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Art Center revisits still life

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By Nancy Coombs

Even if you haven’t looked at a still life in recent memory, it’s time to consider this art form again at the exhibition “Still Life Revisited.”

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The Art Center at Fuller Lodge will host an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday and the public is invited to come and meet many of the artists who have offered their interpretations of the theme.

Traditionally, a still life features a representation of inanimate objects. “Still Life Revisited” has its share of pears, lemons, teapots and flowers. But it also has a few amusing twists on the traditional.

Mary Stovall’s green pears sit atop their reflections on a highly polished wood table, while Margie Sarrao’s red pears seem to dance on a green surface with a bright yellow background and Pat Wall’s pears are joined by oranges. Deborah Paisner’s lemons sit in a cut-glass bowl, ready to be served for tea, which might come from Molly Hyde’s “Hawaiian Teapot” or Michele Tisdale’s “September Tea.”  

Mi Ra Won, Peggie Massengill and Marcia Young all portray the beauty of assorted flowers in paint, while Darlene Garstecki of Hot Springs, Ark., managed to capture the vibrancy and the delicacy of sunflowers in a fabric quilt.

“Still Life Revisited” also shows a number of artists who focused on the “revisited” aspect of the theme. Deborah Moll and Scott Bevin James add an edge of surrealism. Moll’s close-up photographs of a calla lily draw attention to the subtle shadows curving over the flower’s petal.

James’ colored pencil pieces “Water” and “Air” feature an assortment of iconic objects on what appears to be a rock surface, with craggy shadows falling from things like a shell or a feather and an enigmatic but necessary teacup.

Christine Brown and Daniel Gerth revisit the theme by choosing contemporary subject matter. Brown captures a rack of cowboy boots, quiet in the outdoor sun. Gerth’s “Modern Still Life” poses television remote controls in a basket that rest on the channel guide and a pair of reading glasses.

The Portal Gallery features the work of Margaret Sage of Gallup. Sage learned about the Art Center from an artist friend, and is thrilled to share her work with Los Alamos. This collection, called “Silence,” contains digitally manipulated Holocaust images. Sage, whose mother was a Holocaust survivor, grew up hearing bits and pieces of her mother’s history, but overall her mother was very reluctant to tell the whole story.

 “I carry the pieces and puzzles of my mother’s stories,” Sage said.  Early in her life, Sage began writing poetry to try and work out the things she heard from her mother. “I grew up with the dead.”

Her first works on the Holocaust theme were about her mother. The current “Silence” series interprets the influence of the stories on Sage’s understanding of the world.

Sage, the creative force behind the pieces, works in collaboration with her husband, John Rutherford, who handles the technical aspect of the work.

“Still Life Revisited” will run from Friday through Oct. 10 at the Art Center at Fuller Lodge, 2132 Central Avenue, with free admission from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Preview the show at artfulnm.org/StillLifeRevisited, or call 662-9331 for more information.