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FEATURED ARTISTS:

GENE MC CLAIN

JIM FISH

ARTURO CHAVEZ

ANGEL ROSE

LYNNE KOTTEL

KATHERINE HOWARD

ALVARO ENCISO

BARRY McCORMICK

BARTLEY JOHNSON

KATRINA LASKO

EDWARD GONZALES

GARY ROLLER

SUSAN JORDAN

BIANCA HÄRLE

MARCIA FINKELSTEIN

LYNN HARTENBERGER

DAVID W. CRAMER

MICHAEL PROKOS

LAURA ROBBINS

SUSAN GUTT

EVEY JONES

GARY W. PRIESTER

GENE McCLAIN

DAWN WILSON-ENOCH

LINDA HEATH

MARY CARTER

LISA CHERNOFF
 
JON WILLIAM LOPEZ

SARA LEE D'ALESSANDRO

RUDI KLIMPERT

DIANNA SHOMAKER

BUNNY BOWEN

ED GOODMAN

GARY SANCHEZ

MARILYN AND HERB DILLARD

GERALDINE BRUSSEL

SAMANTHA McCUE ECKERT

SHARON SCHWARTZMANN

JIM FISH

C.E. FRAPPIER

TONY PARANÁ-RODRIGUES

FERNANDO DELGADO

JB BRYAN

LORNA SMITH


For more great local art, visit
Placitas Artists.com

Sandoval Signpost Featured Artist Gallery


Lorna Smith

Lorna Smith in her Placitas studio

(Above) Two paintings, by Lorna Smith

Signpost featured artist of the month: Lorna Smith

Exploring the maze

—BEN FORGEY
For Lorna Smith, geometric patterns run deep. She follows the patterns through her mind and her eyes, through her fingers and hands, and also through her art, her personal history, and, indeed, her family history. It is as if she feels the world through pattern as truly as the sandhill cranes or other migrating birds know the patterns and rhythms of the earth and the seasons. Or maybe she just seems to be intensely aware of the spiraling patterns of her own DNA. It is odd that a short time after Lorna began reworking Celtic patterns in her paintings, she discovered that her Scottish forebears had been awarded clan status by the Queen and been given a tartan pattern of their very own.

Lorna’s ancestors had been weavers and dyers, first in Scotland, and later, after they migrated to America, but she shyly reveals that art and aesthetics had not played a large part in her own household as she was growing up. And so, as dedicated an artist as she is now, she took a long path before calling herself such.

The forty-something Lorna just this month brought home a Master of Fine Arts from the prestigious Art Institute of Boston. She had been studying, however, for the last two and a half years in Placitas, thanks in part to the myriad invisible pathways of the Internet and twice-yearly journeys to the Northeast. The institute offers a Low Residency Long Distance Learning Program, which allows students from all over the country and in all phases of life to study together.

One of Lorna’s fellow students was a graffiti artist, whose studio paintings were in the style of nineteenth-century masters. “It was quite a lesson when he took me to the Boston Museum to discuss the paintings, and on the way back he spoke about the styles and histories of the taggers on the walls,” she says, with a proud chuckle.

Lorna says she knew as early as the sixth grade that she wanted to be an artist. She won awards in school contests and later went on to study in Paris and at the Art Institute of San Francisco. She worked in art-related fields over the the years, including doing silk screens for Bank of America and Apple. But as life moved on, she stayed at art’s peripheries.

Now, her paintings and sculptures fall into three categories, all centering on geometric patterns. First, the modernist idea of the grid. Then there are explorations into the order of the random and chaotic. Finally, and most recently, cultural geometries, specifically those of the Celts. Lorna is exhibiting a sample of each at the Range Café, in Bernalillo, and at the on-line gallery ArtHaus66.com.

Lorna wrote her undergraduate thesis on the “Geometries of Math, Science and Nature” and explains her fascination with pattern as both intellectual and aesthetic.

She hands me a picture of a Celtic maze and asks me to run my fingers along the lines. “Sometimes pattern can be very meditative,” she says, watching me. “When you do that, you have to shift your focus from talking and doing what you’re doing to just following the line. That takes you into a somewhat meditative space, makes your mind open and frees it from thoughts. I also feel I become connected with the maker of the maze when I follow it like that or draw one into my own painting.”

I suggest that patterns seem to have a spiritual aspect, but she quickly corrects me. “These are not sacred geometries like Tibetan sandpainting or mandalas from India.”

And yet I sense that at the heart of her work there is a search for a deeper connection between pattern and life. She told me a revealing story about the months after the tragedy of her partner’s death. She would take a walk every day along a certain ridge in Placitas. After a while she found a place with good view of the sunset. She started to bring a rock from each trip up the ridge and place it at that place, and then she would walk around the pile in a large circle. In time, her feet wore a visible path in the desert. She had made kind of a land-art memorial to her partner and to her own period of grieving.

Soon after, Lorna decided to reconnect with her own true pattern and enter the world of art in a more serious manner. Now Lorna Smith comes home, MFA in hand, ready to explore the maze of the rest of her life.

 
 

 



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