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Miniature art prompts ABQ museum’s biggest fundraiser

“Chimera 1” is an oil on panel by artist Charlie Burk.

“Chimera 1” is an oil on panel by artist Charlie Burk.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A bevy of tiny paintings, textiles and pottery will tempt bidders and collectors to the Albuquerque Museum’s 24th Annual “Miniatures & More” show.

Jurors selected 116 finalists from about 300 applicants to the prestigious silent auction opening Friday, Oct. 24, program manager Rita Butler said. The artists include such A-list names as Patrick Nagatani and Michael Naranjo, as well as Elias Rivera and Tim Prythero. The event is the museum’s largest fundraiser.

The artists keep 60 percent of the proceeds, while the remainder goes to the museum, Butler said. Prices ranges from $350-$5,000 for the miniatures and from $5,000 to $25,000 for the larger works. The artwork ranges from painting and sculpture to textiles, photographs, prints and drawings.

The event typically raises about $150,000 for the museum, Butler added.

“They don’t need to sell to us,” museum curator Andrew Connors said of the donating artists. “They have regular galleries and exhibitions of this work.”

Albuquerque’s Charlie Burk has participated in the show for five years. This time he’s offering three 18-inch-square oils on panel.

“They’re contemporary landscapes,” he said. “They’re layers of grass; it’s like a texture, but they do have a horizon in the background. They’re inspired by my mind.”

He titled them all “Chimera” (meaning unrealized dream or illusion).

Burk has shown his work at Santa Fe’s Winterowd Fine Art for 10 years.

During a slow period, he began painting murals, an experience still reflected in his painting today.

“It changed my perspective to do bigger things,” he said.

He began producing tropical leaf shapes and patterns, then abstracting the images of nature into shadows. His largest piece is 6 by 8 feet. It’s been challenging to shrink his canvas.

“It’s obviously a good credential for me,” he said. “But I get along well with the museum and want to support it. I wouldn’t miss it.”

Contemporary Albuquerque artist Shawn Turung submitted three 12-by-12-inch pieces swirled with lines. Most of her works span 40 by 40 inches.

“They’re all basic linear compositions,” she said. “My process is largely mixed-media Mylars on top of each other for a layering effect.”

Mylar is a shiny, stretched polyester film often used in balloons. The result is at once transparent, opaque and reflective, she said.

“I just really like the subtlety of line.”

“Composition no. 10” is a reversed mixed-media ink painting by Albuquerque artist Shawn Turung.

“Composition no. 10” is a reversed mixed-media ink painting by Albuquerque artist Shawn Turung.

This marks her fourth year in the miniatures show.

“I think it’s a very lovely, prestigious show to be in,” she said. “It’s a big challenge to do something I don’t normally do.”

Las Cruces artist John Garrett’s “Icy Shimmer” was inspired by New Mexico clouds scudding atop one another.

“We’ve all seen clouds building up on one another in different colors of grey and white,” he said.

At 6 by 5 feet, his piece is hardly miniature.

“I tend to work on a larger scale,” he said. “If I did something small, it wouldn’t look right.”

Garrett worked in traditional weaving for years before branching out into nontraditional materials like wire, metal and plastic.

More wall hanging than weaving, “Icy Shimmer” is made of metal. The surfaces differ depending upon whether the artist painted, brushed or embossed them.

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