Best of the West: Southwest

Southwest Art, July 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Best of the West: Southwest

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Colors in Contrast

Mary Silverwood shows vibrant pastels at Joyce Robins Gallery

SANTA FE * "Everything in the visible world is contrast." So says Mary Silverwood, a pastel artist from Belen, NM, who celebrates her 76th birthday this month with a solo show at Joyce Robins Gallery. Silverwood's new landscapes are inspired by the dramatic light and prominent features of New Mexico's stark terrain. "Mary considers every visual experience an opportunity to see abstract patterns," says Robins. "She manipulates the gradations of values and textures into dynamic shapes, like the remarkable silhouette of a yucca set against an arroyo, juniper-studded hills, and mountains in DESERT SHAPES NO. 1." Silverwood builds her pastels by adding light colors to black paper. Meet her at the show's opening reception on July 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.; the show continues through July 20. For more information: 505.989.8795 or


Interesting Shapes, Quiet Dramas

TAOS * Total Arts Gallery presents a two-person show this month for painters J. Ken Spencer and Rick Howell. Spencer's subject matter is largely the result of his extensive European travels, but it also includes the dramatic scenery that surrounds his home in the Idaho mountains. But any subject matter, he says, is secondary to his main goal: "What I am looking for is an interesting arrangement of shapes. A good representational painting should be a good abstract, too." Howell takes a tonalist approach to his landscapes, attempting to capture the subtle nuances of nature rather than its grandeur. He is often attracted to scenes in the mountain ranges around his southern Colorado home, and he almost always includes a body of water. Meet both artists at an opening reception on July 26 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The show is on view through August 11. For more information: 575.758.4667 or

Hispanic Markets

SANTA FE * Two markets, both held on the Plaza on the weekend of July 26-27, put the spotlight on Hispanic art. The 57th annual Traditional Spanish Market features handcrafted traditional arts by 250 local Hispanic artists. Traditional art forms include santos (carvings and paintings of religious figures), colcha embroidery, tinwork, and much more. For more information: 505.982.2226 or The 22nd annual Contemporary Hispanic Market features works such as paintings, sculpture, and photographs by over 130 of New Mexico's finest Hispanic artists. For more information: 505.992.0591 or

Virtual Pottery

The Arizona State Museum opens its vault to the world

TUCSON * The Pottery Project, a new permanent exhibit at the Arizona State Museum, features a "virtual vault" that allows visitors-as well as a global Internet audience-to view signature pieces from the museum's vast collection of Southwestern pottery. The interactive, three-dimensional database enables viewers to remove a pot from the shelf, rotate it, watch a potter demonstrate how it was made, hear the stories it embodies, and learn about the archaeological site where it was found. For more information: 520.621.6302 or


The Taos, NM, art community lost an important member when Virginia Dooley passed away in April after a long illness. Dooley was the longtime companion, publicist, and gallery director for Navajo artist R.C. German; she was also a talented musician, an opera lover, and an accomplished cook. German himself passed away in 2005.... Scottsdale painter Sherry Blanchard Stuart won Best of Show at the Cowgirl Up! art show and sale held at Arizona's Desert Caballeros Western Museum in March.... Kim Roseman, owner of Karin Newby Gallery in Tubac, AZ, was selected from a field of 1,000 contestants as one of 10 winners in the Phoenix-area competition of Make Mine a Million $ Business, a national initiative to assist one million women entrepreneurs in reaching annual revenues of $1 million by the year 2010. …

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