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Showcase for shades of gray

“Stretch,” scratchboard by Heather Ward. (Courtesy of New Mexico Art League)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Truman Capote once threw a black-and-white masquerade ball.

With no masks in sight, the New Mexico Art League is hosting a black-and-white exhibition of photographs and drawings beginning Tuesday, April 16. The show will hang through May 25.

Executive Director Buffy Nelson launched the exhibition five years ago as part of a fundraising gala.

“It’s beautiful when we put it together,” she said. “Black-and-white is the unsung hero now with digital” photography.

The exhibition combines that darkroom magic with drawings in pen and ink, graphite, charcoal, scratchboard and Conté crayon (powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with wax or clay). These artists capture landscapes, portraits and abstraction on paper.

“San Agustin II,” black-and-white digital photograph by John Sakel.

Prices can range from $150 to $3,000.

“We do very well with sales in all of our shows,” Nelson said. “We have collectors who know they can get a very good deal because these are emerging artists.

The exhibition is open to all New Mexico artists.

“Black-and-white photographers don’t have as many opportunities to show, so we do get a high caliber,” Nelson said, “and drawings, too. There are just not that many drawing shows.”

A meet-the-artists reception is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27.

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