The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Arte Loca—newest addition to Bernalillo art scene

Greg Johnston

Arte Loca Gallery owners Al Enciso and Gene McClain (back center)

Arte Loca Gallery owners Al Enciso and Gene McClain (back center)
greet guests at their grand opening show.

Two Placitas residents have opened a new art space in Bernalillo with a different twist from the other galleries along Camino del Pueblo. Al Enciso and Gene McClain are the owners of Arte Loca Gallery, which specializes in contemporary painting, photography, sculpture, and original prints. The inaugural exhibit, which continues through March 14, features the works of McClain and painter Janet Hoelzel.

Arte Loca is in what was once an automobile garage north of Bernalillo High School. The space has gone through numerous transformations and most recently was part of Siete Nombres gallery, which has since moved to a two-story house immediately behind the gallery.

Across the road is the elegant Katrina Lasko Gallery with an exhibit through March 14 titled “Sensual or Erotic?” On February 8, the three galleries, together with Juliana Kirwin Studio/ Gallery, scheduled staggered art receptions. This allowed art lovers to move from one space to the next and experience what some are calling an art renaissance in Bernalillo.

“A new gallery working in harmony with other art spaces is good news for the community,” says Maria Rinaldi, Bernalillo director of community development. “There’s an experience waiting to happen in Bernalillo,” she said. “In its own way, this adds to the idea that to take a trip to Bernalillo can truly be an outing.” Rinaldi said she combined the art receptions on February 8 with dinner, and it made for a fabulous Saturday evening.

Arte Loca’s co-owner Al Enciso said this is his first venture into the art business. His vision for Arte Loca is to show emerging and not well known artists to the local community. His plans for the future include exhibits of Latin American and Colombian art. His partner, McClain, had shown his work at Siete Nombres and realized that there was potential for something new. The current display has a wild, wacky look to it, as the gallery name might imply.

Janet Hoelzel said she likes to make people laugh through her art. She has shown her work since 1969 and sells her paintings at the Santa Fe Opera Flea Market. She has also worked as a photographer and potter and has created folk-art dolls. Some of her paintings on display at Arte Loca take their subject from her doll collection.

Her brightly colored portraits reflect a folk-art absurdity, through wide-eyed facial expressions and wide brush strokes. Hoelzel said she might be considered a primitive, but a primitive whose style is very much her own. She said that several small square portraits on display were begun after the events of 9/11. What were originally painted as faces to express fear evolved into work that expressed a wider view of humanity.

Gene McClain describes himself as a multimedia, multipurpose, multi-risk-taking artist. His work at Arte Loca is split into two mediums. Arch-shaped canvases are splashed with layers of abstract paint in muted colors, and animal skulls are affixed to the canvases to give a cemetery-like feel to the work. McClain also creates tables and chairs with nostalgic imagery of highway signs and big road cars from the fifties and sixties. Cadillac and Edsel logos, along with protruding fins and painted bumper parts, give the furniture a fragmented automotive look.

Arte Loca Gallery is at 373 North Camino del Pueblo, Bernalillo. The gallery is open Thursdays, Fridays. and Saturdays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment, 771-8626 or 280-9890.

See the Sandoval Arts section in this Signpost for more information about the reception on Saturday, March 15.

Paintings by Janet Hoelzel are on display through March 14 at Arte Loca Gallery

Paintings by Janet Hoelzel are on display through March 14 at Arte Loca Gallery



Oh Light, light the path

on the least light day of the year

 be with us in the darkness, light light

 the showering way, the opening dawn of clarity.

  As doors open doors, hand hung doors

  front doors, back door, portal doors.

   Doors to help each other

   out of traps, out of traps of mind and body

   out of dark holes into less dark ways into

   a turning where tolerance is an act

     where love is a play

     where the day is growing into the day

     and honesty is a dramatic scene

     the end of the play

       as the lights come on

       all the way.


           21 Dec 2002, Winter Solstice
    in memory of Andre Henke


                                       —larry goodell


Deep blues, 2003

Carl Hertel

Carl HertelAccording to Robert Palmer in his classic book Deep Blues, bluesman Robert Johnson put it this way: “You can call the blues, you can call the blues any old thing you please/You can call the blues any old thing you please/But the blues ain’t nothing but the doggone heart disease.”

Now we have U.S. Senate Resolution No. 316 (passed last September) proclaiming 2003 as the “Year of the Blues. The proclamation declares that “blues music is the most influential form of American roots music with its impact heard around the world in rock and roll, jazz, rhythm and blues, country and even classical music. . . . The various forms of the blues document twentieth century American history during the Great Depression and in the areas of race relations, pop culture, and the migration of the United States from a rural agricultural society to an urban, industrialized nation.“ The Senate also noted the relationship of the blues to African American culture, and expressed the need for preservation of the blues as a national treasure.

The year-long celebration will include a film series produced by Martin Scorsese, many festivals, and the release of CDs, videos, and books dealing with the blues and the history of the blues. Information about regional events is available at

In Deep Blues, Robert Palmer gives us insights into the complex process by which a strictly regional folk expression rooted in slave culture and surviving with sharecroppers of the delta and northern Mississippi hill country came to impact the totality of American culture. W.C. Handy is sometimes credited with “discovering” the blues a hundred years ago, but names like Son House, Fred McDowell, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Junior Kimbrough, Eli Green, B.B. King, and many others carried on the tradition of both the Mississippi delta and north hill-country blues throughout the twentieth century. This tradition was carried to juke joints and backrooms throughout Mississippi and eventually north to Chicago and points east and west.

Some of the early field recordings of the blues were done with Robert Johnson in Texas. Today finds afficionados of the blues in nearly every country on the planet. Globalization has changed the blues from a raw, functional folk tradition that I remember from the forties through the field recordings by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. I can recall listening to those scratchy discs and feeling the music in the pit of my middle-class white stomach. A doorway to sharing, understanding, recognizing, empathizing, and getting down with the emotion of human suffering. All of that couched in bottleneck guitar rhythms, melodies, and sparse, direct phrases pointing a finger directly at human troubles and their causes. Or as Muddy Waters put it in his version of Son House’s “Walking Blues”: “’Cause I’m troubled/I’m all worried in mind/And I never been satisfied/And I just can’t keep from cryin’.” Troubles with booze, with women and men, with farming, with the law, with joblessness, and so on and so forth provide an unending source of the blues, mixing angst with soul and given voice and rapturous instrumentation on harmonicas and guitars.

As Bob Herbert tells us in his New York Times editorial on the Year of the Blues, it seems ironic that the senate seized upon this opportunity to finally acknowledge a basic piece of American culture during a year when so much seems to be happening that can lead all of us to sing the blues. As we all know too well, we have the calamitous decline of the economy in terms of unemployment, the stock market tumbling, and corporate scandals that seem to reflect that other great period of the blues—during the depression in the twenties and thirties. More to the point, we have the anxieties generated by the issues around going to war with Iraq, the deadly threat of North Korea’s nuclear bomb programs, and the ominous arrival of terror in our homeland—all of which could give us the blues. As if that were not enough, the breakup of the shuttle Columbia over California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana and the loss of its brave international, multicultural crew seems to moan out the blues, tearing at heart strings, plumbing the depths of feeling about how wrong things can sometimes go. So, bully to the senate for calling our attention to an art form that expresses our common humanity, and for calling our attention to the fact that this great American tradition originates in a population that was disenfranchised, but very present within our country. A people who found solace and humanity in song gave solace and humanity to others by sharing those songs. In a time of war and killing there may be a message in that aspect of the blues: that one alternative to violence and killing and oppression might be to simply share songs, songs sung from the heart and strummed from the soul.


Get your colored pencils ready

The Colored Pencil Society of America, Albuquerque Chapter 219, is hosting a Colored Pencil Premiere. The statewide juried colored-pencil exhibition will be held May 9-28 at the South Broadway Cultural Center. Entries must be by slide and must be 80 percent colored pencil or water-soluble colored pencil. The entry deadline is April 1. The competition is open to all New Mexico artists eighteen years old or over. For a prospectus, call Ann Jeffries, show chairperson, 505-872-1848.


Willy Sucre and Friends play piano quartets
by Beethoven, Mahler, and Dvorák

Gary Libman
Placitas Artists Series
Board of Directors

On March 30 at 3:00 p.m. the Placitas Artists Series is pleased to present another concert featuring Willy Sucre and Friends. This month’s concert will be a selection of piano quartets by Beethoven, Dvorák, and Mahler. The group will be performing Beethoven’s Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 16, Dvorák’s Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 87, and Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A Minor. Willy Sucre will be joined by pianist George Robert, violinist David Felberg, and cellist Richard Slavich.

For years, Willy Sucre has been playing in Placitas and bringing excellent musicians to join him. Willy has also served as conductor and music director of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra and assistant conductor of the Canada Symphony Orchestra and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. George Robert was a professor of piano at UNM until his retirement. He has been a solo performer worldwide for years. In the Southwest, he has been a soloist with the UNM Orchestra, the NMSO, and the Orchestra of Santa Fe. He is a founding member of the acclaimed Seraphin Trio. David Felberg is currently the associate concertmaster of the NMSO. He has been a member of the Helios String Quartet and has conducted the NMSO, the Santa Fe Symphony, and the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra. Cellist Richard Slavich is widely recognized for his work as a teacher and as a performer. He is a member of the string department at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music and directs the cello and chamber-music programs. He has performed in many recital tours in the United States and abroad.

There will be an artists’ reception at the church before the concert. This month’s featured artists are Dorothy “Bunny” Bowen, Mabel Culpepper, Nancy Hawks, and Maxine Yablonsky. Bowen draws upon familiar and remembered places as subjects for her paintings. Working on silk with dyes resisted by molten wax, she continues a 2,400-year-old tradition that has been practiced globally. Since 1999 she has been working with “rozome,” an intricate and slow process of layering acid dyes and wax on silk. Mabel Culpepper’s use of mixed media gives her choices that she finds exciting. Culpepper has always loved form and color and loves the freedom to experiment and move in her own direction. Nancy Hawks loves the flexibility of working with pastels, enjoying the their richness and depth of color. She says that she has been “awestruck at the beauty” that surrounds us here and her work on landscapes of the Southwest offers a great opportunity to express the beauty of the area. Fiber artist Maxine Yablonsky, has been creating tapestries for more than thirty years. Her work combines scenes from nature, with an array of fibers giving a rich textural effect. Yablonsky specializes in custom-designed hand-woven wall tapestries, Judaic articles and personal items, and beaded art work. You may view samples of the artists’ work at

The concert will be held as always at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (exit 242). Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concerts, or can be purchased ahead of time at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa in the Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas (867-3333). Tickets can also be purchased on-line. The prices for this concert are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors and students. For additional information and ticket brochures, call 867-8080 or visit the PAS Web site at

Treat yourself to this wonderful concert and art show in the acoustically superb Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the village. It’s a great opportunity to support your community as well as local New Mexico artists and musicians.

This concert and exhibit are made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Office of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. There is handicapped access and free child care for children under six.


Passion, tragedy, victory with Haydn, Beethoven, Albuquerque Chamber Orchestra

The Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque and conductor David Oberg will present “Concert IV: Passion, Tragedy and Victory” on March 14 at 7:30 p.m. at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 2626 Arizona NE. The concert will feature soprano Leslie Umphrey, narrator Eugene Douglas, and the music of Haydn and Beethoven. There will be a free preconcert conversation with conductor Oberg at 6:45 p.m. Parking is free and the concert is handicapped accessible. Tickets are $35, $30, $26, and $20 (discounts for seniors over sixty-two and students). For more information or tickets, call 881-0844 or e-mail


MasterWorks show coming in April

The MasterWorks of New Mexico Spring Art Show is now in its fifth year. Its vision was to bring together the talents and experiences of existing fine-arts organizations to sponsor a show of the state's finest art. The MasterWorks show is sponsored by the Pastel Society of New Mexico, the New Mexico Watercolor Society, the Rio Grande Arts Association, and Miniature Arts Bardean.

The MasterWorks show will be at the Hispanic Arts Building in the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. An opening ceremony and preview will be held on April 4 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., and the show will remain open to the public from April 5 through April 27, except on Mondays and Easter Sunday.

There will be a grand open house on Saturday, April 12, from noon to 4:00 p.m. for artists and the public. There will also be artist demonstrations and paint-ins, both indoors and outdoors, with still-life setups, a live model, and refreshments and fun for all.

For more information, call 260-9977 or e-mail


Fiber-art at Sanctuary Gallery in Rio Rancho

During the month of March the Sanctuary Gallery at the Unitarian Universalist Westside Congregation, 1650 Abrazo Road, Rio Rancho, will host an exhibit of fiber art by the well-known Albuquerque fiber artists Shirley Kay Wolfersperger and Emily Holcomb. A reception will be held for the artists at 12:30 p.m. on March 16. The gallery is open to the public on Sundays from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. and by appointment. There is no charge for the exhibit and all are welcome to attend. For more information, call 892-3999

In the Gallery Cartoon ©Rudy Klimpert



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