Min­ing the youth

Santa Fe Art Project

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - Michael Abatemarco

ON Aug. 5, 2015, 3 mil­lion gal­lons of waste­water con­tam­i­nated with ar­senic, beryl­lium, cad­mium, and lead, among other toxic el­e­ments from a spill at the Gold King Mine near Sil­ver­ton, Colorado, poi­soned a trib­u­tary of the An­i­mas River. The event was an eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ter. Within five days, the waste had reached the San Juan River on the Navajo Na­tion, con­tam­i­nat­ing ranch and farm lands, af­fect­ing cat­tle and crops. Two days after that, it had reached Lake Pow­ell. Santa Fe­based artist Drew Leni­han, the dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions and so­cial me­dia co­or­di­na­tor at SITE Santa Fe, ex­am­ines is­sues sur­round­ing the mine spill in a mul­ti­me­dia in­stal­la­tion at David Richard Gallery as part of Basins — one of two ex­hibits in the first Santa Fe Art Project show­case, which opens Fri­day, Sept. 9.

“[Leni­han is] ad­dress­ing is­sues of dis­as­ter tourism and ac­tivism, dig­i­tal me­dia and its aes­theti­ciz­ing of so­cial­ity, while do­ing some­thing rather tra­di­tional by in­clud­ing pho­to­graphic prints,” said Rad­i­cal Aba­cus’ John McKis­sick, the cu­ra­tor of Basins. “Drew’s in­stal­la­tion will not only in­clude a sculp­tural ‘non­site’ of the Robert Smith­son va­ri­ety but will also in­clude prints of In­sta­gram feeds show­ing peo­ple’s col­lec­tive im­age-mak­ing around this episode.” What Smith­son called “non­sites” are ab­stract in­door earth works that rep­re­sent ac­tual off-site lo­ca­tions. Leni­han is one of nine lo­cal artists show­ing work in Basins. The ex­hibit is paired with one cu­rated by the team of David Eich­holtz, co-owner of David Richard Gallery, and vis­it­ing cu­ra­tor Howard Rutkowski.

Ini­ti­ated by David Richard Gallery, the Santa Fe Art Project is a series of shows that mine the tal­ents of lo­cal artists. The project rep­re­sents a new ex­hibit model for the gallery, the pri­mary fo­cus of which has hereto­fore been on post­war and con­tem­po­rary ab­strac­tion, in­clud­ing Op art, Pop art, and Color Field paint­ing by na­tional artists. The first two ex­hibits in the ro­ta­tion, un­der the head­ing The Santa Fe Art Project – Part 1, are on view for two weeks. A sec­ond pair­ing opens in late Septem­ber, fol­lowed by a third pair­ing that de­buts in Oc­to­ber.

“We’re cu­rat­ing three of the shows that are in the ro­ta­tion,” Eich­holtz told Pasatiempo. “We have guest

cu­ra­tors for the other three, and we sort of fo­cused on peo­ple from the al­ter­na­tive spa­ces and lo­cal col­lec­tives for that. Santa Fe has al­ways had a his­tory of hav­ing an enor­mous num­ber of artists and cre­ative peo­ple, but what’s hap­pened in the last cou­ple of years, with the big push now for more af­ford­able hous­ing and stu­dio spa­ces, there’s been more of an in­flux. There’s a great new group of young peo­ple. In the last sev­eral years here in Santa Fe, these col­lec­tives have popped up. Col­lec­tives aren’t new, but they are kind of new to Santa Fe, I think. At least, my aware­ness of them has been re­ally height­ened.”

Eich­holtz and Rutkowski’s ros­ter for the first ro­ta­tion in­cludes works by 14 lo­cal artists. “The past few shows that I’ve cu­rated have been at Rad­i­cal Aba­cus,” McKis­sick said. “This is a more rep­re­sen­ta­tive ex­hi­bi­tion in a venue that I’m not in charge of. It gave me the chance to work with some younger artists in Santa Fe who I haven’t worked with be­fore.” Amelia Fugee is a sculp­tor and fab­ric artist work­ing with found scraps of tex­tiles used as the ba­sis for wall ta­pes­tries that evoke a sense of nat­u­ral and do­mes­tic spa­ces. In­stal­la­tion art and sculp­ture are well rep­re­sented in Basins, which in­cludes works by Jamie Hamil­ton, Ca­ley Den­nis, Chris­tian Michael Fi­lardo, and Lara Nickel. An­gel o Harmsworth is pre­sent­ing a sound­scape.

“Like all of the shows I’ve thrown at Rad­i­cal Aba­cus, this show is un­themed,” McKis­sick said. “‘Basins’ is a beau­ti­ful word that I found had mul­ti­ple con­nec­tions to ge­og­ra­phy, do­mes­tic life, geom­e­try. I was stay­ing in Gal­is­teo this sum­mer, and Drew was telling me about the Gold King Mine dis­as­ter. I was think­ing about the San Juan Basin. The rea­son I chose that ti­tle was be­cause of the sound and shape and se­man­tic po­ten­tial of the word. I’m in­clud­ing artists I wanted to work with, who I was con­fi­dent would pro­duce per­cep­tu­ally com­pelling, con­cep­tu­ally so­phis­ti­cated, and so­cially re­flec­tive work. They’re young. They’re driven.”

Many of the artists in the Santa Fe Art Project series are newer and mid-ca­reer artists with­out reg­u­lar gallery rep­re­sen­ta­tion, who show their works in pop-up shows or who have been fea­tured mainly in al­ter­na­tive art spa­ces. These shows and spa­ces typ­i­cally fea­ture cut­ting-edge art­work rarely seen in Santa Fe’s more tra­di­tional and es­tab­lished gal­leries. David Richard, while not the first gallery to in­clude the ris­ing lo­cal col­lec­tives com­posed of a largely younger de­mo­graphic, is poised to be­come a prime player in pro­mot­ing them. “The col­lec­tives ful­fill a re­ally im­por­tant role,” said Eich­holtz, whose gallery moved from the Rai­l­yard Arts District to Pacheco Street ear­lier this year. “It’s a way for them to get to­gether and make art and present it in an or­ga­nized way. Also, it’s nur­tur­ing. There’s crit­i­cal feed­back and crit­i­cal dis­course go­ing on amongst them­selves. Those are things that artists need and want and are starv­ing for. I started meet­ing with some of them and do­ing dif­fer­ent projects. For ex­am­ple, we hosted a cou­ple of Strangers Col­lec­tive’s sa­lons when we moved here.”

The Santa Fe Art Project grew out of DR Projects, an ini­tia­tive that Eich­holtz and gallery co-owner Richard Barger be­gan last year to show­case the art of emerg­ing artists and older artists who wanted to re­vi­tal­ize their ca­reers or present new projects. “When we moved to this lo­ca­tion we de­cided to ded­i­cate two spa­ces for lo­cal tal­ent,” Eich­holtz said. “It gave us an op­por­tu­nity — which we’ve al­ways wanted to do since we moved to Santa Fe — to meet more, and work with more, of the artists here. I re­al­ized that what we ought to do is some re­ally big ef­fort that could con­cen­trate and fo­cus around the re­ally dy­namic and vi­brant con­tem­po­rary art scene. Artists need two things to jump­start their ca­reers: ex­po­sure and in­come. They need to be able to sell enough work here or in other cities and stay in Santa Fe, be part of the com­mu­nity, and not have to leave in or­der to make a liv­ing.”

North­ern New Mex­ico is in a unique po­si­tion in re­la­tion to other art des­ti­na­tions around the coun­try be­cause of its cen­turies-long his­tory of artis­tic prac­tice and tra­di­tion. In the 20th cen­tury, it was a cross­roads for Amer­i­can mod­ernism and con­tin­ues to at­tract artists to this day. The post-re­ces­sion art world has seen a rise in art hubs pop­ping up in ur­ban cen­ters in other states. Ac­cord­ing to Eich­holtz, that phe­nom­e­non di­lutes the crit­i­cal at­ten­tion that once fa­vored Santa Fe. “The way the whole art pub­li­ca­tion world has changed from print to dig­i­tal, it just doesn’t seem like Santa Fe is get­ting the crit­i­cal cov­er­age that we used to when we were a big per­cent­age of the to­tal per­cent­age of art des­ti­na­tions,” he said. “What we’d like to do is make sure peo­ple are aware of the con­tem­po­rary scene here and at­tract, from out­side, se­ri­ous col­lec­tors, pa­trons, cu­ra­tors, crit­ics, writ­ers. That’s how this all works. You need peo­ple to come in and pur­chase the work to sup­port these artists. Santa Fe has ben­e­fited from art tourism over the years. We’ve al­ways had that, but it seems like we’ve had a lull be­cause of the re­ces­sion, and we need to get those folks back.”

The Santa Fe Art Project – Part 2 pairs the sec­ond David Richard-cu­rated show — which in­cludes works by Chris Collins, Anne Far­rell, and Caity Kennedy — with Women’s Work, guest-cu­rated by Santa Fe Col­lec­tive’s co-founder Jen­nifer Joseph. “When I started think­ing about who I wanted to put in the show, they turned out to be all women,” Joseph told

Pasatiempo. “A lot of their work en­tails de­tailed rep­e­ti­tions. There’s a cer­tain rep­e­ti­tion to a lot of craft prac­tices like weav­ing or sew­ing, but there’s also rep­e­ti­tion in things like block print­ing.” Women’s Work fea­tures se­lec­tions by five artists: Sydney Cooper,

Thais Mather, Terri Rol­land, Lu­cre­cia Tron­coso, and Joseph her­self, who is show­ing some of her new paint­ings. Her re­cent com­po­si­tions ex­plore pat­terns, con­cen­tric geo­met­ric forms, and color. “I kind of make the same paint­ing over and over again, but be­cause of my in­ter­est in all the vari­a­tions of color that ex­ist, I feel like it’s an end­less process. Ex­plor­ing color within the con­text of pat­tern is pretty much how I’m work­ing, and I like work­ing within con­straints as a dis­ci­pline. The prac­tice of rep­e­ti­tion can be tran­scen­dent in that it takes you out of your nor­mal think­ing and gets you into a very present space — for me, any­way.”

The fi­nal part of the series, The Santa Art Project – Part 3, open­ing in Oc­to­ber, presents art­work by another seven lo­cal artists, paired with Outer Lo­cal, guest-cu­rated by Crock­ett Bodel­son and San­dra Wang of SCUBA.

“Outer Lo­cal is a mix of peo­ple who moved to Santa Fe, peo­ple who grew up here, moved out, and then re­turned,” Wang told Pasatiempo. “It’s a lit­tle bit of a de­par­ture from our other cu­rated shows. We usu­ally col­lab­o­rate on a cre­ative prompt that’s more spe­cific and usu­ally has some au­di­ence in­ter­ac­tive el­e­ments to it.” Outer Lo­cal was the name of one of the first sculp­tures the artist duo made when they moved from the Bay Area to Santa Fe in 2011. It ref­er­enced Wang’s per­spec­tive as an out­sider and Bodel­son’s re­newed per­spec­tive as a na­tive of Santa Fe. “The Outer Lo­cal theme can be ap­plied more broadly to our artists be­cause we think that their works speak about the place where they were made,” Wang said. “We feel like their work cov­ers this whole spec­trum of one’s re­la­tion­ship with a place.”

Lind­sey Kennedy: Un­ti­tled, 2016, dig­i­tal photo; be­low, Jamie Hamil­ton: Spir­i­tual

Scrim­mage, 2016, steel, neodymium, and acrylic © Jamie Hamil­ton, cour­tesy David Richard Gallery; be­low right, Sydney Cooper: de­tail from per­for­mance of Light Field; op­po­site page, Thais Mather: Lil Wayne Drops (de­tail), 2016, pen and ink

Cheri Ibes: Look, 2016, dig­i­tal print; left, Terri Rol­land:

Three Breaths, 2015, acrylic and clay paint; top, Kade Twist: stills from Mar­ket Lib­er­a­tion, 2012, HD video with sound © Kade Twist, cour­tesy David Richard Gallery; right, Derek Chan: Fu­ture, 2013, cut pa­per and gold leaf on am­ate pa­per

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