The alcove shows continue the tradition began in 1917 of exhibiting works made by living artists. These small, one-person exhibitions, called alcoves, were held in the original gallery space through the 1950s, resuming in the mid-1980s and again in the early 1990s and 2012. Alcoves 2020 continues this tradition with a series of six exhibitions featuring the work of artists living in New Mexico right now. These artist-centered showcases feature new ideas, artists at all stages of their careers and artwork that is being made by artists from across New Mexico.
Alcoves 2020 #2: October 19, 2020 - February 9, 2020
Jen Pack, Heather McGill, Daniel McCoy, Marietta Patricia Leis, Sarah Stolar
Jen Pack creates her prismatic string and fiber art to satisfy a compulsion. Her work is located in a transitional zone between color and form, and painting and sculpture. Pack says of her work: “I have always been profoundly responsive to color and the sensations color can provoke. My work has been described as an artistic oxymoron: both loud and quiet, solid and transparent, hand-made and precise, delicate and aggressive, exuberant and restrained, formal and emotional. It is a reflection of me, an artist of blended culture who is both loud and quiet, urban and rural, delicate and aggressive, masculine and feminine, adventurous and routine.” Born in Astoria, Oregon in 1976, Pack received a BFA from Art Center college of Design in Pasadena, California, in 1997 and an MLIS from San Jose State University in 2008. She is a librarian as well as an artist. Jen Pack currently resides in Silver City, New Mexico.
Exhibiting in museums and galleries nationally and internationally since 1984, Heather McGill has a unique ability and art making practice where opposing concepts come together and fuse into one successful union: hand-made and machine-made, low art and high art, nature and high tech, feminine and masculine. The laser cut paper she uses is exquisitely airbrushed using inexpensive readymade lace and textiles by the yard for stencils. These patterns are mostly from the natural world, including flowers, butterflies, spider webs and the like. They are also evocative of the 1960s and 70s trippy psychedelic patterns and artworks. These spectacular elements are then assembled and layered on a similarly painted backer board drilled with hundreds of holes so that the collaged pieces can be sewn together using beads for additional support and ornamentation. Heather McGill received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she refined her training in sculpture. McGill’s 26-year teaching career at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit where the automation and mass production of automobiles, development of novel plastics, resins, and other materials along with the spectacular autobody and paint colors and lacquers has had a long-lasting impact on her practice, and has become a recurring theme influencing her processes and work.
Daniel McCoy Jr.’s father was an Irish biker and his mother a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Tribe of Oklahoma. His paintings bear influences from both sides, the aesthetic of psychedelic counterculture melding easily with the modernist flat style of mid-century Native painters. The campy color palette and frantic, wavy line-work that the younger McCoy (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) perfected easily lend to comic, even ironic, meditations on everything from Aristotle’s Great Chain of Being to Allsup’s famed hot sauce. McCoy attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in 1993, and continues to be inspired by the vast disparity of creative expression he witnessed there. Pop culture, Americana, and punk rock find common ground in his work. His experiences vary just a widely as his influences, and each, it seems, comes into play in his paintings, including a stint as a sign and billboard painter. Sign painting gifted McCoy an affinity for lettering, and the ultra-realism of the billboard business drove him to go back to something organic and imperfect: cartooning. A cartoonish style set McCoy apart because at the time Native art was still dominated by realism. Since coming to New Mexico for college, McCoy continues to live and work in Santa Fe.
Marietta Patricia Leis says of her work: “My work encompasses multiple media, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, and installation. There is always an element of the sensory in my art- a texture, a color, a deep space- something to engage the senses of the viewer. The intention of the work is to contemplate boundaries, edges, and limits. My abstract color fields run the risk of invisibility, but silence, patience, and deep listening is fundamental to the satisfaction of the viewer.” Marie6tta Patricia Leis was born in Newark, New Jersey. She has worked as a professional artist for 30+ years. She has lived in New York, Los Angeles, Perugia (Italy), and now lives and works in New Mexico/ She is a painter whose work has evolved from very complex abstractions to reductive color fields inspired by my Eastern Studies and nature. She has participated in Artist Residencies both in the US and abroad. Leis has shown her work abroad in Thailand, China, Portugal, and England, as well as in the US in museums and galleries. Private and public collections hold her work. She has earned her MFA from the University of New Mexico.
Sarah Stolar is an interdisciplinary artist who works from a strong psychological and female perspective. The breadth of her work includes drawing, painting, multi-media installation, film, video and performance art. She also works collaboratively with notable performance artists and non-profit organizations. She has worked on two feature-length films, curated five gallery and museum exhibitions, and created wearable art for international performances. Sarah grew up in her mother’s art studio, received a BFA in Painting from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and an MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute. Selected exhibitions include the Donau Festival, Krems, Austria; Anti-Contemporary Art Festival, Kuopio, Finland; Currents 2011, Santa Fe; 53rd Venice Biennale; and a solo exhibition at BGMoCA, Uruguay. A long-time educator, Sarah is currently contributing faculty at the Santa Fe University of Art & Design and the Chair of the Art Department at University of New Mexico - Taos.
Alcoves 20/20 is supported in part by the Friends of Contemporary Art + Photography.