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Daniel North

Daniel North aside his painting,“Roots,” at Palette Contemporary Art & Craft in Albuquerque
Photo credit (above): Oli Robbins

c. Daniel North

“Snowbound,” oil on canvas, 18”x24”, by Daniel North

c. Daniel North

“Desert Floor 3,” oil on canvas, 26”x30”, by Daniel North

Featured artist: Daniel North: All signs point North

The environmental travelogues of Daniel North

—Oli Robbins

Daniel North’s thickly layered, dynamic, and heavily abstract compositions have a meditative effect on the viewer, who might be surprised to learn that they are the products of a painter trained in photorealism. These seemingly non-representational paintings, in which color and line dance harmoniously, seem a far cry from the figurative. But to North, his paintings bespeak his relationships with different places and landscapes and bare traces of his early experimentations with realism.

Growing up in the Midwest, North didn’t encounter much abstraction. He paid his way through college making portraits and, after graduating from Southeast Missouri State, trained with photorealist painters in Chicago. But he quickly grew tired of realism, which was becoming so monotonous to North; he no longer needed to focus and harness creativity, and often found himself painting while watching T.V.

Upon moving out West to Glacier National Park in Montana, North began experimenting with abstraction, playing with layers, and examining the ways in which colors and forms transform and build up from one layer to the next. Now, his paintings are comprised of hundreds of layers, and it is in the act of layering that North draws upon his early training. Says North, “Each layer I build is a composition. When the composition is right, I go to the next layer. That’s how you work as a portrait painter—every layer could be a finished painting.” Occasionally, North may still incorporate figurative elements into his paintings, but when he does so, the figure is rearranged, repeated, and turned in on itself. Says North, “I’m keeping a little piece of each layer to create the whole.” North achieves unity and asymmetrical balance by allowing a piece of each layer to come through to the next.

North takes full advantage of the New Mexico sun, which has become an integral part of his painting process. The colors in his paintings will never fade or change because, as North explains, “between each layer of paint, I bake it (the painting) outside in the New Mexico sun so all the fading that’s going to happen happens at that stage.” Rather than working on an easel, North buys 30” x 80” hollow doors, to which he staples his canvas. In between layers, North tosses the door outside and lets it cook in the sun. 

Like most painters who live and work in Placitas, North is forever in awe of the landscape. He says that he sees everything as a map, and he’s “either looking up or down.” North notes that painting in Placitas enables him to look out over three hundred miles of mesas, so he doesn’t need to use real maps as visual tools. When asked how and if his work reflects the current time, North replied, “On the one hand, there’s this archeological sense, but there’s also this idea of how, when everything is going digital, there’s still something worth recognizing in the physical world.”

Fifty years from now, it’s quite likely that undergraduate students studying art history will encounter the paintings of North, who cares deeply about his work finding a home in the canon of art history. To help ensure that his work does indeed survive, North creates, and creates, and creates. To call him prolific might be an understatement; North completes around two hundred paintings per year. “I make so much work, and it’s all about the process, so if I work through an issue—say it takes seventy or eighty paintings to work through some issue I’m trying to resolve—when I’m done, I’m done, and I move onto the next thing. But I can always see the transition.”

North’s work is far more textured and dimensional than it appears upon first glance and, as a viewer, I found myself wanting to touch it—much in the same way that I want to reach out and touch Pollock’s drip paintings—to feel the paint and get a better sense of the artist’s process. That the viewer feels physically compelled to the work is important to North, who says, “If the viewer doesn’t want to touch it, I’ve done something wrong.” And while, like Pollock, North often applies his paint with wooden stirring sticks, it’s important to note that North’s application of paint is quite unlike that of his Abstract Expressionist predecessor. “I don’t do any drip painting,” says North. “Everything touches.” 

In a sense, North engages in automatic painting. He is passionate about living in the present moment, and explains how once he has found the rhythm, he almost loses himself in the act of painting. “Quite literally,” says North,” I don’t paint. My arm paints.” But because of North’s training in portraiture, he is also always thinking several steps ahead. Perhaps it’s his ability to straddle the automatic/subconscious and logical/technical that makes North’s paintings so successful—they are pure expressions that are at the same time rational, including, for example, golden ratios.

New Mexico, with its sun, sprawling mesas and geological diversity, is one of the only places North can imagine living for longer than a couple of years. For the 12 years prior to moving here, North moved every 18 months, making around four hundred paintings in each location. Says North, “I live very much in the moment. I don’t care about what’s passed. If I decide to move, I move. This is the exact opposite of how I was raised in the Midwest, where nobody moves from their hometown.” North finds the process of moving refreshing and inspiring. “It all goes back to living Zen,” he explains. “All that matters is right here, right now.” After experiencing so many different places, it’s no wonder that North thinks of his paintings as maps or, more specifically, “environmental travelogues.” Says North, “the moment I can’t paint where I am anymore, I’m gone, because that’s the only thing. It’s more than how you eat, it’s why you eat.”

North’s work can be viewed on his website, www.danielnorth.com, and at Palette Contemporary Art & Craft in Albuquerque.


Under Charlie’s Covers book store to host December book signings

—Lara Harrison

On December 1, Rio Rancho mystery writer J. P. Hudson will sign his latest mystery, Warm-Up Kills, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Warm-Up Kills is Hudson’s fourth mystery that takes place in Rio Rancho. He will be selling and signing all of his books for discounted prices.

On December 8, Rio Rancho western writer Jon Hovis will be signing his latest New Mexico western, Anasazi Ruin, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Anasazi Ruin is an intriguing tale which captures life as it may have been in the 1100s A.D. in Chaco Canyon. Follow a young boy as he follows in his father’s footsteps as the chief messenger for the Great Pueblo and its leaders. Interwoven with dances and ceremonies, the story showcases a rich blend of native culture with a tale of possible doom as the Anasazi Empire faces troubles from within and from evil outside influences. Hovis is the author of three additional westerns and all will be available for purchase during this event.

Under Charlie’s Covers is located at 120 E. Highway 550 next to Walgreens, in Bernalillo. For more information, go to: www.undercharliescovers.com.


“Sojourner Basket,” mixed media with organic materials—collaboration by the four Creation/Migration artists.

Artists create stories of the journey

Four New Mexico artists of diverse ancestry have initiated a multi-year project—Creation/Migration: Stories of the Journey. The exhibition opened on November 2 at Ralph Greene’s FreeStyle Gallery. The artists will host a closing reception on December 14, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Creation/Migration artists include Donna Caulton of Chamisal, Belinda Edwards of Santa Fe, Betsie Miller-Kusz of Jemez Springs, and Harriette Tsosie of Albuquerque. The four artists met while working on the Mining the Unconscious project (www.miningtheunconscious.org). 

The Creation/Migration project is an ongoing inquiry, and each of its projected exhibitions will build on the artists’ exploration of identity issues, such as “Who am I, and how did I get here?”; “Genetically speaking, is there such a thing as race?”; and “What if what I learn from my scientific investigations contradicts what I have been taught or have always believed?” 

Says artist Betsie Miller-Kusz, who installed this first exhibition, “We four artists were destined to meet here in New Mexico and share the language of our work.” Harriette Tsosie says that for her the project “is a natural sequel to Mining the Unconscious, which called on participating artists to explore their psyche as a source of their creativity. Donna Caulton’s imagery focuses on mandalas of the natural order, the earth in balance, and cyclical change, with works presented in bold colors, dense with representations of life forms. Belinda Edwards constructs works, which emerge from dreams and visions, based on myth, archetype, and collective memory.

FreeStyle Gallery is located at 1114 Central Avenue SW, Albuquerque, NM. Open hours are Thursday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (extended for openings) and Monday to Wednesday by appointment. The exhibition continues through December 14.

For further information, call 243-9267.


Winter solstice poetry reading— “Creatures of the Long Night”

On December 21, the Earthcare Fellowship of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church will sponsor their fifteenth annual Winter Solstice Candlelight Poetry Reading. It will be held in the LPPC sanctuary at 7:00 p.m. Ten to 12 poets will read a poem to the light of a single candle in the darkened sanctuary with a minute or so of silence between each reading. The poems are not specifically religious in nature, but do offer the insights of the poet’s observations and reflections. Each year a theme is chosen by the Earthcare Fellowship, and various local poets are invited to submit their works. The theme this year is “Creatures of the Long Night.” Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is located on Highway 165 at the west edge of the historic village of Placitas. For more information, go to: www.lasplacitaschurch.org.


NM Philharmonic fills the holidays with music

One of the Western world’s favorite holiday traditions is watching the performance of Handel’s well-known choral works, “Messiah.” On December 8, at 7:00 p.m. and on December 9, at 3:00 p.m., the New Mexico Philharmonic will join with the Central United Methodist Church choir to present the classic that was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742. Popular local conductor and violinist David Felberg will lead the orchestra, with Jerilyn Foster conducting the Central United Methodist Choir. Soloists are Cammy Cook, soprano, Jacquelline Zandeer-Wall, mezzo-soprano, Javier Gonzaliz, tenor, and Ivan Conrad, bass.

Single ticket prices are $25, $49, and a $55 VIP ticket, which includes a post-concert reception with the artists. Tickets are available at holdmyticket.com or 886-1251. The concert will be held at Central United Methodist Church, located at 201 University Avenue NE, just one block north of Central Avenue.

On December 15 at 6:00 p.m. Randol Bass will raise his baton for the annual “Holiday Joy” Pops Concert at Popejoy Hall. Randol Bass conducts traditional holiday music favorites and carols, including his composition—a cantata entitled, Glad Tidings—The Story of Christmas. The program features Mayor Richard J. Berry’s narration of “Twas the Night before Christmas,” a reading by Classical 95.5 on-air personality Jim Welborn, and guest artist, soprano Szilvia Schranz, performing Rejoice Greatly from Handel’s Messiah with the choir of the Cathedral of St. John raising its voice on Glory to God. The Manzano Day School will bring a joyful noise as they perform Silent Night and Christmas Time is Here. Everyone can share in the good cheer of the post-concert reception to meet the artists.

Ticket prices for the Holiday Joy concert are $68.55, $46.50, $35.50, and $19.50 and can be purchased at www.unmtickets.com, UNM ticket offices at The Pit , at the UNM Bookstore and at all Albertson’s supermarkets in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe, or by phone at 925-5858.

Members of the orchestra also perform live for clients of three area shelters. On November 20, they played at Albuquerque Rescue Mission on 2nd Street. Their second performance will be on December 20 at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center on 3rd Avenue where a jazz trio will perform at a special breakfast session at 9:00 a.m. And on December 21, a duo will play from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for the large crowd that gathers at the Convention Center for the annual Joy Junction Holiday dinner. Music will include holiday favorites played by Carla Lehmeier-Taturn on Cello and Denise Turner on Bassoon. All three holiday-themed performances are provided free of charge by the musicians and the New Mexico Philharmonic.


c. Geri Verble

by Geri Verble

c. Riha Rothberg

by Riha Rothberg

c. Judith Roderick

by Judith Roderick

c. Sonya Coppo

by Sonya Coppo

c. Anna Goodridge

by Anna Goodridge

c. Sandy Johnson

by Sandy Johnson

c. Bunny Bowen

by Bunny Bowen

Holiday wearable art show and sale raises funds for the Placitas Community Library

The Placitas Community Library will be holding a holiday wearable art show and sale through the month of December. Seven Placitas artists, specializing in wearable art, have been asked to share their work. A sampling of their work will be on display throughout the month. Purchases can be made throughout the month, but many more items will be available at the two reception and sale events to be held on December 1, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., and on December 9, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The artists will donate a portion of their sales to the library. Participating artists are: Bunny Bowen, Sonya Coppo, Anna Goodridge, Sandy Johnson, Judith Roderick, Riha Rothberg, and Geri Verble.

Bunny Bowen has worked in Batik since 1980. Brushing layers of molten wax into silk to resist dyes, she continues a 2500-year-old tradition that has been practiced all around the world. The high desert landscape has been her inspiration.

Sonya Coppo’s one-of-a-kind handbags are made of heavy canvas and painted with acrylics and inks. Her work reflects the colors, culture, and spirit of the Southwest.

Anna Goodridge’s artistic journey has recently taken her to painting on gently used children’s denims in addition to making custom orders for adults. Her designs have been inspired by her many years of teaching art in elementary schools.

Sandy Johnson’s jewelry designs are uniquely inspired by the beautiful mountain landscape that her studio overlooks. She uses stones, beads, metals, her own lampwork beads, and incorporates beautiful fibers whenever possible.

Judith Roderick has been painting silk scarves for thirty years and loves to portray images of birds, especially cranes, as well as other flora and fauna of New Mexico

Riha Rothberg frequently departs from painting to enjoy combining her fiber and bead collections via her Grandma’s crochet lessons. She will share one-of-a-kind hats, cowls, and other accessories.

Geri Verble is an accomplished jewelry design artist specializing in tribal and ethnic jewelry. She developed a passion for collecting ethnic beads and pendants while traveling with the Peace Corps. She credits her focus on Stagecraft Design in her Theater Arts college major for influencing her unique sense of design.

For more information, contact Sonya Coppo at 771-3136.


c. Evangeline Chavez

Detail from “Morning Light,” photograph by Evangeline Chavez

Opening reception for Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show

—Evangeline Chavez

On December 1, the Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show (ANMPAS) will begin in the Fine Arts building at Expo New Mexico. Photographers from New Mexico will display and sell their images in a premier gallery setting. At the reception, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., there will be refreshments and music by Celo Classicos.

The show will be open to the public until December 28, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with the exception of Tuesdays, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. The show is open to all photographers who are currently residents of the State of New Mexico. Entry is free. All prints will be on display at the Fine Arts building, on the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.

For more information, call 328-4432.


Corrales Bosque Gallery juries new art

The Corrales Bosque Gallery, an artist-owned gallery, will be jurying for new members on January 12, 2013. The deadline for applications is December 12. Applications and membership information are available online at: www.corralesbosquegallery.com or at The Corrales Bosque Gallery, located at 4685 Corrales Rd. in the Mercado de Mayo, open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Jeanine Allen at 328-6075 or Dianna Shomaker at 771-3125.


MasterWorks of New Mexico calls

MasterWorks of New Mexico is sending out a call to artists for their 2013 exhibition—one of the premier annual art shows in New Mexico. It is a collaborative sponsorship among four organizations: Bardean LLC, New Mexico Watercolor Society, Pastel Society of New Mexico, and the Rio Grande Art Association. The exhibition will be held April 5 through 27, 2013 in the Hispanic Arts Gallery at Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque. The prospectus for the show is now available. Entry deadlines are January 25, 2013, for standard art, and March 16, 2013, for miniature art. For further information, contact: masterworksnmmail@gmail.com.


Placitas Artists Series features both music and fine art

—Shirley C. Ericson

On December 16, at 3:00 p.m., the Placitas Artists Series will present Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico—Maxine Thevenot, in a holiday program at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church located on NM 165 six miles east of I-25 (exit 242).

Dr. Thévenot has trained and conducted ensembles across Canada and the USA. Acclaimed by The American Organist for her “consummate musicianship,” in her capacity as Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, she conducted the Cathedral Choir on tour in the UK at St Paul’s Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral and York Minster, and directed the choir’s most recent recording, Missa Campanella.

The concert is generously sponsored by Claudia Moraga, and Shirley and Robert Ericson.

Preceding the concert, a reception will be held at 2:00 p.m. for December exhibiting visual artists Peter Boehringer (fine art prints), Katherine Irish Henry (pastels), Dianna Shomaker (mixed media), and Vicki Bolen (paper arts).

Peter Boehringer was born in Germany, grew up in Rio de Janeiro, lived ten years in Switzerland, and finally moved to the U.S. in 2002. Peter says, “If possible, I like to capture a little drama in my images, or something that makes them a little bit different.”

Katherine Irish Henry has exhibited nationally in one-person shows, won numerous local awards, and has a movie credit to her name. Ms. Henry made a conscious decision, upon exiting the pain and anger she found in New York, to contribute beauty to the world through her painting…and to being a sky-watcher.

Recently, Dianna Shomaker’s work has won prizes in the juried 2010 Texas and Neighbors Regional, Masterworks 2010, Encantada 2009, “Faces of Women” International 2009; El Paso International 2008; and Expo New Mexico 2008. Dianna says, “I believe a painting should have layers of development, movement, depth, and surprises that cause the viewer to look for the message in the work.”

Vicki Bolen has a BA in Interior Design. Vicki says, “My images, inspired by an interest in paper and textiles, are usually not fully planned. I discover the image within as it reveals itself.”

Artwork will be on display in the church lobby throughout December.

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 Placitas; Under Charlie’s Covers Fine Used Book Store at 120 E. Highway 550 in Bernalillo; Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho; or on-line at www.PlacitasArtistsSeries.org. Prices are $20 in advance. At-the-door prices are General Admission: $20 and Students: $15.

For more information, call 867-8080 or visit www.PlacitasArtistsSeries.org.


Holiday favorite Messiah returns to Popejoy

Roger Melone will conduct the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus from the harpsichord in Messiah, on December 16 at 3:00 p.m. in Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque. Four nationally acclaimed soloists will be featured in this concert, which is New Mexico’s only complete and professional performance of Handel’s masterwork this holiday season. Soprano Clara Rottsolk, countertenor Ian Howell, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone David Grogan will travel to Albuquerque from across the country to perform with forty select members of the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus and 22 orchestra musicians.

Concertgoers may bring non-perishable food items to place in a Roadrunner Food Bank bin at Popejoy. Reserved seating tickets from $15 to $60 may be purchased through UNM Ticketing Services by phone at 925-5858, online at NMSChorus.org, or in-person at The Pit, UNM Bookstore and at Albertsons Markets. Group and student up to twelfth grade with valid ID will receive a discount. For details, visit NMSChorus.org or call 247-0181.


The Adobe Theater presents Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

The Christmas show at The Adobe Theater is a terrific blend of the classical and the unexpected. A radio station is broadcasting Charles Dickens’ beloved Christmas story, A Christmas Carol live, before a studio audience. The Adobe audience will watch the actors at the microphones, scripts in hand, create characters (sometimes more than one character) as they take the audience to nineteenth century London to meet Marley’s ghost, Scrooge, and Tiny Tim. Music and sound effects happen live onstage with assistance from the “studio” audience. The delightful retelling of this favorite holiday classic about the transformation from greed to generosity embraces the true holiday spirit of kindness and goodwill. Becky Mayo directs the production and has adapted the script for this performance. Cast members include a mix of Adobe veterans, Virginia Dare Chavez, Brian Hansen, Alan Hudson, Frank Melcouri, Ray Orley, Rick Wiles, Linda Williams, and Hugh Witemeyer along with newcomers Soraya Baraque, Erica Entrop, Tom Pentecost, J.R. Ramoso, Athena Swartz, and Michell Varela. The production plays November 30 through December 16, on Fridays and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15, seniors and students $13. Group sales and select tickets are available. For reservations, call 898-9222 weekdays or order on-line at www.adobetheater.org.

 
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