Roseta San­ti­ago

A sense of place

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - ROSETA SAN­TI­AGO

Roseta San­ti­ago’s lat­est paint­ings will be shown in the ex­hi­bi­tion, The New World: A Sense of Place and Dreams, at Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mex­ico. It opens July 27 and con­tin­ues through Au­gust 11.

The New World is the an­cient world “dis­cov­ered” by the Span­ish in the early 16th cen­tury and the 21st cen­tury world in which Na­tive Amer­i­cans pre­serve their her­itage among con­tin­u­ing mod­ern­iza­tion.

Now paint­ing fig­ures pri­mar­ily, San­ti­ago is also re­vis­it­ing her ear­lier work paint­ing pots and cer­e­mo­nial ob­jects in al­tar-like set­tings. “The al­tar pieces,” she ex­plains, “are the way I learned to paint ar­ti­facts. They’re on white pris­tine cloth with a sin­gle source of light that cre­ated a bounce light, cre­ated def­i­ni­tion and darks and lights. It cre­ated a spir­i­tual realm in which I could honor the pots. I re­visit once in awhile be­cause I want to see my pro­gres­sion and what I’ve learned”

San­ti­ago has a large col­lec­tion of ar­ti­facts and bor­rows from lo­cal deal­ers such as Randy Rodriguez at Rio Bravo Trad­ing Com­pany and Scott Corey at Santa Fe Vin­tage to find the per­fect pieces for her com­po­si­tions. She is now paint­ing more fig­ures and se­lects wear­ing blan­kets, jewelry and other ar­ti­facts to cre­ate an am­bi­ence and to tell the story of an in­di­vid­ual.

“When I paint the ar­ti­facts,” she says, “I’m trac­ing their art. I paint free­hand and don’t trans­fer the im­age to the can­vas in any way. When I paint a de­tail, I experience what the ar­ti­san was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. All the hand­work makes me think about the peo­ple who made these beau­ti­ful things. I re­search what the lines and pat­terns mean. It’s

part of my en­joy­ment in mak­ing these paint­ings.”

In her fig­u­ra­tive work, she ex­plains, “these are peo­ple who have gone through tran­si­tions in their her­itage. There are a num­ber of con­tem­po­rary younger peo­ple with tra­di­tional cloth­ing. It’s about the peo­ple who bring their her­itage to the new world. They’re car­ry­ing on their her­itage.”

San­ti­ago dressed one of her Diné mod­els in a vin­tage Mex­i­can ser­ape, pho­tographed her and be­gan to paint. But, the feel­ing wasn’t right. She asked her to come back and draped her in a tra­di­tional Navajo wear­ing blan­ket and the con­cept came to­gether. “I wiped out the ser­ape and started again,” she says.

Her Grand­mother’s Blan­ket, oil on can­vas panel, 20 x 16"

The Red Shawl, oil on can­vas, 60 x 30"

The New World, oil on panel, 24 x 24"

Santa Fe Sons, oil on can­vas, 55 x 36"

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