Currently at the Kennedy Gallery
A brilliant blue New Mexico sky dominated by scudding clouds is the backdrop for a view of the foothills in Joel Greene’s oil painting Interesting Clouds. Two colorful figures in bold Brazilian carnival masks stare straight ahead in Janet Stein Romero’s watercolor and gouache painting Gemini Dancers. Pueblo walls curving beneath a swirling sky evoke the ancient pueblo culture of New Mexico in Clayton Campbell’s oil on panel painting Pueblo Viejo Triptych.
These paintings illustrate the diversity of the subject matter in the Third Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition at Highlands University that features 32 established and up-and-coming artists.
The free exhibition opens Sept. 25 in the Kennedy Alumni Hall, 905 University Ave., with a public opening reception from 4 – 7 p.m. The featured artist Clayton Campbell will deliver a gallery talk from 3:30 – 4 p.m.
“The greatest strength of this juried show, now in its third year, is the dependably high caliber of these New Mexico artists’ impressive work,” said James Mann, exhibit curator. “Collectively, these artists are reinventing the art of painting by recovering the ability to depict recognizable subject matter, which was abandoned with the rise of abstract art in in 1950s. They are part of a growing international movement which follows postmodernism.”
Mann, who curated more than 50 exhibitions from 1996 – 2005 for the Las Vegas Art Museum in Nevada, said most of the artwork in the Highlands exhibition employs figural rather than abstract representation.
“There is a broad range of thought-provoking subject matter representing contemporary life such as portraiture, landscapes, still-life, social interaction, biblical reference, interior spaces and commercial settings,” Mann said.
Many of the paintings will be available for purchase.
Robert Bell, a Santa Fe art collector, art patron, author and publisher, spearheaded the invitational exhibition for the third year. The Highlands Foundation collaborated with Bell to produce the exhibition. It continues through Nov. 10 and is open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Previously at the Kennedy Gallery
Town and Gown Photography Show
April 9 – May 27, 2016
The exhibit features the work of the university’s Media Arts and Technology Department students and faculty as well as the Meadow City Camera Club.
“What’s wonderful about this collaboration is I felt inspired by looking at the media arts students’ work,” said Martha McCAffrey, Meadow City Camera Club member. “Their approach is often unique, and they bring a fresh eye to photography. The exhibit was a chance to learn from each other.”
McCaffrey, a photographer of 37 years, said the Meadow City Camera Club enjoyed working with the students, and wants to see the joint photography show become an annual event.
“I hope when people come to see this show they will experience a sense of unity between the community and the university,” McCaffrey said.
Kerry Loewen, chair of the Media Arts and Technology Department, said the photography exhibit showcases a variety of subject matter.
“This exhibit combines primarily landscape and abstract works from the camera club with works students in my contemporary photography class shot in the studio from spiders to people,” Loewen said.
Loewen said the exhibit gave his students the opportunity to prepare their work for display in a professional setting with professional photographers.
“This exhibit shows that our media arts students always rise to the challenge. I’m very proud of them. It’s also really nice to get students out of the classroom into the community,” Loewen said.
The Town and Gown Photography Show continues through May 27. It also features photographs by Highlands fine arts faculty.
Crossing Between Worlds: Life, Land, and Culture of Canyon de Chelly
Kennedy Alumni Hall
October 30- December 11, 2015
Freshman Experience Program Learning Communities, Southwest Studies Program, and Honors Program
Crossing Between Worlds: Life, Land, and Culture of Canyon de Chelly, curated by Jeanne Simonelli, features the stunning photography of Charles D. Winters. This exhibit is based on the book Crossing Between Worlds: The Navajo of Canyon de Chelly, written by Jeanne Simonelli. The initial edition of the book was published in 1997 following four seasons of visiting in the canyon with Lupita Litson McClanahan and her extended family. Photographed by Charles Winters, the book serves as a document of contemporary life, and is seen as a way of preserving images and stories for the next generation. The author/curator and photographer will present their work at a reception Nov. 23rd in Kennedy Hall Gallery.
Charles D. Winters is a photographer and cinematographer specializing in anthropology, nature, and the environment. His exhibit of engaging black and white photographs tells the story of Navajo life in the magnificent landscape of the Four Corners region. His work explores the rich heritage of the Diné and the confluence of tradition and modernity. He is a retired faculty member of the photography department at State University of New York, Oneonta. His work has been widely exhibited both in the US and internationally.
Jeanne Simonelli is an applied cultural anthropologist and writer who currently teaches at Wake Forest University. She has published four books including, Uprising of Hope: Sharing the Zapatista Journey to Autonomous Development (2005); Crossing Between Worlds: The Navajo of Canyon de Chelly (2008; 1997); Too Wet To Plow: The Family Farm in Transition (1992) and Two Boys, A Girl, and Enough! (1986). She has spent summers as an interpretive Park Ranger at Canyon de Chelly National Monument and doing development projects with a rebel organization in southern Mexico.
Second Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition
Las Vegas, N.M. – Sunlight shimmers through the glowing yellow Aspen leaves against a deep- blue New Mexico sky in John Hogan’s painting Aspen Tree, Autumn Sun. A halo of swirling bees crowns the head of a young brown-eyed woman in Lea Bradovich’s painting Beehaloed. An Apache butterfly dancer in traditional ceremonial clothing spreads her arms like wings poised for flight in Kim Reed-Deemer’s painting Wind.
These paintings illustrate the diversity of subject matter in the Second Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition at Highlands University that features 50 established and up-and-coming artists. The free exhibition opens Sept. 6 in the Kennedy Alumni Hall, 905 University Ave., with a public opening reception from 4 – 7 p.m.
“The artists demonstrate an accomplished awareness of contemporary developments in international art,” said James Mann, exhibition curator. “The broad range of skills and styles are a remarkable display of professional achievement.”
Contemporary Cowboy Art Exhibit
August 1 – 15
“This is a well-rounded art exhibit of Western Americana with a strong variety of oil and watercolor paintings, bronze sculptures, and drawings,” Sundt said. “In putting the show together, I looked for quality work with authenticity of detail. In some of the pieces, you can almost taste the dust, feel the rain, and hear the horses nickering. All the artists in this show have lived the cowboy life, and that’s their passion. The pieces portray the flavor, freedom and independence of being a cowboy and rancher.” Read more…
Oh, The Places You’ll Go: Photographs by
Joe and Martha McCaffrey. Kennedy Hall Gallery.
Through June 15.
This exhibition is dedicated by its organizers and by Highlands to the memory of Santa Fe artist Jack Sinclair (1939-2013). One of the prodigious number of artists attracted to live and work in Santa Fe, Sinclair did both undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Connecticut. Twenty years later, he undertook three more years of study at the Portland (Maine) School of Art. He exhibited at a series of Santa Fe galleries, and a representative body of his paintings is a prominent part of this exhibition. Also a printmaker, he was a member of the Santa Fe Etching Club and was included in 100 Santa Fe Etchers (2008).
If the New Mexico community of visual artists were an athletic team, one would have to say that it has a very deep bench. For a state with so small a population, the abundance of players and talent is genuinely remarkable. Of course, with Santa Fe and Taos widely known for their art colonies through most of the past century, this observation is not necessarily surprising. And New Mexico Highlands University itself had a period of deserved prominence in the 1960s when its studio art department drew students from across the U.S. to the campus. This chapter in the school’s history has been well documented by Elizabeth Orem in her book A Fine Frenzy, published jointly in 2013 by the NMHU Foundation and Bell Tower Editions of Santa Fe.
Why has New Mexico for so long produced, drawn, and fostered such a thriving population of artists? One has to answer that foremost is its unique geography. The breathtaking vastness of its vistas, embraced and uplifted by their abrupt walls of mountain ranges, together with a sky enormous beyond all description, are a landscape painter’s heavenly dream. The unceasing effort to capture and depict this grandeur has continued unbroken throughout an entire century, regardless of the various disruptions caused by abstraction in international art. But landscape painting could never be suppressed in New Mexico. The indomitable desire to represent the stirring of the human spirit caused by this unique geography is too strong to obey the dictates of artistic revolutions in distant capitals. The New Mexico-inspired response to such cosmopolitan developments is rooted in humanity’s instinctive drive to depict the world, too archetypal to be fenced in by changing artistic fashion.
Yet this exhibition includes far more than landscape art. Nearly all the other usual concerns of pictorial rendering are present. There are portraiture, still-life, cultural environments, eroticism, mythology, religion, social interaction, architecture, both treasured and everyday objects, animals, and machinery—to offer an incomplete list. And the variety of styles encompassed is equal to the number of artists exhibited. One of the incidental qualities of this exhibition is to demonstrate the endless possibilities in stylistic manner that the pictorial function presents. The imagination’s results for interpreting the visual appearance of things, places, and people are virtually unlimited. It is difficult to argue that abstraction can offer a comparable plenitude of different manners of expression and execution.
The number of dissimilar artists exhibited here is remarkable in itself, for an exhibition venue the size of Kennedy Hall. The enthusiastic response of the artists invited has been both authentic and amazing, and is a very encouraging sign for the future of such undertakings at Highlands. The first exhibition of like scope opened here last October on Homecoming Weekend. This was a representative selection from the Robert Bell and Eli Levin donations in 2013 of over 300 paintings to the NMHU Foundation as an artistic endowment of highly unusual extent for a university the size of Highlands. These donations established immediately an ample and eminent addition to this academic environment. The power of art to animate the human spirit will speak, through this growing collection and through further exhibitions like the First Invitational, both to present and future students and to the wider public alike.
Janet Stein Romero
Special thanks to Dr. Robert Bell, Eli Levin, and James Mann