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Maria Samora

“I wear it. I test it. It might be an amazing design, but if it doesn’t lie right, feel right—if it’s not durable – people won’t wear it,” says artist Maria Samora

 c. Maria Samora

c. Maria Samora

Maria Samora’s designs are meticulously hand forged and worked, using techniques and tools that date back to the 1800s.

A traditional approach to contemporary art

Julia Gilroy, Signpost

Seeing people wear her jewelry is the “ultimate rush” for Taos artist, Maria Zamora — an up and coming jeweler who has had lots of rushes this past year after being named poster artist for the Santa Fe Indian Market in 2009. Shortly after her silver and gold Seashell cuff bracelets adorned posters around New Mexico, Samora was invited to show at New York City’s illustrious Fall Fashion Week in Bryant Park. As part of the Unreserved American Indian Fashion and Art Alliance, Samora along with six other well-known Native American artists shared their work with Vogue, W-Magazine, and the New York Times to name just a few.

Despite the grandeur of Fashion Week, Samora will admit that being named the poster artist for the Santa Fe Indian Market has been her biggest honor. “It was slightly overwhelming and an incredible honor; it served to reconfirm who I am and my work as an artist,” says Samora. Not only is Samora the youngest artist to have been chosen for the poster, she was also only the third women to have been selected in the 88 year history of Indian Market.

Samora and her art represent the beauty that often defines New Mexico, the combination of cultures, simple elegance, and the ability to move seamlessly between tradition and innovation. The daughter of a Taos Pueblo elder, the late Doroteo “Frank” Samora, and a mid-western mother, Chien Motto, who moved to New Mexico in the 1960s, Samora’s diverse background has contributed to her artistic insight.

While Samora’s jewelry is contemporary, she has a deep respect for traditional jewelry, design and craftsmanship. Many of her pieces are meticulously hand forged and worked, using techniques and tools that date back to the 1800s.

In her floral designs (pictured), Samora delicately hand stamps 18 karat gold to resemble the textures of raw silk, forging each individual petal to create a unique shape and feel, finishing the look with a fiery diamond center. Samora admits that “the inclusion of gold and diamonds does give [her] work a more cutting edge feel.” Her intentions, however, are not to be contemporary, but simply to create something that reflects who she is as an artist, a Native American, a wife and mother, and ultimately a New Mexican.

Samora’s inspirations come from an endless number of resources. Fascinated by ancient jewelry, Byzantine and Renaissance art, and fashion magazines, Samora also observes the work of her peers, and turns to the New Mexican countryside for ideas. Samora confesses, however, that much of her work manifests itself once she is at her workbench. She doesn’t sketch her ideas or draw them out, rather she plays with techniques, notices natural patterns, observes how certain metals or stones come together and allows her hands to create and perfect her signature style.

Samora began in 1998 when a friend convinced her to take a few jewelry-making classes at the local community college. As her interest peaked she started seeking out more technically oriented classes until she discovered her mentor, G. Phil Poirier, a master goldsmith from San Cristobal, NM. Samora attributes a large part of her success and skill to Poirier’s continual generosity and guidance.

As Samora worked with Poirier and her style developed she began wearing her jewelry regularly and testing its feel, comfort and wear ability. She takes pride wearing her pieces and knowing that she is a women designing jewelry for women, a rarity in a male dominated industry. “I wear it. I test it. It might be an amazing design, but if it doesn’t lie right, feel right—if it’s not durable – people won’t wear it,” says the artist.

It was Samora’s dedication to perfecting and wearing her jewelry that lead to her first sales and gallery showing. People immediately noticed the jewelry she wore and began asking where they could buy it or even if they could buy off her person. Finally, gallery owner Leroy Garcia, of Blue Rain Gallery, took notice and invited her to show at his gallery in Taos.

With the confidence gained by being in a gallery, Samora debuted her work at the Santa Fe Indian Market in 2005. At that first market she experienced a range of emotions, beginning with a touching traditional blessing by her father, followed by a hesitance about fitting in among a community of talented artists, and ending with a crowd of people excited about her work and calling it “refreshing”.

Five years have passed since Samora’s first Indian Market appearance. Now with photographer husband, Kevin Rebholtz, by her side, they have created quite the team, working together in the studio, traveling to trade shows, raising four-year-old Quentin and preparing for their second child. When asked what she hopes to do in the future, Samora laughs and says she has “a million ideas,” from building her own studio to creating a workspace where artists can come, teach and share.

In the immediate future, however, Samora is busy preparing for her fifth annual Santa Fe Indian Market and finalizing a piece which will be exhibited at the New York Museum of Art and Design this October.

The Santa Fe Indian Market will be held on August 21st and 22nd in downtown Santa Fe. Samora will be participating in an opening on August 19th at the Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe from 5pm – 8pm. She will also participate in the market at booth 311 FR-N on both the 21st and 22nd.


Georgia O'Keeffe, Series 1

Georgia O’Keeffe, Series I – From the Plains, 1919. Oil on canvas, 27 x 23 in. Gift of The Burnett Foundation.

Acclaimed ‘Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction’ exhibition comes to the Santa Fe Museum

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum will be presenting the critically acclaimed exhibition “Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction”, May 28-Sept. 12, 2010, featuring more than 100 abstract works by the artist.

The exhibition showcases a selection of O’Keeffe’s abstractions—paintings, drawings, watercolors and sculpture—from the beginning to the end of her career to demonstrate her artistic achievement from a fresh perspective and its significance in the history of American abstraction.

The exhibition in Santa Fe follows venues at the Whitney and The Phillips. It was greeted with high praise and large crowds at the Whitney. Holland Carter of the New York Times said, “These rounded, shaded images feel as if they can almost be physically grasped…her abstract forms appeal to some basic appetite for tactility.” And Jerry Saltz of New York Magazine said the exhibition’s “revelatory survey of the work…should reopen eyes to an undeniable fact: O’Keeffe produced some of the most original and ambitious art in the twentieth century.”

The exhibition was also honored in year-end top ten lists. Time Magazine listed among their top ten art exhibitions of 2009, the New Yorker’s Calvin Tompkins rated it as one of the best museum shows of 2009, and Art + Auction mentioned it as one of the year’s “power exhibitions.”

While O’Keeffe is more popularly known for her iconic paintings of flowers, animal bones and New Mexico landscapes, her highly innovative and daring abstract work, which she produced throughout her career, has remained less known.

O’Keeffe began working abstractly in 1915. Some charcoal drawings she did while working as a teacher in South Carolina captured the attention of photographer and America’s first champion of modern art, Alfred Stieglitz, who would eventually become O’Keeffe’s husband, dealer and promoter.

A 1923 retrospective of her work – where the New York art critics uniformly interpreted her work, whether abstract or representational, as manifestations of her sexuality – caused O’Keeffe to shift the emphasis in her work away from abstraction. Though she would generally depict more conventional, representational subjects for much of the next 30 years, she produced a number of abstractions and the underpinning of even her most representational work is abstract. And from the late 1950s to the end of her career as an artist in 1984, she worked with abstraction almost entirely.

The Museum collection is the largest single repository of the artist’s work in the world. It is the only museum anywhere in the world dedicated to an internationally known woman artist and is the most visited art museum in New Mexico. For more information, visit www.okeeffemuseum.org.


Signpost cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert


Santa Fe Indian Market—world’s largest

The Santa Fe Plaza plays host this year to the most prestigious Native American arts show in the world—the annual Santa Fe Indian Market on August 21 and 22. The one-of-a-kind event provides an opportunity to buy directly from Native American artists from across the country.

“Santa Fe Indian Market gives New Mexicans and their visitors a genuine cultural experience,” said Michael Cerletti, Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. “[It] is an integral part of life in the Land of Enchantment. I encourage everyone to experience its wonder and enjoy the beauty of the arts created by this state’s premier residents. The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) is to be commended for its continued sponsorship.”

The Santa Fe Indian Market has long been the place where Native American art meets the world. Join thousands of collectors, artists, volunteers and visitors from across the United States and the world in the festivities that celebrate American Indian culture and artistry.

Nearly 1,200 artists will be presenting their newest and best work for sale and admiration. Experience the best of Native culture by seeing the clothing contest, tasting fry bread and other Native foods provided by vendors, and visiting the youth participants throughout the Market.

The outdoor market provides a unique place to meet and buy directly from the nation’s top Native American artists, who represent nearly one hundred tribes. Demonstrations by Native American groups and artists will allow visitors a chance to learn more about different tribal and artistic traditions. A book booth will sell educational and informational books with signings by Native American authors. American Indian food vendors will offer delicious Native food choices for visitors.

SWAIA’s mission is to be an advocate for Native American arts and cultures (particularly those in the Southwest) and create economic and cultural opportunities for Native American artists by producing and promoting the Santa Fe Indian Market as the finest Indian art event in the world, cultivating excellence and innovation across traditional and non-traditional art forms, and developing programs and events that support, promote, and honor Native American artists year-round.

 

     

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