Placitas photographer Barry McCormick poses with a relic from his film days,
a 4x5 view camera mounted on a pedestal for studio work.
These days his work is digital, and a computer has replaced his darkroom.
McCormick moves into the light
The transition from commercial photography to fine-art images brought Barry McCormick into the light.
“For about thirty years, I worked in the dark, in the studio where we didn’t want extra light or in the darkroom,” McCormick said. “Now it’s easy in and easy out and I can do it in the daylight.”
McCormick said it was tough giving up film for computer processes and building his Placitas studio last year without a darkroom.
“It’s the first time I’ve been without a darkroom since I was fourteen years old,” he said. “At some point you make a decision to stay wet or go the other way.
“I was worried about the environmental impact of the chemistry.”
McCormick’s “other way” uses a digital camera or scanner to enter images into his computer where they can be manipulated in a program called Photoshop. Prints emerge from an inkjet printer using archival inks and paper.
“It’s really neat to get in the darkroom and play with a print,” he said. “I get just as much of a kick playing around with Photoshop.”
McCormick, fifty-seven, took up photography as a hobby in high school but pursued a degree in finance at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Graduating in 1968, he went to work for an acquaintance in his Connecticut photo studio and took over the business when the friend died in 1973.
Over the next twenty-four years, the studio thrived on commercial work: products for advertising, photography of food for magazines, more food for packaging. He took on a partner, added staff and another photographer, then watched as business and his interest began to wane.
“I though by the time I reached my fifties, I’d be considered a master of the craft,” McCormick said. “Instead I was looked at more as a dinosaur.”
After an amicable split with the partner, he opened a small studio within walking distance of his home. With one major client leaving town and another cutting its budget, McCormick and his wife Peggy, whom he met in college, decided to return to the West.
A whirlwind seventeen-hundred-mile tour of New Mexico led to a brief stay in Tijeras before relocating to Los Ranchos de Placitas. The community is art-friendly, he said, and has been supportive of his move from commercial work to fine-art photography.
Some McCormick images reflect the influence of his studio work with food, others a fascination with skulls inspired in part by Georgia O’Keeffe. An artichoke and a length of thread lie on pastel-tinted paper with “artichoke” printed in rubber-stamp letters; green beans bundled in more thread appear in a similar setting.
A wooden drawer frames a raptor skull, perhaps an offhand homage to his wife’s work rehabilitating injured birds.
“I like to do little constructions, make little sets, nothing too elaborate,” McCormick said. “Then I start shooting and see where it takes me.”
He said he wants people to handle a print as if it had been discovered in an attic trunk not opened for fifty or a hundred years, faded but so interesting you are compelled to study it.
McCormick first displayed his images locally during this year’s Placitas Studio Tour. No gallery showings are scheduled yet, although he said he is in discussions about a show early next year.
Until then, images can be seen at his studio or by visiting the Signpost Web site and clicking on Featured Artist of the Month.
Harp, flute, viola trios by Willy Sucre and Friends
Placitas Artists Series board member
Another treat awaits concertgoers on November 16 at 3:00 p.m., as the Placitas Artists Series presents harp, flute, and viola trios by Mozart, Maayani, Dubois, Bax, and Debussy. Willy Sucre, violist, will be joined by friends Monica Daniel on flute, and Lynn Gorman playing harp.
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. Daniel is currently the principal flutist of the Santa Fe Symphony and the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque, and the associate principal flutist of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. She also plays in the IRIS Chamber Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee. Gorman has been a substitute in the New World Symphony and has performed in many orchestras throughout the United States, including the Maryland Symphony, the National Chamber Orchestra, and the El Paso Opera. In their 1997-1998 season, Gorman held a one-year position as principal harpist with the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans.
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 Virginia Alexander, Bobi Chenhall, Shirley Ann Sloop, and Peter Smith.
Alexander is currently working on two series of oil pastels, the first focusing on off-the-road settings in New Mexico and the second on views along the acequias in her town of Corrales. Her technique starts with an oil-pastel wash on watercolor paper, followed by layers of color built up until the top layer is achieved with a mixed texture of raw pastel. The result is a landscape of natural yet luminescent images.
Chenhall is an award-winning artist working in pastel, acrylics, oil sticks, and mixed media with an emphasis on bold color and a strong sense of design. Her aim is to “express the inner essence of my subject, and to present the image in as succinct a way as possible."
Sloop designs one-of-a-kind necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and hat bands, using beads of semiprecious stones, Bali silver, gold, cloisonné, vintage beads, and other materials. Sloop is inspired by her love and awareness of color, form, texture, and pattern in nature. Contemporary yet timeless, her pieces range from the casual to the elegant.
For a number of years Smith's favorite medium had been opaque watercolor. During the last eighteen months, however, he has returned to oil painting. He uses rich and multilayered colors, not just to depict landscapes but to induce the viewer to react to them. Please view samples of the artists on the Placitas Artists Series Web page at www.PlacitasArts.org.
Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concerts or may be purchased ahead of time at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa in the Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas (867-3333). Tickets may 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.
You really shouldn’t miss this chance to see and hear yet another great concert presented by the Placitas Artists Series. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy visual arts and excellent music in the beautiful and acoustically superb Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. Support your community!
This concert and the visual art exhibit are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and New Mexico Arts, a division of the Office of Cultural Affairs. There is handicapped access and free child care for children under six.
Kyoto Spring, rozome on kimono silk, 22” x 28", by Dorothy "Bunny" Bowen
Bowen shows rozome batiks
Dorothy “Bunny” Bowen of Placitas will be having a solo show of rozome (Japanese batik) on kimono silk
in November and December at Johnsons of Madrid Gallery of Fine Art, in Madrid, New Mexico. The show is titled "In Search of the Sacred Grove" and includes themes such as the Green Man mythology of Western Europe, the Yellowstone and Albuquerque bosque fires, Japanese temple gardens, the Bonaventure cemetery where her grandparents are buried (made famous by the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), and the cottonwoods in Cañon del Agua.
Bowen says, “One image in the show, Kyoto Spring, comes from my study trip to Kyoto two years ago, and shows a flowering cherry tree reflected in the canal along the Philosopher's Path on a windy April day. The petals were swirling through the air and floating on the water.
The opening reception is on November 1 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Johnsons of Madrid, with another reception on December 6 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
A three-photo cameo of the Bernalillo Arts Trail parade
Parade flies by
The Bernalillo Arts Trail started in style with a kick-off parade on October 25. The event included a truckload of “Frida Kahlo” look-alikes, a string of “art cars,” and other creative participants.
The Bernalillo Arts Trail is an annual event in which local artists open their studios and galleries to the public. This year, it was sponsored by the Town of Bernalillo, The Bernalillo Chamber of Commerce, the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, Bernalillo Birding, First State Bank, Hacienda Grande Bed and Breakfast, Abuelitas, Re/Max Elite North, Atmabodh Yoga Studio, Something Else, The Range Café, and Camino Real Antiques.
New members welcome in camera club
Photographers of all levels of skill and experience are invited to join the Enchanted Lens Camera Club to expand their knowledge and enjoyment of this art form. The club, now it its fiftieth year, offers competitions judged by professional photographers, field trips, and monthly programs on subjects of interest to photographers.
Members meet on the first and third Thursdays of the month from September through June (except January) at 7:00 p.m. at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church at Carlisle and Central (entrance is at basement level facing Carlisle).
All interested photographers are welcome to visit any meeting, and beginning photographers are supported in a mentoring program. Get acquainted with the Camera Club at www.enchantedlens.org/camera, e-mail email@example.com, call membership chairman Joe Campbell at 899-5881, or mail your inquiries to P.O. Box 8722, Albuquerque, NM 87198.
Art classes for all ages at Placitas Community Center
The Placitas Community Center invites you to join in ongoing art classes taught by Carrie Rose. Registration for the art classes will be held on November 11 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the center.
Classes will be broken into three different age groups from four years old to adult, with class time ranging from one hour to three hours depending on group preference. The cost of the class is $15 per hour; children’s classes include art supplies.
The December art class will include making holiday wreaths, ornaments, faux stained glass, and stained-glass mosaic.
For further information, call Carrie Rose at 247-1323 or Janice at 867-1396. The Placitas Community Center is at 41 Camino de las Huertas in Placitas.
Artists sought for show, projects
Julianna Kirwin will be hosting a toy show with a December 6 opening at Julianna Kirwin Studio/Gallery in Bernalillo. Artists are invited to enter handmade toys. For details, call Julianna at 771-0590 for more information.
New Mexico Arts’ Art in Public Places Program and New Mexico Highlands University are seeking artists who are residents of the United States to submit proposals for artwork designed specifically for certain projects. To learn what projects are available, you may contact them at New Mexico Arts, P.O. Box 1450, Santa Fe, NM 87504-1450, (505) 827-6490 or (800) 879-4278 (within New Mexico), firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.nmarts.org, AIPP links.
Measure for Measure coming to Adobe
The Adobe Theater, located at 9813 Fourth Street NW, will present Measure for Measure, the dark comedy by William Shakespeare, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from October 17 through November 16.
How do you live when you know you are going to die? If you are not in love, how can you bear the loneliness? These are some of the questions explored in Shakespeare’s last and most provocative comedy.
Measure for Measure asks the essential question, How do we reconcile social restraint and personal passion? The play makes a plea for tolerance, drawing on the biblical injunction that underlies its title: “Judge not that ye be not judged.”
This American Shakespeare Project production is directed by David Nava and features an outstanding cast that includes Dave McDowell, Peter Shea Kierst, Drew Groves, Mary Keirst, and Lori Stewart. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for seniors and students. Group rates are available. For reservations, call 898-9222 or e-mail email@example.com.
Community Center holds craft sale
The Placitas Senior Advisory will be opening the doors of the Placitas Community Center for the Placitas Community Center Holiday Arts and Crafts Sale on November 22 and 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will be sixteen booth spaces (eight feet by eight feet) available for vendors with a booth fee of $15 per day. If you are interested in renting a space or have any questions, call Mary Lou or Janice at 867-1396, or Frances at 867-5951.
MasterWorks art shows 2004
In April 2004 the sixth annual premier MasterWorks of New Mexico juried art shows will be held at Expo New Mexico (State Fairgrounds), Albuquerque, in the Hispanic Arts Center. This exclusive fine-arts show is solely for New Mexico’s best. There will be four separately juried shows, co-sponsored by the Pastel Society of New Mexico, the New Mexico Watercolor Society, the Rio Grande Arts Association, and Miniature Arts Bardean. All shows are open to artists residing in New Mexico.
Jurors for the pastel, watercolor, and oils-and-acrylics shows are architect and urban planner Steve Borbas; artist and teacher Robert Kuester; artist, gallery owner, and teacher Lee Rommel; and artist Colin Poole. The judge is the renowned Southwest artist Morris Rippel. Slides for these shows are to be received by January 30, 2004. For a prospectus, call Lynda Burch 856-0195 (watercolors), Ben Nurry 275-1468 (pastels), or Pat Thompson 291-1618 (oils and acrylics).
Jurors for the miniature show are Sara Otto-Dimiz, director of Art in the Schools; Chip Ware, curator at the Jonson Gallery, UNM; and George Hight, an artist and photographer. The judge is Betty Sabo, a nationally recognized painter and sculptor. Actual works (no slides) are to be received by March 27, 2004. For a prospectus, contact Barbara Lohbeck at 260-9977 or Bardean@aol.com.
Albuquerque Concert Band performs
The Albuquerque Concert Band will perform the second concert of their season on November 2 at 3:00 p.m. at Manzano High School Theatre near Lomas and Juan Tabo NE. The eighty-piece band, conducted by John Sanks, will present a program of traditional and contemporary band music, including work by Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, Jan Van der Roost, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Gustav Theodor Holst, Leonard Bernstein, John Philip Sousa, and Jack Stamp. The featured soloist will be John Dante, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra’s principal trumpet, performing Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto. The concert is free and open to the public.