Photographer Fernando Delgado at home
Composition No.K3-2006, by Fernando Delgado
Signpost featured artist of the month
Fernando Delgado: “A serious artist”
Photographer Fernando Delgado is a refined gentleman of great taste.
His photographs— called “sumptuous ... classical and
sexy” by THE magazine— delve into the realm of the senses.
Overtly studies of light, texture, shape, and form, they also evoke
the sound of fingertips brushing against the porcelain vases that
are the subject matter, the warmth of sun on skin and the tastes
and smells of a sybarite's afternoon.
Though he is new to image making himself, he has spent his whole
professional life as an art director in New York, working with the
very best creative minds in every media. The lessons he took from
them and from his undergraduate days at Parsons School of Design
allowed him to emerge as a full-fledged artist. His work on Madison
Avenue also taught him that simplicity and directness are key ingredients
to successful communication.
“How can I edit something and still reveal the essence of
what I am trying to say,” Delgado muses, in a beautiful tenor
voice soaked in the rum-sugar accent of his original home, Cuba.
“There is a quote on the wall of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
which says that details (to her) were almost confusing ... That
the role of the artist is to distill the essence ... That was very
meaningful to me.”
Delgado shot his first photograph—for his Christmas card—while
still living in New York, two years ago. The simple word “peace”
was embossed in the border. The success of the image encouraged
him to continue arranging and shooting his beloved collection of
forties’ and fifties’ vases even after his move to Placitas.
Their sensuous curves and eggshell finishes capture the natural
light streaming in through windows in New York and New Mexico—differently,
but with equal strength. He has made now three series, “White”,
then “Black,” and now “Color.” The digital
prints on archival rag paper (twenty-three by thirty inches) seem
to breathe the richness of light and shadow and lovely saturated
color. The photos relate to O'Keeffe's work not only in their close-up,
pared down abstraction, but they also share the famous creaminess
of her brushwork.
Neal Benezra, the esteemed director of the San Francisco Museum
of Modern Art, chose Composition-K3 2006, from the “White”
series, for the Biennial Southwest exhibition. The show is currently
hung in the Albuquerque Museum until January 7 (see side article).
It is a true testament to the maturely developed stage of Delgado's
talents on essentially his first time out.
On a recent visit to the Placitas Holiday Sale, a neighbor introduced
Delgado to another neighbor by saying that “Fernando is a
serious artist,” about which he feels slightly embarrassed.
“It is not as though I am spending all day ....” (He
clasps his hands as if in prayer and genuflects towards one of his
prints.) But his photographs are a study or meditation on light.
His eye and attention to detail reveal a seriousness that cannot
to see more images in color. Delgado will be discussing his work
at the Albuquerque Museum as a part of their artist lecture series
on Thursday, December 14, at 2:00 pm.
Placitas artists shine at Albuquerque Museum show
Clearly the curators of the current show “Biennial Southwest,”
at the Albuquerque Museum, are a bit apprehensive about presenting
these 103 works to the general public. We are greeted at the entrance
of the new eight-thousand-square-foot exhibition space by definitions
of the words “art,” “contemporary,” and
“biennial” and an admonition that “... contemporary
art, if you give it time, enables us to better cope with the abstract
in our daily lives.” I have no doubt that these same curators
are quite proud of the work in the show, but they must feel (correctly)
that some New Mexicans who aren't art lovers may pooh-pooh some
or all of their choices. They needn't have worried, though. It is
a good show. Furthermore, this biennial should become an exciting
and prestigious new venue for artists across Texas, New Mexico,
Certainly Placitans Fernando Delgado, Marilyn Dillard, and Margi
Weir should be excited that their works were selected to represent
the weather of art being made today in the Southwest. And then some.
Dillard’s and Weir's pieces were awarded top honors and cash
prizes in painting and works on paper. Delgado’s photography
was warmly, prominently praised in the review of the show in THE
magazine. Such accolades for our neighbors seem to back up the silly
boast of www.placitasartists.com that “the best art in New
Mexico is in Placitas.”
Dillard's small painting called Dark Moon/ Black Stones #4 is
from her series of twelve under the same title. She buries fabric
in the earth near her home for months at a time so that it becomes
imbrued with the soil's hues. She smooths the fabric onto a pallet
and then paints on it. One half of this canvas glows with an iron-ore
orange upon which black ink-wash ovals—reminiscent of John
Cage's stone watercolors of the sixties—tumble towards the
other half, which holds fuzzier black ovals jammed together like
stones in a creek bed. The effect is a visual haiku: brief and serene
with transporting twist.
Margi Weir, who moves effortlessly among several diverse media
and vocabularies, probably during the same workday, offers us one
of the more abstract pieces in the show. Of late she has been investigating
the nearly sculptural qualities of acrylic paint by squeezing out
straight lines of the color, letting them dry and then hanging the
“strings” of rubbery plastic very closely together in
front of a canvas perhaps itself covered in vertical lines snapped
into place by a string soaked in paint. The result is by several
degrees more interesting and visually stimulating than line paintings
of the past. For this show, however, she concentrates on a cousin
to the painted works and it pays off beautifully. Using the same
string-snapping technique, but with three hues of inks instead of
paints, Weir lays down rows of spattered lines across a five-foot-long
page. She masks out the top and bottom edges so that what we see
is a five-inch band of these lines looking like a graph of seismic
activity or a slice of a view of a woods of slender trees. The piece
has an arboreal quiet, but the splatters of ink are evidence of
the collision and the thwack that made the mark. Indeed, as Weir
writes in her artist statement, “And Little Ones All in a
Row is a study in contradictions.”
The rest of the show is equally engaging, with a little something
for everyone. Painting and photography predominate, but there are
also ceramics, furniture, videos, sculpture, and some pieces that
incorporate all of the preceding. There are more New Mexican artists
than Texans and Arizonans, with about an equal share from Santa
Fe and Albuquerque. It is a fun game (if ultimately fruitless) to
try to guess where the art came from and I swear I could guess the
Texas and Santa Fe art almost every time.
A great surprise of the day was the lunch at the City Treats Cafe
inside the museum. Delicious gourmet entrées like duck quesadillas,
or mussels in creamy marinara sauce, are only $7.50, and sandwiches,
pastries, and coffee are even cheaper. It's a wonderful spot to
talk about the work you've just seen or to fortify yourself for
another go-round. Biennial Southwest runs through January 7. The
Albuquerque Museum, at 2000 Mountain Road NW, is open Tuesdays through
Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission starts at $1. Admission
is free on Sundays before 1:00 p.m.
Baroque Christmas in Merrie Olde England
—JACKIE ERICKSEN, VICE-PRESIDENT,
PLACITAS ARTISTS SERIES BOARD
The Placitas Artists Series will present a special holiday program
by Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble on Sunday, December 17.
The concert will feature Nancy Loesch, soprano; Stephen Redfield
and Kerry Lay, violin; James Q. Bell, viola; Chase Morrison, cello;
Carol Redman, flute; Thomas O'Connor, oboe; Danny Bond, bassoon;
Brian DeLay, theorbo; and Susan Patrick, harpsichord. Each of these
wonderful professional musicians boasts an impressive career, having
performed nationally and internationally with premier ensembles
too numerous to recount here.
In 2002 Santa Fe Pro Musica became the only performing arts group
affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. The ensemble performs
music from 1600 to the present, using the musical instruments for
which the works were originally composed. The program, presenting
seasonal and other works enjoyed in “Merrie Olde England”
will include works by Georg Frideric Handel, William Lawes, Hentry
Purcel, and Johann Christian Bach, as well as popular English carols.
Preceding the concert, a reception will be held for December visual
artists Lisa Chernoff, Marilyn Dillard, Charles Dunbar, and Lynn
Hartenberger. Chernoff makes wall and table sculptures, bowls, and
jewelry from brilliantly colored fused dichroic glass; Dillard,
a mixed-media artist, does abstract collages inspired by natural
landscapes; Dunbar is a painter who loves tulips, and who created
the images etched on the glass windscreens at the Rail Runner passenger
platforms; Hartenberger’s landscapes are in soft pastel, oil,
The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. on December 17 at Las
Placitas Presbyterian Church; the artists' reception begins at 1:30.
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, Placitas, or
on-line at www.PlacitasArts.org. Prices are $18 for general admission
and $15 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.
Candlelight poetry reading will mark winter solstice
Come hear the Winter Solstice Candlelight Poetry Reading at the
sanctuary of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, in Placitas, on Friday,
December 22, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The poems are read, by their authors, by the light of a single
candle in the darkened sanctuary, with a space of silence following
each reading so that listeners can reflect on the meaning. The theme
this year is La Paz de la Noche (The Peace of the Night):
I come like light through windows...
with the fugitive I count stars
it is my poetry that has passed there
with its wheel of love and vengeance
to establish worldwide clarity
to give light to those who hope for it
How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren’t, after all, made
from that bird which flies out of its ashes;
that for a man/woman
as s/he goes up in flames, their one work
to open oneself to be
The poems may vary from this theme, which reflects on the onset
of winter and of the darkness that calls us to journey deeper toward
peace, and will not be overly complex or obscure, for listeners
cannot see the reader's face nor observe their body language. Overtly
religious poetry is avoided, although a spiritual sense of nature
and natural processes is encouraged, such as in the poetry of Mary
Oliver and Wendell Berry. Gentle humor is offered, for this is a
celebration and a reflection. Poems will be original, either previously
published or new work.
The selection panel this year consists of Charles Little, environmental
writer and past Winter Solstice Reading coordinator-publisher; JB
Bryan, poet and publisher (La Alameda Press); and Renny Golden,
poet and professor emerita.
Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is six and a half miles east of
I-25, on Highway 165 in Placitas.
Corrales craft fair to benefit Historic Old San
The Visual Arts Council of the Corrales Historical Society presents
its eighteenth annual Fine Crafts Show, a New Mexico crafts exhibition
and sale, at the Historic Old San Ysidro Church, in Corrales, from
December 2 through 10.
The show will feature selected artists exhibiting crafts in a
variety of media and will be open to the public from 11:00 a.m.
to 5:00 p.m. daily. There is no charge for admission or parking.
An opening reception will be held Friday, December 1, from 5:00
to 8:00 p.m.
The church is on Old Church Road, three tenths of a mile west
off Corrales Road. A portion of each sale at the show will go to
the Corrales Historical Society for restoration and preservation
of the Historic Old San Ysidro Church.
Chapter Two at the Adobe
Chapter Two, written by Neil Simon and directed by Michael
Girlamo, opens at the Adobe Theater on December 1. This is a very
personal story, paralleling the playwright’s own recovery
from the death of his first wife and his struggle to find a new
love. As usual with Simon, there are plenty of laughs and some useful
messages. Director Girlamo finds this play both entertaining and
meaningful “for anyone who has loved and lost, and again found
Chapter Two will run through December 23, with performances
on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets
are $12 ($10 students and seniors) with group rates available. For
ticket information and reservations, call 898-9222.