H. Joe Waldrum,
depicting the iconographic images of New Mexico and revealing their abstract qualities and visual impact in a new way. You see how he really studied the subject, refined it, and expressed its essence in a unique and impressive way.” Going beyond that, Redding stated: “Waldrum’s Polaroids deftly assert the potential to function dually as historic documents and artistic objects.”
Waldrum’s method of working serially demonstrates how closely he scrutinized his subjects. Seen from a variety of vantage points — sometimes no more than one step to the left or right — many of the artist’s images take on an unintended filmic quality when seen together. “I love the cinematic feel of Joe’s work,” Redding said. In part, that was her vision for the installation process. Mounted sideby-side in custom frames conceived by Tom Antreasian, curator of exhibitions for the Albuquerque Museum, the diminutive photographs are displayed in continuous, linear strips at both venues. “The look of this show will be extremely minimal for our large north gallery, very avantgarde,” Antreasian said. “We’ve never done an installation quite like this.”
Waldrum’s foray into SX-70 photography began in the late ’70s as a reference tool for his paintings and prints. The story goes that a summer excursion to Taos was coming to a close. He was preparing to return by plane to his studio in New York and had little time left to accomplish all that he had intended — including making sketches of the church at Las Trampas, which he would refer to for a major painting. “In a mad dash to beat the clock, Waldrum decided to use a Polaroid camera; the only problem was he didn’t own one,” Redding said.
“So he hopped in his car, drove to a Safeway grocery store, and bought a Polaroid and four boxes of film. Driving like a madman, he made it back at the church just as the sun was setting and exposed all 40 sheets of film documenting the San José de Garcia Church.” Back in his New York studio, Waldrum realized that these little images were
Left to right, Canoncito at Apache Canyon; H. Joe Waldrum’s studio, Taos;
Guadalupe Church, Santa Fe