This week in Santa Fe culminates with the Indian Market, a Native art extravaganza that has taken place every year since 1923 in the town’s Historic Plaza area. However, there are four exhibitions in galleries outside the Plaza that we recommend as must-see for visitors and market-goers.
The leading dealer in Native pottery, Charles King, has teamed up with Cochiti artist Virgil Ortiz and has produced a large, elegantly appointed pop-up gallery, KG&VO, two blocks from the Plaza at 150 W. Marcy #103. The big excitement is ceramics by Ortiz that are made for the first time in non-native clays, allowing him sculptural possibility and a new level of control that was denied to him with pit-fired Pueblo clays.
Also in the gallery are works by other leading contemporary Native ceramists —Nathan Youngblood, Virgil Ortiz, Les Namingha, Tammy Garcia— and choice pieces by the early matriarchs such as Marie Martinez and others. And do not miss the mezzanine where Ortiz’s leather and fashion creations are on show.
Always inventive and provocative, Rose Simpson’s ceramic figures and mixed media objects steadily push the boundaries of contemporary Native art. In this exhibition, Rose B. Simpson: Emotive at Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art (Santa Fe, August 16 – Sept 10, 2016) the artist explains that the overarching theme is, “an empathic response to all things in the world around us, including our natural and material surroundings.”
Specifically, the gallery states, working with figurative and vessel forms, Simpson is anthropomorphizing the power and form of engines and machines in her artwork. For instance, one figure carries a 4-cylinder engine, modeled of clay, on her head, in so doing she is transforming the “primitive culture” trope of the maiden with a water vessel on her head . This engine, simultaneously feels like a heart and vessel. The show will also feature a grouping of large-scale wall masks, and free-standing vessels.
Christine Nofchissey McHorse delivers a surprising, exciting show. Known for her vessel-based forms in micaceous clay McHorse now offers art in other mediums as well, such as work on paper (her enigmatic working drawings). She also has a three part sculpture in polished steel and new bronze. It is magic with a polished black patina that glows with light and wraps the curlicue shape in constant movement. The exhibition is impressively installed and occupies two large galleries of Peters Projects (Santa Fe, August 12 – November 5).
In the same gallery but in the East Wing, Patrick Dean Hubbell draws with the earth and the clays of The Navajo Nation to pigment his oil paintings. Large canvases evoke earth and Hubbell’s roots but without any literal references to being a Native artist. The result is an impressive and abstract exhibition from this 30 year-old.
The exhibitions are part of Outside-In, a year-long thematic program of site-specific and installation projects, as well as historically significant works inspired by land, culture, and Indigenous influences. The program focuses on the importance of creativity and its power to transcend both place and time though experiences shared by the artist and viewer. The McHorse exhibition is also part of a new program for ceramics and design directed by Mark Del Vecchio.
Garth Clark is the Editor-in-Chief of cfile.daily.
Will you make it to Santa Fe to see these works of native contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments!