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Linda Heath

Artist Linda Heath in her Placitas studio (Photo credit: —Oli Robbins)

c. L. Heath

Angel’s Child, mixed media, by Linda Heath

 c. L. Heath

Blessing the Hunter, mixed media, by Linda Heath

A blending of dichotomies: The fusionist paintings of Linda Heath

—Oli Robbins

In recent years, the word “fusionist” has been used by chefs and restaurateurs to refer to cuisine that brings together food or culinary traditions from more than one culture. In the political world, a similar term, “fusionism,” signifies a coming together of conservatives and libertarians. The recent works by Placitas artist Linda Heath are reflective of artistic “fusionism”—a term used by the artist herself in reference to her newest paintings, in which she unites the photographic and the painted by positioning painted Kachina figures against photographic images of outer space. After downloading Hubble photographs from NASA’s public gallery, Heath prints the images on canvas. She then coats the canvas with an isolation layer, upon which she paints Kachina figures using acrylic polymers and oil paint. Her compositions not only fuse multiple mediums, but also the conceptual old and new. Writing about her ideas on fusionist art back in 2003, Heath said, “The hallmark of fusionism is the creation of a new wholeness that blurs the lines among different cultures, old versus new media, and human versus machine-generated work.”

Heath has always been intrigued by space, and even jokes that she should have been an astronaut. She did work for an astronaut for a period of time, as leader for the new technology group at USAA. Heath holds a degree in Math from New Mexico Tech and a Masters in Sociology from Texas Tech. She worked in the computer field until 2000, when she went back to school for art. Her long-time engagement with technology and the computer revolution likely fostered her interest in futuristic concepts.

Heath didn’t start painting until she was about thirty, when her friend invited her to join a painting group. She realized that she enjoyed it, and resolved to keep it up, at least as a hobby. When living in San Francisco in 2000, she decided it was time to pursue a higher education in art and enrolled at the San Francisco Academy of Art. She has continued her training in the past decade by taking seminars in Taos by renowned contemporary still life painters such as Gregg Kreutz and David Leffel.

The paintings in Heath’s “Ancient Spirit Series I” are a far cry from the still life and plein air paintings that comprise much of her oeuvre. Says Heath, “This is something totally different for me because I’ve been doing realistic paintings, and these are realistic, but they’re unreal.” She still draws on her classical training for this series, finding that even when she ventures into the “unreal,” she likes to have a model.

Heath first began thinking about fusionist art at the millennium, when fusion cuisine was beginning to take off. Says Heath, “I started thinking about what fusionism would mean in art. It’s hard to explain because it’s different than having a menu of different things... it’s really a blending.”

In pueblo culture, Kachinas are physical manifestations of environmental elements. Interestingly, while some legends hold that Kachinas live under lake waters, others speak of Kachinas as spirits of the sky, supernatural figures of the clouds. Kachinas are sometimes understood as embodiments of forces of nature, which assume the essence of such cosmic entities as the sun, moon, and stars. The paintings in Heath’s “Ancient Spirit Series I” depict Kachinas in the cosmos and are therefore reflective of both the artist’s inclination to bridge the past and the future, as well as this ancient mythology.

For Heath, outer space is the “positive looking out.” Says Heath, “it’s the future for us—to keep trying to get there.” When she began downloading the Hubble photographs, she recalls being “blown away.” But Heath is careful to let the Hubble photographs speak for themselves, and she patiently waits for them to convey an idea to her before beginning a painting. In fact, she spent about ten years thinking about, and looking at, the photographs before realizing how she wanted to incorporate them into her art.

It’s not just outer space that symbolizes the future for Heath, but also the computer age—newly available painting mediums and digital photographs. Heath’s works comment on the present-day coming together of these things. She arranges ancient forms alongside symbols of technology and progress, while drawing on both modern technological advancements and age-old techniques. The harmonious relationship between Heath’s Kachinas and the Hubble-generated images of infinite space that surround them seems to argue for the non-linear, boundless nature of time and space.

Heath moved to Placitas from Sausalito, in 2004, but is not new to New Mexico. She grew up here, and therefore was exposed to, and inspired by, Native American art and culture from an early age. Heath’s “Ancient Spirit Series I” will debut this May as part of The Placitas Artists Series at the Placitas Presbyterian Church.

 Placitas Holiday Sale and Casa Rosa

Photo credit: —Dana Patterson Roth (l. to r.) Standing: Mary Hofmann; Rev. Drew Henry, Pastor, Las Placitas Presbyterian Church; Dana Roth; Sherrill Cloud, co-chair, Casa Rosa Board of Directors; Bunny Bowen. Kneeling: Nancy Couch; Jon Couch

PHS donates $532 to help Casa Rosa

—Placitas Holiday Sale Committee

Last fall, the directors of the Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale decided to have thirtieth anniversary t-shirts printed and sold to benefit a worthy cause in the community. They found it literally next door in the pink house next to the show’s Big Tent on Highway 165.

Casa Rosa Food Bank operates out of the old pink house next to Las Placitas Presbyterian Church and is an outreach program of the church in cooperation with the broader community. The food bank provides food, and other essentials, to low-income Placitas residents on a weekly basis. Casa Rosa can purchase, through Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico, nine dollars worth of food for every dollar donated. This means that the $532 donated by the Holiday Sale will provide $4,700 worth of food.

T-shirts will be sold online at and at the annual Placitas Appreciation Day with the proceeds donated to Casa Rosa. Volunteers are welcome Friday mornings to help unload and repackage food from the Roadrunner truck, and Saturday mornings to distribute the food, both beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Further information can be found at:

Irish comedy at Adobe Theatre

Adobe Theatre­ presents the Irish comedy: Is Life Worth Living? by Lennox Robinson. The show will run through April 15 at the Adobe Theatre, 9812 Fourth Street NW with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 adult admission and $13 for seniors and students. For reservations go to and click on “Buy tickets” or call 898-9222 (weekdays only).

The Irish comedy premise has the owner of a hotel in an Irish seaside resort deciding to host an acting company in the hope of attracting more tourists. But the company presents deadly serious modern plays dealing with topics the residents and tourists never considered.

Director Brian Hansen has recruited a fine cast including Joni Lloyd, Ned Record, Phil Shortell, and Heather Lovick-Tolley. Joining them are Ari Echt-Wilson, Matthew Van Wettering, Jennifer Lloyd-Cary, Isaac Guerin Christie, Linda Williams, Pat Brennan, and Jean Moran. Jim Cady returns to play a cameo role as a cowardly politician.

Is Life Worth Living? is the Adobe Theatre’s contribution to the Southwest Irish Play Festival, joining four other plays at local theatres to bring a vibrant sampling of Irish theatre to Albuquerque.

c. Steve Perin

Painting, acrylic on masonite, by Steve Perin

Steve Perin: 1939—2012

On March 7, longtime Placitas resident and artist, Steve Perin set off to climb the Big Rock Candy Mountain or Philmont’s Poniel, or Ocaté Canyon, more likely.

Just a few facts: born in 1939, a scout, Philmont staff, worked for camp trails, started Ocaté Corp. (camping equipment) and the Adobe News, worked with Peter Van Dresser, and the Pratt Institute. As a community activist, he helped organize S.E.A.C., C.A.R.D., and F.O.P.E. He was an outdoorsman and a Southwest forestry workers’ co-op member. He traveled with the Grateful Dead. He was a New Mexican artist, philosopher, poet, and history buff.

He is survived by his sons Voir and Shon Perin, and by the love of his life and constant companion, his beloved Diana Adobervoski, with whom he shared many wonderful years.

“Steve—our friend, father, soulmate—
has gone now on a walk.
Our spirits are with you in your joy.”

—With love, from the family of Steve Perin

Johnsons Galleries of Madrid thanks artists

Johnsons Galleries is exhibiting a “Thank You Show” of works by twenty artists who have supported the gallery in recent year. The exhibitions are from April 7 through April 30 with a reception on April 7 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. The works of Ford Robbins, Ralph Williams, Mary Sweet, Mel Johnson, Tim Roundy, Bunny Bowen, Diane Buster, Cathy Haight, and Gwen Peterson will be shown in the north gallery. In the south gallery Deidre Adams, Jan Bennett, Joan Berman, Doug Czor, Mel Feltman, Ali Gallo, Maureen Howles, Michael Orgel, Bomi Parakh, Carol Pedersen, Beth Wheeler, plus a group from the north gallery will be showing. There is a solo of Mel Johnson’s recent paintings as well as a group show for one hundred gallery artists, wearables, and wallabies group fiber show and entry-regional art. The gallery is at 2843 Highway 14 N in Madrid 87010 on the Turquoise Trail. For information, call 505-471-1054.

La Junta Galleria now open in Bernalillo

Following its grand opening on March 9, La Junta Galleria now has the regular gallery hours of Tuesday through Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This historical stagecoach stop, recently renovated for an art gallery, was built in the 1840s, and family owned since 1901. The renovations on the historical building began in February of 2009, and the family says they still have much more to beautify.

La Junta Galleria currently showcases 26 local New Mexican artists, including Sean Brennan, a descendant of the family, as well as the gallery owner. He said, “We will be changing the shows out frequently and will have receptions every second Friday of the month.” The next show will be a doll show on May 9. They are currently looking for new artists and other galleries with which to coordinate festivals and other functions. For further information, contact them at 505-681-1535. The galleria is at 413 S. Camino del Pueblo, in Bernalillo.

Clay bone art

Clay bone artwork

Placitas Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Group urges Placitans to take action

—Doris Fields, PhD and Avi Kriechman, MD

Can you imagine being nine years old and moving from place to place, hungry and scared for your life? Can you imagine that you are six years old searching for food and a safe place to hide for you and your two younger siblings? Can you imagine watching your mother, father, brother, and uncle tortured and murdered in front of you by marauding rebels, and then watching your home burned to the ground? Can you imagine seeing all of the people in your neighborhood murdered, gunned down en masse? These are the fierce vessels of genocide. Far too many of us are unaware of the degree to which genocide is being perpetrated throughout the world. Genocide is not inevitable. Each of us can take action to address genocide by simply increasing our own awareness of genocide around the world and then helping to raise the awareness of others.

Members of the Placitas Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Group, founded by Doris Fields and Gail Goldstein, have been taking important steps to make a difference. Over the past two years, Placitans have been learning more about genocide and mass atrocities, including the Holocaust in Germany during World War II, and ongoing genocide around the world, including in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sudan.

The Placitas Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Group will hold its third annual event at the Placitas Community Library on April 21, beginning at 2:00 p.m., coinciding with the National Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). The event will include a film clip about the Holocaust and genocide around the world and a candle lighting ceremony honoring those who have died as a result of genocide. The Collin Room exhibit for April features photographs taken in locations where genocide and other atrocities have been perpetrated, including Auschwitz, Dachau, and Manzanar. These images have been contributed by Tom Ashe, Doris Fields, and Laura Robbins.

During the past year, several members collaborated with the One Million Bones Project (OMB). “One Million Bones is a collaborative art installation designed to recognize the millions of victims and survivors who have been killed or displaced by ongoing genocides and mass atrocities in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burma. Our Mission is to create a visible movement that will increase global awareness of these atrocities while raising the critical funds needed to protect and aid displaced and vulnerable survivors.” To this end, members of the Placitas Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Group and more than eighty Placitans, including Jardineros de Placitas, have helped to make clay “bones” for the project, fabricating more than six hundred so far. Each “bone” generates funds for the project. Our goal is to make one thousand bones for the third annual event on April 21 at the Placitas Community Library and, ultimately, for the Spring 2013 bone lay of one million bones on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

There is one more bone-making session planned for April 6, at the Placitas Community Library, from noon until 4:00 p.m. Clay, tools, and instructions will be available for anyone who would like to make a clay “bone.” The Senior Center van will be bringing interested seniors to make bones and view the exhibit at noon. Everyone is encouraged to stop in and make “bones” for the project. Refreshments will be served.

Finally, everyone who would like to help lay the one thousand bones outside the library on April 21 is encouraged to wear all white in honor of the people who have died. This annual event, as those in the past, promises to be artistic, educational, inspiring, emotionally moving, and uplifting. For more information, contact Doris Fields at 505-867-5340.

A Fool’s View

You don’t live in a place where you can grow things?

You don’t live in a place where you can grow things?

You’re more interested in the view?

You’re more interested in the view?

        Fool’s Gold

                                 The ghost
                                 of fools.
                                 The ghost
                                of gold.

                                              —Larry Goodell, 1992
                                                 Placitas, New Mexico

c. Gary Priester 

Stereogram artist Gary Priester, whose work is featured in the Signpost, will be showing his stereograms at the Placitas Artists Series artists’ exhibit in April.

Placitas Artists Series features Bowen, Dunmire, Fenicle, Priester at April 15 concert by Van Cliburn Silver Medalist Yakov Kasman

—Shirley Ericson, Placitas Artists Series

On Sunday, April 15, 2012, in continued celebration of its 25th Anniversary, the Placitas Artists Series will present the art of Dorothy “Bunny” Bowen—wax resist paintings, Vangie Dunmire—watercolor, Joan A. Fenicle—photography and oil paintings, and Gary Priester—digital photography with a reception at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. The works will be on display from Saturday, March 31 to Saturday, April 28.

A reception for the artists will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 15, prior to a concert by Yakov Kasman, Van Cliburn Silver Medalist ( The concert is generously sponsored by Rondi and Duane Thornton.

Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at The Merc Grocery Store in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas, Ah!Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho or on-line at  Prices are $20 in advance. At the door prices are General Admission: $20 and Students: $15.

For more information about the artists, view the PAS website at

This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The facility is completely accessible. Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242). For more information, call 867-8080 or visit

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