Cap­ti­vat­ing ar­chi­tec­ture

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - Morn­ing San Ilde­fonse, gold leaf and acrylic on panel, 50 x 50” San Jose de Grazia, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36” Canoncito, gold leaf and acrylic on panel, 48 x 48”

Alvin Gill-tapia is con­tin­u­ously in awe of the his­toric Pue­blo and Adobe ar­chi­tec­ture that makes Santa Fe and the state of New Mex­ico what it is. The San Ilde­fonso Pue­blo and Ran­chos de Taos hold par­tic­u­lar mean­ing for the artist, and he cites the work of Amer­i­can ar­chi­tect John Gaw Meem, known for his in­flu­en­tial role in the cre­ation and wide­spread in­ter­est in the Pue­blo Re­vival Style, as one of his great­est in­spi­ra­tions. Gill-tapia says he is cap­ti­vated by the al­most or­ganic feel of Santa

Fe’s ar­chi­tec­ture, dis­cussing their “soft feel,” without “harsh, straight lines.” “It al­most feels like these build­ings have come from the earth it­self,” says the artist.

Gill-tapia’s acrylic paint­ings—made with gold, sil­ver or cop­per leaf—have an el­e­gant sim­plic­ity to them, his­toric struc­tures de­picted in blocks of con­trast­ing col­ors, and rather than be­ing weighed down by in­tense de­tail, they seem to be lib­er­ated from it. How­ever, the leaf he uses in his work cre­ates an awe-in­spir­ing vi­brancy to these sim­ple color blocks. When the light shines on the iri­des­cent pow­der, it cre­ates a mar­velous shim­mer, and each paint­ing looks slightly dif­fer­ent depending on the time of day and how the sun in­ter­acts with the piece. They truly are works of art that must be viewed in per­son to ex­pe­ri­ence the full ef­fect. He says that he loves study­ing the in­ter­play be­tween light and shadow, ex­plain­ing both the sub­tle and dra­matic dif­fer­ences depending on the time of day. Morn­ings are cool and soft, but his “true fa­vorite is the late af­ter­noon be­cause of the

su­per warm, bright light...the high con­trast of the brights and the darks,” he says. This is ev­i­dent in works like Santa Fe Skies, cop­per leaf and acrylic on panel. “I chose to use cop­per be­cause I feel like it re­ally em­u­lates the feel­ing of light,” he says.

While Gill-tapia typ­i­cally works in a square format, since last year he has be­gun pro­duc­ing more rec­tan­gu­lar works. For his up­com­ing show at Manitou Gal­leries’ Palace Av­enue lo­ca­tion, he will be ex­hibit­ing 10 to 12 new works in both square and rec­tan­gu­lar for­mats. A cen­ter­piece of the show is a paint­ing of the Taos Pue­blo, which the artist says he’s been asked to cre­ate for quite a while. “It’s been drawn out for a long time and I’m re­ally ex­cited about it,” he says.

Gill-tapia’s works will head­line Manitou Gal­leries’ ex­hi­bi­tion for the Span­ish Colo­nial Arts So­ci­ety’s 68th An­nual Tra­di­tional Span­ish Mar­ket. The show be­gins with an open­ing re­cep­tion on July 26 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and runs through July 28.

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