On June 6, a First Friday West Palace Arts District evening, be sure to drop in and see the delicious and intriguing jewelry that Charon Kransen has assembled for Patina Gallery (131 West Palace Avenue from 5 - 7:30 pm). Kransen, who is well-respected as an author and curator, travels throughout the world to find the highest quality jewelry and accessories by contemporary studio artists. Choosing freely between artists who are renowned and those whose reputations are just beginning to form, the curator shows a particularly fine eye for judicious and innovative use of materials.
"Consummate maker of metaphors,*" photographer Meridel Rubinstein is the honorary chair for this year's CCA Annual Photo-Auction to be held from 6:30 to 11 pm on Saturday, June 7. The photo auction is always a great event to pick up wonderful images at auction prices and to support one of Santa Fe's longest running contemporary art spaces. Absentee bids are due by Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 5 pm. (I mean, I confess that I still have a Gus Foster from an earlier incarnation of this event in 1983, or maybe, 1982.) This year, photographers include Baron Wolman, Nevada Weir, Jennifer Sclessinger, Janet Russek, Jean Pagliuso, Coke Wisdom O'Neal, Herb Lotz, David Levinthal, Alex Harris, the late Douglas Kent Hall, Nan Goldin, Julie Blackmon and others. ($30 for members and $40 for nonmembers.) Float around and eat hors d'oeuvres from the Tesuque Village Market while indulging in a martini and smelling great flowers from Blumen Kenner. While enjoying the more posh aspects of the event, attendees will also hear the winner of CCA's Third Annual Photo Auction Award will be announced-and get to take home a $1,000 grant (and presumably lots of advice from photogs present). This year's award will be presented to a member the Fresh Eyes Photography Project. Fresh Eyes helps incarcerated children aged 11 to 21 to successfully re-enter society by learning digital photography. They provide hardware (cameras), as well as software, the license for these kids to envision and create their world.
On June 13, Eight Modern (231 Delgado Street, 5:30 - 7:30 pm) opens Ted Larsen's exhibit of new work. Larsen, fresh from being awarded the prestigious Pollock-Krasner grant for mid-career artists, hammers scrap metal, often around a wooden support. Larsen did not always work in this medium; until the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, he was a watercolorist. Compelled to try new avenues of expression, he wanted to move beyond the innocuous to a new, challenging style and project.
Larsen's remarkably delicate metal objects do "re-animate the detritus of consumer culture" but they do not do so in a heavy or blatant way. The traces of the watercolorist remain in the sense of line in a piece called Pick Up whose accordion edges tweak the beautiful, numinous celadon green of the surface.
"I have found," writes Larsen, "that constructing my images with salvaged materials to be the most authentic expression of my internal self. There are several reasons for this. One is a statement about the environment and our culture's rapid disposal of commercial goods. The other is about reclaiming our environment and resurrecting these cast-off materials into something beautiful. But mostly it is about aesthetics."
"I'm looking for something that's very enigmatic and is difficult for me to even verbalize. I want to remind the viewer of something they know inherently but can't quite place."
This critic would place that enigma not with the macho yet gorgeous smashed metal of John Chamberlain, but squarely in the tradition of British sculptor Anthony Caro, whose emphasis of the transcendent and visual aspects of sculpture make him the epitome of Modernism.
Andrea Kalinowski has her inauguaral exhibition at Klaudia Marr Gallery (668 Canyon Road, 5 - 7 pm) on June 13. Society of Women continues the artist's longstanding interest in depicting and evoking women's experiences in different historical periods.
During the mid-nineties, Kalinowski made two series of paintings depicting Asian women. The first were of Bollywood posters in which gorgeous, adoring women swooned in the arms (or at least the glances) of handsome, rather Anglicized, men. The second was titled Chinese Women, and were beautifully rendered images of "¦Chinese women.
From there, the artist decided to tackle her own culture, the story of pioneer Jewish Women. While Kalinowski came from a prominent Jewish family in Montreal, the stories of hardscrabble women in North America who shared her faith resonated deeply with her. For several years, she worked on a series of painting-quilts that told these women's stories. Stories Untold: Jewish Pioneer Women traveled to seven museum and library venues from 2002 through 2004.
Society of Women ranges through different places and periods. The artist ingeniously transforms her considerable scholarship of American history into captivating and lively mixed media paintings. Kalinowski's extraordinary paintings weave a rich and informative narrative, while combining tropes of early American landscape painting with existing contemporary media. Iraq Landscape, for example, layers cartoon-like imagery and Bond-Girl look-alikes on a realistic, if muted, landscape. Working Women uses the same silhouette, illustration-like figures and images on naïf colorful landscape.
Joan Watts opens a show of her inordinately translucent paintings at Charlotte Jackson's (200 W. Marcy Street, Suite 101, June 6, 5 - 7 pm). "I became enveloped in light," says Watts, "The work [of the recent past] could not have been done anywhere else." The artist has continually refined her paintings over the last two decades to squares and rectangles the grade tones to tints and, eventually to pure, scintillating white.
* Rebecca Solnit