Against a balloon backdrop, this year’s Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival will soar across the interstate to plant its tent in front of Sandia Resort & Casino next weekend.
Last year’s event took place at Expo New Mexico. Organizers moved it to Sandia to be closer to the Balloon Fiesta.
More than 200 painters, sculptors, potters, photographers and fiber, furniture and jewelry artists will occupy the festival’s signature white tent for two weekends. Visitors can nibble on specialty food, hear strolling mariachi bands, sample the food truck menus and sip wine and margaritas.
Denver painter Dawn Reinfeld will exhibit her abstracted landscapes in her festival debut. Reinfeld uses a palette knife to create her thick, painterly canvases.
“I try to paint them emotionally,” she said. “I start by asking myself what world I would like to explore and what world that feeling becomes.
“I like to paint when the entire canvas is wet. I can blend and move the color with the knife. It feels almost alive. It’s not always controlled and neat. It feels messy and complicated.”
Colorado illustrator/painter Cody Kuehl creates Western scenes from iconic photographs, adding bold, black outlines around each color change. The lines impart an almost a paint-by-number or comic book feel.
“I’ve been doing – ‘pop Western’ or ‘new Western’ is what I call it – for about five years,” Kuehl said in a telephone interview from Denver.
His first images featured over-the-top portraits of gunslinging cowboys. More recent compositions depict Native Americans.
“I started off doing a lot of cowboys tongue-in-cheek,” he said. “Now I’m working from historic photographs. I try to avoid specific characters. I want people to tell their own story. When I hang it next to the (cowboy) stuff, it’s a nice dichotomy.”
Terry Adams’ metal sculptures using designs and motifs borrowed from prehistoric rock art. The Cuba, N.M.-based artist works primarily in steel, sometimes adding glass, copper accents or found objects.
Adams began sculpting after years of working as an archaeologist. That scenery spilled into his artwork.
“It’s a primal landscape with horizontal skylines cut by erosion with jagged vertical lines,” he wrote in an email. “You see a similar geometry on the ancient painted pottery and in the petroglyphs chiseled on canyon walls left by the first artists who made this region home a millennium ago,” he continued. “My work has a similar primitive aesthetic and, I think, reflects the prehistory and the emotion of this fascinating area we live in.”