ArtSlant - Closing soon en-us 40 Jay Zerbe - Marji Gallery and Contemporary Projects - July 20th, 2012 - August 20th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Marji Gallery &amp; Contemporary Projects is proud to announce Jay Zerbe’s solo show the culmination of a 2-year effort to expand his colorful painted structures to larger formats.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">The works reflect Zerbe’s interest is color, which he uses in many creative ways: to create space, to create rhythms and flow, and to evoke memory. Strong composition also typifies his work. Surfaces are worked and re-worked in multiple layers, to arrive at the final vision.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">This is serious, sometimes severe work, but always strongly emotionally engaging.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Wander through these landscapes, cityscapes, nowhere-scapes, that seek a dialogue with the viewer. These are contemplative pieces, open narratives, waiting for the observer to join in.</span></p> Sun, 22 Jul 2012 17:06:10 +0000 Rex Ray, Jennifer Joseph - Turner Carroll Gallery - July 27th, 2012 - August 20th, 2012 <pre><span face="Verdana" style="font-family: Verdana;"><span size="-1">At first both artists works seem to be about color, orange, yellow, green. But colors next to each other have a natural border, a line separating them. Depending how those relationships are imagined and constructed, the lines appear and disappear. Colors vibrate depending who their neighbors are. Lines and shapes change from think to thin before our eyes. Come examine the treatment or prescription of color by two great artists imagining a new way of seeing. </span></span></pre> Tue, 06 Mar 2012 20:29:36 +0000 Elizabeth Haidle - Parks Gallery - August 2nd, 2012 - August 23rd, 2012 <p>The second in the series of Parks Gallery’s Showcase Exhibitions, “Elizabeth Haidle: Hypothetical Creatures,” opens Saturday, August 4, with a reception and artist’s talk from 3 to 5 pm. Haidle will be exhibiting paintings and prints of human/plant/animal imagery that spring from the rich, surreal loam of her imagination. “This series is part of a life-long love of all things surrealist,” Haidle says. “I still think that surrealism, with its inspiration derived from the exploration of the unconscious in the world of dreams, and the even wackier notions proposed by quantum physics, is one of the more important and enduring contributions art history has made to everyday life.”</p> <p>“A good friend of mine once said, ‘You’ve got to have transformative experiences to survive in this world we live in!’” she continues. “For me, this struck a very true note – inventing creatures and seeing the bizarre truths that are reflected in them is one such way of finding transformation.”</p> <p>According to gallery owner Stephen Parks, the Showcase Exhibitions are intended to present work by singular artists who haven’t received the exposure in Taos that they deserve. “I’m always looking for originals,” Parks says, “artists who have a vision I’ve never seen before and who render that vision with exceptional skill. When I started looking for people to include, I asked Jina Brenneman, curator at the Harwood, for suggestions. She mentioned Haidle, and soon after I saw two of her paintings in a weekend show at the Stables Gallery, ‘An Occasion for Art.’ Immediately I thought, Bingo!”</p> <p>Haidle, who moved to Taos in 2006, is also an art educator and accomplished book illustrator. For a number of years she designed and taught after-school art programs at the Harwood Education Center, and she developed the art curriculum for Roots and Wings Charter School in Lama. Among her illustration credits is Encyclopedia of the Exquisite (Random House, 2010), and she is at work on Raven-Boy, a surrealist graphic novel. In her spare time, she plays the singing saw, washerboard, and banjo “with anyone in town who will tolerate my amateur musical status,” she says.</p> <p>“Elizabeth Haidle: Hypothetical Creatures,” will be on view at Parks Gallery through August 23. </p> Sat, 11 Aug 2012 09:55:34 +0000 José Bedia, Pablo Atchugarry, Roberto Matta, Carlos Cruz‐Diez, CARLOS ROJAS, Antonio Segui, Rufino Tamayo, Frederico Herrera, Engels - Zane Bennett Contemporary Art - July 27th, 2012 - August 24th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;">Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of Contemporary Art from Latin America, the first of a two part series on Latin American art. The second show features contemporary Cuban artists. Part One will feature blue‐chip artists such as Roberto Matta (Chile), Antonio Segui (Argentina) and Rufino Tamayo (Mexico) among others and highlights the extraordinary variety of art on the continent. The show opens on Friday, July 27th, 2012 and will continue through Friday, August 24, 2012. The second part of the series, Message from La Havana, will open on August 31st and run through September 21st, 2012. Both openings are at the gallery, 435 South Guadalupe Street, across from the rail station, from 5:00‐7:00 pm to coincide with the Railyard Arts District Last Friday Art Walk.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The renowned poet and art critic, Ricardo Pau‐Llosa writes in his book, The Mastery Impulse, about the themes of consciousness and the imagination. It is in these realms that Latin American art flourishes and offers us a world that has been ignored for too long by many in the art world. Pau‐Llosa describes Latin American visual thinking as theatrical with the understanding that the artists “consciously put images in play, in action among themselves”1 so that the work of art dramatizes ideas of social and political significance. It is this impulse that can be seen in works by the famous Argentinean painter and printmaker Antonio Segui (b.1934).</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Segui’s alter ego, the recurring figure in his paintings and prints, is always dressed to the nines with a hat and tie; he is an everyman, struggling with the absurdities of modern life in the big city. The situations in which Segui’s Everyman finds himself challenge the assumptions that we take for granted and show us how ridiculous life can be. Segui inserts humor and a mischievous spin on the tales of contemporary life – the drama we all search for today.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Carlos Rojas, Colombian (1933‐1993), known as an abstract painter and sculptor, studied at the School for Fine Arts at the National University in Bogotá, Colombia. He was recognized by the government and received a scholarship to study in Rome where he majored in design at the School of Fine Arts in Rome in the late 1950’s. His exposure to the European art scene enabled Rojas to integrate abstraction, the environment and his design visions into a geometric world that defined his idea of the Divine. Rojas’ love of music influenced his work, and while geometry’s minimal parameters dominates his abstractions, a contrasting use of vibrant color speaks of the cultural contradictions in the Latin American spirit.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Rufino Tamayo, Mexico (1899‐1991) painter and printmaker. Orphaned as a young boy, Rufino Tamayo went to live with relatives in Mexico City. At the age of 18 years, his aunt enrolled him in Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas at San Carlos to study art. He was recognized early on by José Vasconcelos who he worked for, at the Department of Ethnographic Drawings (1921), and was later appointed head of the department by Vasconcelos. Tamayo leaves a world famous legacy with his original “Mixografia” prints. In collaboration with Luis Remba, Tamayo developed a new medium in printmaking that they called “Mixografia” which allows for creating three‐dimensional texture in the fine art printing process.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Also showing will be Pablo Atchugarry (Uruguay), José Bedia (Cuba), Roberto Matta (Chile), Frederico Herrera (Costa Rica) and Engels (Haiti).</p> Sun, 24 Jun 2012 12:21:11 +0000 Honma Hideaki, Watanabe Chiaki - TAI Modern - July 27th, 2012 - August 25th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;">Challenging the tradition of bamboo art, Honma Hideaki of remote Sado Island, Japan, creates sculptures that are lyrical and dynamic. Learning from his father, Honma Kazuaki, Hideaki gained an understanding not only of technique and materials but of a creative practice founded in abstraction. Now Honma Hideaki is mentoring a new generation of bamboo artists, one of whom, Watanabe Chiaki, will début his artwork for the first time in the U.S. alongside his teacher in "Sado Contemporary: Sculpture by Honma Hideaki and Watanabe Chiaki" at TAI Gallery in Santa Fe.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Honma Hideaki creates sculptures with a physical presence and power inspired by the sublime movements of wind and sea. In his second show at TAI Gallery, his new body of work reflects his deep understanding of bamboo as an artist's material through line and texture as dynamic compositional elements.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Artworks by Honma Hideaki are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the AsianArt Museum of San Francisco and the ClarkCenter for Japanese Art and Culture.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Watanabe Chiaki is an adept student adding his own unique style to the SadoIsland bamboo art tradition. Watanabe brings a vision with a keen sense of layered space and volume to his works of art.</p> Sat, 28 Jul 2012 06:10:45 +0000 Group Show - Center for Contemporary Art - July 13th, 2012 - August 26th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;">In its second iteration, Kaleidospoke continues a celebration of bicycles and art. Through bicycle-related films and artwork, one-of-a-kind and limited editionbicycle paraphernalia, and even a bicycle beauty pageant, Kaleidospoke is a multi-media, multi-venue community event for the love of bicycles.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Opening Celebration: Friday, July 13, 2012</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>1-4pm:</strong> unveiling of bicycle-themed photographs at the Station Fine Tea andCoffee Shop, 530A S Guadalupe St.<strong></strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>4:30pm:</strong> Loops: Santa Fe will meet at the Plaza for a bicycle ride to The Centerfor Contemporary Arts, at 1050 Old Pecos Trail.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>5-9pm:</strong> Kaleidospoke Opening Party with video projections, a photo booth, bikepageant, exhibition opening, and screening of the Tour de France.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In all locations, admission is free, and limited edition, signed, and numberedphotographs and prints will be sold for $5 - $50 each.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Artists and filmmakers include: Broox Pulford, Vanessa Wilde, Patrick Burnham,Anthony Cozzi, Victor Vegas, Chip Thomas, Sandra Fettingis, Jeromie Dorrance,Brandon Soder, Mario Zoots, Allyson Lupovich, Derek Keenan, and more to beannounced.</p> Mon, 16 Jul 2012 12:49:44 +0000 Eric Boyer - Hunter Kirkland Contemporary - August 10th, 2012 - August 26th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="4" face="Verdana">A</span><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="3" face="Verdana">mong contemporary sculptors working with wire mesh, Eric Boyer stands out for the beauty of his male and female figures and for the sophistication with which he explores a medium that consists as much in open, empty space as in the solid strands that contain it.</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="4" face="Verdana">B</span><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="3" face="Verdana">oyer’s most characteristic work is clearly reminiscent of classical Greek or Roman sculpture, but always seen as incomplete relics of an original glory, monuments to ideal or heroic beauty that survive only in fragments. With his faceless torsos, Boyer evokes images that come to us already tinged with a sense of loss; beauty is both eternal and fleeting.</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="3" face="Verdana"></span><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="4" face="Verdana">M</span><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="3" face="Verdana">olding sheets of steel or copper mesh by hand, Boyer coaxes hard metal to behave as if it were a length of delicate, diaphanous fabric draped over human forms, clinging to the curves and undulations it defines.</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="4" face="Verdana">A</span><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="3" face="Verdana">nd exquisite human forms these are, so lovely it is easy to imagine figures behind the fabric. As Boyer works the mesh, he creates a play of light and shade that gives his images a sense of volume and luminous substance. At the same time, he typically includes little flourishes of fabric -- gatherings at the feet or scrolls and folds along the edges -- as if to remind us that we are not viewing traditional representations of nude figures, or even veiled nudes. Boyer gives us the veil itself, the veil and the almost ghostly impression it preserves. We are left with something midway between the memory of a beautiful image and the image of a beautiful memory.</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="4" face="Verdana">W</span><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="3" face="Verdana">hich is very much as the artist first conceives them.</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="4" face="Verdana">B</span><span style="font-family: Verdana;" size="3" face="Verdana">oyer does not work from live models. Instead, he draws upon what he calls a visual and tactile memory bank built up through years of anatomical study, life drawing, and portraiture. His figures thus originate as half-remembered, half-imagined images of physical beauty, and these are the images he conjures up for us: sensuous, elegant and haunting.</span></span></p> Fri, 03 Aug 2012 00:17:22 +0000 Charlotte Foust - Hunter Kirkland Contemporary - August 10th, 2012 - August 26th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: x-small;" size="3" face="Verdana">“<b>W</b>hat is important,” says Charlotte Foust, “is the process.”  </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: x-small;" size="3" face="Verdana"><b>F</b>or her, that process is profoundly intuitive.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: x-small;" size="3" face="Verdana"><b>F</b>oust approaches her collage paintings with no plan in mind, no preconceptions except that she will not censor what comes to her.  She begins each painting with some initial line and mark-making, then lets the piece evolve as it will, building layers or scratching through layers, applying paint or taking paint away, working and reworking the textured surface.  </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: x-small;" size="3" face="Verdana"> “<b>A</b>s if searching for something,” she says.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: x-small;" size="3" face="Verdana"><b>W</b>hat emerges from this process is a strikingly original body of work that brings together two major strains of abstract expressionism: the spontaneous energy of the action painters (she mentions Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline) and the more orderly structures of the color field artists (notably, Richard Diebenkorn).  Foust draws upon both ideas, and in her intuitive way she lets them interact on the canvas, playing off each other, generating the remarkable images she presents to us.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: x-small;" size="3" face="Verdana"><b>F</b>oust graduated from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, with a Bachelor Degree in Art, and early in her career was awarded an Emerging Artist Grant from the Arts and Science Council. Her work is widely collected in the United States and her paintings have been included in exhibits at the Mint Museum of Art, the Levine Museum of the New South, and the McColl Center for Art.</span></p> Fri, 03 Aug 2012 00:22:11 +0000 Woody Gwyn - LewAllen Galleries (Railyard) - July 20th, 2012 - August 26th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Woody Gwyn is perhaps best known for his resplendent take on the unvarnished beauty of the American landscape, Gwyn embarks on three new directions in this latest exhibition. Joining the panoramic vista paintings of the Southwest, the verdant scenes of pastoral East Coast woods, and the sweeping highways and road cuts often set next to majestic expanses of the Pacific Ocean, Gwyn now adds sparkling images of European city and rural scenes, small-scale renderings of Pacific coastline inspired by Google Map satellite photography, and mystical depictions of star-studded night skies.</span></p> Sun, 22 Jul 2012 16:29:58 +0000 Steve Klein & Veruska Vagen - LewAllen Galleries (Railyard) - July 27th, 2012 - August 26th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;">Klein and Vagen present new works that, in very different ways, honor the work of great historical artists who they particularly admire. In exploring compositional relationships between form, color and texture, Steve Klein imbues elemental shapes like squares and spheres with carved lines and brilliant areas of clear and opaque color. Vagen painstakingly arranges thousands of tiny glass dots on a foundation glass tile, then fuses them to the tile with two separate kiln firings. The result is an intricately composed, uniquely intimate portrait of subjects taken from classic portraits by artists like Abbott Thayer and Tintoretto.</p> Fri, 03 Aug 2012 13:32:55 +0000 Wynn Bullock, Paul Caponigro, Linda Connor, Eliot Porter, Ansel Adams, Miguel Gandert, Lisette Model, David Ondrik - New Mexico Museum of Art - March 23rd, 2012 - August 26th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;">Following the museum’s 2011 exhibition <em>Cloudscapes: Photographs from the Collection</em>, this exhibition highlights photographs of water from the museum’s permanent collection.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The exhibition includes more than thirty works by a variety of photographers – including Wynn Bullock, Paul Caponigro, Linda Connor, and Eliot Porter -- who have been inspired by this substance that sustains us and is so valuable to planet Earth.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Selections range from Ansel Adams’s dramatic black-and-white photograph of Bridalveil Fall (the famous cataract in Yosemite National Park) to Miguel Gandert’s image of kids cooling off in a fountain at First Plaza in Albuquerque.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Lisette Model’s famous image of a delighted bather at Coney Island Beach represents the joyous side of human interactions with water, while David Ondrik’s photograph <em>Please Add Water</em> – a view of the marina at Elephant Butte Lake – emphasizes a more complicated aspect of that relationship</p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:17:58 +0000 - New Mexico Museum of Art - May 25th, 2012 - August 26th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;">The <strong>New Mexico Museum of Art</strong> joins forces with <strong>Center</strong>, Santa Fe's renowned organization supporting gifted photographers, to showcase the best in emerging, international photography talent. The works of the winners of two of Center's 17th annual awards, <em>The Curve: Center Award Winners, 2012,</em> photography exhibition is at the Museum of Art, May 25 - August 26, 2012.</p> Sun, 29 Apr 2012 02:12:07 +0000 Molly Heizer - Canyon Road Contemporary Art - August 16th, 2012 - August 27th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;">Canyon Road Contemporary Art is pleased celebrate 17 years with Molly Heizer!<br /> <br /> Molly Heizer: Explorations of Native Culture and Natural History. On Thursday, August 16th, Canyon Road Contemporary Artfeature the ceramic totems, kachinas and animals of Molly Heizer. The Artist’s opening reception will be from 5:00pm - 7:00 pm.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The show will display the wisdom and whimsy of Heizer’s Native American-inspired subject matter as she brings together folklore, spirituality and cultural significance with her unique clay modeling and painting. An American folk artist, Heizer’s works are internationally collected. Heizer’s kachinas depict a myriad of symbolic and anthropological figures found within the religious and cultural practices of the Hopi and other Southwestern tribes. Her animals are deeply connected in spirit to the kachinas as Heizer explains their cultural significance both visually through her Native-inspired painting style and through words written on the piece. Totems are often themed as several kachinas, animals, or a combination of both balance playfully upon one another’s heads and bodies in a dramatic and often whimsical vertical display of solidarity and serious fun. Canyon Road Contemporary Art is proud to host this one-artist exhibition. Molly Heizer is world-renowned for her knowledge-based, one-of-a-kind folk art. Refreshments and music will be provided for the reception.<b><br /></b></p> <p><b> </b></p> Sat, 25 Aug 2012 12:21:03 +0000 Charles Arnoldi - Charlotte Jackson Fine Art (Railyard) - July 27th, 2012 - August 27th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;">An exhibition of new work<i> </i>by Charles Arnoldi, <i>Case Study,</i><i> </i>will open at Charlotte Jackson Fine Art on July 27 and extend through August 27.  An Opening Reception with the artist will be held on Friday, July 27 from 5-7 p.m.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The one thing you always know you will get when you go to an exhibition of work by Charles Arnoldi is authenticity.  He doesn’t stand still—and that is what makes Arnoldi’s art continually fresh.  Though the visual vocabulary may change from series to series, a student of Arnoldi’s art will begin to see the underlying patterns, the continuity from piece to piece that expresses so much of Arnoldi’s passions, obsessions, and curiosity.  Though the works in this exhibition are in some ways an organic evolution or hybrid of his recent series <i>Grids</i> and <i>Windows, </i>as well as his interest in Mondrian and respect for Diebenkorn, subconsciously his passion for architecture was at play as well. </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">With their layered interaction of planes and lines, it isn’t difficult to make a link between these works and architecture.  But the titling of the exhibition for the Post World War II program of <i>Case Study</i> homes sponsored by <i>Arts &amp; Architecture</i> magazine is more a case of synchronicity than of conscious planning.  Arnoldi didn’t set out to create a series inspired by the <i>Case Study </i>homes, the connection came after the fact when he’d completed a number of the larger canvases and was thinking of what to title them.  Having just visited a <i>Case Study</i> home in Los Angeles, his admiration of its clean lines and use of glass were still fresh in his mind and he decided to name the new pieces after <i>Case Study<b> </b></i>architects.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In Charles Arnoldi’s latest exhibition, <i>Case Study, s</i>tructure is key.  Though these paintings, with their constraint and geometry, appear clean and deceptively simple, there is a complication that arises as the viewer sinks deeper into the overlapping layers of lines and planes, studies the way they fracture at the canvas edges.  The paintings in <i>Case Study</i>, with masterful architectural technique, balance tight precision with defiant complexity. </p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> Sun, 05 Aug 2012 13:12:47 +0000 Daniel Martin Diaz, Marie Sena, Luis Navarro, Alex Chavez, Arturo, Chris Peters - Pop Gallery - July 21st, 2012 - August 30th, 2012 <p style="text-align: justify;">Mysticus, featuring Daniel Martin Diaz, Marie Sena, Luis Navarro, Alex Chavez, Arturo and Chris Peters opens for Contemporary Spanish Market with an artist reception Saturday July 28th through August. Purveyors of the unique, Join us in the heart of the market at the corner of Lincoln &amp; Marcy, 142 Lincoln Avenue Ste. 102. A portion of the show proceeds to benefit Bienvenidos Outreach, supporting the hungry and homeless of Santa Fe.<br /> <br /> POP Gallery features Contemporary American and New Brow artists from around the world. Our vision is rooted in providing art lovers with a thought provoking alternative. <br /> <br /> Rising from the underground world of tattooing and graffiti, comics, cartoons, pop art, illustration, and surrealist artists, the art showcased feeds of the blend of influences and energies well cemented in today's culture. <br /> <br /> In essence, POP Gallery represents a celebration of mediums and ideas, the dynamic union between independence and spirit, the emergence of sub-culture on a contemporary platform.</p> Sun, 26 Aug 2012 21:53:43 +0000 Louisa McElwain - EVOKE Contemporary - August 3rd, 2012 - August 31st, 2012 <div style="text-align: justify;" align="left">Louisa McElwain adores summer storms, especially the way the light changes and the clouds dance across the horizon ahead of the rain. Living in the country, 20 miles outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Louisa is in tune with the changing weather. If it looks like "one of those days," she is quick to pack up her pick-up truck and head out to find that "power spot" for what she likes to call "a dialogue with nature." Once there, she moves quickly, stapling a large canvas to a makeshift easel mounted on the back of the pick-up. The tailgate provides a table for all of her paint – large globs squeezed in strict order from dozens of tubes. With palette knives and masonry trowels of all sizes, including some attached with duck tape to long sticks, she goes to work.</div> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left"></p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">Although she is painting the New Mexico landscape, Louisa is really looking for a balance between her experience with the environment and the physical reality of paint on canvas. She believes "the marks, strokes and gestures of paint express forces of nature, both internal and external." Jackson Pollock once famously said, "I am nature." That resonates with Louisa who believes that this idea of working from the inside out while honoring plastic reality of the materials, is the most important contribution offered by 20th century American painters in the Abstract Expressionist Movement. "My painterly heritage is the New York School," says Louisa. "I am an abstract painter who paints outside." And for Louisa, the act of creating is a work out – she calls it "extreme painting." "I often feel energy, like electricity, surging upward from the ground, through my knees, through my arms and right on to the canvas."</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">A self-described eccentric, a "pop-culture wallflower", she has always felt little bit like an outsider, but painting provides the place where she is alone, but not lonely; challenged, but not frustrated; and searching, but not lost. "It took me years to recover from art school, but solitude in beautiful wild places brought her "face to face with God". As a woman of deep faith, Louisa believes that through her painting and her intense connection with nature, she has strengthened her relationship with God. "I am humbled by the glory of his creation, and overcome by gratitude for his blessings."</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Louisa grew up on a farm in New Hampshire's Merrimack Valley in the 1950's. Educated at Harvard and certain he did not want o go into the family's shoe manufacturing business, Louisa's father decided he "wanted to return to the soil." It was an endeavor that ultimately failed financially but proved prophetic for Louisa.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">"Growing up on the farm was where I developed a love of nature that has become the basis of the way I relate to everything, especially painting," she says. Animals on the farm inspired her earliest drawings, although her mother was not amused by her choice of canvas. "Horses made me want to draw," she says. "The first drawings I can remember were on the wallpaper above my headboard in my bedroom. Louisa loved the farm. It was a perfect place for a little girl to begin connecting nature with art.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">As a young woman and a young artist, Louisa admits that she had been a dropout. She attended five different colleges, foreign programs and universities looking for someone who could teach her what she wanted to learn. Starting off, she enrolled at what she calls "a little draft dodger (Hampshire) college" in western Massachusetts. She soon confronted the doctrine of urban modernism that reigned there. The head of the art department was into "non-hierarchical painting", where everything is symmetrical. In a lecture one day, the professor put up a slide of an equestrian painting by Titian, but the image was upside down. He asked the class what was wrong with the painting. Louisa knew what was coming. "One of the 'bright' students answered, 'well, obviously the composition falls apart when the painting is upside down.' At that moment I knew it was time to go," she says. Louisa dropped out of Hampshire College, and took off for Italy to study drawing with a famous portrait artist.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">And she had a great time - twenty years old, living in Europe, traveling to Venice and Rome, and learning from Italian masters. For a young art student it just doesn't get much better.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">"It was traditional art training through drawing from live models," she explains. "We worked on the full figure in the morning and then portraits in the afternoon. We spent at least two weeks on a drawing; measuring, working on construction, using a plum line, and learning how to measure proportion with a stick, slowly developing tonality by means of finely hatched lines made with vine charcoal. By getting a long look at the pose, we had the chance to really understand what we were seeing. In an American art school a long pose would be twenty minutes! That's long enough to commit to something that might look ok, but is not understood." She would soon return to the American art education arena, but this time with more confidence.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">Looking at a Louisa McElwain painting today, the importance of color is clear. Bold strokes of thick paint cut across the canvas forming a collage of colorful shapes that meld together into an abstracted landscape. Louisa isn't interested in realism. "I like painting with sticks (palette knives) because it disengages my ego - that part of me that wants to be about describing things. I do like to draw and I do like to be right, but when I'm making a painting I want it to be as much about the paint as the motif. The palette knife doesn't allow me to articulate things in a drawing way, but it does have an additional dimension of expressing the sensuous quality of paint. It expresses more of the physicality of the material than I'm likely to achieve with a brush." But what comes so naturally now, wasn't always inherent. Louisa learned about color from some of the best teachers of the time.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">After returning from Europe, Louisa attended a summer session at the Skowhegan School in Maine. She spent an eye-opening three months working with the likes of Alex Katz and famed landscape painter Neil Welliver. "It was paradise for painters and sculptors. We had little cottages on the lake, and up on the hill old dairy barns had been turned into great studio space. For those of us who wanted to go out and paint landscapes, the kitchen would make a bag lunch and we'd jump in the back of a pick-up truck. Maine is so broadshouldered and open - great things to see and paint. It was a wonderful experience." Skowhegan was life changing for McElwain. She left Maine committed to landscape painting. "Alex Katz once told me 'you have to find your own way to say the grass' which I took as a mandate: the sacred duty of every artist to find one's own voice." And she has never wavered on that commitment.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">Another crucial part of Louisa's artistic education came from Joseph Albers by way of Welliver, at the University of Pennsylvania, where Louisa finished up her undergraduate degree. Albers, the famed color theorist, championed the idea that color derives its meaning from its context. At Penn, where he was a professor, Welliver applied those color principles to his own work, and Louisa was paying attention. "Welliver was almost scientific in his approach to color," she says. "He reduced color in nature (phenomenological color) to some very dynamic and simplified relationships of flat pieces of color – each piece of paint has its own identity. It's almost like the pre-digital pixalization of color.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">Instead of relying on a tonal structure, a painting is built on the relationship of colors. I came to understand how light is created in a painting through the relationships of colors to each other, rather than by a tonal structure of lights and darks."</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">After Penn, Louisa's career took an unexpected turn. She married a young architect who happened to love fly-fishing. They traveled to Canada, the Jersey shore, the Florida Keys, Turkey and Greece where he caught fish and she painted fish. "Fish are fabulous, interesting, beautiful animals. I was particularly interested in painting them just after they were caught when they were gasping for breath – they are so expressive," she laughs as she realizes how grim this sounds. Morose or not, those fish opened up new opportunities.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">She got her first show - Fish of the East Coast at Sessler's Bookstore, owned by Graham Arader, on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, and from that she secured a big commission with Robert Venturi's architectural firm for the Philadelphia Zoological Society. "In a cathedral-like former antelope barn we created giant dioramas. My mural, a 12x40' oil painting, depicted an Upper Cretaceous swamp with several species of dinosaurs. It was a multi-sensory playhouse for children," she explains. An ambitious assignment, it kept her busy for three years. She also explored the use of palette knives. Using masters like Van Gogh as inspiration, she marveled at how he "unloaded paint off his brush to create marks that were so full of sensuous authority."</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">When the project was over, Louisa moved to Santa Fe almost on a whim. She read an article about how one in seven people in Santa Fe was involved in the arts. "I thought it would be a stimulating creative community –sitting around in cafes talking and arguing art." So she moved. And while the social scene didn't turn out exactly how she had envisioned, the painting was great. Everywhere she turned there was a new vista to paint. Louisa went to work, quickly got a gallery and started selling out.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">She also started a family, designed houses which her husband built and the family would live in them until they would sell, and then he would start all over again. By the time her second daughter was born, the family had moved eight times and Louisa was getting tired. "Soon after we built a big house in the country, he told me he thought he might want to move to Fiji. I started to get the idea that this wasn't going to work out," Louisa says. And she was right. The subsequent divorce was long and painful, but as always she found solace in her faith and in her painting.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">Louisa needed a sanctuary where she could recharge and rebuild. She found a property north of Santa Fe; 13 acres where she could raise horses and cows - Irish Dexters and Norwegian Fiords are her preferred breeds. Her cluttered studio sits to the front of the property with a view of the orchard where a dozen cows graze. Although surely similar to her father's farm, Louisa seems to have let go of her eastern roots. As she walks the property, Louisa looks like a woman comfortable in the high desert country. A wide-brimmed hat shades her face from the brutal southwest sun, her strawberry blond hair is braided and flipped over her right shoulder, heavy turquoise and silver bracelets wrap around each wrist, framing hard-working hands.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">"The farm is a creative endeavor. Instead of a canvas that's 13 inches, I have one that is 13 acres," she explains. "I have maternal feelings toward my farm." It takes a lot of TLC, but she is happy to give it. She also, of course, paints almost everyday, always finding inspiration in the majestic New Mexico landscape, adamant about staying true to the "sacred mandate to authenticity and originality." So she is actively looking for new challenges.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;" align="left">Through years of hard work, Louisa has found her voice as a painter; her unique perspective on the landscape is evident. For Louisa, painting is an expression of her connection to God through nature and exploring the sensuous potential in oil paint. It is authentic, powerful and real – every stroke on every canvas is full of conviction and color that comes from a weathered heart.</p> Fri, 03 Aug 2012 13:00:36 +0000