A.C. WARD BACK TO HER ROOTS

A.C. Ward to ex­hibit ‘A Seco Son­net’ at Taos Cow

Tempo - - CONTENTS - By Vir­ginia L. Clark

Artist AneeWard said her re­la­tion­ship with Taos Cow, the iconic ice cream shop and art venue in Ar­royo Seco, is 23 years old. “We both opened our busi­nesses the same year in Seco in the same build­ing— in the build­ing I hope to bring old mem­o­ries to life, bring­ing back a few of the iconic paper bag paint­ings in an auc­tion where the start­ing bid will be what the price was in 1995. I’ll also be show­ing can­vas paint­ings of Taos.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion to which she refers is hav­ing a re­cep­tion to­day (May 10), 4-6 p.m., at Taos Cow, 485 State Road 150 in down­town Ar­royo Seco. Works have been on view since May 1.

From the Spring of 1995 through 2001, Ward opened and op­er­ated her A.C. Ward Gallery in a sleepier Ar­royo Seco that has in the mean­time steadily mor­phed into a bustling burg of art and cul­ture.

First an­chored by Holy Trin­ity Church, then by Abe’s Cantina and later the Abom­inable SnowMan­sion Taos Hos­tel, through the decades, Seco, as lo­cals call it, grad­u­ally be­came stud­ded with stu­dios of jew­el­ers, sculp­tors, weavers, pot­ters, folk art, fash­ion, pho­tog­ra­phy, fine, or­ganic and fa­vorite foods, and a mul­ti­me­dia mak­ers’ space.

“Seco was so dif­fer­ent then,” Ward re­calls with great fond­ness. “Not a blank can­vas, but an adobe can­vas. We started the ‘Seco Stroll’ in 1996. This show is more about the ca­ma­raderie of those early days.”

Ward used to hold aWed­nes­day draw­ing group (named sim­ply, the G.R.O.U.P.), where lo­cals, such as Aaron Ea­gle­ton and oth­ers, got their start. “We re­ally gelled,” she said. “We put up a group show for Black His­tory month at the (Taos Cen­ter for the Art’s) Sta­bles gallery, back when (the late) Betsy Carey was di­rec­tor.”

Back in the day, she re­mem­bered how Taos Cow was the first to craft sig­na­ture fla­vors, such as laven­der ice cream, and Hol­stein Sun­set. “Morn­ings were spent sipping Taos Cow cof­fee, dead­head­ing hol­ly­hocks, plan­ning the next ‘Seco Stroll,’ and oc­ca­sion­ally hop­ping on a skate­board with mop dog Bettina to clear the brain,” Ward writes in a press re­lease about the era.

“At that time Seco was just be­com­ing a ru­ral hub: Abe’s, The Art Lab, the Post Of­fice and our two busi­nesses punc­tu­ated this jog in the road. There was his­tory, of course, a weav­ing gallery, a shoe store, a dance hall and even a gas sta­tion.”

That was two decades ago, and it’s all the more poignant for her this spring, as the ti­tle states, “A Seco Son­net: paint­ings by A.C. Ward at Taos Cow.”

“It’s re­ally fun for me to take this time and fo­cus on what I’m cre­at­ing. ‘Lyri­cal’ is the way I’m see­ing things now. My ren­di­tion of the life I wish I was al­ways liv­ing here in Seco.”

She moved to Taos from Jack­son Hole, Wy­oming af­ter find­ing the Taos palette to be hot­ter and brighter com­pared to the huge wildlife art scene in­Wy­oming. “That was not my work style. I was more like out of the South­west. I’d come here for two months ev­ery year and made the de­ci­sion at age 29 to move to Taos.” And the rest is, as they say, his­tory.

In the past 20 years she’s lived in El Salto, Valdez, Blue­berry Hill and Ar­royo Seco. She’s had a gallery where Twin­ingWeavers is now, another in an A-frame north of the in­ter­sec­tion, next to Claire Haye’s jew­elry gallery, and also in the old Ar­royo Seco school build­ing. She said she’s hav­ing a fun time with an­i­mals in the fields right now, walk­ing through the grasses to get close to the fences, the cows and horses and goats, es­pe­cially the lit­tle goats at the Martínez Ha­cienda.

“I love it. This col­lec­tion is my love poem to the vil­lage we all have tucked away in our fan­tasies, an ex­cuse for some of the older Seco recluse-types to come out of the wood­work,” she added play­fully.

“And it is al­most a com­mu­nal agree­ment be­tween those of us who love Seco: that we turn off our phones, lean into the morn­ing, take heat from sun-warmed wall of adobe, drink in the per­fume of a lilac bush, and sigh in the knowl­edge that this ‘is enough.’ Seco is a state of mind. I am so grate­ful that this bend in the road has been the stage where my life has played out.”

COUR­TESY IM­AGE

PAINT­ING BY A.C. Ward

COUR­TESY OF THE ARTIST

A PAINT­ING of the San Fran­cisco de Asis Church in Ran­chos de Taos by AneeWard is shown in-progress.

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