The alcove shows continue the tradition began in 1917 of exhibiting works made by living artists. These small, one-person exhibitions, called alcoves, were held in the original gallery space through the 1950s, resuming in the mid-1980s and again in the early 1990s and 2012. Alcoves 2020 continues this tradition with a series of six exhibitions featuring the work of artists living in New Mexico right now. These artist-centered showcases feature new ideas, artists at all stages of their careers and artwork that is being made by artists from across New Mexico.
Alcoves 2020 #3: February 15, 2020 – April 12, 2020
Debra Baxter, Amy Ellingson, Munson Hunt, Jonathan Parker, and Todd Ryan White
Artist Debra Baxter aptly describes her uncanny work as follows: “My work speaks of power plays, vulnerability, and the body. Informed by a feminist discourse, it merges imagery and materials of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture.” Cast bronze, crystals, and reclaimed objects are combined into sculptural forms that are simultaneously fierce and sentimental. In Baxter’s work the human made is combined with natural objects to transcend literal references, bringing us to a place of metaphor and emotion. Baxter’s works are included in a number of public collections including the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Albuquerque Museum.
Computer-generated imagery is the source material for all of Amy Ellingson’s exquisitely crafted work. Included is Variation: Bridge (white, black, pink), a 50 x 156” encaustic painting on panels and two graphite-on-paper drawings, Schematic: Variation: Bridge (white, black, pink) No. 1 and No. 2. All three artworks are derived from the same computer data, and all three painstakingly hand executed, affirming the primacy of the artist’s craft and skill in the creation of an artwork. Amy Ellingson states, “My work is an attempt to confront the enormity of contemporary virtual experience while asserting the humanness of painting.” Also on view are two recently completed lithographs and a series of small sculptural objects.
Gallery Conversations – Merry Scully with artists Debra Baxter and Amy Ellingson
Munson Hunt creates spare drawings and sculptural shapes that derive inspiration from natural materials and form. Burned and burnished wood, cast bronze, and graphite drawings are included in her Alcove installation. The work draws inspiration from the type and source of the wood used, the stories and histories specific to each being significant to the final work. Hunt received her BFA from Parsons School of Design and studied sculpture with Linda Benglis. Her work is in several private collections as well as the collections of the New Mexico Museum of Art and the New Mexico Arts Commission.
Deriving his compositions from the physical qualities of his materials Jonathan Parker makes his “sewn paintings” by cutting, sewing, and stretching painted canvas over wooden forms. Paying careful attention to the qualities of his materials the fabric and paint act as distilled fields of color while the stitching visually and physically pulls Parker’s discrete compositions together. Both sophisticated and quirky in presentation the small sewn shapes are a delight for the eye.
The ink-on-paper drawings and wooden “wrong boards” by artist Todd Ryan White could answer the question, “What if Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer was fully enmeshed in the culture of Heavy Metal music?” His finely rendered drawings are a mashup of references that cross centuries with mythical and the mundane, and the sacred and profane intertwined throughout the compositions. In Ryan’s drawing A Universal Life, unicorns, goat heads, snakes and dragons occupy the same landscape as smiley faces, camping tents and turtles.
Alcoves 20/20 is supported in part by the Friends of Contemporary Art + Photography.