Art in Re­view

30 Un­der 30: The Next Gen­er­a­tion

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS -

The Santa Fe Com­mu­nity Gallery’s cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion, 30 Un­der 30: The Next Gen­er­a­tion, show­cases 30 artists un­der thirty years old, all from New Mexico. The artists, cho­sen by cu­ra­tors Meaghan Fer­gu­son, Joanne Lefrak, Marisa Sage, Brad Ham­man, and Tey Mar­i­anna Nunn, work in a broad range of gen­res, from sculp­ture and oil paint­ing to au­dio in­stal­la­tions and pho­tog­ra­phy. The gallery of­fers a unique op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal artists, who can sub­mit port­fo­lios of art­work for pos­si­ble dis­play and of­fer pro­gram­ming in­put. This in­clu­sive ap­proach makes the space feel uniquely wel­com­ing — more like a mu­seum than a com­mer­cial gallery, even though the work on dis­play is for sale; artists re­ceive 60 per­cent of a pur­chase, and the re­main­der goes to the City of Santa Fe. For the bur­geon­ing artists in 30 Un­der 30, the Com­mu­nity Gallery is a great chance to ex­hibit — and sell — art­work.

Al­bu­querque-based artist Seiya Bowen took apart a kitchen stove for his eight­piece un­ti­tled in­stal­la­tion. Bowen told Pasatiempo, “My par­ents owned a small Ja­panese res­tau­rant where my en­tire fam­ily worked. It was our liveli­hood and a gath­er­ing place, but the res­tau­rant closed un­ex­pect­edly due to my grand­par­ents’ poor health — and my mom’s need to look af­ter them.” Grill plates and trays, still splat­tered with grease, are en­cased in ul­tra-mod­ern white-and-Plex­i­glas vit­rines — a dis­play choice that might seem ironic or silly with­out knowl­edge of the artist’s bit­ter­sweet back story. Span­ning al­most an en­tire gallery wall is Reyes Padilla’s in­stal­la­tion of metic­u­lously de­tailed eyes, painted onto small, rounded pieces of wood; each of the diminu­tive paint­ings de­picts eyes of peo­ple to whom the artist is close, pro­duc­ing a star­tlingly in­ti­mate ef­fect. Nearby, a small bronze sculp­ture of a bunny by Bar­bara Men­chaca crouches on a pedestal. Its pleas­antly plump body is round and soft-look­ing, with pe­tite ears and tiny paws that are not only adorable but also ex­pertly crafted. Mixed-media artist Aubrey de Cheubell’s hand­son in­stal­la­tion at first ap­pears to be a row of small boxes, un­til you no­tice a sign invit­ing visi­tors to open them; each one pro­duces its own unique sound when its lid is lifted.

Pho­tog­ra­pher Kai Mar­garida-Ramirez’s work is beau­ti­fully and un­usu­ally com­posed. A pair of framed photos con­tains fig­ures all but ob­scured by an over­lay of metic­u­lously cut-out pa­per. Based on its ti­tle,

Re-Mem­bered Self is pre­sum­ably an im­age of the artist as a child, but its small cen­tral fig­ure is barely vis­i­ble, cov­ered as she is with lacy white pa­per. Del­i­cate sil­ver­point-on-pa­per draw­ings by Zoe Black­well con­tain hun­dreds of tiny stars, some of which form sub­tle con­stel­la­tions. Sand­wiched be­tween them is a sort of poem, which looks like it was writ­ten on an old type­writer, and whose all-caps phrases read like for­tunes: “You seek in­trigue and the more dar­ing the out­come of life, the bet­ter you like it.” Lara Nickel’s oil paint­ing

Gi­ant Prickly Pear is more than seven feet wide, its mam­moth pro­por­tions ex­ag­ger­ated by an un­usual dis­play. Propped against a right an­gle in a cor­ner of the gallery, it seems to pop out from the walls be­hind it. Nickel, whose work shows at both Ernesto Mayans and Ne­dra Mat­teucci Gal­leries in Santa Fe, is one of the show’s more es­tab­lished artists. Gi­ant Prickly

Pear is tech­ni­cally su­perb, and the vivid green, richly tex­tured sur­face looks brightly mod­ern against a stark white back­ground. Other high­lights from the ex­hi­bi­tion in­clude a quirky, in­tri­cate me­tal piece by Dolores Yvette Tarango made en­tirely of horse­shoes, and Craig Moya’s daz­zling straw ap­pliqué-over-acrylic por­trait of the Vir­gin Mary, called No Orig­i­nal Sin.

With 30 Un­der 30, the Santa Fe Com­mu­nity Gallery has done a bril­liant job not only in giv­ing younger artists an op­por­tu­nity to ex­hibit work, but also in in­tro­duc­ing view­ers to tal­ented new artists. — Iris McLis­ter

Left, Lara Nickel: Gi­ant Prickly Pear, 2013, oil on can­vas Be­low left, Seiya Bowen, Un­ti­tled, 2015, me­tal Be­low right, Zoe Black­well: The Star You Were Born Un­der (de­tail), 2015, sil­ver­point and typed text on wa­ter­color pa­per and newsprint Bot­tom, Bar­bara Men­chaca, Bunny, 2014, bronze

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