Part of Jul 2012 by

Contemporary in Santa Fe: Four Art Shows to See Before July 15

Lee Mullican’s clay figures at The Capriccio Foundation feel like little earthen creatures about to spawn a new race.  Most of them do hold vestiges of homo sapiens but with barely recognizable heads, arms or facial features peeking out from stout lumpen bodies.  A collection of sculptures in earth colors, each figure underwent extreme surface abrasions that would certainly be alarming on the human skin.  Here, the horizontal and vertical slash marks appear as three-dimensional cross-hatching.  Holes act like battle wounds or war scars still intact from the clan’s victorious journey to the earth’s surface. Diagonals fan from the cavities into figurative constellations, a possible hint to their origin.  Untitled #23 is a piece of oxidized fired clay at thirteen inches high.  He sits, ashen grey, like a cave man slashed from all sides looking withered and worn.  His face consists of a few minor holes that offer just enough to intonate an extremely primal expression.  This, in a way, is a man you want to know and a population that should be expanding rapidly.  It’s definitely worth a visit to Capriccio at 222 Shelby Street in Santa Fe to meet our new friends.

Wade Wilson Art currently has a group show that mixes color, media, and content for an intimate viewing experience that’s nonetheless a little disjointed. A few swipes of color cascade through layered pieces of glass in Lucinda Cobley’s work.   Joseph Marioni likes yellow with his monochromatic school bus colored canvas with coats of dripped paint thickly puddled on the bottom.  Peter Sacks offers a large diaristic black-and-white painting with rich texture imparted by a collage of embroidery, lace, corrugated cardboard, poetry and handwritten scribbles.  Nicola Parente’s Elements of Time features burnt umber, browns, blues and oranges blurred from left to right in a Richter-style sweep with a canvas that suggests the sped up stop motion impression of passing time. Scattered between abstracted images with random surfaces are a Dante Marioni glass vessel, a brushed bronze sculpture with thick vertical waves and upon entry, a full-scale nude from Ted Flicker that’s entirely bizarre.  Overall, Wade Wilson, 409 Canyon Road, has a few fun pieces if a bit of a something for everyone.

A Latvian artist at Verve Gallery named Misha Gordin has a show up, of eerie photographs inspired by growing up in the formerly Soviet-occupied country, now republic.  Masks and crowds invade the starkly composed frames, inside which crisp, digitally manipulated images in dark blacks and greys interact with high contrast.  It is difficult to say if Gordin presents historical circumstances or a post-apocalyptic dystopia.  The Fifth Column shows a lighter (than usual) image with a vertical peek of moody sky and incoming airplane that’s framed by five monolithic angular columns on each side spanning forward to meet the viewer.  Extremely perspectival, six nude males stand like miniature Greek sculptures, suntanned and muscled. Each man turns back toward the sky waiting to pounce while holding long mallets not dissimilar to Thor’s.  Are these mortals or gods?  With whom are they armed to fight?  New Crowd 62 is a darkened picture plane with mounds of powdery balls filling the frame.  It’s possible to compare them to truffle chocolates until one upturned head gives away a terrible secret.  Deeply agonized, this rounded face raises up to yell or scream. Gordin’s show at Verve Gallery is an interesting look  at an animist but inhumane world. 219 East Marcy Street.

If you’re missing some classics, Andrew Smith Gallery at 122 Grant Avenue is exhibiting a collection of Ansel Adams’ Sierra Club Photographs.  Adams joined the Sierra Club at just 17 years old, so these small silver gelatin prints represent his very early work.  They are small and simple and still reveal the novelty of shutter speed manipulations to capture breadths of landscape. Louviere + Vanessa are a contemporary artistic duo who invented their own photographic technique, worth having the Andrew Smith staff explain if you’re a photo junkie or even if not.  The effect is like an oily silkscreen with gold leaf.   

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