CERAMIC ALCHEMY THE MAGIC OF ‘EARTH FIRE PAINT’ UNVEILED AT STUDIO 107-B
The maggicc of ‘Earth Fire Paint’ unveiled at Studio o 1107-B
Abu usy hub of the contemporary ar rt world is hiding in plain si ght in a light, airy space be etween Mesa’s Edge and Namb e onn the north side of Taos Plaza a. Th hat space is Studio 107-B, the bra ainchild of multi-talented Tao os artista Maye Torres.
On a recent afternoon, the stud dio saw a stream of visits from m local and international artis sts, writers, gallery-owners and d friends as well as buyers draw d wn by the fresh collection of wor w rld-class work.
Keep K ping up with a steady para p ade of exhibitions since the venu v ue opened a few months ag go, Torres is debuting “Earth Fi ire PPaint” at a reception planned Sa aturd day (May 12) from 4-7 p.mm., aat Studio 107-B. The show con tinu ues through June 17. “Thi s exxhibit focuses mainly on ceram mic aartists working in a variety of uses s,” TTorres said. “Ceramic vessels are the mee m eting of earth and fire, then painted wit th glaze. So: Earth Fire Paint. We were e innspired by the clay shows being orrgan nized by some of the Kit Carson RRoa ad galleries.”
Sixteen arti ists, including Torres herself, will be repr r resented in the show. Brian Shhield ds moved here decades ago from Baarcel lona, Spain, to teach art in the San Lui is Valley in Colorado. He and his partner (and Amigos Bravos co-founder), poet Sawnie Morris, will be collaborating on a piece for the show encompassing visual media and poetry. “It’s exciting to see this historic gallery space bring contemporary art back to the Plaza, and I’m thrilled to be part of it,” Shields said. Morris, incidentally, is also the fifirst Taos Poet Laureate.
“Brian is an action painter,” Torres said. “He has a directness with medium, a spontaneous use where there’s a happy dance with the canvas.”
Stephen Kilborn and John Hutson both create functional artware out of clay. “They use clay cups and plates and platters as their surface to paint with incredible glazes,” Torres said. “Stephen’s a born artist and a master with his medium. John is incredibly prolific. He specializes in carving amazing textures into his clay, and has a color palette of vivid oranges, reds and blacks.”
“If I had to describe my work in one word, it would be ‘eclectic,’” Hutson said.
“Michael Gorman is a nephew of the late R.C. Gorman, and will soon be continuing that legacy and opening his own gallery here in Taos,” Torres said. “He focuses on raku firing his vessels. Mercedes Montoya is a multimedia maker who’s been in Taos for years.
She’s usually at art fairs, so we’re lucky to have her. Carl GrayWitkop works with burnished pit firing, with carvings that are really exquisite.
“We’re fortunate to have two brilliant clay artists from Taos Pueblo. Jeralyn Lujan Lucero does sculpture with micaceous clay. She’s pioneered innovative, contemporary uses of traditional Taos clay and is working in exciting new forms. Dawning Pollen Shorty comes from the Track family legacy f potters. She is a multimedia artist who has been focusing on sing the micaceous clay for sculptures and vessels, and she also paints beautifully.” Ron Cooper moved to Taos from Los Angeles in the 1960s. “He was one of the first of those L.A. guys to come here,” Torres said. “He has done spectacular work with sculpture made from ceramic torsos of people’s bodies, painted with glazes. Kathleen Ferguson’s eative journey has taken her m Taos to the Middle East, e she studied the silk road ught for 12 years in Qatar. k was exhibited in New ity at the Whitney Biennial. ah Rael-Buckley is originally Albuquerque and has been a ceramic artist most of her life. I love her imaginative use of clay, woven with New Mexico legends and quotes from her experiences in life.”
“My soulful relationship with clay is about enriching, nurturing, forgiving, creating and remembering,” RaelBuckley said.
Gretchen Ewert was raised in Mora. “I think she’s a multidimensional artist from another universe,” Torres said. “She’s technically exceptional, and she combines animal forms with people and archetypal objects. Her artwork links science and myth and the ‘rational world.’” Said Ewert, “Everything I do refers to the natural world and me in it.” Marcia Oliver came to New Mexico to paint in 1969 and has been working and showing here for most of her life. “She is one of the most extraordinary abstract artists,” Torres said. “Her work is like the sublime language of dream time. Marcia has powerful use of art and paint that talks to our subconscious. “Hank Saxe is not only an important ceramic artist himself, but over the years he has facilitated many other artists, hosting them to work in his Taos studio and assisting them with technical aspects of sculptural development. Hank has a very direct way of manipulating the clay, and really other-worldly architectural forms emerge. Jim Wagner, so well known as a painter, has also been working in Hank Saxe’s clay studio for decades. Clay gives him that surface for his brilliant color skills. Jim’s subject matter can be so delightful and whimsical. We’re excited to show him. Jim’s authentic, playful use of material never fails to wow the audience.”
Torres traces her own clay work to early childhood experimentation with mudpies. “Gradually I worked my way up to figurative sculpture. I find clay has a memory of what it wants to be, and I’m like the human guide to these forms. Sometimes angels are just using your hands.”
Her profoundly evocative work indeed seems to have a timeless, other-dimensional quality, beautifully interweaving antlered deities with exalted human forms and esoteric scripts.
“I think being an artist is an honorable curse,” she reflected. “It’s our job to carry the torch in darkness, and that’s our intention with this gallery. One of our goals is to start the Renaissance 2020. We’re doing it with art because revolutions are too bloody. Taos has always been a hotbed for the arts and for equality. I think we’re still fighting for that equality.”
For more information, call (575) 779-7832.
GALLERY OWNER Maye Torres, taken New Year’s Eve 2017