2015 Exhibition Schedule
In Conjunction with the City of Santa Fe and the Summer of Color!
SANTA FE, NM. Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which exists with a degree of independence. Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art.
Santa Fean, Martha Rea Baker’s underlying theme in her work is time. “Its passage and its effect on nature,” she says. “I seek a time-worn look—the results of erosion, weather, and the marks of previous civilizations.” Whether depicting chronological time, marking the sequential passage of hours, days, seasons or an ancient age glimpsed through excavation, the painting process of adding, subtracting and thoughtful editing is a metaphor for life's timeline in creating these elegant abstractions. “I’m inspired by the strata of geology exposed in canyon walls and distant vistas of the Southwest.”
Mary Long was born in Ohio and has lived in Tennessee since the mid-1990s. Following studies in graphic design and painting, she began working in encaustic in 2001. “I grew up near Canton, where there is a crazy-quilt patchwork of rural farms and factories. It’s a juxtaposition of architectural grayness against expanses of happy saturated colors that inspires my work to this day,” she says. Long often begins her paintings with marks drawn in oil stick, over which she applies many layers of wax combined with oil paints. In the latest work I am decompressing, exploring more of the spaces in between. They don't simply represent topographical maps but also time and space, the painting acts as a 'slice' or a 'snapshot' of something continuous,” says Long.
Daniel Phill attended Washington State University, Pullman, and received his BFA in 1978 from the San Francisco Art Institute. He received his MFA in 1983 from Stanford University and currently lives in San Francisco. He begins each painting jumping in “with a leap of faith,” he says, that something will develop from his spontaneous application of color and texture. Phill identifies with many of the principles and techniques of Abstract Expressionism, but also relishes the ambiguity between abstraction, figuration and the illusion of space in his paintings suggest light, atmosphere and depth—a combination that makes visible Hans Hofmann’s assertion that “shapes, colors, lines, calligraphic squiggles and use of space always echo the reality found in nature—its structure rather than appearance.” He eschews the neat and formal, preferring a responsive approach.
“The gallery will be truly transformed with the energy of these three dynamic artists,” says Ruhlen.
In Conjunction with the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O'Keefe Museum.
Postwar New Mexico Modernists
FEATURING: Martha Mans, Kurt Meer Stephen Pentak and Pauline Ziegen
SANTA FE, NM. Artists are continually looking for new ways of perceiving, interpreting, and translating the reality of nature into the language of art. Karan Ruhlen Gallery will feature the work of four accomplished artists with varying approaches to painting the landscape and exploring the beauty of nature in painting.
Martha Mans has lived in New Mexico and Colorado where the weather and seasonal conditions create dramatic and changing effects on the mountains, valleys and mesas. She has traveled extensively in Italy and France immersing herself in the culture. “The most familiar of landmarks, wherever you are, take on different elements that can be fleeting and you only see that one time. It’s fun to discover these moments and use them as inspiration for my paintings,” says Mans.
Tennessee artist Kurt Meer was profoundly affected by the theories of Whistler. “I have adopted Whistler’s comparison of painting to music,” he says. “Color is like a keyboard where there is a root key or color harmony within which there are a variety of chords created by playing opposites against one another, such as warm and cool, saturated and unsaturated.” Whistler found one means of expressing his theories in a series of works depicting the river Thames at night. For Meer, the Mississippi river is the inspiration. “I’ve come to know its subtleties, and while the rivers in my paintings are imaginary abstractions of water, sky and vegetation shapes, they undoubtedly go back to my memory of the Mississippi.”
New York artist Stephen Pentak’s subject is the great outdoors. His method: a tried-and-true combination of oil paints, wood panel, large brushes and palette knives. He works from his mind’s eye, pulling from memory the landscapes he has seen. The creation and combination of color plays a major role in his work.
Pauline Ziegen’s earliest landscape paintings were painted outdoors in Kansas where vast stretches of prairie lead to distant horizons. Representing the unique dichotomy of where the earth seems to meet the sky or the apparent boundary between earth and sky, the horizon is, she says, “an ever-shifting location that you can never reach, yet it is always compelling.” At the time, Ziegen’s landscapes were representational; however, she has been “editing” ever since, creating suggestive abstractions inspired by the landscapes she views from a ridge-top home and studio on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. “...abstraction is all about editing and simplifying the visual world into formal elements that become metaphors of emotion,” says Ziegen.