Katrina Lasko at work in her studio
...broad, quick, sloppy, emotionally charged techniques
Signpost featured artist of the month: Katrina Lasko
Katrina Lasko pushes the edges
When last we checked in on Katrina Lasko, she was well-dressed,
the proprietress of a cozy but cutting edge, eponymous gallery in
a quiet old adobe along the road to Llanito in Bernalillo. These
days, she has repaired to the desert hills with far-off views of
Santa Ana mesa and Cabezon with her husband and fellow artist and
gallerist, Alvaro Enciso. They make art together there in makeshift
spaces. Alvaro covers the stony, juniper yard with cairn piles and
phallic symbols while Katrina takes over half of the library, spattering
plaster and paint onto the floor. It seems like a pit stop for a
restless couple or the birth of one of those legendary collector-artist
refuges. It could go either way. Perhaps they will retire to San
Miguel de Allende, Mexico, or maybe they can be urged to grace and
challenge artists and art lovers in the Bernalillo area with another
Katrina is now preparing work for two new shows this March. A
solo show at the Harwood Arts Center is entitled “Wrapped,
Tied, Glued” and will run from March 9 to 28 with the reception
on Friday, March 23 from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. The show will feature
her more abstract and minimalist work, both old and new, through
which she plays with totem forms and her trademark use of surprising
and sensuous materials. As her title alludes, she covers objects
in various simple and uncraftsman-like ways, tiling, for example,
a four-by-four post with squares of bicycle inner tubes. It invites
us to compare the look and the feel of rubber, say, with lead or
felt—some of her other materials. The work also, it seems,
exposes Katrina’s fascination with certain forms and patterns,
the square and the square cross being two. Minimalism like this
seems to somehow convey a sense of spirituality and at the same
time a sort of mathematical obsession. Its quietness and simplicity,
however, can come across as a little dull. Katrina’s expressive
application of paint (when used) and the textures and patinas of
her material save the work from being overlooked.
Expressionism—the broad, quick, sloppy, emotionally charged
techniques—forms the backbone of Katrina’s figurative
work which she will showcase at a new gallery in an old space this
month on Central. Matrix Fine Art has taken over what used to be
Coleman Contemporary Art Gallery just east of most of the shops
in Nob Hill. In their inaugural group show, ‘Overtures’,
Katrina will exhibit a group of seven plaster torsos she had originally
conceived as “the Seven Deadly Sins,” but backed off
from that as the work lead her down another path.
She spread a thick plaster paste over the ladies as I asked her
to reflect on the five years of running The Katrina Lasko Gallery.
“I thought for sure it would be something to fulfill a kind
of need...maybe not a need...in the community for seeing contemporary
art. But in the end, the support was just not there and it was too
much work. People don’t realize how much time it takes just
to go out to see new work and find new artists, [like at] open studios
at the Harwood and Masters shows at the university. If you want
to show fresh things, you have to go out and look at young artists.
I had hoped that they could inspire the older artists in the area
to keep creating new things, pushing themselves to do something
different and in that respect, I think I was successful. I tried
to show things that were at least not boring to me. After a while
when you go to the galleries in Santa Fe everything looks the same.
Everything is something calligraphic on canvas, and then put wax
on it and call it “encaustic.”
Alvaro wandered in and listened and then said, “A lot of
people did not see the importance of our galleries. They failed
to understand that an art gallery brings a lot more to a community
than just a shop. It is a space and a place that pushes the edges
of our visual and cultural understanding of ourselves. In retrospect,
maybe the time was not right. And we made a lot of mistakes, too.”
We let the soothing sounds of Katrina spreading plaster take over
the silence in the wake of Alvaro’s words. I immersed myself
in thoughts about the wealth and wholeness that art brings to those
who make it, those who show it, and those who live with it.
• “Wrapped, Tied, Glued” will run March 9-28
at the Harwood Art Center, 1114 7th NW, Albuquerque. The reception
will be March 23 from 5:00-8:30 p.m.
• “Overtures” will run March 2-31 at Matrix Fine
Art, 3812 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque. The reception will be March
2 from 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Call for entries in Corrales
Artists are called to enter the “The Fifteenth Annual San
Ysidro Carnival of Arts,” a New Mexico multi-media show and
sale in Corrales at the historic Old San Ysidro Church, June 2-3,
2007. The deadline for mailing entry forms, fees, and photos of
work is Saturday, March 24. For details and an application form,
please call Deb Kennedy at 344-2110 or Hope Grey at 897-3942.
Outdoor quilt show coming in April
The Thimbleweed Quilt Group of Rio Rancho will be having its second
annual outdoor quilt show on April 22 at the Rio Rancho Veteran's
Park. The quilts to be shown and sold are made by the Thimbleweed
membership. The group invites you to stop by, see the quilts, eat
a cookie, buy raffle tickets, and take a chance on winning a beautiful
quilt made by the Thimbleweeders. The rain date for this event will
be April 29. The Veteran's Park is on Pinetree Street between the
Rio Rancho Post Office and the Esther Bone Library, west of Highway
528 off of Southern Boulevard. For more information about the show,
you may call 891-1190.
Placitas Artists’ web site features sixty-four
a web site that offers free web galleries to Placitas artists, has
just added its sixty-fourth artist. Started four years ago by Placitas
web site designer, Gary W. Priester, the online gallery features
a wide array of styles and media. The site is sponsored by local
artists and businesses and hosted by OnSite Solutions. Placitas
artists can request a free gallery by visiting www.PlacitasArtists.com.
Dreamland—A movie review
This is one of the only movies ever shot in Placitas, and I highly
recommend that those who love New Mexico see it.
Dreamland is clearly one of the best movies I have seen in a long
time. For New Mexico, this takes the cake. It captures the essence
of the Land of Enchantment and what living in New Mexico is all
about. The film features animated skies intertwined with the real
landscape and the light. I don't believe the producers and directors
knew what they were doing when they took the magical light of the
desert southwest and overlaid it with smoky light in the Placitas
Mini Mart where one of the characters was working. But clearly,
the contrast worked great.
The sound of the movie was perfect and cast an eerie, melodic
quality to the simple life of the characters. Parts of the movie
were skillful in drawing the viewer into the spell of stormy hot
days in New Mexico. This storminess was echoed in the relationships
portrayed in the film, in all their bittersweet complexity.
Although drugs play a minor part in the movie, they are useful
in the film to set the tone for the harsh reality of living in a
trailer park in the middle of the desert. Being from New Mexico,
you can understand the beauty of the land, and living in the "park"
was like camping out, as close to nature as you can get.
The spirit of the Southwest—in the mountains, valleys, clouds,
and storms lends itself to what the movie brings most to us—a
sense of being alive on Mother Earth, and dealing with the day-to-day
tragedies and victories of life. A really good movie takes us to
a place we hardly ever get to, and Dreamland takes us there. I give
Dreamland an A+ for all the major elements of a theatrical production—it
touches the part of the spirit we all want to touch. Bravo!
NM State Parks calls for sculpture submissions for
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
New Mexico State Parks and a distinguished selection committee,
which includes the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, are
seeking commissioned artwork to be used as the focal point in the
Peace and Brotherhood Chapel at Vietnam Veterans Memorial State
Park, located in Angel Fire.
The chapel is the centerpiece of the Memorial, and the proposed
sculpture and meditation pedestal will be placed at the most prominent
location within the chapel. Therefore, the artwork should embody
the concepts of honor, tranquility, healing, peace and brotherhood.
State Parks has allocated up to $50,000 for the project to cover
expenses associated with materials, prospective equipment costs,
fees, labor, insurance, taxes, travel, installation costs, a project
plaque, and documentation of the artwork.
For a complete list of criteria, log onto www.nmparks.com. The
selected artist will be required to enter into a professional services
contract with the State of New Mexico. Artists are encouraged to
visit the Memorial in person prior to writing a proposal. For more
background information on the Memorial, artists may visit www.angelfirememorial.com
This project is open to all artists who are citizens and residents
of the United States. Artists who are Vietnam veterans are encouraged
to apply. For a sample copy of the contract or for more information,
contact Sharon Schultz at (505) 827-1472 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the only state park in the United
States dedicated to Vietnam veterans. The Memorial is located immediately
north of Angel Fire, New Mexico, along US Highway 64.
When going into town from Placitas
I find myself not driving the freeway
But taking the slower roads through the valley.
Instead of hiking in the foothills,
I hike through the Bosque to the river bank
Quietly searching for them across the flowing waters,
Or walk the ditch banks to the open spaces
Scanning the beige fields for their grey bodies.
I’m aware of looking up for their long dark silhouettes,
Neck out straight, long legs behind.
My ears long to hear their resonant gronking calls.
All up and down the Rio Grande valley
I see them, time and time again, in winter.
For eons they have come,
The returning tribes of the Sandhill Cranes
Seeking winter sustenance.
By the time the junipers turn rust with pollen
And the spring buds emerge
They are gone
But not forgotten.
—JUDITH RODERICK, 2007
He sprints away, over the fence, through the juniper.
The arroyo lies hidden at the bottom of a cliff.
He can climb down fifteen feet,
Then leap across to a slant, sliding the rest of the way down
He has run this way so many times, to the creek,
Splashing water into his hair and face, he is there, still a boy.
There is refuge in the the coyote holes, and dangers for a boy.
He throws a rock to see the cloud spray out from a juniper,
But he knows not what to blame as he sneezes and stumbles away
from the creek.
He sits only for a second, sulking in the shade under the cliff.
Fresh water flows in, clear, new. His water, filled with mud,
Goes downstream and all that’s left are the marks left by
his bare feet.
It is too boring to sit and he springs back onto his feet,
Continuing on at a run, energy of a boy.
Already his clothes and legs are caked with mud.
No one will care. On his stomach he crawls into the open space
under a juniper.
A voice yells out from the top of the cliff,
But he is in his fort now, secret, independent, he left his shoes
by the creek.
They wouldn’t find him here. They would only search by
Search in the sand for little prints of his feet.
They’ll be there in five minutes, after taking the long
path around the cliff.
They’ll ask the crawfish if he had seen a boy.
But he would shake his head. The boy had caught him already but
let him go.
No one would point to the juniper, where the boy lay, waiting,
disguised in the mud.
No one comes at all. He clears out the branches and scrapes the
twigs and berries out of the mud.
He creeps out to find a boulder from the creek.
Heaving a rock to his chest, he paces back, to slide his new throne
under the juniper.
He packs his stone into the ground and sits, staring first at
his new home then his feet.
“Yes,” he says to himself, “I can live here,
I don’t need them. I am not just a boy!”
And yet, after ten minutes, he wonders where his parent’s
voice had gone, no longer up on the cliff.
Why didn’t they worry that he might have fallen over the
Why were they not there examining his footprints in the mud?
After all, he was only a boy!
Striding back to his shoes, he finds them wet and brown like himself
and the creek.
He kicks at the marks pressed into the sand by his feet,
Turns, and contemplates, one more time, his home in the juniper.
Turning from the juniper he starts the climb back up the cliff.
His feet never slip. He strips off his clothes and gives them
to his mom to wash off the mud..
The creek runs as always down below, and his parents are the same.
They knew he’d come back,
A SESTINA, BY EVAN BELKNAP, 2006, Placitas
Willy Sucre and Friends play chamber trios
On Sunday, March 11, violinists Krzysztof Zimowski and David Felberg
will join violist Willy Sucre in a Placitas Artists Series “Willy
Sucre and Friends” program of chamber trios. The program will
include trios by Zoltan Kodaly and Antonin Dvorak, as well as the
Duo Concertante for Two Violins by Charles de Beriot.
A frequent performer with the Placitas Artists Series, violinist
Krzysztof Zimowski is concertmaster of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra
Violinist David Felberg is currently associate concertmaster of
the NMSO. A former member of the Helios Quartet, founding Quartet
in Residence of the Placitas Artists Series, the Albuquerque native
is music director of both the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra
and the chamber group “Chatter.” He has conducted the
NMSO, the Santa Fe Symphony, and the Emerald City Opera, and has
soloed with numerous orchestras.
The concert is generously sponsored by Jessica Gordon and Dianna
and John Shomaker.
Preceding the concert, a reception will be held for March exhibiting
visual artists Dorothy “Bunny” Bowen, who creates landscapes
and other subjects on silk using the techniques of batik and Japanese
Rozome; watercolorist Lynda Burch; watercolorist Vangie Dunmire,
and Sylvia Eisenhart, who works in acrylic, oil and, mixed media.
The concert will take place at 3 p.m. on March 11 at Las Placitas
Presbyterian Church; the artists’ reception begins at 1:30
p.m. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour
before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at La Bonne Vie
Salon and Day Spa in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas;
at Gatherings, 9821 Montgomery NE in Albuquerque; or online at www.PlacitasArts.org.
Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 for seniors and students.
This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division
of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment
for the Arts. The facility is completely accessible, and free child
care is provided for families with children under six. Las Placitas
Presbyterian Church is located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165
(Exit 242). For more information, call 867-8080.
Murder at the Adobe
After the simple joys of the musical The Apple Tree,
Adobe Theater audiences may be ready for an old-fashioned murder
mystery. Joann Danella, whose directing credits include Proof,
Three Viewings and The Day They Shot John Lennon in
the last three years, has selected a light-hearted tale of intrigue
and revenge for our first spring offering. Murder Among Friends
by Bob Barry has more twists and turns than a bag of pretzels. You’ll
be able to follow the bloody plot starting March 23 as theatrical
star Palmer Forrester, his wife Angela and his agent Ted get involved
with a possible “hit man,” and—but we will tell
you no more, lest we spoil the fun. The NY Times called this play
“a slick, sophisticated show that is [also] very funny.”
The excellent cast includes newcomer Matt Heath as the self-important
actor; Adobe regulars Taunya Crilly as his wealthy wife, and Michael
Girlamo as his devious agent (both of these actors have recently
directed plays at the Adobe). Veterans Ninette Mordaunt and Bob
Bosser play the two innocent friends caught up in the plot, and
Ken Bennington plays a not-so-innocent character.
The mayhem begins on Friday, March 23 at the Adobe Theater, 9813
Fourth Street NW, just two blocks north of Alameda, and plays through
April 15 with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays
at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12, and student and senior tickets are only
$10. For information and reservations, call 898-9222.
Rio Rancho Artist’s Association Studio Tour
scheduled for April 28 and 29
The Rio Rancho Art Association is a nonprofit association of local
artists working in mediums ranging from colored pencil and pastels,
oil and acrylic paints, photography, to sculpture and fabric art.
Established in February of 2004 and boasting in excess of 150 members,
the Rio Rancho Art Association is dedicated to the advancement and
awareness of local professional and amateur artists as well as the
visual arts in general.
The RRAA announces their third annual artist’s Studio Tour
to take place April 28 and 29, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each
day. Thirty-five local, fine artists working in mediums including
oil, acrylic, colored pencil, watercolor, photography, jewelry,
sculpture, pottery, and mixed media will open their studios to visitors
who wish to view their latest creations and see where, and how,
they work. The starting point for the tour will be Haynes Park at
the corner of Route 528 and 21st in Rio Rancho by the BBQ pavilion
where directions and details will be provided.
The Studio Tour is being sponsored by the City of Rio Rancho Cultural
Enrichment Department, The Observer newspaper, and the RRAA. For
further questions about the Studio Tour contact Jerome O’Shield
or Gloria Wager at 505-296-8631.
To contact the Rio Rancho Art Association for further information
on upcoming events or for a member’s application, call Joanne
at 771-0748 or visit the group’s Web site at www.rraa-usa.com.
Albuquerque Concert Band ready to play
The Albuquerque Concert Band continues the 2006-2007 concert season
with a free concert on Sunday, March 4, at 3:00 p.m. at the Cibola
High School Performing Arts Center. The eighty-piece symphonic band,
conducted by John Sanks, will perform a concert featuring both classical
and popular music. Clarinetist Donna Nossett will be the featured
soloist for this concert. Tickets are available at the door or see
their Web site at www.abqband.org.