Art members show off their best

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By The Staff

Friday the Art Center at Fuller Lodge celebrates the Members’ Best exhibit with an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. From crafts to fine arts, from whimsical to serious, Members’ Best is a bold testament to the wealth of artistic talent residing in the community.

Member’s Best represents 48 ACFL members, out of the ACFL’s membership of 400. The criteria for submission required only that the artist be a current, dues-paying member of the Art Center at Fuller Lodge, so the subjects are as wide-ranging as the creativity of the artists. This becomes apparent before even entering the gallery; a small yellow tank sitting in the quadrangle outside the Gallery Entrance labels itself both as “school bus” and “AST-1.” This piece by Frank Morbillo is a radical departure from his elegant, formal and abstract work as represented in his fountain piece that graces the front of the Bradbury Museum on Central Avenue. The cryptic title, “AST-1 (Armored Student Transport – 1)” denotes reference to events such as ‘Columbine.’

The true definition of the word art, which comes from the Greek arte, means “making things excellently.” Members Best highlights the arte of artists and craftsmen of Los Alamos County and northern New Mexico.

Crafts, such as stained glass, wood working, ceramic pottery, knitting and quilting present the opportunity to demonstrate this. Ann Shafer’s knitted shawls and jewelry are a perfect case in point. Her work is the culmination of years of diligence and craftsmanship resulting in outstanding design, construction and use of color. Three local artists, Micheline Devaurs, Fran Stovall and Chris Judson, continue to create beautiful stained glass. Terry Foxx and Debby Hyman demonstrate the quilters craft to a high degree. Elizbeth M. Schmid once again displays her artistic versatility with “Blue Vase in Gardenpond,” embroidery and acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Menolda Bakker’s hats are seen throughout the year in the ACFL Gallery Shop, and the unique quality of her presentations in the exhibit truly shows off this member’s best. Trish Reed’s fused glass as always delights while complimenting the whimsical work of Gilbert Candelaria’s mixed media. Cheryl Hoagland’s clay pottery work has a definite Chinese look and feel.

Painting and the graphic arts dominate the exhibition in the overall number of works. Subject matter extends from abstract painting on metal by Virginia Westray to the impressionism of Jane Chandler’s “Girl Talk at Lake Powell,” the surrealism of Linda Storm’s “Looking Back at Ya” and the painterly work of Linsay Locke’s mysteriously titled “Birthday Tea.”

As is the case in many art exhibitions held in the southwest, landscape paintings are plentiful, and works by Pat Walls Duni, Janice Muir, Fran Stovall, Joyce Hester Laeser, Maria Cole, Janet Amtmann, Sally Hayden von Conta, Elena Yang, Jill Rushton and Molly Hyde are very accomplished in both technique and style. David Delano, a master portraitist, shows off his bravura brushwork in works simply titled, “Portrait Study 1 and 2” and RJ Pfammatter’s portrait of “Kronenburg on Klarinet” accomplishes the same effect in his manipulation of paint. Jerry Beguin’s “Kashiri” and Elizabeth Wilds’ “Flower Fairy” are technically and conceptually pendants to one another in their playful use of color. Charlotte “Charlee” Shroyer’s “Struttin” reflects the feel and composition of an early Diebenkorn, during his Albuquerque series. Peggie Massengill, Yuris Krus and Kathi Geoffrion Parker present masterful still life paintings. In addition to Westray’s abstract work, P. Ryan Krauser has submitted “Diagram Series: Next.” Harold Van Winkle’s “Family Outing” is an exquisite nature study in watercolor.

Photography is also represented in Members’ Best. Tom Alvarez, a recent transplant to Los Alamos from Alaska and recently elected ACFL Board member, has brought a fresh approach to both imagery and composition. “Wedding Girls” glows in a light reminiscent of the Velasquez painting, “Maids of Honor.” John Lytton’s black and white dramatic perspective of “Holyrod Abbey Ruins,” and the frontal image of a door with a U.S. flag and Native American titled, “Man Belongs to the Earth,” strikes one as portraits of their subject rather than architectural depictions. Deborah Moll’s three strikingly colorful images, “Tesuque Creek,” “Sangre de Cristo Aspen” and “Our Lady of Guadalupe” possess an overall abstract pattern that also belies the subject matter. Mary Cisper has shown at the ACFL Gallery in the past and her work is well known locally. She manipulates her imagery to create cinematic effects in “Inside Every Hand,” and “Landscape.” Susannah Smith, also a board member and vice-chairman at the Art Center, in her color photo “Costa Rica: Coffee Beans,” manipulates color in a painterly manner, distributing the space as pressed up against the picture plane. Rounding out the group of photographers are Ford Robbins, Joel Williams, Mary Carol Williams, Gail Diane Yovanovich, Daniel Gerth, Christine Brown and Corinna Stoeffl.

Los Alamos photographer Doug Coombs fills the Portal Gallery with dramatic colorful landscape pictures, including some black and white and panoramic pieces. Coombs’ work, with its focus on regional beauty, has long been popular in the Gallery Shop. He skillfully juxtaposes the quiet strength of generous landscapes with the lively movement of the great western skies.

Geraldine Fiskus, a graduate of The Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture in New York City was the juror for the exhibition.

Editor’s Note: Werenko is the executive director of the Art Center at Fuller Lodge and Coombs is the communications coordinator.