The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


What’s doing in the Bernalillo art galleries?

Mary E. Carter

Two great shows are still on view at Bernalillo’s Arte Loca and Katrina Lasko galleries. Continuing until March 18, “Entanglements Amorosos” and “Sensual or ... Erotic” provide thought-provoking art in a challenging variety of styles.

For these two shows, gallery owners Alvaro Enciso and Katrina Lasko asked artists to consider the topic of love, human relationships, sensuality, and Eros.

The artists came back with wide-ranging approaches: paintings, photo-montage, sculpture, found-object pieces, ceramics, prints.

The two shows encompass almost every style of artwork. The works are as diverse and as quirky as the artists who created them, with something to suit the tastes of all kinds of viewers.

What is interesting is that given the subject matter, the artists came up with so many different approaches. No two objects are alike. No two artists present the same visual concepts. Each artist “sees” with different eyes and creates within a different personal context and idiom.

Riha Rothberg sets a mysterious atmospheric mood. Ben Forgey shows us the sensuality of natural found objects. Ruth Omlin “writes” about love. Gene McClain’s sculpted figures are bold but reticent. Yet, as different as each individual piece is, there is a cohesion in these group exhibitions. As you walk through the galleries, the concepts of “sensual or…erotic” and “entanglements amorosos” can be clearly seen in even the most abstract or conceptual of the pieces.

Another thing that is richly satisfying about these two group shows is the predominance of pieces with a sense of humor. Many of the artists explored the subjects with good-natured wit, poking fun at human foibles. It was not unusual at the opening receptions to hear viewers laugh out loud, not at the work but with the work, as they recognized something of themselves in it: Michael Prokos’s snuggling pots, Barry McCormick’s nude couple confronted by in-laws and a raft of other impediments, Alvaro Enciso’s adults behaving like little kids ... or are they?

Whether it was the subject of love or the mild winter afternoon, the Bernalillo galleries experienced their largest and most enthusiastic crowd for these two opening receptions. But it’s not too late. The shows continue through March 18. Drop by any Saturday afternoon between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m.

In the Gallery ©2004 Rudi Klimpert


Call for Entries.

The Placitas Artists Series invites all area artists to apply to the 2004-05 juried exhibitions held during the PAS concert season. Four artists are selected for each month September through June. Entry is open to artists living in New Mexico submitting slides according to the requirements in the prospectus. All media accepted. All entries must be original work. Entries previously shown in the PAS shows, copied from another artists' work or published material, or accomplished as a student under supervision are ineligible.

Deadline for receipt of slides and application is May 1, 2004.

For a prospectus contact Dianna Shomaker, 161 Camino Barranca, Placitas, New Mexico 87043.


Lisa Chernoff in her glass-art studio
Photo by Bill Diven

Lisa Chernoff creates intricate puzzles with fused glass

Bill Diven

When the layoff notice came, Lisa Chernoff’s first reaction was panic, followed by the question of what to do with the rest of her life.

Then she headed to the library for books on marketing art and the mechanics of fusing glass. Any artistic style, however, would be self-taught.

“There were no books on technique,” she said. “I was on my own.”

The Alamogordo native already enjoyed pottery as a hobby, occasionally molding clay on a wheel and firing it in her kiln. But she was intrigued by glass—scraps picked up during her walks, added to her pottery, and transformed during the firing process.

Soon it was glass alone roasting in the kiln for hours at fifteen hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

“What I like to do is incorporate color and color combinations and texture and shape,” the Signpost Artist of the Month said. “I fit the pieces together like a little puzzle.”

Now, six years after her staff job in occupational medicine ended, Chernoff’s glass bowls, sculptures, jewelry, and crosses can be found in about sixty galleries in a dozen states. And Pompous Glass, her Placitas studio, provides full-time work for her and Mel Chernoff, her business-partner husband, who handles the bookkeeping, marketing, and photography.

The flat glass Chernoff uses is designed for art applications and to be fused together at high temperatures. One specialty type that changes color depending on the light passing through it wholesales for about $100 a square foot, the same price as some new homes.

Generally Chernoff’s projects go through two steps. She first assembles the flat panels and pieces in layers that fuse together during ten to twenty hours in the kiln.

After twelve or so hours of cooling the glass, Chernoff grinds the edges, while deciding what the final form will be. Then the fused glass is placed on a ceramic mold and returned to the kiln, where the heat softens it until it “slumps” into the shape of the mold.

The result may be an iridescent bowl as functional as it is colorful, or a freestanding sculpture like The Guardian, a figure with intricate lacy wings that is part of her “Air and Glass” series. Lacking classical art training, Chernoff works with basic human themes, as in A Long Road, three feet of vertical glass strips overlaid with curving panels.

“It emphasizes continuum and texture, shape, and form, and life’s journey,” Chernoff said. “It’s just what felt good to me.”

Locally Chernoff’s work can be found in the Volere Gallery in Albuquerque’s Old Town and the La Mesa of Santa Fe Gallery on Canyon Road. Her Placitas studio and gallery are open by appointment by calling 867-3330.

Her work can be seen in the Featured Artist page.


“To answer Marny’s question ... ”

Greg Leichner

When Richard Harris sang “... someone left the cake out in the rain,” he was singing about you, Marn. It was January, you made the blue birthday cake. For your lover? For your son? I don’t remember. When the cake was iced, you looked at it and you were utterly disappointed, so you carried the cake out the front door and set it on the tree stump. You never said a thing about why you rejected your own creation. Was it the wrong tone of blue? Did you even taste it?

Through the front screen door I looked out at the cake and felt sorry for it. It began to rain. I walked out to the cake with every intention of moving it to the cover of the porch. On the verge of the rescue, I realized that the cake was ... none of my business, that it was your art, your sculpture.

You made another cake, not blue this time, chocolate, and when you sized up cake #2, you were satisfied. I went outside and checked on the collapse of cake #1. Defying the sanctity of art, I took a fork and a butter knife with me. It seemed a sin that the blue cake would disintegrate unsliced. I stood in the rain eating blue cake from the palm of my hand. You stepped out onto the porch and said, “The blue cake is the center of the Universe.” I did a three-sixty. The view in every direction was Eden.

An excerpt from Poodle-Free Newsletter, P. O. Box 1011, Placitas, NM 87043.


Willy Sucre and Friends play March 28

Gary Libman
Placitas Artists Series
Board of Directors

The fun and beautiful music continues in Placitas as the Placitas Artists Series presents another in a series of Willy Sucre and Friends concerts in March.

On March 28, Sucre, on viola, will be joined by guests Bernard Zinck on violin, David Schepps on cello, and pianist-composer Falko Steinbach in piano quartets by Copland, Steinbach, and Brahms. They will be playing the Piano Quartet, by Aaron Copeland; the World Premiere of “Rotations,” by Falko Steinbach, and the Piano Concerto in C Minor, op. 60, “Werther,” by Johannes Brahms.

Sucre has 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. Bernard Zinck, concert violinist and recording artist, is on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee after serving as violin professor at the University of New Mexico. Falko Steinbach has been head of the piano area of the music department at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque since 1999 and leads the piano performance studio for solo studies. As a professor at the University of New Mexico, Schepps has become prominent in this region's rich musical life. He has performed with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, played concerti with the Santa Fe Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque, and the UNM Symphony. He plays recitals and chamber music with prominent Southwest musicians and is a member of the New Mexico Symphony.

The concert will be held at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242). There will be an artists’ reception at the church before the concert.

This month’s featured artists are Ilena Grayson, Rebecca Olesen, Elaine Slusher, and Lorna E. Smith.

Grayson finds inspiration in organic forms, Southwest landscapes, and primitive craftsmen. She builds sculptures and vessels from slabs and coils of clay, then fires them in an electric kiln. Afterwards, they are either smoke-fired or painted before metallic motifs are added.

Olesen works in landscape, applying acrylic paint with brushes and palette knives to canvas and paper.

Elaine Slusher, the first visual-artist head of the Placitas Artists Series, is a longtime resident of Placitas. Most of Slusher’s paintings are of people, including children, and of animals, and express how these subjects relate to one another.

Smith says her paintings demonstrate how through ancient symbols, imagination and intuition can be awakened. It is her intention to engage viewers on many levels to give them the satisfaction of discovering how these multilayered paintings and drawings create beautiful visual rhythms.

Please view samples of the artists' works on the Placitas Artists Series web page at

Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the performance, 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 Web site.

This concert and the art 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.


Arte Loca Gallery moving to El Zócalo

Arte Loca Gallery will move in March to the historic El Zócalo building at 282 Camino del Pueblo in Bernalillo. The gallery will have a grand-opening reception on Saturday, March 20 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm featuring mixed-media works by Cristina Clarimon.

Gene McClain, one of the owners of Arte Loca, states that the current show "Entanglements Amorosos" will continue until March 13 at the old space. He added that Placitas photographer Barry McCormick, whose work is on display in the current show, has joined Arte Loca as a partner.

“The move to the Zócalo building is part of our plan to expand the scope and visibility of the gallery,” says Alvaro Enciso, the other partner. “In this new location we are also practically doubling the amount of exhibit space, so we can mount more ambitious shows, give workshops, present lectures, etc.”

McCormick says that the gallery is part of Sandoval County's plan to develop the Zócalo complex into a tourist destination. “We are very pleased to be part of this development project here in Bernalillo, and excited to have the opportunity to enhance the presence of the arts, and to support local artists,” he said.


Ballet Theatre presents Beauty and The Beast

Under the new direction of Katherine Giese, Ballet Theatre of New Mexico brings a graceful retelling of one of the most romantic fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast. This original ballet will be choreographed by Alex Ossadnik, who, following his professional work with the Ballet Theatre de Bordeaux in France and as principle dancer with the German National Theater, came to the United States to pursue his career as a choreographer and master teacher.

Performances are March 20 and 21, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the KiMo Box Office (768-3544), at, 883-7800 (Ticketmaster), and all Ticketmaster outlets. TTY users, call 1-800--659-8331.




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