A taste of SOFA WEST: Santa Fe 2010

  • July 08, 2010 19:35

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Lino Tagliapietra, Seattle Sunset, 2008. Holsten Galleries.
Diego Romero, Siege of Santa Fe, 2009. CLARK + DEL VECCHIO.
Kenneth Johnson, Lightning Bear Claw Necklace, 2010. SWAIA @ SOFA
Twenty-eight premier galleries and dealers converge this weekend in Santa Fe for the second annual SOFA WEST, a hotbed of cutting edge design and decorative arts. On offer are fresh works drawn from traditional artisan materials and methods just as much as they reach for new heights in artistic vision and technical virtuosity.
Three of the master artisans whose work is featured by exhibitors include:

Lino Tagliapietra, perhaps the greatest glassblower in the world today, was born in 1934 on the fabled Venetian glass-making island of Murano, becoming a maestro at age 21. After arriving in the U.S. in 1975, he went on to teach Dale Chihuly and Dan Dailey his craft; ultimately, the maestro carved out his own signature style landing his award-winning studio glass in major museums such as the Victoria & Albert in London. He is represented by Holsten Galleries, Santa Fe.

Ceramic artist Diego Romero, represented by CLARK + DEL VECCHIO of Santa Fe, also boldly takes a traditional craft into his own thoroughly contemporary hands. Cochiti Pueblo earthenware pots become canvasses for Romero's painted images drawn from ancient Greek vessels and other cultures, including his Native Chongo character, whose heroes and values match those of the Native American.

Dealer Garth Clark says, "Diego is one of a handful of potters, the so-called Free Spirit potters, whose work takes on pueblo reality instead of the sentimentalized revival ware that dominates the Native art market." Romero uses humorous, tongue-in-cheek satire to convey the message of his peoples' struggle--a little sugar on a bitter pill, which makes it easier to swallow and ironically--more deeply digested by both contemporary Native and non-Native audiences.

On the cutting edge of both traditional processes and forms are four Native American jewelers represented in the Southwestern Alliance of Indian Arts (SWAIA), Robin Waynee, Kenneth Johnson, Pat Pruitt, and Cody Sanderson.

Bruce Bernstein, Director of SWAIA and producer of the famous International Indian Market in Santa Fe, remarks, "First and foremost these are four supremely talented artists, whose work is aesthetically stunning and emancipating-stunning because the work fits everyone and anywhere, and emancipating because they're clanging down boundaries and setting horizons so far off in the distance we have yet to stumble upon them. Their artistic vision is sharp and unflinching, and their craftsmanship impeccable. Their jewelry is as Southwest as chollo cactus, but as American as a New York skyscraper."

All four SWAIA artists will attend SOFA WEST and participate in a Lecture Series panel discussion on Friday, July 9.

SOFA WEST is on now through July 11 at the Santa Fe Convention Center.

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