The vivid colors of paint, pencil and film form the stars of Gallery Hózhó’s “Vibrant” exhibition, on view through Jan. 29.
Hailing from Mexico, the Navajo Nation and Albuquerque, the artists include santero Vicente Telles, Diné photographer and painter Chelsea A. Benally, acrylic on board painter Omar Ganzo, printmaker and jewelry artist Adrian Standing Elk Pinnecoose and colored pencil artist Deborah Sipple.
Sipple turned to magazine subscription cards after a career as a sculptor led to lung damage. Now based in St. Paul, Minnesota, she once worked at Albuquerque’s Whole Foods charged with changing out the magazine rack.
“We’ve all seen old magazine cards on the floor,” she said. “I loved them.”
The rectangles became the ideal canvas for her abstracted, organic imagery.
“I started collecting them,” she said. “I literally have at least 5,000. Part of it is I love magazines. Magazines are becoming obsolete. I feel like it’s a way to pay tribute to the magazine industry.”
Her “Albuquerque the Magazine” piece is comprised of colored pencil in an undulating, organic shape on the insert.
“They’re very calming to me,” Sipple said. “Sometimes it almost feels like I’m sculpting stone. I create depth with making fine layers of color. We all have our scars and our memories and our wounds.”
Although the drawings are non-representational, Sipple says they represent the depths and the memories of everyone.
Her current insert collection includes cards from the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Outside magazine, Smithsonian magazine, cooking magazines, the Atlantic and Vogue, among others.
Unlike Andy Warhol and his soup cans, Sipple uses the actual card in her work.
“I’d like to enlarge that and do things bigger,” she said. “I’ve thought of calling a few of these magazines and getting permission.”
Pinnecoose (Diné/Southern Ute) plays with geometric shapes to create innovative designs and art, using computer-generated designs. He earned his master’s degree in computational ecologies from the University of New Mexico. He received his bachelor’s degree from UNM in architecture and planning. His interest in architecture proved pivotal to his work.
“It really gives you an understanding of how to analyze and design your process,” he said.
The Albuquerque artist grew up in Santa Fe, the son of jewelry artist Laverne Gold Tooth. He remembers accompanying her to Santa Fe Indian Market and gallery exhibits. His great-grandmother wove the two Navajo rugs draped over his couch. Their angular motifs provide regular design inspiration.
Pinnecoose creates a story for every design, imbuing each with a sense of symmetry, harmony and balance.
“It’s been in my family for years,” he said. “My great-grandmother was an artist, my mom and my family.
“I first started in computer graphics,” he continued. “It started from the technology of Navajo textiles. I really love their geometry. A lot of my artwork is based on that geometry.”
“Chaotic Resilience,” a giclée on archival paper, captures the yin and yang of a lifetime.
“That came about over the years,” Pinnecoose said. “Sometimes we’re faced with difficult challenges growing up, but jot to take that negativity so seriously.”
Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as an infant, Pinnecoose uses a wheelchair.
The center stage elk in his composition is a nod to his middle name. The trees represent summer and winter and the cycle of life and death.
“I like to play with different imagery within my work,” he said. “I always like to engage my audience. The more someone sees in it, it really becomes their interpretation of each piece I develop. Being in a wheelchair, I wanted to show that challenge didn’t defeat me when I was growing up; not to beat myself up; not to base it on superficial things. You have to embrace who your are.”
_WebHeadline”>NM-based artists create ‘vibrant’ imagery showcased at Gallery Hózhó at Hotel Chaco