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Drive-by sculpture by Sara Lee D'Alessandro

Earth Tongue, clay sculpture, by Sara Lee D’Alessandro, October Featured Artist

Earth Tongue, clay sculpture

A quick detour off US 550 in Cuba provides the curious motorist with what sculptor Sara Lee D'Alessandro calls a drive-by art experience.

Outside her Mudwasp Sculpture studio on Reed Road, terra-cotta figures rise up to ten feet, some in organic columns reminiscent of the trunk of a saguaro cactus. Others collect abstract forms, repeated as they climb in spires and spirals.

“It's the best of all possible worlds,” D'Alessandro said. “They're in a natural setting with shifting daylight and dramatic lighting at night.

“There's a sense of their being inhabited.”

Each piece is unique, formed from wet clay, fired in segments, and assembled into the larger works. Where she once painted the clay, making it a vehicle for the colors covering it, now she lets the textured surface speak for itself.

“Over the last ten years, I've gotten more into the “clayness,” where the clayness has become the subject,” D'Alessandro said. “It's like walking down a beach and seeing footprints in the sand. Clay records actions on it.”

A New York native, D'Alessandro had worked in clay for four decades but found her enthusiasm for tabletop sculptures waning. Then her job as a scenic artist at the New York Metropolitan Opera spilled over into her own art with a grand sense of scale.

“The proscenium at the Met was fifty-six feet,” she explained.
While her larger pieces like Earth Tongue, the cactus-like spire, may need an outdoor display, others are suitable for interiors, particularly in a space like an atrium. There, changing daylight can play off the textures while artificial light can add drama, she said.

D'Alessandro moved to Cuba two years ago, finding the town reminded her of Bernalillo thirty years ago. At that time, a Placitas couple temporarily living in Long Island lured her out west for several summers before she became a full-time resident of Placitas for about eighteen months.

The large sculptures outside her studio have been removed for the moment and relocated to the Katrina Lasko Gallery in Bernalillo, where D'Alessandro will join painters Laura Wacha, Sharon Schwartzmann, and J. Mehaffey, adobe-and-cast-iron sculptor Kendra Brock, and found-object artist Marilyn Dillard in a group show opening October 1 and continuing through November 12 (see story below).

Two Saturday receptions are planned from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on October 1 and October 15.

D'Alessandro's Cuba studio also is open by appointment by calling 505-220-2462. When the large pieces return, the drive-by experience comes by turning east off US 550 on Reed Road, between El Bruno's restaurant and the Chevron station, and going two-tenths of a mile.

Stone Toss, mixed media, by Marilyn Dillard

Stone Toss, mixed media, by Marilyn Dillard

Katrina Lasko Gallery show features six artists

The contemporary-art scene in Bernalillo just got smaller and bigger with the combination of two well-known galleries.
So instead of separate one-artist shows, Arte Loca Gallery and Katrina Lasko Gallery will feature four to six artists in their combined space at 336 North Camino del Pueblo. The joint effort will retain Lasko's name, while Arte Loca, founded by Alvaro Enciso and his former business partner, Gene McClain, joins the masters of art history.

Both galleries featured contemporary art in all media, and that will continue with the new show opening October 1 with a reception from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The work of six artists, plus selected pieces from a private photography collection, will remain up through November 12 and include a second Saturday reception from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on October 15.

“We would like to convey to art collectors, occasional buyers, and those who are perhaps contemplating their first art acquisition, or are just learning about contemporary art, our strong commitment to showcase original art at prices that anyone can afford,” Lasko and Enciso said in a statement.
The duo said their first show features the following:

• New wild and wacky acrylic paintings by Laura Wacha, who grew up in Florida watching the Ringling Brothers' circus people.
• Elegant, ominous, and moving figurative paintings by Sharon Schwartzmann.
• Marilyn Dillard's fascination with the transformation of natural forms, expressed through soil, plant life, rocks, deteriorating architectural forms, and a collection of found objects.
• J. Mehaffey's “OPUS” series of paintings, inspired by the New Mexico landscape, and his “Ancients” series, often wrapped like an Egyptian mummy, sealed with wax, and enshrouded in gold.
• Sara D'Alessandro's richly textured terra-cotta sculptures in natural and totemic forms.
• Kendra Brock's “people,” formed from unfired adobe, rusted metal, and Polaroid transfers, linking the ephemeral nature of those materials and evolving humanity.
• Selected pieces of black-and-white fine-art photography from a private collection.

Gallery hours are Fridays and Saturdays, from noon to 5:00 p.m., and by appointment, by calling 867-2523. The Web address is The gallery maintains an e-mail list to notify patrons of shows and events.


In the Gallery, Illustration by Rudi Klimpert

Remember the Art Wall

The Art Wall at Placitas Elementary school was established twenty years ago. The school was small and there was a chance that is would be shut down. The community of Placitas took notice and was advised to try and get someone elected to the school board in the hope of preventing the closing.

That someone turned out to be me. I had lived in Placitas about sixteen years and both my kids attended the school—first Kira and then Cody. So many people in Placitas (and the district) voted in that election that we saved the elementary school.

When you enter Placitas Elementary School today, on the wall by the library you will see a little plaque that reads, “The parents, children and staff of Placitas Elementary School dedicate this art wall to Evelyn Jones for her years of service on the Bernalillo Public School Board.“ Artwork contributed at the time by several community members is still hanging there.

I am now retired from my long career as an art teacher and am a practicing artist at home. My philosophy as educator, artist, and humanitarian has always been that art is a part of life. It is my hope that we say the same to children—that art is a normal, everyday part of ones’ life—and that we show our young students how art touches lives, that it is inside all of us, and that being an artist is work!

It is in this spirit that I would like the Art Wall to be a continuing presence in the school. I wish the young students to see that their parents, neighbors, relatives, and friends are involved in the arts and that they take pride in what they do.

Time has moved along, and now it is my grandson, Noah, who attends Placitas Elementary. It is for him and his children, and all children, that I would encourage this ongoing legacy—that art and art making are important components of a rich, meaningful, and generous life.

Christina Werenko and the Placitas PTO have been supportive in continuing this project. We are forming a small group to implement a call for artwork and to take on the task of recreating the Art Wall on a more permanent basis. Anyone interested is welcome to participate.

You can contact me, Evey Jones, at 867-2424 or, the PTO President, or the school principal, Christina Werenko, at with any questions or suggestions.

Oil painting, by Judy Asbury

Oil painting, by Judy Asbury

Jemez artist Asbury shows oil landscapes at the Santuario de Guadalupe in Santa Fe

Judy Asbury’s new exhibition, "Illuminated: recent oil paintings," will be at the Santuario de Guadalupe, 100 Guadalupe Street, in Santa Fe, from October 3 to 15. The landscape oil paintings of the Jemez Mountains will be exhibited on the walls of the oldest shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe in America.

A reception for the artist will be held on Friday, October 7, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m. Louisiana poet Ava Leavell Haymon will read from her latest book, The Strict Economy of Fire.

Asbury is an internationally exhibited artist who has lived in the Jemez Mountains for thirty years. Her landscape paintings are begun on site and embellished in the studio with gold leaf, metallics, and iridescents. Asbury has had numerous one-person and group exhibitions in museums and other venues. She had a one-person show at the Hayden American Museum of Natural History, in New York, and has shown widely in Europe.

Corrales art show benefits old church

The seventeenth annual Corrales Fine Arts Show, an exhibition and sale of New Mexico art, will take place in Corrales at the historic Old San Ysidro Church October 1 through 9.

Forty artists will present paintings, mixed media, sculpture, and photography selected by jury from over two hundred entries.
There will be an opening reception on Friday, September 30, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

A portion of each sale goes to the Corrales Historical Society for restoration and preservation of the Old San Ysidro Church.
The show will be open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, and there is no charge for admission or parking. The church is one mile north of the Corrales Post Office on Corrales Road, then three tenths of a mile west on Old Church Road.

Author Marilyn Stablein reads in Corrales

Marilyn Stablein will read from her work on Thursday, October 6, at 7:00 p.m. at Acequia Booksellers, 4436 Corrales Road, in Corrales. The reading is part of Arts Alive—a Corrales community event on the first Thursday of each month featuring the work of local artists, artisans, and writers and the unique shops and services available in Corrales. During the event refreshments are served and many shops remain open until 9:00 p.m.

Marilyn Stablein is the author of eight books, most recently Sleeping in Caves: A Sixties Himalayan Memoir. Other books include a nonfiction work on wild weather, Climate of Extremes: Landscape and Imagination, and the fiction collections The Census Taker: Tales of a Traveler in India and Nepal and Vermin: A Bestiary. Her book Night Travels to Tibet is a collection of prose poems.

For further information contact Gary Wilkie, at Acequia Booksellers, 890-5365.

Concert saxophonist and pianist to perform in Placitas

The Placitas Artists Series welcomes concert saxophonist Ashu, and pianist Winston Choi to perform on Sunday, October 30, at 3:00 p.m. at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church.

Ashu, age twenty-three, has won numerous international and national competitions, and has performed as recitalist and concerto soloist throughout the world. He gave his first public performance at age sixteen as concerto soloist at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. This was followed by his recital debut two years later at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. Since then, performances have taken him to such locations around the globe as Norway, Switzerland, Hawaii, and the Caribbean.

Ashu has recently won first prizes at several major competitions, including the International Heida Hermanns, National Federation of Music Clubs, National Midland-Odessa, International Kingsville Wind Instrumentalist, National Lennox/RSO, National George S. Howard, and National Alliance for Excellence Competitions. Ashu has been featured as soloist with symphony orchestras and wind symphonies throughout the United States and been presented on numerous recital series. He has also been invited to Switzerland as a guest instructor to teach a saxophone workshop and master class. Ashu received his bachelor and master of music degrees in saxophone performance from Northwestern University, under the guidance of saxophonist Frederick Hemke.
Pianist Winston Choi has won numerous international and national competitions, including first prize at the Orleans Concours International (France) and most recently Second Prize at the prestigious Honens International Piano Competition (Canada). As a result, he has received several tours and numerous recital and concerto engagements throughout the world. He recently made solo recordings for the l'Empreinte Digitale and Quadro Frame labels which have received rave reviews.

There will be an artists' reception before the concert at 1:30 p.m., at the newly renovated Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, which is six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242). This month's featured artists are Charl Agiza, Joy Eaton, Geraldine Mlynek, and Betty Temple.

Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert, or may be purchased ahead of time a La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa, located in the Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas (867-3333). You can also purchase tickets in Albuquerque at Gatherings, 9821 Montgomery NE. Finally, tickets may be purchased online at The prices for the concert are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors and students.

There is still time to purchase season tickets for the entire nine-concert series, which will include five Willy and Friends concerts as well as saxophone and piano music, a holiday Broadway performance, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, and a concert of baroque music “from the courts of Europe.” PAS will continue its exchange policy: any unexpired ticket may be exchanged in advance at the door during the same season, as available. For further information, please call 867-8080 or visit

As a reminder, the purchase of season tickets not only offers price savings for these great concerts but season-ticket holders also are entitled to preferred seating (the first six rows) at the concerts.

Placitas Artists Series concerts and art exhibits 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 care for children under six.

Amado M. Peña, Jr.

Jorge Quintana

Rockin’ R gallery hosts opening for famous artists

On October 8, Gary and Carolyn Roller will welcome Amado Peña and Jorge Quintana to the Rockin’ R Gallery. Peña, an old friend of the Rollers, is one of the nation’s preeminent Native American artists. His colorful paintings are recognizable anywhere Southwestern art is treasured. He will bring some new work in several media to the opening and will meet the public from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Peña himself is a collector of the museum-quality pottery of Jorge Quintana, who is one of the most well-known potters from Mata Ortiz, in northern Chihuahua. He will present his revival work based on pottery found at the ruins of Casas Grande. In the Mata Ortiz style, pottery is thinner, firing is hotter, and originality is rewarded. Quintana will be at the Rockin’ R from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m., during which time he will throw, glaze, and fire an original design.

The gallery will offer discounted art and donate a percentage of the day’s profits to Hurricane Katrina disaster-relief funds.
Rockin’ R Gallery is at 3 Homesteads Road, Suite C, in Placitas. For more information, call the Rockin’ R, at 867-9550.




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