August 13, 2012 at 11:13 AM

A Crowded Gallery Season

“Bursting at the seams…”

By Tom Maguire

Culture Vulture

Tom Maguire is a musician, arts supporter and a guy who travels the Southwest in a 13’ Scamp trailer, because he couldn’t figure out how the tent poles went together.

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From Zane Bennett on Guadalupe, to David Richard on Lincoln, VERVE on Marcy and north to the Tower Gallery in Pojoaque, Santa Fe area galleries are all geared up for the biggest art week of the year – Indian Market. Though major galleries often feel obscured by the tents and crowds in front of their exhibit spaces in the downtown area, several have taken the opportunity to mount important shows.

During this week Zane Bennett Contemporary Art opens three exhibits in honor of Native artists: Virgil Ortiz – “Venutian Soldiers”, Ortiz's newest series of clay sculpture and photographs and David Johns – “Abstracted Landscapes” on Thursday, August16 with an opening reception. On Friday, August 17, ZBCA will feature the contemporary jewelry of Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird, with a reception to be held on Friday at the gallery on South Guadalupe.

Johnson and Bird have exhibited and are collected nationally and internationally. They have been awarded top prizes at SWAIA’s annual Indian Market. Their pieces are included in the permanent collections of such prestigious institutions as the British Museum; the National Museum, Scotland; Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of Arts and Design. Shared Images, the Innovative Jewelry of Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird, was published in 2007 about their exhibition at the Heard Museum.

Of his art, Ortiz has said: "I like to tell stories through my pottery and fashion, particularly those centered around the events and repercussions of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt’ and this is the thrust of Ortiz' latest work. Ortiz has created Native superheroes in clay, photography and video to express his personal interpretation of the Pueblo Revolt - the First American Revolution lead by the legendary Po'Pay.

David Johns was born near Seba Dalkai, part of the vast Diné (Navajo) territory in Northern Arizona and New Mexico. The symmetry of Johns ' paintings reflects the harmony and balance of the Diné Way and the colors and textures of the paintings reflect the beauty of his homeland. His abstract paintings express his sense of the world by capturing life's subtle phenomena, such as the sunlight at different times of the day or the emotions brought by each of the four seasons.

A Sense of TIME at VERVE Gallery
The fine art photographic works of Susan Burnstine, Michael Crouser and Douglas Ethridge just opened last Friday and runs through October 13. Calling this their fall exhibition, VERVE Gallery of Photography has pushed this show forward into Indian Market week with all of its hustle and bustle. Don’t let the jostling crowds prevent you from seeing this superb show. In fact, VERVE is just outside of the “jostling” zone of the plaza and the streets radiating away from there. Why not stop down the street at Ecco and get a gelato to wind down and then go to VERVE. 

In the show, Burnstine’s, “Absence of Being” and Crouser’s, “Sin Tiempo” address time, or the absence or end of time, and timelessness in their splendid imagery. Their work evokes a timeless sensibility, exploring both nightmarish dreams and chanced vignettes, as if frozen in time for eternity. On the other hand, Douglas Ethridge’s, “A Cycle of Seasons”, is an engaging juxtaposition, in that his images explore the timeless beauty one finds in recurring seasonal vacillations.

Tadasky at David Richard
On Lincoln, tucked behind a row of Indian Market tents, David Richard Gallery presents “The Circle ReViewed: 1964 to 2012,” a career retrospective and the gallery’s first solo exhibition for Tadasky (Tadasuke Kuwayama).

For Tadasky, who was born Tadasuke Kuwayama in Nagoya, Japan in 1935 and has lived and worked in New York since 1961, the circle has been his primary subject as he explored numerous approaches to painting and applying color to canvas. In addition to circles comprised of perfectly and colorfully painted stripes, Tadasky has painted his famous stripes on narrow rectangular and large triangular-shaped canvases, but he always returned to the circular compositions. His paintings from the 1960s were complex, hard-edged circular stripes of bright colors that created pulsating and vibrating optical effects.  As Donald Kuspit emphasizes in the catalogue essay, “the circles are pure modern abstractions, yet the combination of the brightly colored concentric rings centered in the square canvas is reminiscent of mandalas, invoking a spiritual connotation; a Zen sensibility.”

Roxanne Swenztell at Market and in Pojoaque
Swenztell’s work can be seen at her booth (# 400 on the west side of Washington Street) and at the Tower Gallery in Pojoaque both during Indian Market and throughout the year. Also, Indian Market is a good time to re-visit, or visit for the first time, Swenztell’s masterwork in the lobby of the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. 

After Market – “Theory of Forms” at Nűart
"Theory of Forms", a solo exhibition of new paintings by the artist Erin Cone opens at Nűart on August 31 with and artist reception and runs through September 16.

Cone blends the visual language of realism, hard-edged abstraction and minimalism in her work – distilling figuration to pure geometric design, where nuances convey expression and the subtlest variations of pose and gesture hint at an untold story.

In this solo exhibition, Cone continues her exploration of the female form by using contrasting colors separated by crisp lines. These works present a bold visual impact that is softened by her delicate rendering of the figure. Rather than being narrative driven, the whole story is told in a single, frozen moment – in the turn of a head, the shape of a hand, or a glance.

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