Like a veritable cornucopia of toys, gadgets and chotchkes spilling out of a stocking on Christmas morning, December brings us many different kinds of things to see in Santa Fe galleries and museums. So take time out from Las Posadas, dances at neighboring pueblos, and general devotions and merriment to go inside and look around.
A few of our shows opened in late November, but continue through December. Amy Westphal, best known for her meticulous welded sculptures, presents Botanica at Cruz Gallery (616 Canyon Road, through December 15). In a departure, this exhibit deals with, well, Amy's stuff. Using boxes of old photographs and papers, keepsakes and random memorabilia from people she may not even know, Westphal has created a new mythology for herself in Botanica. The re-construction takes place in the guise of black-and-white drawings, a toy theatre and an antique cupboard filled with delights.
Linda Durham Contemporary Art will host a 20-year retrospective of James Havard which opened November 21st and remain up through January 10. David Lynch sums up the protean talent of the artist whose work is represented in such collections as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum.
"James Havard is what I call a painter's painter. I've known him for forty years. James is always working-painting and drawing. James can paint. James can draw. So organic. So much of the real thing comes out of James-he can pick up a pencil, a rock, and work it in a way that there is no doubt he has the stuff. When you see, you know it-James is inspiring. He lives the art life, and it comes out of him, this fantastic James Havard work, every day. I always look forward to seeing new things from James and revisiting his past whenever I can. And, he's a real good guy on top of that."
The delicate textiles and drawings of Polly Barton opened November 28 at William Siegal Gallery (540 South Guadalupe Street, through December 31). Barton, who has been at the forefront of textile design with her superbly wrought ikat textiles for twenty-five years, continues the Siegal Gallery's willingness to not just compare and contrast ancient and contemporary work but also to delineate their continuities.
"My gesture as an artist," says Polly Barton," is tied to the expressive nature of fiber. It is in the saturated stain and resist of dye to silk thread, the elegant simplicity of the shift of one color next to another, and the authority elegant simplicity of the shift of one color next to another, and the authority of the grid where I find pleasure. Ikat demands attention, it is willful and vigorous. In tying knot after knot, I must balance my artistic desire and the technique's own expressive potential. This is a dynamic conversation.
Ikat carries with it a cross-cultural heritage and tradition, holding the record of human memory. The emotional appeal of ikat seems to me to be symbolic of our resistance to change and our willingness to play. The abstract and contemporary potential for our 21st century eye is exciting, and when the lustrous silk threads of ikat are released, they speak with a voice that never ceases to surprise me."
On December 7, 2008 at 3 pm Textile Arts Alliance will sponsor a lecture on Barton's new work at The Wheelwright Museum (704 Camino Lejo).
The warmth of farolitos and the eternal attraction to the flame make an appearance at Winterowd Fine Art (701 Canyon Road, December 5, 5-7 pm). Judy Prisoc's exhibition, entitled The Mystique of Light, explores the lure of candlelight through a meticulous rendering of shape, color and translucency. The ability to make people feel not only the sentiments but the actual physical sensations of a subject, (heat and delight in this case) are the hallmarks of successful Realism.
The December First Friday Art Walk also takes place on December 5th from 5-7:30 pm. Manitou Galleries presents a show of miniature paintings for the holidays, while LewAllen Contemporary and Patina focus on jewelry. (Manitou Galleries, 123 West Palace Avenue; LewAllen Contemporary, 129 West Palace Avenue, Patina Gallery, 131 West Palace.) Across the Street at Peterson-Cody Gallery, holiday offerings include a landscape show and book signing by gallery artists. (Peterson-Cody Gallery, 130 West Palace Avenue.)
So enjoy the darkening of the days as we approach the end of the year and don't forget to let art feed your soul.