Taos Abstract Artist Collective debuts inaugural exhibition

Taos Abstract Artist Collective debuts inaugural exhibition

“Light Rings,” Susan Pasquarelli, Taos, 2020, watercolor, 12×12 inches. (Courtesy of the Taos Abstract Artist Collective)

Long a nexus for westward-bound artists, Taos unleashes its share of abstract, expansive thinkers.

From the geometric forms of Indigenous art, to the Taos Society of Artists, the Taos Moderns and the Transcendentalists, this small mountain town has long served as a refuge for creative combustion.

Artist and Pratt Institute Professor Lauren Smith moved here from New York at the precipice of the 2020 pandemic shutdown. Finding no groups for artists working in abstraction, Smith and fellow abstractionists Aleya Hoerlein and Kari Bell launched the then-virtual Taos Abstract Artist Collective after many online conversations.

“Taos is a more representational market, Smith acknowledged. “We needed community, so we started communicating.”

The group will show its first exhibition from Sept. 2-10 at the Stables Gallery at the Taos Center for the Arts. Visitors will see more than 50 works, including paintings, drawings, fiber arts, sculpture, digital art, conceptual installation and printmaking. The artists come from Taos and northern New Mexico.

“We have about 65 artists participating,” Smith said. “Beyond that, we have between 40 and 50 artists who are interested in participating.”

The group is a diverse blend of new artists and long-time abstractionists.

Smith had launched large-scale exhibitions in New York, so she was a natural organizer.

“I was curious about who was doing this work,” she said.

The group is launching virtual artist talks and will schedule studio visits. They want to produce one group show annually, as well as a smaller, curated exhibition in the spring.

Their first meeting lured about 30 artists, Smith said.

“They all said thank you for bringing us out of our studios. There’s that feeling of solidarity and wonder.”

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