Lorna Smith in her Placitas studio
(Above) Two paintings, by Lorna Smith
Signpost featured artist of the month: Lorna Smith
Exploring the maze
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
Placitas Studio Tour approaching
This year brings the tenth annual Placitas Studio Tour, planned
for Mother’s Day weekend, May 12 and 13. Applications will
be available on February 1 at the Merc, and at www.placitasstudiotour.com.
The deadline for applications is two weeks later, on February 14.
Artists are urged to read the guidelines carefully before applying.
The tour has become an eagerly anticipated event, both for artists
and for the many visitors who have come to plan their Mother’s
Day activities to include the adventure in Placitas.
As the number of local studios has grown in the last few years,
the Web site has become an important tool for people to preview
the artists’ work and plan their route accordingly. This tour
is notable in that it opens artists’ workspaces but does not
include shops and galleries, as do many other New Mexico tours.
Though new artists have been welcomed to the tour through the years,
many artists will be celebrating their tenth year as participants.
For more information, please visit
the Web site or call the tour coordinator, Riha Rothberg, at
Club Culturale Italiano to participate in Italian
From February 8 through 11 an Italian Film Festival benefiting
UNM Children’s Hospital will be held simultaneously at four
different venues: Rio Rancho High School Performing Arts Center,
and the Kimo, Lobo, and Guild Cinema theaters in Albuquerque.
Beginning on Thursday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m., at the Kimo Theatre
downtown, the CCI Italian Club will participate in opening festivities,
including the stories and backgrounds of some of the original Italian
families who came to Albuquerque, as well as the long and illustrious
history of the filmmakers, stars, settings, and music for the films
to be shown during the festival. People who have enjoyed the heritage
of Italian culture, as well as people who value and appreciate film
as an important art form, will be there to celebrate. The opening-night
film is La Strada.
The other classic movies to be shown are La Dolce Vita, Life Is
Beautiful, Cinema Paradiso, Moonstruck, Nine Good Teeth, Two Women,
Godfather I, Ciao Professore, l Postino, Big Night, and Bread and
Tickets are $7 each, and the backs of the tickets are stamped
for discounted meals at many Italian restaurants throughout the
metroplex. A $50 pass includes unlimited viewing of all the performances,
with preferred seating.
More information is available at 867-6842 or www.italianfilmfest.org.
Tickets may be purchased on-line or at Borders Books.
Listings now being accepted for 2007-08 New Mexico
New Mexico Magazine began accepting listings for the 2007-08 New
Mexico Film Directory in December. Listings and display ads will
be accepted through February 15.
The directory, which will be published next summer, includes listings
for a wide range of jobs and services associated with the film and
television industry in New Mexico.
Inclusion in the film directory is limited to New Mexico residents.
To apply, go to www.nmmagazine.com and click on the link for the
My life in Spain
My life in Spain has gone away
As if the sea which rolled and beat its peace
Had also given up and quietly smoothed itself to glass.
So now I have no wish to find a part of memory
From that old land that taught me how to go away
With an open heart and sly lust to vanish and go away.
I ring a bell to fill the silence in the same night everywhere
Protected from the noise of that infernal sun, still hopeful
Like shy eyes quivering in the dark.
That place is old, so old and ancient times had time
To turn from black to white and in such depravity of age
I could not go back and ever close my eyes.
—ANGUS MCDOUGALL, Bernalillo
Wage Peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble.
Breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red-wing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists.
Breathe out sleeping children and fresh-mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong relationships
Wage peace with our listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothing pins, clean rivers.
Play music; learn the word "thank you" in 3 languages.
Learn to knit: make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries.
as the outbreak of beauty or gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Never has the word seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
“Judyth Hill is a stand-up poet and writer
living in grateful, amazing beauty, where the Rockies meet the Plains,
in Northern New Mexico.”
Watermelon Mountain Jug Band coming to Placitas
On Sunday, February 18, the Placitas Artists Series will present
the ever popular Watermelon Mountain Jug Band. True to the original
1920s jug bands of the South, the thirty-year-old band features
washboard, jug, kazoo, jaw harp, washtub bass, spoons, guitar, and
banjo. The program should include jug band, ragtime, country, and
bluegrass, and possibly rock ‘n’ roll, Spanish ranchera,
The ensemble includes writing teacher Pat Houlihan, guitar, jaw
harp, and lead vocals; social worker and artist JoAnn Sartorius,
jug, lead vocals, mandolin, kazoo, and spoons; math teacher Gary
Oleson, washtub bass; high-school band director and New Mexico Academy
of Driving owner Ben Perea, guitar and banjo; and educator Barbara
Piper, washboard, high-hat cymbals, and percussion.
This concert is generously sponsored by the Ashe and Gudelj families
and Drew Owens.
Preceding the concert, a reception will be held for February exhibiting
visual artists Karl and Mary Hofmann, Robert LeBlanc, Lorna E. Smith,
and Roberta Wellems.
Karl and Mary Hofmann create pottery inspired by many cultures,
from Karl’s native Germany to Japan, all influenced strongly
by the Southwest landscape. The Hofmanns’ pottery is shown
and collected throughout the United States and Europe.
Photographer Robert LeBlanc was born in New Orleans in the Cajun
culture. His award-winning work has been shown throughout the country
and can be found in private collections around the world. He dramatizes
the naked geology of the Southwest.
Art instructor Lorna Smith creates Celtic-based geometric abstract
oil paintings, prints, carved mazes, and woven-wire pieces. Her
works create links between modern art and ancient Celtic traditional
Roberta Wellems considers herself a traditional watercolorist
with focus on color. Since watercolor also works well with other
water media, ink, pastels, and collage, Wellems constantly experiments
with various media in conveying her personal perceptions to the
The concert will he held at 3:00 p.m. on February 18 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 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.
Chamber Music Albuquerque presents Imani Winds
The five accomplished musicians of Imani Winds joined forces in
1997 to expand the boundaries of the traditional wind quintet and
explore the links among European, African, and American music traditions.
The name “Imani,” which means “faith” in
Swahili, embodies their mission. In their time together, this young
ensemble of African and Latin American heritage has established
a distinct presence in the classical-music world for dynamic playing,
innovative programming, and inspirational outreach programs, which
they have brought to communities throughout the country. Imani Winds
programs explore the culture and heritage of the African diaspora
while introducing Western classical traditions to diverse audiences.
For their only appearance in Albuquerque this year, the Imani
Winds will perform “Afro Blue,” by Coleman/Santamaria;
“Josephine Baker’s Angels from the Rainbow,” by
Fred Ho; “La Nouvelle Orleans,” by Lalo Schifrin; “Le
Tombeau de Couperin,” by Maurice Ravel; “Danza de Mediodía,”
by Arturo Marquez; and “Aires Tropicales,” by Paquito
The concert will be held at the Simms Center for the Performing
Arts, on the campus of Albuquerque Academy, 6400 Wyoming Boulevard
NE, on Sunday, February 25, at 3:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased
at the CMA office, Symphony Center, 4407 Menaul Boulevard NE, or
at (505) 268-1990; box-office hours are Mondays through Fridays
from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are also available at www.cma-abq.org
and at the door. Prices are $19–$38 if purchased in advance,
$21–$40 at the door; student tickets are $9.50–$20.
There will be a free preconcert lecture at 2:00 p.m.
This concert is funded in part by High Desert, Albuquerque Academy,
New Mexico Arts, and the New Mexico Tourism Department.
Broadway Theater Dance Workshop summer program accepting
Ann Reinking, the Broadway star whose credits include A Chorus
Line, All That Jazz, and Annie, is among the professional dancers,
choreographers, and directors who will work with dancers aged fourteen
to twenty in this summer's Broadway Theater Dance Workshop, in Santa
The workshop, to be held at the Dance Barns of the National Dance
Institute of New Mexico from July 23 through August 4, includes
intensive daily classes in ballet, jazz/theater dance, tap, and
Tuition for the workshop is $1,000; housing (with meals) is available
for an additional cost. Two full-tuition merit-based scholarships
are offered. Applications are due March 1, and application forms
can be found at www.btdw.org.
Founded in 1994, the National Dance Institute of New Mexico reaches
sixty-one hundred underserved children annually throughout the state.
Further information about BTDW is available at (505) 983-7646,
email@example.com, or www.btdw.org.
A year to look forward to—artistically speaking!
—DARRYL WILLISON, CO-OWNER, ART GALLERY 66
2007 is here and so are the art ideas and events being created to
benefit not just the local charities of our community, but to the
benefit of you the people who make up our community. We are thankful
to be surrounded by such art diversity and by people who appreciate
Galleries and art associated businesses of Bernalillo are working
with the Town of Bernalillo to bring back the “art scene”
that once thrived here. We may be small, but we are not afraid to
This spring we will see the trolley rolling along picking up visitors
from the Rail Runner depot and taking them to the various businesses
in Bernalillo, a major improvement for all involved. The art galleries
specifically will be working hard to bring awareness to our town
that art is alive and unique encouraging travel to Bernalillo as
an “art destination.” Art galleries and art-related
businesses are prepared to work together to help our local and regional
artists thrive here in Bernalillo, and at the same time help our
community charities to thrive by hosting fund raising art events
This idea of working together is nothing new, but you have to
admit, that it is good to see that it still exists!
We invite you the community to visit your local art gallery and
see what all the hype is all about as well as talk to the businesses
about ideas you have or charities you would like to see benefit
from the art world.
“A Valentine Musical Kiss” to benefit
Opera Unlimited, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing
high-quality music educational experiences to schoolchildren throughout
New Mexico, is presenting “A Valentine Musical Kiss”
on Sunday, February 11, at 2:00 p.m. at the Adobe Theater. The program
will include vocal selections from various operas and Broadway shows,
and will feature performances by some of Albuquerque’s finest
vocalists and students from the Summer Opera Day Camp.
Admission to “A Valentine Musical Kiss” is a $25 tax-deductible
donation to Opera Unlimited. All proceeds benefit Opera Unlimited
educational outreach programs. There will be a reception with exotic
homemade delicacies following the performance.
The Adobe Theater is at 9813 Fourth Street NW,
just two blocks north of Alameda. Seating is limited. For information
and reservations, call 828-1170.
The Apple Tree, a musical, at Adobe Theater
—CY HOFFMAN, ADOBE THEATER
After their success with "Fiddler on the Roof," writer-composers
Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick turned their attention to the eternal
struggle among man, woman, and temptation. The Apple Tree
consists of three one-act musical interpretations of short stories
(by Mark Twain, Frank L. Stockton, and Jules Feiffer) that examine
the battle of the sexes in a humorous, moving, and enchanting manner.
The Apple Tree opened in 1966, starring Barbara Harris,
Alan Alda (yes, that Alan Alda) and Larry Blyden; it received seven
Tony nominations (winning one for Barbara Harris) and ran for well
over a year. It was then largely ignored until a recent successful
revival in the New York City Center’s Encore! Series led to
the new production currently running on Broadway starring Kristin
Chenoweth. This is a rare chance to see a current Broadway musical
without having to pay for an airplane ticket.
The Apple Tree opens at the Adobe Theater, 9813 Fourth
Street NW, just two blocks north of Alameda, on Friday, February
16, and plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at
2:00 p.m. through March 11. Tickets for the show are $14 ($12 for
students and seniors), with group rates available. For information
and reservations, call 898-9222. Please note that there will be
no preview performance for this production. The previous musicals
that we have directed at the Adobe Theater, No Way to Treat
a Lady and Gigi, played to sold-out houses, so early
reservations are advised.