A.C. WARD BACK TO HER ROOTS
A.C. Ward to exhibit ‘A Seco Sonnet’ at Taos Cow
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.”
PAINTING BY A.C. Ward
A PAINTING of the San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos by AneeWard is shown in-progress.