An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Photographer Fernando Delgado at home

Photographer Fernando Delgado at home

Composition No.K3-2006, by Fernando Delgado

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 be mistaken.

Visit 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.

Marilyn Dillard

Marilyn Dillard

Margi Weir

Margi Weir

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, and Arizona.

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 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.

Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

Baroque Christmas in Merrie Olde England


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, and watercolor.

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 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
all night...
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 flames?

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 Ysidro Church

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 love.”

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.






Ad Rates  Back Issues   Contact Us  Front Page   Up Front  Animal News   Around Town   Classifieds   Calendar  Community Center  Community Profile  Eco-Beat  Featured Artist  The Gauntlet Holiday Tidbits Community Links  Night Skies  My Wife and Times  Public Safety Sandoval Arts   Schoolbag  Time Off