraduate and graduate making other peoples’ glass.
I went to grad school kind of late. I was in my early 30’s. But that period between was actually really helpful. It gave me an idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I was ready to put a lot of work into it.
What else did you learn from those years before graduate school?
Working with multiple people, I really got a chance to see how artists structured their various practices so that they could keep making art. All of them had different ways of going about that: contract work and gallery work and teaching. It really gave me a chance to see a lot of different options.
What was it about glass that drew you to work with the material?
The thing that’s kept me with it is that it’s incredibly versatile material. It has a lot of different behaviors, and a lot of different states. You’re always working with it when it’s in state change, changing from a liquid to a solid. It’s a very strange material, there’s a lot of problem-solving with it, and it has a very good idea of what it likes to do and what it doesn’t like to do. I spend a lot of my time just experimenting with it.
There’s an element of performance to your art making. What’s more important, the process or the finished object?
I make objects, and I’m invested in making quality objects, with a very strong craft background. But the things that I really enjoy are the moments when things work or don’t work, and the experimenting that I do trying out new things and seeing if they fail. There’s a certain amount of suspense and surprise. 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. There’s a response from the material that’s not necessarily predictable.
How is working with glass different from your previous design work with wood, metal and other materials?
It’s definitely different from ceramics or woodworking or metalworking in that there is an enormous number of variables, from the base chemistry to the temperature. Everything’s in the air at once.
There’s a lot of times where I’ll make something, and make it the same way 3 or 4 times, and get different results, just because of differences in temperature or circumstance. Sometimes the humidity in the room affects it. It’s a lot more like working with a partner than working with a material. A lot of them do fail, even with processes that I’ve been doing for almost ten years now.
Is that frustrating? Gratifying?
I used to have a professor that said “no surprise for the artist, no surprise for the audience.” I think that’s very true. If I wasn’t being surprised, I would get bored and probably stop playing around with it. That surprise, and that thing where you create something that’s independent of you a little bit, where it’s as much a product of the material and circumstance that you set up as well as your own vision, that’s the thing that’s kind of exciting for me.
What type of glass do you use in your sculptures?
Typically I use window glass for them. There’s two reasons for that. One is that it’s free, usually. I just use recycled windows. Then there are certain things about the material that I really like. It adds in a couple of behaviors that add extra variables, which are usually good.
Window glass is different from blowing glass or casting glass or fusing glass that you usually see in glass pieces. It’s got a very narrow range of malleability, temperature-wise. Blowing glass is engineered to give you a very long window of time to work with it. It stays stretchy and elastic but doesn’t get gloopy. Window glass is made to go through machinery and cool off as quickly as possible so you can maximize your output. I heat it up, pull it out and it freezes very quickly. It also doesn’t deal with heat very well, especially the older glass, especially the salvage windows. You’ll get a bunch of different glass types from old windows, and most of the glass is not as well honed. The chemistry is not as fine-tuned.
How do you create the inflated glass sculptures that are on view at form & concept?
You can think of them as a series of envelopes that are connected. There are these chambers that are created flat inside the glass and share this common area. I do that by putting one piece of glass over the other with a ceramic paper. When you heat it up to fusing, it all heats up and fuses together, and that ceramic paper creates areas that don’t fuse. Somewhere in there I’ll add a little brass tube, and that puts the air inside of it. They’re a little bit like pool inflatables, but there is more of a limit in the shapes that you make because the glass starts out flat.
Do you envision the sculptures in three dimensions as you’re building them out of flat pieces of glass?
I typically start out with an idea of what it’s going to look like when it’s three-dimensional. I can get pretty close most of the time with that. The best ones are still the ones that are most surprising, though. I want to get the most material-influenced shapes. I’m looking to end up with these things that I don’t think of when I’m starting out.
Click here to browse all of Szösz’s artwork in the form & concept collection.
Albuquerque sculptor Elana Schwartz is headed up to Santa Fe this Saturday for an artist talk at form & concept (2-3 pm). We made the reverse journey a few months ago, to visit her studio and learn more about her process.
Before diving into her work space, which is in a shed in her backyard, we got an impromptu tour of Elana’s past work throughout her home. Perched by the door was a cluster of small figures that she made just after high school, when she started dreaming up strange and fantastical characters.
In one room, Elana pulled a two-headed stuffed animal off a shelf and showed us how she’d stitched two furry creatures together. Taxidermied animals appeared throughout the house, including a raccoon and several fish. She described the process of mounting a fish, which includes adding fake eyes and applying pigment to the scales.
In one way or another, all of the art Elana showed us connected with her current work at form & concept. The artist used wood, stone, metal, moss, resin, taxidermy elements and other materials to create the menagerie of mythological characters that populates our One-Year Anniversary Exhibition.
It’s no wonder that a magazine called The Wild wanted to interview Elana. Here’s a flashback to their 2013 conversation with her:
Your wood sculptures are really bizarre and beautiful. I’m so curious about your process. How long do you spend on each piece?
It is really hard for me to gauge time when I am in my shop. Sometimes I spend all day in my shop and sometimes I can only be there a few hours in-between other life obligations. A few weeks ago, I arrived at my shop at seven in the morning and the next thing I knew someone came by and invited me to dinner. It turned out it was already 5pm and I didn’t even realize it. When I am in my shop, I get into a certain mode where I forget everything else, even eating and drinking. It probably isn’t that healthy! I probably spend about two to six months on each piece and that could be anywhere from thirty to five hundred hours.
Do the characters in your sculptures correlate to people in your life, or are they more mythical, abstract beings?
My pieces are mythical beings that I come up with in sketches or in my dreams. I get inspiration from Greek and Pagan myths.
Do you have a preconceived idea of what each work is going to look like, or do you develop one as you carve?
I usually start out with a plan from a sketch but things always change and evolve as I work on them. Even if I try to stick with a plan, my piece usually dictates how it will come out. Wood is very unforgiving so if you make a mistake you have to work with it and make it seem deliberate. When I am completely done with a piece the end result always surprises me, usually in a good way.
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.
“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.
“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.
Kelsey Simmen‘s jewelry designs are sweet—sometimes literally. The San Francisco designer likes to incorporate homemade sugar crystals into her work. Even when they’re not actually edible, Simmen’s wearable artworks are as colorful as confections and often resemble magnified grains of sugar.
You might guess that Simmen has a sweet tooth, but her vibrant designs actually have a deeper personal significance. The artist has had type 1 diabetes for over 15 years. Through her work, Simmen has found beauty and hope in a difficult situation. She is a frequent donor to the Diabetic Youth Foundation, and has incorporated insulin vials, pump supplies and other medical waste into her work. Browse her designs below, and click here to see more on the form & concept shop website.
Ceramicist Heather Bradley continues form & concept’s Summer Artist Talks series. She will speak about her artwork on Saturday, June 10, 2-3 pm. The talk takes place during form & concept’s One-Year Anniversary Exhibition, featuring new artwork from all of the gallery’s represented artists.
Heather Bradley’s ceramic forms reflect the repetition in the natural world, endlessly exploring variations on a theme. “I work in clay because I love to work with my hands. I love the feeling of the earth between my fingers and everything about the way the clay behaves. The potter’s wheel has proven to be the perfect tool for me because I want to make work with a sense of elegance, symmetry, and simple beauty. I work in multiples and I thrive in repetition. The wheel lends itself to this. With each experience on the wheel, my hands remember and learn.” Born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Heather studied art at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida. She received a B.F.A. in Painting from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces in 2000, and in 2001 lived and worked in Galway, Ireland. Heather received her M.F.A. in Ceramics from N.M.S.U. in 2005. Currently she lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In its first year, form & concept has emphasized powerful and diverse storytelling through its exhibition schedule and programs. The gallery’s roster of represented artists has been steadily growing, making for a dynamic One-Year Anniversary Exhibition (May 26-October 22, 2017). The majority of form & concept’s represented artists will speak, along with several guest artists.