In addition to the painted delights outlined in Must-See art this go-round, I want to mention a few more treats for historically-motivated viewers.
Peyton Wright - Friday, May, 2
237 East Palace Avenue
Peyton Wright (237 East Palace Avenue, Friday, May, 2) presents The Modernists: Selections from the Estates. Peyton Wright has been diligently collecting artists' estates for years. In this exhibition, the gallery features painting, sculpture, and works on paper from the estates of six important American Modernists - Clinton Adams (1918-2002), Herbert Bayer (1900-1985), Paul Burlin (1886-1969), Raymond Jonson (1891-1982), William Lumpkins (1909-2000), and Jan Matulka (1890-1972).
Herbert Bayer, whose Bauhaus training led him to explore core design issues in whatever medium he was working, has been "seen again" through re-issue and re-scaling of some works. "Throughout his career, Bayer turned his creativity and skill to both the applied and fine arts, approaching each project with the unique ability to combine the needs of industry with the sensibility of the avant-garde, the structure of Bauhaus architectural style with the expressiveness of his life-long fascination with nature. He directed the well-known Bauhaus typography workshop, and served as a design and advertising consultant for several American industries while experimenting with photomontage, installation, earthworks and environmental art. Bayer's paintings are perhaps the least well-known of all his works. However, for Bayer, painting was "the continuous link connecting the various facets of my work.1"
The marvelous concern for the edge between form and function is also seen from the work of the recently deceased William Lumpkins, whose light, abstract watercolors provide a counterpoint to his work as one of the original solar architects in New Mexico.
Raymond Jonson's work spanned a fairly representational style until he was "beamed up" as one critic has it and became the lead figure in New Mexico's own Transcendental Painting Group.
Czech- born Jan Matulka also saw many changes of style throughout his long, sincere and prolific career. Curator Patterson Sims claims that, "While Matulka undeniably made most of his very best work in the 1920s and 1930s, the intriguing coda to his career from the late 1930s and through the 1940s deserves to be seen. During this time he worked in a parallel, though likely very isolated, way with some of the period's most sophisticated surrealist and American abstract artists.2"
Paul Burlin, best known in New Mexico for his early Modernist depictions of Southwest life, was also a dedicated artistic chameleon. Having exhibited at the New York Armory Show in 1913, his work shifted from being influenced by the Ashcan school to Cubist considerations-and then in his later years to abstract painting. In 1981, Vivian Raynor wrote in the New York Times, that: "Free of all Expressionistic niggling, the paintings look like the work of a young man. Perhaps they were spurred by the imminence of death, or maybe it was a matter of the censor in the brain relaxing, as it often does in old age. Whatever the reason, Burlin died, if not a major painter, a fully realized one.3"
Clinton Adams, a youngster in this group, also has a special place in the hearts of New Mexicans. An active painter, printmaker, art historian and writer, Clinton Adams taught at UCLA and other universities since the late 1940s. He joined fellow artist, June Wayne, in co-founding the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1960 in Albuquerque. He became director when Tamarind moved to New Mexico in 1971. His influence has been widely spread through aesthetic creativity and leadership positions. He founded and served as editor of The Tamarind Papers, in addition to writing, editing and publishing widely.
The Gerald Peters Gallery - Opening: Friday, May 2, 5 - 7pm
1011 Paseo de Peralta
The Gerald Peters Gallery mounts Defining the West: Two Hundred Years of American Imagery. This exhibit, after having been seen in Mr. Peters' galleries in New York and Dallas, has its final, expanded venue in Santa Fe. Ten years ago Gerald Peters moved into the large adobe building on Paseo de Peralta, known by some local wits as the ninth Northern pueblo in reference to its size and resemblance to monumental architecture of the Eight Northern Pueblos. In its role as major dealer for a range of art connected with the American West, Gerald Peters is in a unique position to tell visual stories about its interpretation. Defining the West "explores the many ways that artists have envisioned and defined the West-both as a special geographical location and as a set of ideas."
The gallery has access to key classic Western artists such as Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, landscapists that have determined how we see this part of the world like painter Albert Bierstadt and photographer Ansel Adams. The Gallery has long exhibited the key artists of the Taos and Santa Fe art colonies as they evolved over the years. The reinvigorated contemporary art section also boasts a selection of artists who use the west in their imagery, like Chuck Forsman and Woody Gwyn. Never far from water and land conservation issues, certain artists tackle these questions. With choices of this depth, Defining the West is sure to be an interesting and provocative exhibit. This author hopes that it will augment the growing scholarship that re-visits and re-visions the American West.
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture - Sunday, May 11, 2 pm
Museum Hill - 710-708 Camino Lejo
Cartoon Indigène and Bare Nation at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture on May 11, 2 pm, on Museum Hill.
In a combined splash we see cartoons-those ever tricky narratives that go from roadmaps to popular culture to high culture and back again-and a range of sculpture from the Institute of American Indian Arts students.
Cartoon indigène proves the durability of the cartoon form, beginning with a 13th century pictograph and ending up with dramatically rendered take-back of the stereotypical Indian.
"Two-fisted tales of suspense showcasing fantastic heroes and villains interacting with gods old and new have always been a part of Native American Culture." Claims the show's curator, "As the first widely accessible mass media, comic strips, and comic books, were consumed by Indian people as a recognizable and legitimate form of storytelling. Stories of humor, adventure and the fantastic depicted through pictures have always been an indigenous practice. Today's Native American scribes grapple with the same topics emboldened with millennia-old cultural traditions, blended with new methods of expression and life in the 21st Century."
Bare Nation, in the Roland Sculpture Garden showcases the work of the following sculptures: Nick Estes, Lakota/Sioux; Kit Julianto, Shoshone/Paiute/Navajo; Michael Schweigman, Oglala/Lakota; Amber Johnson, Korean; Terry Wann-Keneson, Osage; Steven Chrisjohn, Sr., Oneida Nation, Wolf Clan; April Holder, Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma; DuWayne Chee, Jr., Navajo; Cindy Schenandoah-Stanford, Oneida Nation, Wolf Clan; and, Luther Pilant III, Creek/Cherokee.
Just as their tribal affiliations are very diverse, so the works that they present indicate a wide range of expression. Materials such as welded steel, laminated wood, plastic panels, cast metal, clay, bone, and fur have been used to represent how a new generation of Indian artists is extending cultural and expectations.
1 Peyton Wright Gallery
2 Patterson Sims http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/4aa/4aa513.htm
3 Vivian Raynor, "Art: Paul Burlin, A Case of December flowering" New York Times September 11, 1981