Santa Fe

Santa Fe

Various Venues, Santa Fe

Summer in Santa Fe opened with the 1963 Biennial Exhibition for New Mexico Artists and closed with an arty thud—the Fiftieth Annual Fiesta Show. The Biennial, a juried show, was partly invitational. Perhaps to insure a higher professional level, this policy most certainly aroused the wrath of some of the artists. The prize money was unevenly divided into three classes: $150 went to an oil by Tom Holland, $100 to Al Barela for a welded steel horse, and in the print-drawing class, $75 to Virginia A. Sherman for a tempera. These three are all from Albuquerque. There were a few good things in the show, but very few. Dean Holt’s painting, “The Archaeologist,” was one.

As the October 8th issue of LOOK magazine notes, “If there is a lag in the Southwest’s forward surge, it is cultural. There are plenty of artists (37 in Tucson, 48 in Santa Fe, nearly 150 in Taos, N. Mex.), but few whose work seems destined to endure.” The Fiesta show proves this point, at least for New Mexico.

In keeping with its two-painters-and-a-sculptor theme, Contemporaries ended the summer with two such shows. Tom lngle’s paintings were a disappointment. The light, free feeling of his earlier canvases is gone and instead there is a form of self-conscious intellectualizing that is almost embarrassing, as with his composite—a series of small paintings hung together and including an expository statement. With the wide-angle scenes, one has the feeling the paint began to disappear a few seconds before the viewer turned his attention to the canvas.

The bombardment of color from a wall of John DePuy’s paintings can reduce a spectator to physical exhaustion, but taken one at a time the pure reds slashed across rich purple and the acid yellow-greens give deep, personal meaning to a sunflower or a landscape.

Donald Duncan is a student at the University of New Mexico and some of his sculpture confirms this. The large concrete figures (all with the same face), smooth and static, have been abandoned for small lead castings. The “Bed” series is refreshing and reason enough for expecting more from this artist.

Elizabeth Yanish does tasteful welded metal wall-hangings and Helen Pearce paints first-stage abstractions of the Southwest scene in Southwest colors.

At the Coffee House: simple geometrics in the feminine manner by Aline Porter. She is more honest with herself in the one still life hanging in this Show.

Francis C. Smith