As the news cycle spins seemingly endless stories about the carnage in Ukraine, a group of New Mexico artists wants to help.
Open at the Inpost Artspace at the Outpost Performance Space, a dozen artists will donate a portion of the proceeds from 27 works to Direct Relief, a nonprofit providing emergency medical assistance and disaster relief.
“We just wanted to try to do something,” Chandler Wigton, co-curator with Lacey Chrisco, said. “We were very happy with the influx of people wanting to participate. There are so many cool and generous artists in this community. Some people are donating all of their sales.”
The artists agreed to a 50% split. Works will also be available online. The artwork ranges from prints to paintings, mixed-media and ceramics, with styles verging from the politically-driven to landscapes and abstraction.
When Albuquerque artist Julianna Kirwin heard about the fundraiser, her thoughts first turned to bombed-out buildings and rubble-strewn streets.
Instead, she decided to be positive, producing a linocut print of a bold pair of sunflowers. “Peace in Ukraine” letters the base of the print.
“The sunflowers represent Ukraine and it just seemed like a positive message,” Kirwin said.
The artist majored in art and bilingual education at the University of New Mexico. She shows her prints at Santa Fe’s Hecho a Mano.
“I love making multiples and I like being able to offer my artwork at a reasonable price,” she said. Kirwin also makes woodcut prints and likes to combine techniques.
“Normally, I like to layer my hand-cut stencils around the print,” she said. “It gives it a little more depth.”
Albuquerque artist Mark Horst painted an image of two Orthodox Ukrainian women at prayer.
“As a painter, I always collect images from the newspaper and magazines,” he said. “I thought it really spoke to the darkness of the war and their strength and their hopefulness. I know there’s a lot of different views of the war, but I thought it spoke to their experience.”
A professional artist for 12 years, Horst is known for his figurative work and his use of chiaroscuro, strong contrasts between light and dark. He shows his work at Sumner & Dene Gallery. He grew up in Minnesota and moved to Albuquerque 12 years ago.
Retired engineer Tom Brown had always liked to draw, so he took a class at Central New Mexico Community College. A printmaking class followed, where he met the show’s curators.
Brown created the etching and aquatint “Finger Puppet-Faces of Evil,” an image of his hand, its middle finger holding an image of Vladimir Putin and a skull. Vipers twine between the two.
“I started taking the class and had to come up with some ideas,” Brown said. “I was looking at my hand and I made a gesture. It was just a real visceral reaction to the destruction.”
The hammer and sickle, symbol of the old Soviet Union, plasters the Russian dictator’s forehead. But sunflowers, the national symbol of Ukraine, bloom at the bottom of the print. For the artist, they symbolize hope.
“He can do whatever he wants, but he can’t seem to trample that out,” Brown said. “I was hoping things would change and it wouldn’t be relevant anymore.”