January 10th, 2017
January 10th, 2017
January 6th, 2017
By Eileen Treasure, Fine Art Consultant
The family of six comes into town to ski and relax. Their place was nearly a complete makeover, which transformed an Olympic-era residence into an inviting, comfortable, and no-nonsense retreat.
The owner related how they felt as the work progressed from newly painted walls to carpeting and then (finally!) furniture. Each step was exciting, but when their carefully selected art pieces were installed, the owner’s face lit up — and she said, “Now it’s a home.”
Remodeling is a labor of love, especially when it comes to the most personal choices of all — the art. Let us know if you are ready to freshen up your space, and we’ll help you love your home again.
December 24th, 2016
By Veronica Vale, Fine Art Consultant
Most professions come with their own distinct parameters and quantifiable means of success. An accountant needs to attain a degree in their field as well as passing grades on CPA tests to validate their status as “accountant.” Even my job title of “Fine Art Consultant” is justified by my position here at Gallery MAR. However, what qualifications are required to consider oneself an artist?
Many accomplished artists boast an MFA degree from art school. Many have gallery representation, exhibitions and shows of their work, or even a piece or two in museum collections. But none of these accomplishments are explicitly required of an artist. So then, in a profession without specific criteria, when does one begin to identify themselves as an artist? We asked a few of our own artists here at Gallery MAR:
Encaustic painter Bridgette Meinhold has been creating art her entire life, but only recently did she declare herself to be an artist first and foremost. Before her art career took off, Meinhold devoted herself to her work in sustainability consulting. When the recession hit, Meinhold found herself out of a job but not out of options. She remembers resolving to herself, “If I don’t have a job, I might as well paint.” When she first started showing her work with Gallery MAR in 2010, in her mind, she truly became an artist.
Similarly, mixed media artist Jylian Gustlin grew up both a creative and analytical child. Gustlin pinpoints college as the time when she first owned the title of “artist” when, one semester short of a degree in computer science and mathematics, she decided to leave her degree and, instead, enroll in the Academy of Art College. When asked about the bravery required of such a bold life change, Gustlin modestly dismisses praise and simply maintains that “going to art school just felt like coming home.”
Meanwhile, becoming an artist was never a conscious decision for acrylic painter Michael Kessler. In fact, he cannot recall a period of time when he didn’t identify as an artist. He elaborates, “I was always the kid in school doodling and drawing — the kid they asked to do the class mural. I was always known as ‘the artist’.” Perhaps Kessler’s early start in the field of art helps to explain his bafflingly impressive CV and his highly accomplished 62 year-long career.
Part of the beauty of becoming an artist is that there seems to be no right or wrong way of going about it. We are reminded that every artist has an incredibly individualistic history and a beautifully unique future and that one’s identity is not a checklist of arbitrary accomplishments, but instead, simply a state of mind.
So from all of us at Gallery MAR, we wish you a happy new year and a happy new you, whatever it is you decide that might be.
December 17th, 2016
“I’m a native New Mexican. I was born and raised here; my heart is here; I will always come back here. This place is kind of the heartbeat of my life…but I still feel totally outside of it in a very interesting way…”
Santa Fe painter Nina Tichava was born in Vallecitos, New Mexico in the early 1970s into an eccentric lifestyle. Her “hippie parents” moved to the area from San Francisco in the 1960s, settling on a piece of land north of Ojo Caliente with a few dogs, cats, a horse, and a zeal for living on the fringe. Nina was one of about five or six Anglos in the school system, or gringos as they were named by the locals, and at a very young age learned what it meant to be an unwanted outsider in the tiny Hispanic community.
“Even though I grew up alongside it, I was separated from northern New Mexico culture,” explains Nina. “Which is hard because my art is heavily influenced by Native and Hispanic culture and art.”
As a process painter, Nina’s work is labor intensive with many layers that build over time. A base pattern is drawn out with acrylic mediums and archival tape, and the artist then follows the forms as she incorporates geometric architecture, vibrating lines, and botanical silhouettes. Nina uses hand-cut stencils to create recurring forms, and their collision within the work references the intersection of the natural world and man-made structure. The final step is to freckle the piece with tiny beads of paint that contribute to its tangible texture and hypnotic rhythm.
The result of the artist’s painstaking process evokes a feeling of complex harmony as the different aspects of construction coalesce across the painting surface. From a distance Nina’s designs seemed contrived to the point of being machine made, even though she rarely uses rulers or measuring tools. However an up close observation reveals the painterly abstraction of the work and spontaneity of the artist’s hand. Each imperfection is cherished as an important informer of the painting’s next layer and its overall organic quality. This intrinsic connection to process and intensive creative labor is a big part of Nina’s work, which in turn blurs the boundaries between the disciplines of fine art and craft. These two traditions carry a very different value in the art world, with painters and sculptors given more clout than weavers and quilters – for example. Nina, along with many other artists today, disagrees with this hierarchy and questions the devaluing of age-old craft traditions that require great skill and labor.
This emphasis on craft and tribute to process is a direct influence from Nina’s studies at the California College of the Arts (or Arts + Crafts as it was named at the time) in San Francisco, as well as her upbringing in northern New Mexico. Her father was a construction worker, photographer, and weaver along with her mother who was part of a local weaving guild formed of predominantly women weavers from across northern New Mexico. The guild was part of the larger crafting community of potters, bead makers, textile artists and more; locals relied on these traditions to support their families. Nina watched and helped her mother in the guild as she dyed the wool, hung it, spun it, and wove it. Her mother eventually went on to work as a head designer for Char, a luxury clothing company that contributed to the rise and popularity of “Santa Fe style” in the 70s and 80s. Her mother created stencils and hand painted designs for the company, which was known for vibrant southwest patterns, fringe handbags, and painted leather jackets. Unable to afford day care, she brought Nina to work with her who assisted in production. The stencil and printmaking Nina did during this time subconsciously stuck with her and is now present in her own artistic process.
The craft heavy influence and native environment of Nina’s childhood is most notable in her Weaving Series, but is the underlying inspiration for all her work. The shapes, patterns, and color palettes that show up in her paintings flow from a place of love and respect for the southwest culture she was immersed in as a young girl. Even if it was from eyes of an outsider, Nina grew up watching Native and Hispanic traditions and struggles with the fact that she can’t quite call them her own.
“You’re not really invited into Native culture unless you’re asked in, and that’s not my community at this time,” explains Nina. “But the imagery is a steady heartbeat throughout my work; it’s something I can’t deny is there and it’s something that I love.”
Nina has shied away from citing native art and craft as inspiration for fear of it being labeled cultural appropriation, but she is now interested in openly connecting her art with its traditional influences. Over the past few months and in the wake of the recent election, Nina has felt an even stronger responsibility as a female artist to express her own story and unique perspective as someone who has experienced the wrong side of an ugly racial divide. Memories from her childhood, such as the harsh image of the spray painted words “gringos go home” or the startling pain of thrown rocks, have resurfaced as she (and the rest of our country) becomes painfully aware of the ridicule many Americans still feel because of racial differences. “I don’t know exactly why I feel like I want to talk about it now,” says Nina. “Do I want someone to finally say yes, you’re a daughter of New Mexico? Is it ego? I’m not sure.”
The idea is taking shape for Nina to create a museum level exhibition of works that recreate or draw inspiration from the designs of the Native weavers of her childhood. These women crafted intricate and beautiful weavings from dye to loom; yet the fruits of their labor were never considered “art.” Through her paintings, Nina can celebrate their craft while also paying homage to the root of her own artistic inspirations. The idea is still in its infancy as Nina contemplates ways to connect her work to this culture in a respectful way, and to seek out the right venue. Regardless of the outcome, Nina is at a point in her career where she is ready for deeper stories to emerge from her aesthetic and to push boundaries as a visual artist.
“Looking at an abstract pattern on a wall will not necessarily convey any of this,” she says. “My work is sometimes dismissed as just being decorative; I’d love for someone to access a bit more depth and content – and that’s up to me.”
December 15th, 2016
“With purpose and passion, Parrish…brings art and athleticism into graceful contact.
That is rare and inspiring.
It’s also the mark of Parrish’s originality.”
-David Pagel, Art Critic, LA Times
After several years of admiring the work of R. Nelson Parrish, we are delighted to announce that we now represent his work at our Park City gallery. Many of our Park City locals and visitors may recognize his work from exhibitions in our area through the Kimball Art Center. He has been a wonderful supported of arts in Summit County, and has completed several important commissions for local collectors.
R. Nelson Parrish earned his BFA from the University of Nevada-Reno and his MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He approaches his art as a means of reconciling an ongoing investigation into the subtle contrasts between the natural and man-made conditions and states. Recognizing the increasing speed at which the global society operates, Parrish is keen to observe the skill to induce disengagement from the tumult and seeming chaos of participants in adrenaline sports — a means to draw upon singular focus to the present.
Born and raised in Alaska, he finds inspiration in both the rugged elements of his native home and his current surroundings in urban southern California. Drawn directly from his experience skiing, racing and surfing—that is, shifting through landscapes at high speeds—the artist translates the blur of movement into brilliant flashes of color which he appropriately entitles: racing stripes. Thickly layering clear and semi-translucent resin, fiberglass and intense bands of pigment onto planks of boldly grained native woods in suspended positions above, adjoining and against one another, Parrish provokes in us the desire to plumb the depths to seek out and discern the synthetic from the natural.
Combining refreshing adrenaline with relaxing terror, Parrish seeks to create works that are a visual translation of these synergies. Landscape, object and movements fuse into one. Please visit the gallery to experience the artwork in person.