Zendo Coffee to host latest Luna Project art exhibit "Between Worlds" - Albuquerque Journal

Zendo Coffee to host latest Luna Project art exhibit “Between Worlds”

From left, the Luna Project is made up of, front row: Nance Elsinger, Alice Webb, Phyllis Benia Salazar, Ruth Cohen, Pat Cohen (member emerita). Back Row: Nancy Rutland, Lauri Dickinson, Cate Eaves, Mary Dornacker, Kris Thacher, Margy O’Brien, Joani Murphy. (Courtesy of the Luna Project)

If the moon waxes and wanes, so do artists.

Especially during the uncertainty of Covid.

Now it its 20th year, the Luna Project, a group of about a dozen women artists, has produced an exhibition charting that ambiguity with “Between Worlds.” The show opens at Zendo Coffee on Friday, March 4.

“Hummingbird Dance,” Nancy Rutland, linocut print. (Courtesy of the Luna Project)

The collective grew out of a group of artists who came together in 2003. They all work in a variety of materials ranging from pottery to printmaking, and meet monthly to encourage and critique one another’s work.

Corrales resident Nancy Rutland produced prints centered on dancing.

“I thought of dancing between worlds in this kind of world we’re in,” she said.

Rutland’s pieces include “The Dance,” a Chine-collé print (a technique resulting in a two-layered paper support), and “Hummingbird Dance,” a linocut print.

“It feels like a backing out, a dance; the world pre-Covid and now,” she continued. “We make all kinds of dances in our lives. The hummingbird dances between the air and the clouds and the solid ground and hovers on the plant life between worlds.”

Rutland is the former founding owner of Bookworks in the city’s North Valley. Her work has been featured in both juried and invitational shows.

When painter Cate Eaves learned the show’s theme, she turned to her sketchbook and seized on the spiral shape of nautilus shells and ammonite fossils.

“Full Fathom Five,” Cate Eaves, watercolor and ballpoint pen. (Courtesy of the Luna Project)

Ammonites lived 30 million years ago as sea-going creatures, but they survived as fossils, transforming from an animal form, then crystalized and frozen in the geologic strata, she wrote in an email.

“So I decide to make little mandala drawings as a kind of meditation on this creature that lived in an ancient world and now exists as a beautiful and strange mineral in my modern world,” she stated.

To Eaves, the ancient shapes bridge the gap between worlds, still evoking the mystery of nature, “ancient and current, alive versus static, under the sea or frozen into stone. Transformed between worlds.”

“Green Trust,” Nance Elsinger, acrylic. (Courtesy of the Luna Project).

To oil and acrylic artist Nance Elsinger, “Between Worlds” conjured infinite space in her acrylic painting “Green Trust.”

“No matter how stark, there is the possibility of a spark of life,” she said. “The plant is a symbol of life.”

Mixed-media artist Ruth Cohen found inspiration for her “River Boat and Umbrellas” in two very different Southeast Asian cities.

“In Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, I often ride on a river boat, like the one seen in this piece,” she wrote in an email. “The river activity includes tug boats, barges, hotel boats, boats for shoppers, tourist boats and boats for public transportation.

“River Boat and Umbrellas,” Ruth Cohen, mixed-media on panel. (Courtesy of the Luna Project)

“From Thailand I travel by plane to Luang Prabang, the former capital of Laos, where the pace is slower and the river activity is serene,” Cohen continued. “I saw the umbrellas in Luang Prabang at the night market.”

The Luna Project was born in a commitment to produce one small autobiographical work each week for a year, hence, its original name Semanas (weeks). But many of the artists got waylaid from the project by their busy lives. Some made only a few pieces. Their first group show hung at the Harwood Art Center in Taos in 2005. They soon changed the productivity requirement to monthly works of art. Since then, the collective has shown their work at the Open Space Visitor Center, the Albuquerque Library, Weyrich Gallery, Oasis, Mariposa Gallery and Tortuga Gallery.

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