New Mexico Renderings
Works from four artists
Iconic views and hidden gems from throughout the Land of Enchantment will be on display during the landscape exhibition Re-imagining New Mexico at Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe. The four-artist show, running June 28 through August 3, will feature landmarks done in a variety of mediums including watercolors, woodblock prints and oils by Mike Glier, Leon Loughridge, James Mcelhinney and Don Stinson.
Glier is an artist who lives outside of New Mexico but returns to the state often to record its beauty. Over the past few years, rather than making exact interpretations of the lands, he has tried to use his senses to record his experience of the place. Communicated in the work is not only what he sees, but also what he hears, feels on his skin and smells to create
what he calls “multisensory” paintings.
His small-scale Morning Sun: Santa Fe Canyon, New Mexico was composed from two sketches Glier made while on two separate walks. “The first walk was in Santa Fe Canyon near the Audubon Center. Sitting on a hill next to a gesturing pine, in the early morning with a clear view of the mountains, I was struck by the volume of space defined by the canyon before of me. The circular marks in the sky and the arcs on the ground in Morning Sun are the result of my enthusiasm for this volume of light and air,” Glier says. “A few weeks later, I took a morning walk on a ranch near Taos. I was sitting quietly in a copse, when a pack of coyotes appeared in the field before me and began hunting mice. I made a few sketches of them as they went about their morning business. Like many artists now and in the past, it’s my job to describe the natural world as fully as I can and through this act of perception represent our profound dependence on its health and well-being.”
Mcelhinney’s artwork “pays homage to historic expeditionary artists who visited New Mexico almost two centuries ago. Painting in sketchbooks, using the open page spread as my canvas allows me to be completely mobile. Like the draftsmen and painters who accompanied explorers like Fremont, Sitgreaves and Powell, my studio could fit in a rucksack or saddlebag. Think of it like a 19th-century equivalent of an iphone, loaded with drawing, photo and mapping apps. Most people assume that art inspired by New Mexico began with the Taos School and later, with artists like John Sloan, Stuart Davis and Georgia O’keeffe. In a way, I’m setting the start date much earlier, back to the 1840s.”
The Rio Grande River inspired some of his new sketches, including Rio Grande Gorge and White Rock Late Light. “Running south from San Luis Valley to Pilar, the Rio Grande Gorge fits the bill, as a distinct episode in its life story. White Rock Canyon stands out in similar ways. Passing below Otowi Peak, toward the reservoir behind Cochiti Dam, the river hews a path through millions of years of geological history,” says the artist. “Exposed rock in the canyon wall evokes the fore-edge of a codex, with the river as its bookworm. Filling the chasm at the end of the day, shadows deepen against the failing light, marking the passage of time.”
For this exhibition, Loughridge chose three historic sites to explore, two he had known since childhood and a third he recently visited. Having been told Southwestern history by family throughout his life, “the lore and landscape [of New Mexico] have set roots within me far more pervasive than ancestral roots,” he says.
Loughridge’s woodblock print Pecos Burning was inspired by the history of the Pecos Pueblo and Mission site as it relates to commerce and the Indian Revolt of 1680. “The Pueblo being a center of trade for centuries, probably understood the value of trade relationships better than many of the more isolated Pueblo sites,” he shares. “The Pueblo and mission have become an important historic site today and in a sense, is once again coming back to life.” Stinson says, “I have been inspired to look beyond the pastoral tradition by the late, New Mexico-based cultural geographer J.B. Jackson’s idea of landscape as a ‘field of perpetual conflict and compromise.’ My pieces for this exhibit reimagine New Mexico as a landscape where the infrastructure of our global economy exists in beautiful confrontation with the vernacular remnants of more localized cultures.”
The sign for a long-gone roadside motel and eatery in Vaughn, New Mexico, inspired his painting Ranch House Café. “The starburst element in the sign reminded me of our mid-20thcentury idea of space as the new frontier, and provided a compelling contrast to the railroad crossing and the open range beyond.”
Don Stinson, Ranch House Café, watercolor on Arches paper, 13½ x 14½”
James Mcelhinney, White Rock Late Light, March 7, 2019, Aqueous media on paper. 4 x 9”
Mike Glier, Morning Sun: Santa Fe Canyon, New Mexico, oil on hardboard, 11 x 14”
Leon Loughridge, Pecos Burning, woodblock print, 7 x 9”