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Sally Condon’s solo showcase stole the show

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Another exciting year has flashed by, proving that even times of change cannot diminish the New Mexico art community’s ability to mount dynamic shows featuring local, regional and international artists.

World-class shows include SITE Santa Fe’s “More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness” through Jan. 6 with works by 27 artists and art groups as well as the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History’s “La Caprichos,” 80 etchings by Francisco Goya that included “Satire and Commentary” from the museum collection.

As if that weren’t enough, the Albuquerque Museum and 516 ARTS unveiled a joint exhibition titled “ISEA 2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness” through Jan. 6, a jaw-dropping and inspirational multimedia installation re-visioning art, technology and nature as a part of a multi-venue statewide extravaganza of exhibitions to celebrate the International Symposium of Electronic Artists.

“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” by Christiaan Zwanikken at 516 ARTS shares a kinship with Paul Klee’s “Twittering Machine.”

The ISEA organization is a worldwide body of artists, curators and administrators who choose a different host city each year. Our gratitude goes out to Albuquerque Museum director Kathy Wright, curator Andrew Connors, 516 ARTS director Suzanne Sbarge and many other members of the arts community for attracting such high-quality contemporary art to Duke City.

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Participants include the Richard Levy Gallery, the University of New Mexico Art Museum and the UNM Harwood Museum of Art in Taos.

Also showing at the Richard Levy Gallery was the knockout solo effort by John Chervinsky that wowed this viewer with inter-dimensional reality play. The May exhibit at Richard Levy followed “Skirts” with Sabine Dehnel and Heidi Lender , who told autobiographical stories through elegant visual poems in February.

516 ARTS invited Los Angeles critic Peter Frank to assemble “New Mexico Showcase” with works by 80 area artists. The ratio of 52 female to 28 male artists reflected the enormous contribution women make toward the success of the arts in New Mexico.

Sally Condon had several pieces in “New Mexico Showcase” that attracted my attention as well as a jaw-dropping solo show at Matrix Fine Art in May. Condon is my pick for artist of the year.

The New Mexico Art League completely rebuilt its gallery spaces with new walls, paint and an excellent lighting system that wowed this viewer while visiting the nicely executed “Going Places” exhibition featuring Maggie Price and Bill Canright. The NMAL gets two thumbs up for Albuquerque’s most improved gallery space.

The already beautiful 1629 Club at the Casa Rondeña Winery featured “Exploring My West” by David Schwindt, a perennial landscape painter who delivers solid craftsmanship and a vision dedicated to the western scene. The solo installation was curated by Joshua Franco.

The 5G Gallery hosted “Far Flung,” a wonderful show featuring Lauren Greenwald, Brook Steiger and Cedra Wood in a celebration of nature and lament for human impact.

There were a string of stunning solo shows that included Isaac AlaridPease and Janet Hoelzel at the Mariposa Gallery, Laura Pope and Carol Chamberland at the Weyrich Gallery and “Inner Constructs,” an exciting collection by Patrick Carr at Gallerie Imaginarium that will reopen this coming spring in the East Mountains.

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Iva Morris showed nicely painted pastel landscapes and drop-dead-gorgeous figurative oils at the Sumner and Dene Gallery. The gallery also featured painters Angus Macpherson, Frank McCulloch, Jeannie Sellmer and others while celebrating owner Roy Johnson’s 31st year in business.

The Dartmouth Street Gallery hosted “The Necessity of Water” featuring well-wrought paintings by Dennis Liberty and Leo Neufeld.

Palette Contemporary Art and Craft hosted several bold shows including “Dialed In: a Vintage Radio Show” that reminded us of the breadth of the American imagination before the advent of television where pictures obscure truth.

Several more solo shows drew our attention with Depy Adams and Paul Rodenhauser at Framing Concepts and a beautiful exposition of mixed-media works by Martie Zelt at the Land Gallery.

The Oro Fine Art Gallery showcased an eye-popping and gob-smacking array of new paintings by Ricardo Chavez Mendez inspired by the artist’s curvism style.

To celebrate 31 years in business the Weems Galleries featured a broad spectrum group show titled “Fun, Funky, Fantastic Sculpture Show” that featured a gaggle of heavy hitters like Nancy Young and Fred Yost.

Matrix Fine Art with the adjacent New Grounds Gallery showed “In Broad Sunlight” by Condon, “Little Pieces of the Heart” by Jacklyn St. Aubyn and “Organic” by Pamela Wesolek. All three shows were visual knockouts.

Last spring Exhibit 208 invited artists’ agent Bethany (Buffy) Nelson to showcase a dozen of her “House of Figs” stable of artists. Exhibit 208 ended the year with “Black to White,” a wonderful gallery artists’ show full of well known area artists. Co-founders Kim Arthun and Russell Hamilton have found a good formula to attract great talent.

Assuming the Mayan calendar was grossly misunderstood we can look forward to an exciting 2013 and if the Mayans were right a new series of heaven cycles.


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