Perspective. It has more than one definition, but for an artist, perhaps it is the vanishing point of reality from which creation occurs. In the mi casa es su casa show at 2 Ten Galeria on the Plaza, it takes on new meaning in the context of how artists selected the work they chose to exhibit. Some is new work; some was selected from a prolific body of work by individual participants. Each artist looked at the theme with different eyes. Some stayed true their artistic roots while others ventured into unfamiliar mediums.
For this piece I asked the artists who wished to participate to answer three questions:
The feeling one gets from reading the responses is one of personal connection that extends beyond the work. Perhaps Duffy Peterson’s comment – which touched on all the questions and expressed the connectedness of an artist to her work – best captures the celebratory nature of creativity.
“My painting, Home At Last, references my past and present. Having lived all over the country, finding Las Vegas, NM 15 years ago was almost a calling! We couldn’t move here fast enough! Finding friends and fellow artists who continue to support artistic endeavors has been enriching and most of all fun.” -Duffy Peterson
Fran Ryan also addressed the questions as a reflection of her creative process.
My small painting was done for the show, when I was away from home. It is not like my home at all except for the chair and bird feeder, which are mine. My paintings always have some feeling I experienced when I took the reference photo or painted on site. Most of the time I don’t realize this until the painting is done. -Fran Ryan
I found the artists’ responses to the questions thoughtful and revealing. They are reproduced here with permission.
I had made a number of the felt embroidered houses for family members and the ideas just multiplied. I share my studio time long-distance texting with an artist friend in Texas, Laurie Davis, who is primarily a watercolorist. She had sent me a watercolor book-marker of a house and at the time was concentrating on tiny (2″x2″) house watercolors. She was painting one a day and I suggested we do a HOUSE show. That’s how it started. I further decided to do an invitational show of our local artists. It worked out nicely for our 3rd anniversary, asking artists to bring their idea of house/home to our “home.”
When Linda first mentioned the show, I thought she was referring to concepts of “home;” what “home” meant to different folks. The piece I had done that came to mind immediately had the word “home” in its title, “Home Is Where You Hang Your Beret …,” and took the concept away from bricks and mortar, placing it squarely between a person’s ears, in the mind. But, this does not necessarily make it less accessible or less likely to be shared with another. As a state of being, a relationship with all the multidimensional data one collects in one’s lifetime as one goes down the road, “Home” is where one docks, where an anchor is thrown down, where lamps or candles are lit for the duration, however long that may be. It is a place of insights, inner vision from whence to launch action in the outer world.
Home is a comfortable place for me. Many images come to mind that represent my feeling of house/home.
The show appealed to me because Linda’s exuberant personality motivated me to play with the house idea in the clay studio. Since I’m committed to making the 2 Ten Gallery a vital presence in Las Vegas, I thought I would join in the “house idea” and see what I could do.
I saw House as a metaphor for Home. Home, the place where we can be protected nourished and made whole again. Home, a place of nurture and love, a place for ourselves, and a place to share with others. Homelessness is a human condition which brings out in me the profoundest of compassion, and so sharing home feels like something that heals.
I knew the warmth associated with thoughts of house and home would pull together a cohesive exhibit. Besides that, I have many pictures of houses and other buildings because I like to work with angles and perspective.
Mi casa es su casa is an inviting and welcoming slogan. It reflects a generosity of spirit for which I think most people long. The theme evokes a sense of openness and sharing to friends and strangers both.
The theme is curious for its timing while as we live in a political period where people are being driven out of their home of origin, to seek a new home in another country. The phrase usually implies a welcoming, but in the current time, it seems the phrase is reversed to suggest “my house is mine and you stay in your house.” The theme conjured up a primitive image.
I’ve always been drawn to interesting and/or historic structures, whether it’s the form, or the location and how people use or have used them.
New or selected from existing work responses:
Some new… I added the paper and cardboard houses to other work I had created.
While I made the piece in the late 1990s, it is interesting that my first time exhibiting it comes precisely as I have put my renovated house – my bricks and mortar “home” – on the market.
New. I had nothing appropriate. I found “house” images that suggested my ideas of ” home” and I went along with the images using fabrics and objects that seemed right.
New. I thought I would join in the “house idea” and see what I could do, and alas! A little solar casa came out of the kiln the morning of the show.
I simply selected pieces from my collection that fit with the theme. Many of my pieces deal with Home at a personal level for me. I chose the ones I felt were the most accessible and might most clearly evoke in others the notion of home.
I entered work I already had. I picked images of houses in the two places I love most: Westcliffe, Colo., and Las Vegas, NM. The three paintings and the collage all depict humble homes.
I selected pieces from two existing bodies of my work. When I began searching for images that would fit the theme, these pieces jumped out for their sense of timelessness, peace, and connection to the spirit. The Teepee image was taken at a Taos Pueblo Buffalo Pasture Powwow. The two Grand Canyon River Trip images are of the Nankoweap granaries that date back to AD 1100 and are located high above the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
The simple ceramic huts appeared spontaneously while staring at some cut out slabs Mary Search had in her ceramic studio. When she mentioned the show’s theme, the simple structure emerged, technically primitive and childlike.
The paintings I have in this show are some I had done many years ago when I was just out of school and living in my home town, which like Las Vegas, has many historic buildings. I’ve never had the opportunity to show them in New Mexico, so this exhibit was a good match for the paintings.
What word best reflects who you are as an artist, and why that word?
Eclectic. I like the way it sounds. And I am truly multifaceted as are my artistic endeavors.
Newbie. I only discovered fabric art a few years ago and I’m having fun exploring its possibilities. I love using the mediums of fabric and thread in new ways.
Learning. I feel so fortunate to have my own space for playing and creating as I join the post- work seniors in retirement. It is very soothing to find satisfaction in the use of my hands to learn the skill of hand building and throwing on the wheel. Being in the studio allows me to enter a state of meditation. Life is good here in Las Vegas for me.
Accidental. I did not set out to become an “artist” and do not think of myself in those terms. I am just a person who is drawn to create. I feel that it is as much a devotional act as anything. It is a gift that allows me to stay connected with the deeper levels of myself and the Great Mystery. I have been drawn to creating all my life and have often used it as a way to express myself, both to myself and on a deeper level to the Great Mystery/Presence especially during my hardest times emotionally. It did not occur to me until late in my life that what gave so much to me and made me feel the restorative power of love, might also produce something that touched others. I am glad to share what I can. Art simply comes through me, I do not own it even though it heals and restores me. As such I do not really think of myself as “an artist.”
Inspired. Why else would I do it?
Shadowcatcher. I’m a photographer. Someone who records light and shadow, and shadowcatcher to me represents what I do as an artist.
Bricoleur. To create with what is at hand, in the moment, into what the material wants to be. Never with forethought, done largely to shut off the conscious mind which is the escape art can be; allowing something to emerge out of nothing.
Dogged. I will keep working, keep showing where I can, and keep doing what I have to and want to do.
2 Ten Galeria is itself a matter of perspective. When you walk in the door you might believe that what you see is what you get. Do not be deceived. Walk the corridor and check out the wall spaces and tiny rooms packed – artistically, it must be said – with wearables, food, art and more. And the best part is that this gallery joins with all the others in the Plaza/Bridge Street corridor in providing artists a means by which they may show and sell their work.
Happy 3rd anniversity, 2 Ten Galeria.
Other aritsts participating in the April Invitational Show are: Laurie Davis, Denise Fox, Stuart Gelzer, Bob Henssler, Mary Rose Henssler, Harry Lieppe, Angela Meron, Martin Montoya, Terry Mossman, and Patty Nelson.
Photos: Sharon Vander Meer