Pasatiempo - - In Other Words -

Draw­ing from Wells of in­spi­ra­tion Cady Wells, a mod­ernist who lived in the Po­joaque Val­ley, cre­ated haunt­ing wa­ter­col­ors in the 1930s and 1940s, form­ing his own dark and elec­tric vis­ual lan­guage out of re­li­gious folk-art im­agery, the rites of the Pen­i­tente broth­er­hood, and the nu­clear-bomb work tak­ing place nearby, at Los Alamos.

Wells might be as well known as Ge­or­gia O’Ke­effe to­day but for the fact that his dark­t­inted paint­ings are in­fa­mous for re­pro­duc­ing poorly in books and mag­a­zines. “When you ac­tu­ally look at his work, the depth of his tech­niques, the meth­ods he used don’t show up that well in pho­to­graphs,” said Robin Gavin, a cu­ra­tor at the Mu­seum of Span­ish Colo­nial Art who has writ­ten about Wells.

For­tu­nately, Aaron Payne Fine Art is cur­rently ex­hibit­ing a wide range of Wells’ work. This is the first of three Wells-ori­ented shows to hit North­ern New Mex­ico; an­other ca­reer ret­ro­spec­tive opens at the Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico Art Mu­seum in Al­bu­querque on Jan. 28, and the Mu­seum of Span­ish Colo­nial Art shows art from Wells’ col­lec­tion (and pieces of his own work) be­gin­ning Jan. 22.

Last year, Mu­seum of New Mex­ico Press pub­lished Cady Wells and South­west­ern Mod­ernism, a hand­some mono­graph on the artist, edited by art his­to­rian Lois Rud­nick. The author is on hand at Aaron Payne for a re­cep­tion and book sign­ing on Satur­day, Jan. 15, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Aaron Payne Fine Art, 213 E. Marcy St. Re­fresh­ments will be served. For in­for­ma­tion, call 995-9779.

— Casey Sanchez

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