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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Opening: Jaydan Moore | Dust

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Virginia artist Jaydan Moore is known for his sculptures made from found, silver-plated tableware. After six years of manipulating these lost heirlooms to reflect on memory and commemoration, he’s accumulated thousands of scrap metal fragments. In his solo exhibition Dust, Moore incorporates the shards into a new series of sculptures. Through these palimpsests and an array of intaglio prints, the artist explores the slow deterioration of memory. Dust opens on Friday, June 29 from 5 to 7 pm, with an artist talk on Saturday, June 30 from 2 to 3 pm.

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Preview: Jaydan Moore | Dust

Jaydan Moore- Dust Solo Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Jaydan Moore comes from a long line of California tombstone carvers, which might explain his obsession with the concept of commemoration. “The trade goes back four generations,” says the Virginia artist. “I grew up watching people make accommodations for loved ones, and turn their history into an object.” About six years ago, Moore began collecting silver-plated tableware to use as a raw material for intricate sculptures.

By reshaping these culturally loaded objects, he turned them into vessels for his ideas about memory and material culture. In a new solo exhibition at form & concept, Moore manipulates scrap metal from previous artistic experiments to flip his conceptual universe on its head. “What are the stages of forgetting?” he asks. Dust opens on Friday, June 29 from 5 to 7 pm, with an artist talk on Saturday, June 30 from 2 to 3 pm.

Jaydan Moore- Leftovers 1- Found Silver-Plated Platter- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Moore earned his BFA in jewelry and metal arts from California College of the Arts. In graduate school at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, he started sculpting tableware because the material seemed like a strong proxy for memory. “Metal feels tough, but it actually has so much malleability,” Moore says. “It’ll take on dings and scratches and patinas, holding ‘recollections’ of experiences it’s been through.”

He imagined that the heirlooms were still connected to the people who once owned them, and that he could preserve these delicate biographical threads through his sculptures. In a concurrent series of intaglio prints, he recorded the patterns and marks on the platters before chopping them up. “The works on paper were initially just to document what I had found, and those last traces of whoever owned it before me,” he says. “I thought of it as the shadow of somebody.”

Jaydan Moore- Traces- Found Silver-Plated Platters- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Moore graduated with his MFA in 2012, and continued using the tableware as a sculptural medium. Six years on, Moore is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University. His thoughts about how metal holds meaning have shifted considerably. “For so long, when I was making stuff I always thought there was this living memory in things, that I could feel the person before,” he says.

Lately he’s taken an interest in the way personal significance fades when an object changes hands. Moore realized that the clues he’d been following in the tableware said more about him than their previous owners. He developed an interest in the fragments of metal that were left behind in his studio. “I do so much conglomeration and cutting, so tons of material ends up in the scrap pile,” says Moore. “The earlier series was about the memory that endures, so maybe these scraps could speak to that slow deletion.”

Jaydan Moore- Dustings 3- Etching and Gold Leaf- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Dust features sculptures made from the glittering shards that landed on Moore’s cutting room floor. In his past work, the artist has taken pains to leave the flawed surfaces of the tableware relatively untouched. “In this series, I’m letting my own personal narrative of how I connect with the material be much more a part of what the viewer sees, or how I talk about it,” Moore says. “My fingerprints are now becoming patina marks on all of this.”

The exhibition also includes a new series of intaglio prints that show intricate tableware patterns fading away. Despite his recent meditations on memory’s decay, Moore can’t fully shake his earlier idea of objects as reliquaries of experience. “The child from the tombstone family believes that there is still this memory in there,” Moore says. “We wouldn’t still be talking about how much objects have a hold on us unless there was something deeply invested in it.”

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Artist Talk: Debra Baxter | Tooth & Nail

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Debra 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.”

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

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

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.\

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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.

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.

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Events

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

Last Look: Thais Mather’s Reckless Abandon

Thais Mather- Reckless Abandon Exhibition- Diane Armitage Review- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Installation view of Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon. Photo by Kara Duval.

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. The Magazine just published a fantastic review of the show by Diane Armitage in their February/March relaunch issue. Here’s an excerpt:

There are many threads to follow in Reckless Abandon: from images of Stone Age fertility goddesses; to the Walpurgisnacht, or Witches’ Sabbath, a performance of hellish and deafening heavy metal music played in a cave-like room and accompanying a video of fire projected on a large bowl of water; to the life-size wooden figure of a woman burnt from head to toe. This latter sculpture, Mine and Thine, along with the charred bust Thaumaturge, (a miracle worker or a magician), are the two most powerful works in Mather’s exhibition. The presence of the blackened figure, laid out as if on a burial slab, sucks all the energy out of the room it was installed in, just as it was intended to do. It’s a timeless reminder that women, along with men, are due for a ritual funeral pyre whereby the darkest aspects of our collective history are dematerialized and transformed into a more enlightened chapter of human behavior in the evolution of consciousness. How else can the phoenix rise from the oppressive ashes of history and say, “I can just leave you… Now I can just fly away”?

Read the rest of the review here, and come see Reckless Abandon at the closing reception tonight. The exhibition officially ends on February 10.

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Thais Mather- Reckless Abandon Exhibition- Diane Armitage Review- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Thais Mather- Reckless Abandon Exhibition- Diane Armitage Review- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Thais Mather- Reckless Abandon Exhibition- Diane Armitage Review- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Thais Mather- Reckless Abandon Exhibition- Diane Armitage Review- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Thais Mather- Reckless Abandon Show- Diane Armitage Review- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Thais Mather- Reckless Abandon Exhibition- Diane Armitage Review- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Photos by Kara Duval. Browse Thais Mather’s artwork here.

Press | Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon

Thais Mather’s Reckless Abandon opens TONIGHT from 5-7 pm—with a reading from 2-3 pm on Saturday—and the artist has been hard at work installing the show and engaging the press in a conversation about art, history and feminism. Watch the latest clip from our video preview series above, and check out links to press about Reckless Abandon below.

Thais Mather Artist- Reckless Abandon- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, Mine and Thine (detail), 2017, 5′ 3″ x 20″ x 10″, Shou Sugi Ban.

Alex De Vore of Santa Fe Reporter talked to Thais for this week’s Three Questions feature. From his intro:

It’s not every day that a gallery as spacious as the Railyard’s form & concept opens up an entire floor to just one artist, but Santa Fe’s Thais Mather has a massive body of multi-disciplinary work and a whole hell of a lot to say. With Reckless Abandon, Mather examines the ideas of humanity, feminism, activism, the end of days and so much more through visual works, collaborative performance pieces and readings.

Thais Mather Artist- Reckless Abandon- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, 200,000, 2017, ceramic, ~ 3 x 3 in. each.

Megan Bennett of Albuquerque Journal North wrote an awesome preview of the exhibition. A little excerpt:

[Mather’s] mixed-media work, inspired by mankind’s evolution over time, with its art and symbols, ranges from resembling something that could have been made by cave people to more modern conceptual pieces. All of it, she says, is meant to encourage the audience to reflect on what’s worth holding on to and what’s not.

“There’s a point we’re coming to as Americans that our privileges are going to run out,” said Mather. “It just doesn’t matter any more. It’s a globalized world, and there’s going to have to be some complete reimagining with how the culture functions and how the global culture functions if we really plan to survive.”

Kathryn Davis interviewed Thais among the artworks of Reckless Abandon for her media platform ArtBeat Santa Fe:

Emily Van Cleve of Santa Fe Arts Journal wrote up the show earlier this week in an article aptly title A Vision for Humanity. Here’s a blurb:

Mather describes the process of making art as her product. “The show was birthed as an exploration of material and self, with the self as material and the material as self,” she adds. “I pushed the limits of what I knew but tried not to manipulate any material beyond what it was teaching me. So I worked with clay and let the clay converse with me. I worked in watercolor and we talked and didn’t fight. I just spent time and got lost and found in the process.”

Click here to learn more about Reckless Abandon, and make sure to RSVP on Facebook for updates. We’ll see you tonight from 5-7 pm! Our shows Smitten Forum and MICROCOSM Small Works Invitational also debut this evening.

Thais Mather Artist- Reckless Abandon- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, Mine and Thine, watercolor and pen and ink, 33 x 53 in.