Jim Vogel

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

Con­cepts of grace

James A. Mich­ener wrote about gra­cia in his novel Ibe­ria. “‘Does it mean grace?’ I asked. That and much more. ‘Is it a sense of hu­mor?’ With­out one you could not have gra­cia, but it would have to be a very gen­tle sense of hu­mor, one that smiled qui­etly at the inani­ties of the world. ‘Some­times you use the word as if it meant good judg­ment or breed­ing.’ It in­cludes all of that and much more… there is much in Spain that has gra­cia which can­not be found else­where.”

Jim Vogel’s ex­hi­bi­tion of new paint­ings, Gra­cia, will be shown at Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mex­ico, Septem­ber 28 through Oc­to­ber 13.

Vogel ex­plores the con­cept of grace among the peo­ple of New Mex­ico. In his work, he cel­e­brates the peo­ple who work hard and he em­pha­sizes the hands that pick chilis, make tor­tillas, play the fid­dle and ca­ress a baby.

He ex­plains that the old man in At Your Ser­vice, for in­stance, re­spect­fully bow­ing, is not sub­servient. Rather, he is so­lic­i­tous. He em­bod­ies gra­cia, strength, not weak­ness. The farmer tak­ing his chilis To Mar­ket, has been la­bo­ri­ously nur­tur­ing and mar­ket­ing chilis for years, em­body­ing gra­cia.

Re­cently, he and his wife Chris­ten, came across a num­ber of frames for the Sta­tions of the Cross, which in­spired an­other series of paint­ings. “Ev­ery fam­ily is holy,” Vogel says. His series, Fa­milia Sagrada, was “com­pelled by a lack of grace” to­ward fam­i­lies “cross­ing the desert seek­ing what ev­ery fam­ily wants—safety and pros­per­ity.”

In the frames that Chris­ten has “dressed up” us­ing her hus­band’s palette, a blos­som ap­pears in the top qua­tre­foil. “In a harsh

en­vi­ron­ment,” Vogel says, “there’s al­ways that po­ten­tial for beauty.” In Fa­milia Sagrada flow­er­less cholla ap­pears within the scene and a blos­som ap­pears above. In the main im­age, a man of­fers wa­ter to a migrant and his son—“an act of kind­ness and grace in a time of des­per­a­tion.”

Vogel was born in Roswell, New Mex­ico, and lives in the Rio Grande Gorge, an area rich in tra­di­tion. “New Mex­ico is spe­cial be­cause of its con­nec­tion to Mex­ico and Spain and its own com­plex his­tory and ge­og­ra­phy,” he says. His grand­fa­ther told sto­ries and their home was filled with books that his mother en­cour­aged him and his sib­lings to read. It is where he dis­cov­ered Mich­ener’s Ibe­ria. Vogel ex­presses his fam­ily’s sto­ry­teller tra­di­tion in his col­or­ful nar­ra­tives, full of com­pas­sion, hu­mor and gra­cia.

Fa­milia Sagrada II, oil on can­vas panel framed in an­tique Sta­tions of the Cross frame, 38 x 19½”

Fa­milia Sagrada IV, oil on can­vas panel framed in an­tique Sta­tions of the Cross frame, 38 x 19½”

At Your Ser­vice, oil on can­vas panel, 48 x 22”

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