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FEATURED ARTISTS:

TOM ASHE

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GERALDINE BRUSSEL

JB BRYAN

MARY CARTER

ARTURO CHAVEZ

LISA CHERNOFF

DAVID W. CRAMER

CREATIVE SPIRITS OF PLACITAS

SARA LEE D'ALESSANDRO

FERNANDO DELGADO

MARILYN AND HERB DILLARD

SAMANTHA McCUE ECKERT

ALVARO ENCISO

MARCIA FINKELSTEIN

JIM FISH

JIM FISH

BEN FORGEY

C.E. FRAPPIER

BILL FREEMAN

LENORE & LARRY GOODELL

ED GOODMAN

EDWARD GONZALES

SUSAN GUTT

PATRICIA HALLORAN

BIANCA HÄRLE

LYNN HARTENBERGER

LINDA HEATH

KATHERINE HOWARD

BARTLEY JOHNSON

EVEY JONES

SUSAN JORDAN

JULIANNA KIRWIN

RUDI KLIMPERT

LYNNE KOTTEL

KATRINA LASKO

KATRINA LASKO

JADE LAYVA

MEG LEONARD

JON WILLIAM LOPEZ

GENE McCLAIN

GENE McCLAIN

BARRY McCORMICK

TONY PARANÁ-RODRIGUES

GARY W. PRIESTER

MICHAEL PROKOS

LAURA ROBBINS

GARY ROLLER

ANGEL ROSE

RIHA ROTHBERG AND WAYNE MIKOSZ

GARY SANCHEZ

SHARON SCHWARTZMANN

DIANNA SHOMAKER

KATHERINE SLUSHER

LORNA SMITH

KEVIN TOLMAN

DAWN WILSON-ENOCH

For more great local art, visit
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Sandoval Signpost Featured Artist Gallery

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 Susan 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.”



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