Embrace the seasons at the Art Center

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By Nancy Coombs

Whether you love the snow or you’ve got the winter doldrums, Friday you can jump into a different season at the Art Center at Fuller Lodge. From 5-7 p.m. Friday everyone is invited to attend an opening reception for the exhibit “Four Seasons,” a tribute to the glorious ever-changing cycle of the natural world.

Artists capture the delight of summer, autumn, winter and the spring in paintings, photographs, fiber and ceramics.

TK Thompson, a long-time Los Alamos resident well-known for his black -and-white photography, ventures into color in this show. He printed “Autumn Tapestry,” a feast of aspens in pastel hues, on canvas which emphasizes the lush softness.

Thompson’s immersion in the field of black-and-white over the years was influenced by his partial color blindness.

He transitioned from traditional photography to digital when chemical sensitivities drove him from the darkroom.

Although he continued to work in black-and-white, the computer allowed him to experiment in color with more confidence. In color photography, developing demands absolute color value judgments.

Thompson now takes a photograph of a color value card at the start of each photo session and then can use the card to make relative color value judgments against the screen display.

Where most artists tweak colors based on their eye, Thompson relies on a combination of technology and experience.

Landscapes like Thompson’s might seem like the natural choice for capturing the flow of the seasons, but a number of artists found more unusual ways to capture seasonal sensibilities.

Kathi Geoffrion Parker shows several watercolors, with “Tractor Season” and “Fruit of Summer – Pears” portraying icons of spring and summer and leaving the setting to viewers’ imaginations.

Theo Helmstadter and Ann Shafer both chose to portray the seasons through color. Helmstadter shows four stoneware vases, with a different color for each season.

In each of Shafer’s four woven shawls, both the colors and the textures reflect a sense of a season, from solidly patterned whites in “Winter Beauty” to rusty tangles in “Autumn Leaves.” Terry Lawson Dunn again shows painted furniture.

Her “Blooming Cactus Table” and “Sunflower Bistro Set” will bring the lush blooms of summer to a room throughout the year.

Rebecca Hackenberry, whose beeswax candles are a favorite standard in the Gallery Shop, captures the delight of spring’s rebirth with a shot of a mama duck and her fuzzy ducklings titled, “Spring in Hawaii.”

Although Darlene Bawden’s watercolor “Spring at White Sands” and Margie Sarrao’s oil painting “Spring Hollyhocks” both feature the rebirth of plant life, like Hackenberry, they capture the feeling of spring by use of Earth tones accented by spots of red and green.

While the Art Center’s main gallery exhibits the work of 32 different artists interpreting the seasons, the Portal Gallery showcases the work of Deborah Balog, whose images were highly acclaimed last spring in the “Art Expressions in Science and Technology” exhibit.

Balog’s digital works explore the “beautiful and extraordinary art form of fractals.”

“It has become an obsession to learn everything about this unusual way of creating using a computer,” Balog said in her artist statement.

“At first it was just experimenting and learning how to control the forms and color, but gradually it has given me the opportunity to utilize my imagination and creativity … Everyday brings the chance to find something new, unusual and beautiful,” she added.

“Four Seasons” will run from Jan. 9-Feb. 14. The Art Center at Fuller Lodge, open from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, offers free admission.

For a virtual preview, visit the website at www.artfulnm.org/FourSeasons, or call 662-9331 for more information.