July’s Previews

Date June 30, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Publication THE magazine

Categories Performing Arts

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ART Santa Fe Presents
July 10 to July 13
El Museo Cultural, 1615 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe. 988-8883
Opening Night: Thursday, July 10, 5 to 8 pm.

In keeping with one of ART Santa Fe's original missions-to further the understanding of contemporary art in Santa Fe-a high point of the international annual contemporary art fair will be a talk given by Dean Sobel, the director of the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado. The talk will take place on Saturday evening at 6:30 pm at the St. Francis Auditorium in the New Mexico Museum of Art on Santa Fe's historic Plaza. Opening night will take place at El Museo Cultural, located in the new Railyard Art District, a part of Santa Fe that is presently a bustling, vibrant site of explosive growth and activity. Over fifty exhibitors from around the world will be showing art. For a complete listing of galleries, please see www.artsantafe.com.

Masaru Tatsuki: Japan's Art Truck Scene
July 18 to August 6
TAI Gallery, 1601-B Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe. 984-1387
Opening reception, Friday, July 18, 5 to 7 pm.

Masaru Tatsuki's photographs document Japan's decotora-truck subculture over a period of ten years. Decotora rigs-embellished with neon lights, chrome extensions, and backlit graphics-are a jumble of light, color, and glistening metals, altogether evocative of giant slot machines or 1950s-era jukeboxes. The artist describes the vehicles as being highly embellished tools that carry products to market by day, while their interior spaces-which usually include at least one chandelier-become diminutive, mobile palaces by night. According to Tatsuki, the decotora aesthetic represents a masculinity that is less focused on physical strength, and more concerned with a particular spiritual and mental state. Its attributes include protecting loved ones and facing the inherent loneliness that comes with being human. To be masculine in the decotora world, one must acknowledge personal weakness and live with an honesty that may cause one to appear ridiculous. After several years of photographing the vehicles, Tatsuki came to admire the truckers' spirit of community, the way the drivers pitch in during emergencies, rolling to the rescue like colorfully-attired superheroes. He then broadened the scope of the work to include psychologically-rich portraits of the men themselves, their friends, wives, girlfriends, and children, all hanging out in their custom-built, often humble, environments.

Armando Espinosa Prieto and Craig Johnson: Metamorfosis Documentation Project
Lecture: Monday, July 21
Workshop: July 22 to July 25
Santa Fe Art Institute, 1600 St. Michael's Drive, Santa Fe. 984-3295 or www.metamorfosisdocumentationproject.com

As part of the Santa Fe Art Institute's 2008 lecture series, Outsider: Tourism, Migration, Exile, Armando Espinosa Prieto and Craig Johnson present a project that exemplifies their intention to: first, document cross-cultural dances and rituals in indigenous and mestizo communities throughout the Americas, to give back to those communities a means to maintain their own traditions, and finally, to share those traditions with a larger, appreciative audience. This first project presents a collaboration with the people of Teotitlán del Valle, a village in southern Oaxaca, where Prieto and Johnson have been filming and documenting La Danza de la Pluma (Feather Dance). This is part of the cycle of "Conquest Dances,"€ and is closely related to the Matachín dances that are still performed today in Indian Pueblos and several Hispanic communities in New Mexico. The modern La Danza de la Pluma originated from Zapotec dance rituals in Oaxaca under the influence of the Spanish colonizers, and incorporates the struggle between Christianity and paganism, with several variations as to the ultimate victor. The essential element of reciprocity, of "paying your dues"€ for the benefit of the community, is evidenced by extensive ritual preparation and community involvement, as well as the dancers' commitment to a three-year period of training.

R. Kenton Nelson: New Paintings
July 25 to August 25
Klaudia Marr Gallery, 668 Canyon Road, Santa Fe. 988-2100
Opening reception: Friday, July 25, 5 to 7 pm.

Tracing his interest in painting back to the influence of his great uncle Roberto Montenegro, the renowned Mexican muralist and modernist, R. Kenton Nelson, describes his own work as "depicting historic or contemporary scenes, with heroic imagery of strong, capable and confident people, rendered in a timeless style."€ His paintings idealize the ordinary: a house might cast perfect shadows, the narrative suggesting a perfect moment when, say, a figure comes to the end of his journey or waits to be asked inside. The all-new paintings in this solo show, largely rendered in rich colors and bold figures, give evidence of a matured draftsman's pictorial intelligence. Compositions are ordered with strong horizontal and vertical lines, contrasting with the curves of trees, hills, and clouds. The flowing lines of these natural elements release the strength of Nelson's pronounced, graphic style, reminiscent of American Scene painting and the work of the WPA artists in the 1930s.

Hung Liu: The Peking Opera
July 18 to August 5
Turner Carroll Gallery, 725 Canyon Road, Santa Fe. 986-9800
Opening reception: Friday, July 18, 5 to 7 pm.

With the same confident, athletic gestures that have characterized Hung Liu's work for more than thirty years, the artist now presents this most recent body of work based on a story of a book that was once found, then lost, and then found again. These oil, resin, and mixed-media paintings on canvases and panels are inspired by masks from the Peking Opera, now inflected with a new life, the figures this time surrounded by traditional yet symbolic elements. Hung Liu grew up under Mao and directly experienced the devastation of her homeland during the Cultural Revolution, and has always possessed the painterly genius to bless the tormented past of her painterly characters with a sense of honor and dignity. She is one of the most important, dedicated artists that emerged from China, following four years spent in a "re-education camp,"€ working in rice fields seven days a week.

Paul Burlin (1886-1969): Abstract Expressionist Paintings 1950-1960
July 11 to August 1
Peyton Wright Gallery, 237 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe. 989-9888
Opening reception, Friday, July 11, 5 to 8 pm.

Paul Burlin was the youngest artist to participate in the 1913 Armory Show. Like other Modernists of his time, Burlin was intrigued by "primitive"€ art, and once introduced to Pueblo art and culture, he connected with the color and abstract geometry of Native American designs. His paintings of the 1950s incorporate the symbols and spiritual themes that he discovered in New Mexico with the abstract expressionist forms that he later developed during the time he lived in Europe. Returning to the United States in 1932, he continued to develop his characteristic style of merging abstract expressionist sensibility with metaphysical subjects, and played a pivotal role in introducing Fauvism and Expressionism to the Southwest. The paintings and works on paper being shown in this exhibition are filled with energy and movement, balanced with technical mastery and clarity of vision.

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