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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


For more great local art, visit
Placitas Artists.com

Sandoval Signpost Featured Artist Gallery
 


 

JB Bryan in front of his teahouse

JB Bryan in front of his Placitas teahouse.

teahouse

Inside the teahouse

Painting (detail), by JB Bryan

Painting (detail), by JB Bryan

Signpost featured artist of the month: JB Bryan
The funky real

—TY BELKNAP
JB Bryan’s vision of life and art come together in a funky kind of laid-back, purposeful serendipity. He works hard at it, describing himself as compulsively creative—painter, poet, potter, publisher, and all-around “putterer.” Take his recently completed twelve-by-twenty-foot adobe teahouse, for example. Built by his own hand—with a little help from his friends—from foundation up, the construction did not go according to a rigid plan. The hope was to fit a Japanese-inspired mountain hut into the space available on his Placitas Village property, but to build it according to traditional New Mexico style with materials available.

The foundation required more concrete than planned, but then it kept the floor out of last summer’s floods. The floorboards were too short, but resulted in a one-of-a-kind pattern. The door was made from leftover decking from the ceiling. Plastering day ran short of time, but the line where the inside white plaster ran out mirrors the twisted shape of a post retrieved from a woodpile at Ghost Ranch, plus the remaining rough wall contrasts just right. The attic space serves as a hideaway for his daughter.

In Japan, teahouses are given poetic names, according to JB. “I told a friend that I was thinking of ‘Pine Breeze,’ but she said that sounded too much like an air freshener. ‘Placitas Tea Shack’ fits well with my New Mexico vernacular approach, so that will do until the right name comes along.”

As a potter, JB specializes in “wabi-sabi” tea bowls, which celebrate “beauty of the modest and humble, the unconventional and asymmetric, and the frugal and elegant ... the funky real.” He writes, “Wabi-sabi recognizes a beauty found in overlooked aspects, an inconspicuous detail, or the obvious. Wabi-sabi discovers a beauty that exists in the pattern of lichen on stone, in furrowed fields of corn, the bark of trees, a bird nest, or lines on a face as record of laughter or endurance. Using a tea bowl offers a moment to appreciate this bare, flawed, fleeting, beautiful life.”

Kneeling in the tea shack, across from a novice to tea ceremonies, JB explained that his approach was informal by Japanese standards. He said that whatever authority he might have comes from bringing it together—from the wabi-sabi authenticity of the tea shack and the bowl—and from mindful drinking of tea. “It’s sort of a field of dreams.”

“Art is something that happens in the process of ‘making special’ with a quality of imagination coupled with hand-eye coordination,” he says. “As a painter, I’m well-versed in the art world, but more drawn to cave paintings and pictographs than art as a commodity created for connoisseurs.”

You can find JB working the acequia on his day to water fruit trees and garden. “My paintings are inspired by the nuances of transformation which arrive out of botanical happenstance and new growth. They’re nondescriptive landscapes that attempt to reflect the rhythm of nature,” he says.

JB divides his time between a home in the North Valley and the Placitas studio-house originally built for the late dancer-choreographer Lee Conner and later owned by the late Signpost columnist and teacher Carl Hertel.

An old hippie with Grateful Dead bumper stickers still adorning his pickup, JB would make a fine starving artist, but stays fairly well fed working as a graphic designer. He and his wife, Cirrelda, are owners of La Alameda Press (laalamedapress.com), a small company dedicated to the publication of poetry. They promote local poets through the Duende Poetry Series, which is in its third year. (On Sunday, January 21, at 3:00 p.m. they will present a tribute to Spanish poet Federico García Lorca at Anasazi Fields Winery in Placitas.)

JB’s recently published Big Thank You, a book of poetry, speaks volumes about sense of place, attention to detail, and awareness of natural surroundings. “I sent the book to friends and people I admire,” he explained. “Their appreciation is all the critical acclaim I really care about.” He says Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder liked it, calling the book “funny and serious.”
Here’s a poem from the book:

In the Late Afternoon

the emotional drama
most people find interesting to talk about
only causes me to beg for mercy
& run screaming into the street

mostly residue
of fabricated half-remembered events
& sticky gum disappointments
from peevish invalid assumptions

I’d rather opt for useful
be willing to be a mess
to feel the top of my head
& the soles of my feet all at the same time

blue sky against my skin
I—who stand strangely in a strange sense
outside at work on the woodpile
a patriot of gladness

in the late afternoon
hear cranes before I see them
down the river
then they’re gone

—JB Bryan

 

 



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