Manitou Galleries’ “Taos 6 Show” is a celebration of just that, Manitou artists who have studios in Taos and whose imagery of choice emphasizes the local people and environment. These featured artists are not integrated under a single style but simply a desire to create.
From the galleries:
This show’s conception began with a quote we read where Bert Phillips said to Ernest Blumenschein in September of 1898, “For heaven’s sake, tell people what we have found! Send some artists out here. There is a lifetime’s work for twenty men.” By 1915, six artists had formed the Taos Society of Artists and forever changed the course of Southwestern Art. The modern-day Taos art colony is a collection of artists who are drawn to the landscape and people of northern New Mexico.
Jerry Jordan’s paintings are rich and vivid with elaborate details, capturing not only the drastic landscapes of Taos and traditional pueblo life but also the magic of Taos itself. Using his mastery of color and strong brushwork to create incredible texture, Jordan breathes life into the images of this beloved land.
After more than 40 years of painting Taos and its surrounding areas, Don Brackett says the experience — and the landscape — remains fresh in his eyes and his art. And if nature’s composition requires some adjustment, the artist draws on a well-earned fluency in the language of landforms and light. Of the landscape he loves to paint: “After a while it just gets in your blood.”
At first, JD Challenger was reluctant to have his work seen by the public for fear of offending the very people he so admired. His wife encouraged him to show the finished paintings to his closest Native American friends and to ask them for their feelings about him painting their people. When he finally did so, he received their blessings. A Kiowa holy man told him, “There needs to be messengers; the creator chooses his own messengers. They take many forms. You are a messenger; your path is to tell the stories of the Native people to those who do not know what has happened in the past or what is still happening today. You make them see who we are, that we are real living human beings and that we are still here.”
“Complexity within simplicity” is the motto PJ Garoutte uses as she approaches her paintings. She says, “I love simple images juxtaposed to a vibrantly complex background, or vice versa. I spend a lot of time visualizing my paintings before and after I paint them.” PJ’s paintings evolve into representational images as she expands the forms that emerge. “My paintings are a diary of my everyday life; there has been a continuous dialogue between myself and my works of art my whole life.”
Jeff Cochran’s impasto oil paintings depicting the New Mexico landscape are a mix of realism and romanticism. They depict a world where the perfect light meets the perfect view. Stemming from his work as an organic farmer, he is well-tuned to notice every nuance and subtle change in the landscape. Cochran thinks of his farming as an extension of his art and as a form of large-scale sculpture made of the Earth. He says, “The different colors of plants, soil, and mulch contrasting with furrows and beds are like a three-dimensional painting.”
Miguel Martinez claims to be inspired by Mexican artists Rivera and Zuniga for their portrayal of the dignity of common folk, and he admired Modigliani’s works of powerful and poignant human emotions. He knew these were the kinds of messages stirring in his soul and waiting to be painted. Moved by deep respect and admiration, he began a series of large faces of women, enlarging and stylizing the eyes, and endowed them with mystery of illusive and provocative expressions. He has created them in an ambiance of everyday life, giving them a voice which has inordinately proved to speak to the hearts of a universal following.
The “Taos 6 Group Show” is on view at Manitou Galleries (Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM) through December 10, 2018.