Al­coves 16/17 #4

Al­coves 16/17 #4 at the New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - Michael Abatemarco I The New Mex­i­can

The New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art’s Al­cove shows date back to the mu­seum’s early days, when artists could add their names to a list and have their work shown in the small first-floor gallery spa­ces. The tra­di­tion has been re­vis­ited over the years as a show­case for con­tem­po­rary New Mex­ico-based artists, who are now se­lected by cu­ra­tors. In an­tic­i­pa­tion of the mu­seum’s cen­ten­nial in 2017, a year­long cy­cle of these shows is once again in full swing. For the se­ries run, five artist ex­hibits are pre­sented at a time. Al­coves 16/17 #4, the fourth it­er­a­tion, opens on Fri­day, Aug. 26, and fea­tures works by Sally An­der­son, Sheri Crider, Robert Drum­mond, Michael Nam­ingha, and John Vok­oun. On the cover is Nam­ingha’s In­dian Giver, 2015, archival pigment print on Hah­nemühle pa­per, cour­tesy the artist and Ni­man Fine Art.


sta­di­ums and other large con­struc­tion projects, in­clud­ing the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 sum­mer games. “For me, these sit­u­a­tions are this in­ter­est­ing in­ter­sec­tion of im­mi­grants, large po­lit­i­cal en­ti­ties at work, and ex­ces­sive waste.”

The Al­coves ex­hibit, named for the small se­ries of gallery spa­ces on the mu­seum’s first floor, is not a themed show, nor is it pre­cisely a group show. Rather, it is an ex­hibit of five solo artist pre­sen­ta­tions that stand on their own — although cu­ra­tor Merry Scully makes an ef­fort to in­clude artists whose works can have a di­a­logue with one an­other. The other four artists par­tic­i­pat­ing are Michael Nam­ingha, Sally An­der­son, John Vok­oun, and Robert Drum­mond. “We’re show­ing an enor­mous se­ries of John Vok­oun’s pan­els that make one large piece,” Scully told

Pasatiempo. Vok­oun’s pieces Worm­field Dis­tor­tion and

Sara­jevo, Athens, Mos­cow, Bei­jing, Mu­nich, Helsinki, At­lanta, Berlin — each one of these cities has hosted the Olympic Games at some point dur­ing the 20th or 21st cen­turies. Mas­sive sports are­nas, race tracks, swim­ming pools, and sta­di­ums, many of which have fallen into states of de­cay, stand as mon­u­ments to ex­ces­sive waste — each one built for just a few weeks of use. The pres­tige that comes with host­ing the Olympics has a hefty price, reach­ing mon­e­tary costs of­ten mea­sured in the bil­lions. For some per­spec­tive, con­sider the new Yan­kee Sta­dium, which re­placed the old Yan­kee Sta­dium in 2009 and was built for $2.3 bil­lion. The old and new sta­di­ums ex­isted side by side un­til the orig­i­nal ball­park was con­verted into a pub­lic park.

Al­bu­querque artist and con­trac­tor Sheri Crider knows all too well what goes into large-scale con­struc­tion, and she uses the waste ma­te­ri­als from aban­doned ur­ban projects as the ba­sis for her art. In Al­coves 16/17 #4, the lat­est it­er­a­tion of the New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art’s his­tor­i­cally on-again, offa­gain, se­ries of solo artist shows, Crider in­cludes a gouache paint­ing of the two Yan­kee Sta­di­ums when they were neigh­bors. In ad­di­tion, she has con­structed a large, nearly floor-to-ceil­ing sculp­ture made en­tirely of re­claimed doors. “All of my art­work is about my re­la­tion­ship to con­struc­tion and ma­te­rial waste,” she told Pasatiempo. “As a sculp­tor, for me it’s free ma­te­rial, but I’m also do­ing a lit­tle penance for my own ma­te­rial use.”

Last year, Crider, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with an­other artist, used ap­prox­i­mately 200 doors for an in­stal­la­tion at Peters Projects in Santa Fe. Her two-di­men­sional works in the cur­rent show are all im­ages of du­pli­cate

Sed­i­ment Dis­tor­tion are com­puter art­works made from cor­rupt data files and printed on an alu­minum sub­struc­ture in a process called sub­li­ma­tion, in which ink is heated into a gas that pen­e­trates a polyester coat­ing where the gas mol­e­cules so­lid­ify into a per­ma­nent form. The near-in­de­struc­tible two-di­men­sional works are com­po­si­tions of banded color where the cor­rupted data are trans­formed into aes­thetic ar­range­ments. Vok­oun is also show­ing a se­lec­tion of graphite works on pa­per, silk-screen on alu­minum, and the 70-by70-inch multi-panel com­po­si­tion Au­to­mor­phic Form.

Nam­ingha, son of artist Dan Nam­ingha and brother of Arlo Nam­ingha, is ex­hibit­ing a se­ries of new textbased archival pigment prints. Each is a dou­ble im­age of a word such as “Love,” or a phrase like “In­dian Giver,” ar­ranged in a sym­met­ri­cal ori­en­ta­tion like a Rorschach inkblot. The words, which run ver­ti­cally rather than hor­i­zon­tally, are trans­formed into com­po­si­tions, some of which take on the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a face or totem.

An­der­son’s work has an affin­ity with Vok­oun’s, in that both artists fin­ish their pieces with ma­te­ri­als com­monly found in the auto in­dus­try. In Vok­oun’s case, his dye-sub­li­ma­tion pieces are pol­ished and clear-coated by an auto-body shop in Mis­souri. An­der­son, who makes ce­ramic sculp­ture, fin­ishes

A loose theme emerges from this jux­ta­po­si­tion of five artists — and that is one in which tech­nol­ogy and un­con­ven­tional ma­te­ri­als play a part. The real em­pha­sis is on the diver­sity of medi­ums and the dis­tinct vi­sions of New Mex­ico’s con­tem­po­rary artists.

her pieces with auto-body paints. Some, like her Night Pas­sage, have a matte fin­ish. Oth­ers, such as Pur­ple Royal, with its sub­tle opales­cent shades of pur­ple, pink, and blue, are pol­ished to a high gloss. An­der­son’s sculp­tures, small in scale, are ab­stract or­ganic forms that hint at fig­u­ra­tion and re­call the works of mod­ernist sculp­tor Con­stantin Brân­cus¸ i (1876-1957) with­out seem­ing de­riv­a­tive.

Drum­mond, a new-me­dia artist, is in­clud­ing an in­ter­ac­tive dis­play, a sin­gle-chan­nel video. “It’s called

Dis­trict, and it was com­pleted for ISEA 2012,” he told Pasatiempo. ISEA (In­ter­na­tional Sym­po­sium on Elec­tronic Art) is a global con­fer­ence and se­ries of events fo­cus­ing on the in­ter­sec­tion of art and tech­nol­ogy, held each year in a dif­fer­ent city. In 2012, the sym­po­sium was held in Al­bu­querque. “It’s de­signed as a mul­ti­chan­nel piece, but right now we’re show­ing the sin­gle-chan­nel part of it, the main screen. Orig­i­nally it was a trip­tych, with two screens on ei­ther side and a cen­ter screen. The idea is that par­tic­i­pants come up to the piece, and it re­sponds to their move­ment.” Ev­ery minute, sam­pled im­agery taken though mo­tion cap­ture is sent to a data­base that trans­forms vis­i­tors’ move­ments into a slow-mo­tion se­ries of ab­stracted im­agery. If you move too quickly, the pro­jected video does not record the move­ments, but if you move slowly, it re­sponds. “It forces you to slow down,” said Drum­mond. “The idea is that it reads the par­tic­i­pants’ move­ments and cre­ates a data­base of char­ac­ters. That be­comes the dis­trict.” Drum­mond was in­spired by the ha­la­tion ef­fect that oc­curs with 35-mil­lime­ter film. “Ko­dak spent many years try­ing to cre­ate for­mu­la­tions in their film stock that elim­i­nate ha­la­tion ... like when you take a pic­ture of a street light with a 35-mil­lime­ter cam­era and the light goes through the lens bar­rel, through the film, bounces off the back plate of the cam­era and back onto the film, cre­at­ing this ab­nor­mal ha­la­tion pat­tern.” What that means in terms of the in­ter­ac­tive video is that a halo ef­fect ap­pears on screen in­stead of a nor­mal recorded im­age. The fig­ure, a dig­i­tal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the par­tic­i­pant, ap­pears as if it is dis­si­pat­ing or in a state of dis­so­lu­tion, his or her very mol­e­cules be­ing dif­fused.

In ad­di­tion to Dis­trict, Drum­mond is show­ing some new-me­dia works in which LCD video is em­bed­ded in cast glass. In Time­keeper in Green, for ex­am­ple, a pure white fig­ure moves slowly, as though prac­tic­ing tai chi or maybe danc­ing, trapped like a liv­ing soul in a block of green ice.

It is only in hind­sight, ac­cord­ing to Scully, that a loose theme emerges from this jux­ta­po­si­tion of five artists — and that is one in which tech­nol­ogy and un­con­ven­tional ma­te­ri­als play a part. As in pre­vi­ous

Al­coves shows (this is one of sev­eral, planned as a lead-up to the mu­seum’s cen­ten­nial next year), the real em­pha­sis is on the diver­sity of medi­ums and the dis­tinct vi­sions of New Mex­ico’s con­tem­po­rary artists.

Sally An­der­son: Pur­ple Royal, 2015, ce­ramic with au­to­mo­tive paint, photo Ad­di­son Doty; top left, Robert Drum­mond: Ra­dio Tube

Broth­er­hood, 2011, cast glass, em­bed­ded LCD video, stereo au­dio Op­po­site page, top, Sheri Crider: Ge­or­giadome, 2016, gouache on pa­per, cour­tesy the artist; right, Michael Nam­ingha: Lust, 2016, archival pigment print on Hah­nemühle pa­per, cour­tesy the artist and Ni­man Fine Art

John Vok­oun: Worm­field Dis­tor­tion, 2016, com­puter art and dye-sub­li­ma­tion on alu­minum, cour­tesy the artist; top left, Robert Drum­mond: Hem­ingray-17, 2012, cast glass, em­bed­ded LCD video, stereo au­dio, cour­tesy the artist

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