Reckless Abandon’s Evolution.

Thais Mather- 200,000- Reckless Abandon Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, 200,000, stoneware, 3 x 3 in. each.

Thais Mather’s Reckless Abandon is not an exhibition that you would call “on view,” in a passive sense. In fact, it’s a show that views you in many cases. It unfolds and evolves, pulling viewers and other artists into its orbit in compelling ways. For example, gallery visitors are free to interact with the ceramic masks in Mather’s installation 200,000During the opening reception, there were audible gasps in the crowd as people reached across the platform and plucked faces from the vast field of sculptures. If a visitor decided to acquire a mask, they were allowed to take it with them that evening, leaving a gap in the grid. In this sense, the arrangement of artworks in Reckless Abandon has changed every day since it debuted late last month.

The exhibition will transform yet again on Friday, December 15, when Mather unites feminist and activist artists for a series of performances among the artworks. Todd Ryan White, David Mcmaster, Tim Reed, Ekalos Reed and Niomi Fawn will each add their artistic voices to the show. “I feel like the concept of the male genius artist presenting his solo magnum opus is a Greenbergian farce,” Mather explains. “Everything you create is influenced by other artists, by your mentors, by your relationships, by the music and literature you adore.”

Thais Mather- Thaumaturge- Reckless Abandon Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, Thaumaturge (detail), shou sugi ban, 16 x 21 x 8 in.

This new paradigm could also redefine the role of the storytellers who have reflected on Reckless Abandon since its opening. Perhaps they too should be considered collaborators, directing channels of the show’s conceptual river in fresh directions. In her review of Reckless Abandon for Pasatiempo, Iris McLister analyzed the show’s sweeping scale and individualized impact:

Feminist and universal, political and primitive, ancient and hyper-contemporary. Alchemical. These are just a handful of words that aptly describe artist Thais Mather’s exhibition Reckless Abandon, now on view at Form & Concept. Though the entirety of the gallery’s cavernous downstairs is filled with her work, the art’s intentionality never seems compromised by its quantity. During a recent tour of the show, Mather said, “I want to make art that will last. It feels really important to me to have the discipline to make things that endure.”

Comprising sculpture, drawing, video art, printmaking, and more, Reckless Abandon could feel sprawling, but instead it’s immersive and intimate. Describing a central theme for the show, Mather wrote in her artist statement, “I’m really contemplating humanity: how culture began, where we are now, and where that might evolve.”

McLister also touched on the show’s highly collaborative ethos:

Mather is transparent about relying on the knowledge and help of others in making this show a reality. Friends and peers, including local artists Sandra Wang, Ron Pokrasso, and Chris Collins, were instrumental in helping Mather learn and execute new techniques. This must partially inform why she doesn’t like what she has called the “farce of the solo show.” For her, the experience of art — whether making it or viewing it — is most rewarding when it’s collaborative in nature.

Thais Mather- My Own Two Eyes- Reckless Abandon Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, My Own Two Eyes (detail), porcelain, 1 x 1 in. each.

Mather spoke with John Shannon of KSFR about the importance of empowering her audience:

I’m trying really hard… to not give too much information, because I really think that what viewers perceive in the work is a really valuable asset to the work itself. The one thing that I will say about it is that I deeply researched feminism, and that’s where my background comes from in terms of the theoretical aspect of what I’m interested in.

Kathryn Davis also interviewed Thais, for THE Magazine‘s online feature about Reckless Abandon. She talked about her hopes for the ultimate impact of her work:

 I find social change important in work, trying to change and challenge my audience and myself… We are learning, we are failing, and sometimes we get it right. Mostly I hope we can think about the rest of the world—not just humanity, but the planet. 200,000 years is a short time within a four-billion-year-old process. I just keep looking and asking, and knowing very little in return. It feels good, so I just keep doing it.

On a similar note, Eliza Lutz of Matron Records talked about the show’s ability to inspire across mediums and disciplines in the record label’s December newsletter:

Though Matron Records is clearly an entity with music front and center, we are constantly exploring the many ties between various disciplines and perspectives, ranging in everything from sound and design to performance art and printmaking to storytelling and feminism. Reckless Abandon, the multi-discipline exhibition by Mather featuring hundreds of artworks, navigates the space between these ideas, dismantling traditional & patriarchal art narratives to create a show that re-imagines human history and what it might become.

[…]

Given the current political climate, with a recent resurgence of the #MeToo campaign setting the tone for a radical cultural shift in many male-dominated fields, Reckless Abandon could not come at a better time. The immense body of work and interconnected series of performances and events tackle the full weight of the past and present while still offering a magic and radical vision for the future. “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.”

Join us for Reckless Abandon: Performance this Friday, and return on Saturday for an improvisational performance by Tara Khozein and Rhonda Taylor in the exhibition.

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Thais Mather- Mine and Thine- Reckless Abandon Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, Mine and Thine, shou sugi ban, 20 x 63 x 10 in.

Holiday Makers Workshop

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These days, seamless slabs of glass and metal are hot holiday gifts, 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 on Saturday, December 2 from 12-3 pm. form & concept will offer a special 10% holiday discount during the event. 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. Participating artists include Robert Ebendorf, Aleta Braun, Rand Marco, Brian Fleetwood, Bunny Tobias, Leah Siegel, Debra Baxter and Matthew Mullins. The public is encouraged to come support local artists at this dynamic and colorful event.

12:00-1:30 pm: Bunny Tobias, Rand Marco, Brian Fleetwood, Matthew Mullins

1:30-3:00 pm: Robert Ebendorf, Aleta Braun, Leah Siegel, Debra Baxter

Robert Ebendorf

Robert Ebendorf was born in 1938 in Topeka, KS. He received his BFA in 1960 and his MFA in 1962, both from the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Following graduation, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the State School of Applied Arts and Crafts in Norway. He has taught at the University of Georgia (1967- 71) and State University of New York at New Paltz (1971-88). Ebendorf received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 1966/67. In 1995, he was awarded the American Craft Council Fellowship for his achievement in craft and commitment to the craft movement. He is a co-founder and past president of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG).

Ebendorf’s conceptual approach to jewelry questions the nature of adornment itself and explores alternative materials and ideas about the preciousness of jewelry. The creativity of his jewelry lies not only in the intellectual repositioning of familiar objects, but more in the physical transformations of materials that astonish the viewer. It is exactly this sense of astonishment that gives his pieces their value. The profound incongruity between what his pieces are made from, and what they become in his hands, engages the imagination.

View Ebendorf’s artwork.

Aleta Braun

Aleta Braun is a mixed media artist whose work is based in drawing, painting and collage, often focused on the sustained use of sketchbooks and journals. Her work explores the ostensibly simple language of geometric shapes and elemental forms – circles, dots, lines – as well as the layering of colour transparencies and delicate textures.

Rand Marco

Rand Marco is a third generation metal craftsman who has carried on his family tradition of innovation in metal. Function meets elegance with his bold designs and brilliant use of color.    Rand combines artistic integrity with contemporary form enhancing grand and modest architectural spaces. Made in his Santa Fe studio: – each piece is handcrafted and signed by the artist. Rand visualizes a simple, geometric principle, and then transformed it into a clean, sophisticated series of work.

View Marco’s artwork.

Brian Fleetwood

Brian Fleetwood is a Santa Fe based jewelry artist whose work is currently addressing ideas involving the connections between knowledge and the act of making, and the ways we can use making as a way of knowing. His work explores scientific themes, especially relating to biology and ecology, systems, and taxonomy. His contemporary jewelry designs reflect the diversity of forms found in nature and invite us to adorn ourselves with its beauty. Brian holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is currently teaching at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

View Fleetwood’s artwork.

Bunny Tobias

Bunny Tobias was born in Brooklyn, New York and is a graduate of the New York School of Visual Arts. While developing her career as a multi-media artist, she lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and in San Francisco until moving to Santa Fe, NM, in 1972. Along with her husband, artist, Charles Greeley, she made her studio outside of Santa Fe on their mountain property in the Glorieta Pass. For the past forty years Bunny Tobias has continued to create cutting edge ceramic art, paintings, mixed-media collages and to design and fabricate jewelry using the same eclectic imagery. Recent work includes sculpture using recycled material and hand fabricated bronze jewelry.
View Tobias’ artwork.

Leah Siegel

SHADOWLANDS DESIGN, created by artist/photographer Leah Siegel and based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, makes striking wearable art and functional items. Timeless, ageless and size-less, SHADOWLANDS DESIGN’s art-to-wear and home décor are fashion as well as lifestyle accessories for everyone in all seasons. You can immediately alter the ordinary, transform a mood, change an outfit or a room, make a powerful statement with drama and flair or a subtle one with restraint and elegance. You can buy them for yourself and easily give them as gifts to friends, colleagues and relatives – to men and women alike. SHADOWLANDS DESIGN’s creations are always collectible.

SHADOWLANDS DESIGN grew out of Leah’s desire to expand her portfolio so that more people might enjoy her artwork. Inspired by her investigations in digital technology and her explorations in the remote badlands of the American Southwest, Leah imagined the abstract irregular patterns in her contemporary digital work as interesting textile art. She experimented with altering some of her images and digitally printed them on silk.The fabric results were extraordinary, and SHADOWLANDS DESIGN was born!

View Siegel’s artwork.

Debra Baxter

Debra Baxter is a sculptor and jewelry designer who combines carved alabaster with crystals, minerals, metals, and found objects. She received her MFA in Sculpture from Bard College in 2008 and her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1996. She also studied at Academia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. Baxter’s work is rooted craft, honoring the materials that express her ideas. Of form & concept, Debra says “with the marriage of craft, design & fine art, it makes alot of sense to show there.” Her contemporary jewelry designs are all about the minerals and crystals, showcasing their raw beauty.

View Baxter’s artwork.

Matthew Mullins

The interconnection of human consciousness and the natural world is what inspires the work of Santa Fe artist Matthew Mullins. Mullins’ watercolor and acrylic ink paintings merge human made patterns derived from social constructs with the visual perception of nature, creating a harmonious relationship that the artist feels is often lost in today’s culture.  “Humans are part of the natural world,” says Mullins. “But we often become so focused on our individuality that we lose track of that connection. My work is about reintegrating with nature and finding unity in that relationship.” Mullins has been working consistently as a serious artist for 15 years. Originally from the Bay Area of California, he received his MFA from University of California Berkeley. Here, 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. Having always been drawn to pattern play as an experimental process that allowed for more risk and ambiguity, Mullins eventually transitioned from his comfortable illustrative style to the excitement of abstraction. This shift coincided with his move to New Mexico in 2011, where the high desert and nearby mountains continue to inspire him. His work now consists of paintings, works on paper and collage, with an encompassing theme of our innate connection to and harmony within the forces of nature.

View Mullins’ artwork.