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Día de los Muertos Show moves to Santa Fe

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Display > Exhibit will run until Nov. 21 at Red Dot Gallery

By Jennifer Garcia

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Or, if you’re a “Breaking Bad” fan, it would be all bad things must come to an end, and as everyone knows, death is the ultimate end, so it’s sort of ironic that this year’s annual Dia de los Muertos Show curated by Española artist Toby Morfin, will be the last.
Typically on display at Northern New Mexico College in Española, the show will make a move to the Red Dot Gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. It opens from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 1, and unlike past years, when it was up for only the weekend, this exhibit will run through Nov. 21, giving those who wish to see it ample time to do so.
Morfin said he’s decided to quit curating the shows to focus on his own career and solo work.
Since he began curating the annual show, the same group of artists has worked together. “It’s an annual thing we’ve been doing. All the artists in this show have shown together for the last few years,” Morfin said. “It’s hard to bring new artists in because it’s a powerful group. Others can’t meet the standards of this group. It’s a serious body of work.”
This year’s lineup will be a bit different, however. Those who attend can expect to see pieces by Morfin, Nikki Bustos, Patricio Chavez, Matthew Duran, El Moises, Benjamin López, Cruz López, Leroy López, Joseph A. López, Byron Martinez, Russell Martinez, Arturo Montaño, Rachael Montoya, Gene Ortega, Bryan Romero and Gabriel Vigil.
But in addition to the core group, Morfin has also added four new faces to the lineup. Shane Casias will show is jewelry on opening night. He began silversmithing at age 17 and comes from a family of artists, according to his website. This year, he exhibited at the 61st Annual Traditional Spanish Market.
Dixon artist Jim Vogel is another newcomer to the Dia de los Muertos show, but has deep artistic roots in Northern New Mexico. He has shown his paintings of life on the farm and in Northern New Mexico at various galleries and Morfin admires his work.
“I wanted to end it with showing with Jim,” Morfin said of his final Dia de los Muertos show. “He’s well-known and does the most amazing work.”
Tomas Vigil, an Española artist, is new to the gallery scene. He’s been creating what Morfin describes as contemporary, modern art for the past 10 years, but said he’s been taking it seriously for six or seven years.
“I was just always interested in art since I was a young kid,” Vigil said. “I had nothing but artistic influences around me.”
Vigil said he’s done smaller, collective shows, but “nothing of this status, not this caliber.” He said he’s excited about the show. “I’ve shown at Contemporary Spanish Market, but nothing like the gallery scene,” he said. “I’ve known Toby for years. He’s always been at art shows. I’ve always been a fan of his artwork. Anyone in Española who’s interested in art knows who Toby is.”
Morfin said Vigil’s aerosol paintings over old street signs remind him of Andy Warhol, “but more a street style.”
“The images are cool because they’re kind of traditional, but he adds his own twist to them,” Morfin said.
Española artist Diego López and Santa Fe artist Gilbert Vigil round out the newcomers. López is not only Cruz López’s brother, but he also co-wrote and co-directed the movie, “Blaze You Out,” with Mateo Frazier, which hit theaters in Santa Fe and Albuquerque in September. In fact, some of Cruz’s, as well as other local artists’ work is featured in the movie. Morfin also makes a cameo.
Despite the large crowds that the show usually draws to NNMC, Morfin decided to seek another venue that would allow the artists to exhibit for more than three days.
“The college is a good space, but it’s time for a change,” Morfin said, mentioning that the lighting at the gallery is better. “The college has the facility to hold the show, but they don’t have the proper lighting and we could only have it up for the weekend. It’s not fair to the artists to do all that work for a year, then to show just for three days.”
One of Morfin’s contributions to the show will be a series featuring the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” theme.
“I did more like contemporary pop work. I did traditional skulls, but the ‘see no evil’ has a bandana over the eyes. The ‘hear no evil’ has Beats (by Dre) head phones and the ‘speak no evil’ has a gas mask,” Morfin said. “I tried to change it up. I also did a kind of modern muerto — a Virgin Mary muerto.”
Morfin said it’s going to be a different crowd and different scene this year. “It’s good for us to show on Canyon Road, finally.”
For more information on the show or the gallery, visit red/dot/gallery.com or call 820-7338. 

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