Saturday, August 25, 2012

In Great Company

Artists Guild of Northern New Mexico Exhibit at Angel Fire Visitor's Center
L to R Shirley Ellingboe, J. Binford-Bell, Steve Knight, Jessica Duke, Carol Rupp and pottery by JoAnne DeKeuster

Artists are rather solitary creatures and organizing them to do much of anything is like herding cats. And yet artists tend to gravitate toward each other. There were the salons of Paris with the Impressionists, and the Others, a post WWI New York collective. Taos, New Mexico got famous for its artists with the beatniks and Taos Moderns. Some of the names given to groups of artists come long after they have died and are bestowed upon them by art historians. But artists do collect around certain areas - areas that inspire them to paint, or write, or sculpt.

A more airy fairy friend of mine says it has to do with the energy of the place and I can embrace that. But it probably also has to do with rents. And the ability to get together however informally and feed off each other. Sounds like barracuda on a coral reef? But even though we work alone in our studios we like to see what our friends are doing. And if artists can be said to have friends it is other artists. Who else wants to spend hours talking of tone and texture or the new medium they are experimenting with.

And in this economy artists need to band together to get noticed at times. And so the revival of the art guild. We tried this a decade ago in the rarefied air of Moreno Valley. Back to the analogy of herding cats. But enough people talked about it wistfully in the last few years that we decided to give it a go again. Theory is we were to rigid and formal the first time around. Heck, most of the historic groups of artists were formed around a favorite bar. We are forming this one around a valley and Facebook. And without thinking about it too hard we managed to put together our first exhibition at the Angel Fire Visitor's Center.

Sherry Wolf of the Old Town Gallery in Cimarron, New Mexico

Katherine McDermott formerly owner of Artspace Gallery

L.Martin Pavlitch with his own studio in Cimarron, New Mexico

Photography by Deborah Binford-Baker represented by Binford-Bell Studio of Black Lake, NM
Small oils on right by Shirley Ellingboe

Melinda Marlow of Cimarron

Distances between us and our studios are greater than artists on the streets of Paris or Taos. And the linchpin galleries that once connected us are suffering from the economy. Old Town Gallery in Cimarron, which represents me and Sherry Wolf and Steve Knight is basically summers. I and JoAnne DeKeuster, Jessica Duke, Carol Rupp, and Katherine McDermott have their studios open for visitors and customers. My studio, Binford-Bell Studio and Gallery, represents my sister's photography.

Once galleries did our advertising and arranged exhibitions and receptions but now we do that ourselves. And so it is great that the Angel Fire Visitor's center has this wonderful space to display our works together or separately. There are more solitary artists in our area. And we hope they join up with us. I think there is opportunity in even a loosely formed group or collective of artists.

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