Collage, by Dianna Shomaker
Shomaker’s art examines the soul
If there is a connection among anthropology, art, and medicine,
Dianna J. Shomaker can tell the story from experience.
As an anthropologist, she studied the generational ties within Navajo
families, which connected with her work as a nursing professor interested
in health issues of the elders. And both informed her art, as the
worn features of a grandfather emerge from beneath a cowboy hat
in a collage of paper shards.
In another piece, inspired during a visit to Colombia, a near-toothless
singer strumming a guitar continues to serenade although now he
is a trio. With a style between abstract and realism, Shomaker tries
to tell a story, she said, to make the viewer look at what more
might be there.
“Art should be an examination of the soul,” Shomaker
said. “You just keep gluing at it and painting at it and gluing
and painting until something emerges, and you take it from there.
“It’s just cut paper; some of it's torn.”
Shomaker set out to be an artist in high school, winning a regional
competition and a college scholarship that paid for eighteen months
of art education before the money ran out. Casting about, she found
nursing school and a career, living in Norway, England, Germany,
and Texas before settling in New Mexico, in 1973.
By the time she retired from the University of New Mexico, she had
been an associate dean of nursing and a director of graduate centers
and had earned a doctorate in anthropology
“I didn't paint a thing for fifteen years,” she said.
Then one art class led almost randomly to another, one instructor
pressing abstractionism, another teaching how to wield a palette
knife instead of a brush.”
Others showed how to make colored papers by pressing wet tissue
against old metal to draw out the rust or by soaking a magazine
advertisement in solvent until the colors swirl together. The mixtures
of paper and paint rise from watercolor paper, foam sheets, or scraps
of corrugated cardboard.
“Nothing is off-limits,” Shomaker said. “I would
like to get to the point that I can do abstracts that suggest something.”
Shomaker’s paintings and collages have appeared in numerous
juried shows and won state-fair ribbons and currently can be found
at the New Fisher Gallery in Albuquerque. This month her work will
be displayed at the Placitas Presbyterian Church as part of the
Placitas Artists Series of concerts and group exhibitions.
The New Mexico Youth Symphony recently chose Shomaker as one of
twelve artists applying their visions to violins. The symphony plans
to auction the instruments during a fund-raising event in April.
Shomaker's Placitas studio is open by appointment, by calling 771-2936.
Her work can be seen online by visiting www.sandovalsignpost.com
and clicking on the Featured Artist link.
Signpost cartoon, by Rudi Klimpert
The songs of Broadway in Placitas
—JACKIE ERICKSEN, PLACITAS ARTISTS SERIES
On Sunday, December 11, Placitas Artists Series will present a special
holiday program, “The Great Songwriters … The Great
Songs,” by the group Broadway. Members of the ensemble will
be familiar to many people from performances with Musical Theatre
Southwest (formerly ACLOA), Albuquerque Little Theatre, Adobe Theater,
and other venues.
Born in New York City, Myra Cochnar was a Broadway casting director
and record-company executive before moving to Albuquerque. Jillian
Foster has been performing in and around Albuquerque for the past
decade, mostly with Musical Theater Southwest and Albuquerque Little
Theatre. Albuquerque native Hi Tillery has appeared in the Grand
Opera Theatre's production of Carmen and Opera Southwest's La Bohème,
in addition to numerous MTS productions. Phillipine-born Virginia
Weatherill has performed roles in opera, oratorio, and musical theater,
and performed throughout the Southwest for twenty years with The
Company. In addition to his numerous musical theater roles, Joel
White sings with the First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir
and the men's a cappella group High Desert Harmonizers, which has
performed the national anthem at several major-league baseball games.
MacLean Zeher was a member of the choral group Quintessence and
has performed in musical theater.
Broadway's musical director is John Clark, professor of music
and director of choral activities at UNM, who is frequently heard
as pianist or organist. He was the founding director of the NMSO
chorus. The choreographer is Brynlyn Loomis.
This concert is generously sponsored by Sally and Jack Curro of
Prior to this wonderful concert, a reception will be held for
the December exhibiting artists. New Mexico native and Placitas
resident Lisa Chernoff creates spectacular, colorful wall hangings,
bowls, table sculptures, and jewelry from fused glass.
Madeline Randle paints impressionistic studies in oils, pastels,
and watercolor in the old village of Placitas. A lover of her native
New Mexico's spectacular light and the depth of shadows, Randle
is particularly fascinated by the play of light on landscapes, animals,
flowers, and people.
California-born, Oregon-raised Russell Sabin was a successful
architect in Hawaii, where his architectural renderings and watercolor
landscapes were well known. Retirement has allowed the pursuit of
his dream of becoming a full-time artist, whose primary focus is
the American West.
Though she enjoys drawing and traditional painting, Dianna Shomaker's
attention has been captured by the thrill of artistic experimentation
with collage, charcoal, and palette knife. [See
Signpost December Featured Artist.]
As a special treat, renowned Placitas artist J.B. Bryan has been
invited to exhibit a large work. Painter, poet, ceramist, graphic
designer, and publisher, Bryan likes to believe that “at heart,
my work is an antidote to warmongering, technological overload,
corporate greed, and engineered stupidity.”
The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. on December 11 at Las
Placitas Presbyterian Church. The artists' reception begins at 1:30
p.m. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour
before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at La Bonne Vie
Salon and Day Spa in Homestead Village Shopping Center, in Placitas;
at Gatherings, 9821 Montgomery NE, in Albuquerque; or online at
www.PlacitasArts.org. Prices are $15 for general admission and $12
for seniors and students.
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, and free child
care is provided for families with children under six. Las Placitas
Presbyterian Church is six miles east of I-25, on NM 165 (Exit 242.)
For more information, call 867-8080.
Ring, by Jamie Fox
Jarrah Burl bowl, by Bob Clancy
Corrales Historical Society to hold 17th
annual craft show
The New Mexico crafts exhibition and sale in Corrales at the historic
Old San Ysidro Church from December 3 to 11 will feature crafts
by selected artists in a variety of media.
The show will be open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
daily., with an opening reception on Friday, December 2, from 5:00
to 8:00 pm.
A portion of each sale at the show goes to the Corrales Historical
Society for restoration and preservation of the Old San Ysidro Church.
There is no charge for admission or parking. The Old San Ysidro
Church is on Old Church Road, three-tenths of a mile west of Corrales
Illustration for Amadito and Spider Woman, by Amado Peña
Lisa Bear Goldman and friend
Author will sign Amadito and Spider Woman
Lisa Bear Goldman’s Amadito and Spider Woman was a finalist
for the Nautilus Award and a Southwest Books of the Year selection
by Tucson/Pima County Library.
In the story, a young boy who is made fun of by a classmate is
unsure how to deal with his feelings. Each of his family members
offers different advice about how to protect himself. After walking
in the desert with his grandmother and listening to her parables,
he learns how to keep his heart open and not be afraid of his feelings.
The book brings a fresh perspective to a common dilemma by pointing
out the value of learning from nature and the wisdom of elders.
Beautiful illustrations by the well-known artist Amado Peña
make this book very New Mexico.
The author, Lisa Bear Goldman, a Placitas resident, will be signing
Amadito and Spider Woman starting at 4:00 p.m., December 18, at
the Cottonwood Mall, 10000 Coors Boulevard. For more information,
call Goldman, at 771-3309.
Bernalillo Public Schools superintendent Barbara Vigil-Lowder holds
a quarter-million dollars in her hands after receiving the check
from Sandoval County Commission chairman Bill Sapien. The money
will help plan and build a performing arts center for the school
Planned BPS arts center receives $250,000 from county commission
A performing-arts center for the Bernalillo Public Schools remains
a dream, although the $250,000 recently handed to the superintendent
is quite real.
That's far short of the money needed for even the first phase
of the $4-6 million center, according to BPS superintendent Barbara
Vigil-Lowder. The district is moving in that direction and is seeking
a contractor to draft a master plan for the forty-five-acre site
housing Bernalillo High School and the district offices, she said.
An eleven-acre parcel recently added to the south side of the
site is one possible location for the art center, she added.
“We're very committed in the district to the arts, and we
have many programs already,” Vigil-Lowder told the Signpost.
“We're looking at taking what we have now to next level.
“What we envision is an arts center that could house many
things serving the Bernalillo Public Schools and all of the communities
Until then, the choir continues to perform in the gym lobby, and
students writing and producing opera perform at the Lensic Theater
in Santa Fe for a dozen busloads of friends and family brought in
at district expense.
Sandoval County commissioners presented the $250,000 check to Vigil-Lowder
at the commission's November 17 meeting.
“We want to further the goal of Dr. Gary Dwyer, who dreamed
of a performing-arts center for the students of Bernalillo,”
Sandoval County Commission chairman Bill Sapien said. Dwyer, who
died in June from a malignant tumor, had been BPS superintendent
for nine years.
Under an agreement approved at the previous commission meeting,
the county money—part of the proceeds from handling the $6
billion Intel bond issue last year—will assist in designing
and constructing the facility.
The district potentially has some funds available from the $11
million bond issue voters approved in 2004, although none of that
is yet budgeted for the project. And a fund started by the Dwyer
family is dedicated solely to the arts center.
“We do envision this as a center, a hub for the whole community,”
Vigil-Lowder told commissioners. “I can see it being a wonderful
place to bring the community together.”
Museum exhibition opens with lecture by master
On December 11 at 1:00 p.m., the Albuquerque Museum of Art and
History will host a free public lecture by master weavers Irvin
and Lisa Trujillo of Chimayó, New Mexico. The lecture is
being held in conjunction with the opening of the museum’s
“Maravillas de los tejedores/Wonders of the Weavers: Nineteenth
Century Río Grande Weavings” exhibition, extending
through April 30, 2006.
The Trujillos will introduce the history of the Hispanic weaving
tradition and comment on their review of the collection, which was
conducted earlier this year. Working with curator of history Deborah
Slaney, the Trujillos examined over forty weavings, noting haracteristics
that make each one special or that allow us to enter the minds of
the weavers. Their comments will cover a full range of styles, including
jerga, weft-faced and tapestry-woven products, colcha embroidery,
and a rare cotton blanket from Lemitar, New Mexico. A catalogue
of the collection will be available for purchase.
The lecture is funded through a grant from the
New Mexico Humanities Council.