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Review: Nature-related art exhibit celebrates life on earth

The Page Coleman Gallery is hosting “WILD+LIFE,” a 70-artist benefit exhibition for Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico through Saturday.

The quiet extravaganza is a who’s who of New Mexico artists filled with nature-related objects in a variety of media that all celebrate life on earth.

This review will touch on several but far from all highlights among an impressive selection of work.

Maria Ross offers “Flutter” to the fray as an act of bravery. Her wire sculpture is beautifully ephemeral and like Page Coleman’s wire-formed “Fancy Tail” could easily be overlooked among the bold, brassy and bountiful works by others.

“Wheelie” by Santiago Perez is a well-executed painted silhouette depicting one of Perez’ well-known Murgatroids on a roll.

“Wheelie” by Santiago Perez is a well-executed painted silhouette depicting one of Perez’ well-known Murgatroids on a roll.

Ross however is dealing with the complexity of nest-building and the energy surrounding bird architecture.

The flutter she refers to are the wing beats necessary to weave grass, stems and other fibers into a home for the next generation.

Ross didn’t render either bird or wing but did elegantly capture and express active energetics.

In “Wheelie” Santiago Perez presents a painted plywood silhouette of one of his well-known Murgatroids (clothed black birds) on a roll.

The piece is well made and skillfully painted by one of our area’s master painters. If I had more wall space I’d take this one home.

Mosaic portrait busts are very rare but Scottie Sheehan’s “Floral Beret” is a very nicely executed example.

The flower-laden head reveals all facial features and has a strong formal presence.

Scott Krichau is a pop surrealist who often produces brightly painted steel sculpture depicting stylized vehicles from airplanes to trucks.

For this show he’s painting acrylic imagery titled “Kambra is Living the Dream” featuring an intensely orange antlered creature gazing into a subtly painted sky as a bulbous space object hovers above. Beam me up, Scotty.

Speaking of eye-popping images, “Rabbit” by Carolyn Curtis puts the radiance into rabbit lore.

Her stylized and patterned bunny sits in front of a solar-inspired flowerlike mandala rendered in bright orange and yellow.

Ed Haddaway must have had a bad night back East. His “3 a.m. New Jersey” painted steel sculpture features a catawampus blue bed festooned with an angry green alligator.

Haddaway is a classical surrealist I only hope this East Coast dream of his doesn’t come true.

Flowers, butterflies and a human hand embellish Joshua Franco’s shrine titled “After the Right Was Hung Up the Left Continued,” a nicely rendered assemblage.

“Passengers” by Suzanne Sbarge is a beautifully painted collage that asks viewers to suspend logic just like in a real dream.

“Passengers” by Suzanne Sbarge is a beautifully painted collage that asks viewers to suspend logic just like in a real dream.

Franco does an excellent job of balancing the mostly gray framework with the retablo style colorfully painted central image.

It must just be a fluke but Ali Gallo’s painted steel sculpture does tell “A Whale of a Tale” with a twisted sense of narrative joy. The piece is a successful blend of line and volume.

In “Nautilus” Russel Adams uses spare means to express the spiral configuration of the shell within an almost minimalist construction.

Adams is a master at infusing relatively simple and therefore elegant compositions with totemic presence and sacred importance.

In contrast, Suzanne Sbarge offers a rather complex painted collage titled “Passengers” depicting a group of disparate birds with a hybrid human and a shy cat hidden by a fern.

The impossible composition relies on a surrealistic suspension of logic just like a real dream.

Her choice of colors is spot-on.

If you like solid craftsmanship and strong imaginary sculpture you’ll love “Wolf in Chicks Clothing” by wood master Steve Madsen.

There are many more notable works by equally notable artists in this show.

It’s even up for a great cause, so don’t miss it.

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