PREVIOUS OFFICE ART

Desiree Manville: Portraits

Whether it’s a photo of an empty studio or a portrait of one of Taos’s treasured artists, Desiree Manville brings to her images a certain mystery and powerful reticence. These photos are small, but they pack a considerable punch, inviting the viewer to look closely, and then look again. “Portraits can be very challenging if you don’t engage the subject,” the artist says. “I always ask the subject what they would like to see about themselves. I find most people jump at the chance to tell me. Of course, the studio portraits of the people no longer with us participate in another way, by what they left behind. The studio portraits void of humans are my favorite. Those images tell such great stories.”

Annie Coe

In the Wright Office, we are showing mixed-media works by Annie Coe, a painter who has worked mostly in an abstract idiom in Venetian plaster. Lately, though, she has turned to fabric and created a whole new body of work. “I began making these textiles four years ago, after being a painter for more than forty years,” she writes. ”It all started with a bolt of linen given to me by a friend. I use donated fabric (I prefer using material that has had a life before it gets to me), and then much of the fabric is hand dyed, painted, and printed by me. Beads and paper are added to construct my textiles, all hand stitched. Included are pieces from two different bodies of work, the Shield series and the Artifact series, as well as many single textiles. I work without a plan, intuitively piecing these together bit by bit.”

Eugene Gray

Eugene Gray first turned his attention to the camera in a serious way when he was in his forties and found a mentor in Mexico who showed him the possibilities of photos as art. He preferred black-and-white film and concentrated mostly on landscape, especially two favored spots, the Salton Sea in southern California and Death Valley. “But the darkroom was really his magic place,” writes his widow, Sara Jean Gray. “Making the chemicals, winding the film on the rolls, watching the images appear. In his later 80s he began to have trouble with his hands and couldn’t get the film on the darkroom rolls anymore. We got him some digital equipment and he took a few gorgeous pictures, but it wasn’t for him. So from then on he just curated photographs he had created and we remembered the magic.”  Gene died in June of this year, at the age of 97. His silver gelatin prints, which Sara Jean is offering for free to interested viewers, will hang in the office through September.

Kathleen Ferguson-Huntington

In the Wright Office through July 23, we have Kathleen Ferguson-Huntington’s miniature paintings “Traveling the Silk Road.” These exquisitely detailed works in gouache were inspired by 12 years of teaching art and design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, where the artist realized she was living on the shores of a major trade route of the Silk Road in the Persian Gulf. In the course of her research, she discovered that luxury goods traveled El Camino Real as far as Santa Fe and Taos. The works take as their subject the famed route from Venice to the eastern terminus in Nara, Japan, incorporating maps, porcelain, and features of the landscape—mostly fanciful but always engaging.

Rebecca Crowell

Based in Dixon, NM, Rebecca Crowell is widely recognized for techniques using the medium of cold wax and for abstract paintings that reflect the landscapes she visits throughout the year. The series in The Wright Office, called “Obras,” was realized during a residency near Estremoz, Portugal, in a place she describes as “an arid region of marble quarries, cork trees, and a savannah-like landscape with rocky outcroppings.

“I worked on paper and explored combinations of water-based media including ink, gouache, acrylic, and drawing materials, with an interest in shapes and marks that were isolated on unpainted backgrounds,” she adds. “The first paintings I did resembled torsos, abstracted self-portraits reflecting my initial experiences in the landscape surrounding the foundation. They were followed by many small paintings in further response to the landscape and the marble quarries of the region, along with aspects of pure abstraction. When I returned home, my experiences continued to impact my paintings in cold wax and oil.”