'Hunting + Gathering' exhibit to spark imagination - Albuquerque Journal

‘Hunting + Gathering’ exhibit to spark imagination

A multiple exposure of artistic genres, including photographs by Ansel Adams and prints by onetime Albuquerque resident Richard Diebenkorn highlight a collection of new works at the New Mexico Museum of Art.

Opening on Friday, Nov. 7, “Hunting + Gathering: New Additions to the Museum’s Collection” showcases a sampling of more than 200 pieces donated to or purchased by the museum within the last five years. The vast majority of the works were given to the museum by collectors and estates, curator Carmen Vendelin said.

“Hunting + Gathering” includes works by Betty Hahn, Gustave Baumann, John Garrett, Imogen Cunningham, Joyce Neimanas, Robert Motherwell, Fritz Scholder, Will Wilson, Francisco Zúñiga and more. The artwork spans painting, photography, sculpture, prints, ceramics, mixed media, textiles and drawings.

Curators grouped the artwork thematically under headings like “Horizontal/Vertical,” “Boundary Issues” and “Indeterminate Object” to fire viewers’ imaginations into fresh interpretations.

Adams’ legendary print “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico,” taken from a shoulder of U.S. 84 in 1941, became so popular the photographer personally printed 1,300 images over his career. The dark sky and glowing clouds stripe the frame horizontally above the snow-capped Sangre de Cristos beneath a nearly full moon.

The print is the gift of an anonymous donor. The show also includes Adams’ famous “Aspens, Northern New Mexico,” (1958) capturing the light radiating across a single tree before a forest of slender trunks.

Joyce Neimanas’ startling inkjet print “Girl with Squirrel (from the series ‘Dog Show’)” (2010) offers a young girl cradling an indiscriminate bundle of fur. The artist is retired from teaching at the University of New Mexico.

“This really encompasses the name of the exhibit,” Vendelin said. “It’s like, ‘Wow, what did you find?’ It sparks that interest and wonder.”

The tiny Woody Gwyn landscape “Villanueva, New Mexico” (spanning 8 by 12 inches) depicts a two-lane highway meandering around a rock wall as a thick forest occupies the background.

“You’ve got almost a bleached-out quality,” Vendelin said. “And it’s got a nice sense of color. New Mexico draws artists interested in color to begin with.”

At first glance, John Garrett’s sculpture resembles a quilt. But the Albuquerque artist constructed “Pinwheel Quilt” (2008) out of aluminum, copper, oil enamel, acrylic, rivets and hardware cloth – “industrial material,” Vendelin said. “It’s pieced together as a quilter would. It’s like a textile of recycled metal.”

“Vendedoras de Pan (Bread Vendors)” is a color lithograph by Francisco Zúñiga. (Courtesy of the Museum of New Mexico)
“Vendedoras de Pan (Bread Vendors)” is a color lithograph by Francisco Zúñiga. (Courtesy of the Museum of New Mexico)

Zúñiga’s 1980 subdued color lithograph “Vendedoras de Pan (Bread Vendors)” shows the quiet dignity of its subjects as they await customers at a table.

Texas artist Bob Wade hand-colored a vintage print of Poncho Villa. The exhibit also includes three historic photographs of University of New Mexico anti-war protests from the 1970s.

Viewers will have to wait for another exhibition to see the rest of the new acquisitions, Vendelin said.

“At any given time, the art museum has from 1 to 3 percent of its collection on view,” she said. “You can never get it all out at one time.”

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