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Winter Garden, watercolor on layered synthetic paper (Yupo), 41 x 55″

I have no end product in mind when I begin a painting.  First I pin up one or two painted sheets of transparent color and notice how they look together.  Then I continue to add or subtract sheets, shift placements, notice rhythms, and search for a certain feeling of flow and harmony across the composition.  I’m exploring the pictorial space, rather than aiming at a pre-determined or pre-visulaized outcome.  This process allows spontaneity and accident to occur at any and all stages of art-making.

People have asked if I listen to music while I’m working.  No, I don’t, because in a sense I’m listening to the painting and it sort of talks to me; “I’m too heavy on the right,” “Try some yellow,” or “Make me wider.”  Listening to music is reserved for when the composition is set and I’m sewing the Yupo sheets onto a mat board, a rather brainless activity.

A consistent series of paintings results from methods and principles that remain the same; it’s a pathway.  Sometimes it is a one-color path.  Attention to intuition and impulse guides me.  Right now I’m on a slow journey through a rosy-colored garden.  This garden opened its gate to me when I began to consciously heal some physical health issues in 2017.  Within it, joy, warmth, growth and change are nurtured and supported.  It’s a refuge from the chaos of politics, toxic relationships and any kind of worry – a place to just quietly be.  My hope is that you, the viewer, will also find solace and renewal in these spaces.

 

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Although the show is over, I am still considering the significance of this exhibit, which beautifully demonstrated the continuing influence of Modernism on the arts here in New Mexico.  This influence, abundantly present in our local galleries and museums, was one reason I moved to Lamy back in 1997.  I felt my work could be seen here in a context that doesn’t exist in Southern California, where I was living, nor in New York, where it has been all but superceded by more recent ideas like conceptual art, identity and political explorations and the celebrity art culture.

Cumulous Skies brought the work of over 30 contemporary artists together with the art of earlier 20-th century painters and visionaries like Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Agnes Martin, Marsden Hartley and Ansel Adams, who all spent signifiant time in this state, finding fellowship and inspiration here and influencing the path of Modern Art.  They, in turn, were influenced by Native American crafts – the Navajo weavings and pueblo pottery – and something about the landscape and clear light of New Mexico.  I don’t think the seminal importance of our “Land of Enchantment” has been fully realized by the wider art world.

Curated by artist Larry Fodor and supported in part by a grant from the NEA,  Cumulous Skies showcased paintings, sculpture, ceramics and video art from our varied constituency of Native Americans, “Anglos” from all over the country who have chosen to live here, and artists of New Mexico hispanic background.  It was a stunning display of variety and coherence.

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