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SANDOVAL ARTS

Patricia Halloran with one of her outdoor goddess sculptures

Patricia Halloran with one of her outdoor goddess sculptures

Signpost featured artist of the month: Patricia Halloran

Bobcat by Patricia Halloran

Peregrine falcon, Patricia Halloran

The nature of the beast

—KEIKO OHNUMA
Try Googling mosaic artist Patricia Halloran, and you won’t find online a single image of her gorgeous life-size animals or serpentine women dripping with rivers of colored glass. She is at a loss to provide glossy postcards or slides. It is only by accident that you might come across her slinky bobcat, alert fox, or life-size phoenix about to take off from the Corrales Bosque Gallery or The Range in Bernalillo.

Halloran labors full-time in a tiny studio in her garden, painstakingly cutting tiles to bring to life large outdoor sculptures that she has first welded, banged, twisted, and carved out of metal, foam, cement, and Fiberglas. It might take her a full day to cover a square foot of the resulting stone monument with delicate, individually cut tiles—time that is not spent, alas, shooting images of her work, visiting galleries, mailing letters of introduction, and schmoozing.

“I’m not very good at the business side of it,” she says sheepishly. Marketing seems to have slipped her mind when, for the first time in her life, she was suddenly freed to do nothing with her days but create.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbles, “I don’t have a lot to say about art”—which is clearly not the case in someone who thinks about almost nothing else. The luminous intensity of her eyes belies her apologetic demeanor—something that her monumental works clearly testify against.

Start talking about her sculptures, though, and Halloran spills sentiments as fluid as the marbled colors in her complex mosaics. Unlike her days as a young art student, when she would philosophize at length about “German Expressionism, angst,” she says, “… now I’m into beauty. I just want things to be sincere and connect. All I hope is some people who get my work, it has some meaning for them.”

She’s been around the block a few times when it comes to art, starting with regular visits to museums in Manhattan from her childhood home on Long Island, to art school on a scholarship in upstate New York, to earning an art degree at UNM. But it has been only in the last five years—since she married and moved into her husband’s home in Rio Rancho—that she’s been able to treat art-making as more than an occasional, wistful remnant of her hippie youth.

For years, Halloran was a single mother and special-education teacher of the gifted whose dual responsibilities left little energy for more than an occasional painting or pastel drawing. “I would dabble in art. Being a single mom and a teacher—I don’t know how people can do that and do art. I couldn’t.”

She did manage, however, to accumulate myriad skills that would serve her in the categorical switch to three-dimensional art. At one time, she worked as a silversmith and graphic designer, until pregnancy and divorce prompted her to find more steady work. She had painted, drawn, and worked with clay for decades, so that when the opportunity came to assist her sister’s husband, Placitas sculptor Roger Evans, the stage was set for a confident leap to monumental sculpture.

Now she uses steel mesh, cement, and rebar as a prelude to the painterly laying of glass tiles. A spontaneous painter who always favored subjects from fantasy and the subconscious, Halloran says she takes surprisingly to the experimental, problem-solving aspects of sculpture. “There’s something in me that likes to do that—and glass is almost like working with paint. That’s why I like sculpture with mosaic.”

Five years ago, Halloran went on sabbatical, turning the time to what she loves most. At the end of the year, her husband suggested she keep at it. “I’m blessed that I’m one of those human beings who had a chance to do this,” she said, footnoting that it still takes the beneficence of a man, usually, for a woman to devote herself to art.

Nowadays, though her work may appear more realistic, the intention is metaphorical and archetypal, even supernatural. Halloran takes up “whatever animal is coming to me at the time, usually because it’s in my life” through a series of coincidences that she plumbs for meaning—like a need for fierceness, in the case of the bobcat. Starting with a feeling, she works spontaneously, but, “I am trying to say something,” she says emphatically, “about nature and animals.”

Through her eyes, earthly creatures take on an otherworldly presence, as if we were seeing them for the first time—their grace, power, and fluidity. Part of that is her ability to convey somehow, through the static placement of tiles, a sense of movement and repetition, pattern and depth. Her goddess figures, too, seem to flow with waves of sympathy, compassion, and kindness.

Most of Halloran’s cement sculptures are meant to end up outside, as many of them do, though a number of collectors seem to keep them in their bedrooms. But has she assembled a portfolio, a résumé, a solo show?

Yes. No. Not really. The focus remains on one piece at a time, finding a way to make it speak and channel into someone’s awareness.

“I make art because it’s the best thing in the world I can do—the best way for me to be me,” Halloran says, her quiet eyes blazing. “It’s what I’m supposed to be doing.”


Karen Jones Meadows

Karen Jones Meadows on stage, in character as Harriet Tubman

Karen Jones Meadows uses drama as a healing art

—JUNE TREZZA
From New Mexico to Boston to the British Virgin Islands, local Placitas resident Karen Jones Meadows carries her message of “Drama as a Healing Art” to all who will listen. And listen they do. Not only do they listen, they participate in workshops and as audiences absorbing her powerful, sometimes funny, always poignant plays.

Originally from the Bronx, New York, she’s quick to say, “Not the burned-out Bronx they like to show in movies, we actually had trees and no fear.” She moved to New Mexico twelve years ago this month.

“I love it here,” she says, “I miss some things about big city living, but when I do, I just go to one. I’m enriched by the humane lifestyle, the diversity of people, and the natural beauty of New Mexico. I’ve lived many places and usually when I leave, I say goodbye to friends and keep going. I’ve made lifelong friends here whom I couldn’t leave easily.”

Karen’s focus on her workshops is running neck-in-neck with her plays and current film projects. She loves the immediate satisfaction of conducting these interactive sessions for adults, youth, businesses, and organizations from one to one thousand that empower people through the use of theater and other techniques she’s acquired over the years. A stutter in childhood was assuaged when she discovered theater. She has stories that show how theater can be instrumental in uplifting the emotions, mind, body, and spirit. Also an intuitive who has studied many metaphysical philosophies and disciplines, Ms. Jones Meadows says, “I love when people have breakthroughs and their path becomes clearer. I also like the fun we have in the workshops. I’m a party animal at heart.”

Karen recently performed her award-winning and critically-acclaimed play, “Harriet’s Return: Based upon the Legendary Life of Harriet Tubman,” in Albuquerque, to sold-out audiences at the 4th Street Theatre. KUNM critic Jim Terr said of her performance, ”A couple of years ago I saw a one-woman show at the Lensic that was so remarkable that the full house of over eight hundred was on its feet and cheering and crying at the end—with no question.” Of the final performance in Albuquerque, Ms. Jones Meadows says, “Audience members were literally on the stage on both sides of the wings. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to negotiate getting around them, since I run and leap and move quite a bit in the areas where they’re sitting. Of course once the play started, it worked out, and I liked having them… as a little extra family on the stage.”

Ms. Jones Meadows will be conducting a Drama as a Healing Art workshop entitled “Ritual is Habitual” in Placitas on Sunday, July 13 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. She can be reached at onpurposenow@cs.com. For more information about the workshop, contact June at (888) 647-7486.


Acoma Pueblo, painting, by Lois Duitman

Acoma Pueblo, painting, by Lois Duitman

Rio Rancho art show features painter Lois Duitman

Lois Duitman of Rio Rancho, a photographer and member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society, will display eleven paintings and photographs of Botswana, Kenya, and Mozambique at the Rio Rancho Art Association’s show held June 2 through July 7 at the Rio Rancho Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Duitman has been featured in World Who’s Who of Women, and has painted, taught, and exhibited in many countries. Her paintings hang in private collections in twelve different countries. She has had work featured on magazine covers; taught art on television; and taught children and adult classes, as well as workshops at Pepperdine University. Her distinctive “Around the World” paintings include warm scenes and sensitive portraits in various techniques and media.

Lois Duitman was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and has been painting since childhood. She studied at The Student’s League in New York, The Women’s University of the Philippines, and Baylor University. Her work is a pictorial autobiography of her life. For more information, contact Ms. Duitman at 891-5192.


Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert


Tamaya Jazz Fest to feature Southwest’s favorite musicians

Several of the Southwest’s favorite jazz musicians will perform at the annual Tamaya Jazz Fest on Sunday, June 29 at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa’s Sunrise Amphitheater. The full-day free concert features Albuquerque’s Hillary Smith headlining the festival, along with performances from the Bert Dalton Trio, and the Transit Latin Jazz Ensemble.

“The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa is proud to present a free festival of music to New Mexicans that explores the evolution of jazz and its many forms and styles. Jazz is an integral part of American culture and our performers will showcase a variety of music that will have jazz fans on the edge of their seats,” said Jerry Westenhaver, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa.

The Tamaya Jazz Fest will take place on Sunday, June 29 between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the resort’s Sunrise Amphitheater, an open-air outdoor venue. The event is open to the public without a cover charge for the concert. The Bert Dalton Trio will perform between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.; the Transit Latin Jazz Ensemble will perform between 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; and Hillary Smith will perform between 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

For reservations or more information, please call (505) 867-1234 or Hyatt reservations at (800) 554-9288, or visit www.tamaya.hyatt.com.


Sandoval County Historical Society presents Benny Goodman program

The Sandoval County Historical Society will not hold a regular meeting in July. However, a special program of recorded music of Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall concert and other major recording artists will be presented on July 13th at 2:00 p.m. at the DeLavy House Museum. The DeLavy House is located off Highway 550, west of Bernalillo, between Coronado State Monument and The Star Casino. This program is free and open to the public.

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