‘We Who are Clay’

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Art > The latest show at Fuller Lodge Art Center opens Friday with a reception

By Special to the Monitor




Last year, Ken Nebel from the Fuller Lodge Art Center was throwing around ideas about collaboration with Raffi Andonian from the Los Alamos Historical Society, and Andonian suggested that if the Art Center hosted a show about pots, the Historical Society could share its collection of works by well-known potters. 

Eventually, the idea morphed into “We Who Are Clay,” a collection of contemporary works by (mostly) New Mexico artists at the Art Center and the history of clay and adobe at the Historical Society, as well as a variety of clay-related activities throughout town. For the kick-off, the Art Center will hold an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday, hosted by Self Help, Inc. Then on Saturday, Self Help hosts the Empty Bowls Project.

For each thematic exhibit, Fuller Lodge Art Center puts out a Call for Artists. This invitation to apply goes to people throughout Northern New Mexico and is posted on a number of art-related websites. Images of all the work entered are put into an anonymous slideshow and are judged by three professional artists. 

This show was juried by Gloria Gilmore-House, Lara Sandling-Bennett and the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos ceramics teacher Barbara Yarnell. More than five-dozen people applied to “We Who Are Clay,” and work from 49 artists was accepted. Twelve different New Mexico communities are represented and one artist sent work from Wisconsin. 

A UNM professor in Albuquerque collected applications from a number of her students and all were juried in. Local photographer Katherine Brittin is showing work and is proud to point out the work of her niece, Emily Vigil from California. Vigil created her piece when she was 15, and it was juried in, right alongside the work of professional artists who entered the show.

Although there are a few photographs and a painting (which capture the spirit of clay) the majority of the work is 3-D. Nebel has tackled the challenge of displaying approximately 100 pieces by creating “pedestals” out of objects as diverse as a kiln, a potter’s wheel, wooden shipping boxes and shelves made of encyclopedias. There are a number of pots in all shapes and sizes. 

John Hains displays some examples of micacious clay work. Casey Dee Greenling’s “Urchin Scallop Bowl” is covered with spikes, while Alison Ticknor’s “Urchin Vase” sprouts spikes on the lid. 

Many of the clay pieces are sculptural. Husband and wife collaborators Colin and Kristine Poole show “Spirit Deer,” an almost life-sized piece combining a woman’s body with the head of a deer. The clay sculpture was painted with oil paint, giving it an appearance similar to bronze. Alexis Higginbotham portrays the Hindu gods “Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles” and “Hanuman, Simian God.” 

In the Portal Gallery, Santa Fe artist Bonnie Binkert shows her series of paintings titled, “Celebrating the Seasons.” Binkert has participated in a number of shows in the past and now shows a whole body of work together. “I hope people will enjoy my new color palette,” she said.

The Art Center, at 2132 Central Ave., is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Preview a virtual tour of the show at fullerlodgeartcenter.com.