At Patina Gallery, owners Ivan and Allison Barnett are interested in the surface of things. Even the name reflects their devotion to "beauty over time," says Allison. The couple have displayed jewelry, wood and clay sculpture, and textiles in their downtown space since 1999, when they wanted, says Allison, to fill the "void in the [fine] craft venue" in Santa Fe.
Now the two show what they consider "soul-stirring" work. The phrase has become a business conviction reflected in the couple's sense that a deeply refined personal aesthetic can also stir others with the glories of what can be made.
Says Ivan, "We do not pick based upon marketability; we pick based upon what we like." The pair emphasize the intensely thought-out work of every piece they show, chosen from a cadre of artisans at the top of their fields.
The gallery is a light space that has been designed to encourage circulation and proximity to a variety of types of craft. Precisely arranged cases offer dialogues between, for example, an Atelier Zobel bracelet with a dazzling gem and a Harold O'Connor brooch whose calligraphic surface quality expresses pristine workmanship.
On shelves, clay and turned-wood vessels draw the eye upward; textiles impart a warm note. The work and its display are meant to evoke "a peaceful and very satisfying space," says Allison.
This July, German jewelry master Michael Zobel will curate a "triptych" of events for the gallery tentatively being called Adornment for the 21st Century. Forming such important associations marks out the Barnetts' niche.
The ease of the couple's repartee translates to their united vision of well-crafted objects that nevertheless reflect specializations like Allison's knowledge in jewelry and Ivan's years of experience as a sculptor. Says Allison, "We're yin and yang: He's more of the thinker and the writer, and I'm more out in the visual world." Adds Ivan, "Design is a sacred word for both of us."
131 West Palace Avenue, 505-986-3432, patina-gallery.com