The Santa Fe New Mexican

Gallery Hopping


Digital Photo Manipulation/Computer assisted art, Edward E. Buckley,

Main Library Downtown, through August.

Viewers familiar with such 'zines as Mondo, Access and Ray Gun may feel right at home with these images. This is art with future written all over it. Others may wonder what exactly these works are. Photos? What is a sub dye print?

But for the latter, the real questions revolve around syntax and vocabulary. Solarized-looking flares and shifts in color suggest an altogether radical undermining of the reality we attribute to the stability (and truth?) of images.

While Buckley still has a way to go before he truly finds his voice in this area, this show serves as a good introduction.

Welcome to the digital world, where scanning, quantizing and re-contextualing irnagery is the norm. Of course, this has been going on for quite some time on television, where newscasts routinely alter original images under the guise of making them more suitable for broadcast.

But the technology is now filtering down (trickling down?) and this modest exhibition is valuable because of its process- oriented theme. It suggests avenues to explore.

Buckley is sharing stops along the way of his digital artistic path. And thankfully the technology isn't getting the better of him. Feeling and sensuality still carry the artistic load. The standouts are Anna #2 a nude, Joe and Danny. In these three works Buckley confidently explores the expressionistic nuances of his computer-assisted tools. The results are excellent overall.

The Santa Fe New Mexican


Photographers pushing the boundaries into new frontier

Relying on personal expression / Juried exhibition Aura Gallery 406 E. Palace Ave.


photographers increasingly are pushing their imagery beyond the boundaries of the medium and into arenas of endless experimentation.

Consider digital imagery, multiple imaging, slide transfers' photomontages and multi-media work that might begin with photography but is often ultimately unrecognizable as such. It's a ripe, new frontier with not an inkling of where it will eventually settle.

"What's happening now is a real shift going on in the medium," said Linda Montoya, a local documentary and portrait photographer who considers herself a traditionalist. "There is a lot more experimentation occurring now and a lot more wanting to be said through photography as more tools are becoming available."

One need not look any further than the work coming out of New Mexico to grasp the extent of the photographic revolution. Combining work as far field as straight black and white documentary with Polaroid transfers and digital imagery, Fotografia, a statewide juried photography exhibit, opens today at Aura Gallery at 406 E. Palace Ave. with an artists' reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

Participating photographers are Virginia Lierz, Lauri Dickinson Jack, Mary Babb, Kenneth Clark, Louise Roach, Anthony Rawlings, Edward Buckley, Cheryle Finlayson, Barry Norris, Elizabeth Grant, A. Charlasch, Iaurie Tumer, Victoria Rogers, Requa Tolbert, Evy Todd, Lexi Shabel and Elliot Framan. And environmental portrait work, judging so much non-traditional work refocused the way she looked at what is happening today.

"The work has become more free-form with its use of photographic images," she said. "And it forced me to look beyond what I'm used to looking at." Which, in turn, she noted, is opening new doors for her.

"When I was looking at much of this work, I was considering what the piece was saying to me. If it made me curious enough that I was seeing something more within the image, which is a fair assessment on what makes a good photograph. Does it make you want to look again and again?

"I think it's great there is so much experimenting going on today," she said. "Though my friend Willard Van Dyke would be shaking his head if he were still alive, saying, 'they don't

Entries for the show, which is sponsored by the Santa Fe Council for the Arts, were juried byJoan Myers and Linda Montoya. For Montoya, known for her so-called straight documentary Know what they're doing. This is not photography.' Ultimately, we have to consider the fact that photographs are a reflection of who that person is and how they are living. And, of what's happening in society and how that is reflected in our art."

For Tolbert, as for many of her contemporaries, photography has become a tool for expression, not an end in itself. "I think of myself as an artist who uses photography to paint with," she said.

Tolbert's distinctive work involves making slide transfers onto handmade paper that she then paints over. The result is a softer, more interpretive rendition of the initial photograph, a technique that fulfills her impressions of the subject matter.

Often, it is figurative studies —work that induces questions about the subject or suggests narratives.

"When I take pictures of people, I try to see what their story is," she said. "Then I'll try to incorporate that into my own ideas and work from there."

Tolbert's technique, Polaroid imaging, was culled right out of the company manual that she sent away for after a friend suggested she might take to this artform.

"It's a great way to use old slides," she said. Essentially, the process involves exposing a slide onto Polaroid film to get a positive image, then allowing the film to only partially develop before transferring it onto paper or silk, or whatever.

"You get this soft emulsion that finishes developing on the paper," she said. "The color ends up being a bit weird, but I then paint over it."

Edward Buckley chose digital imagery. He found that by changing the mechanics of how he created work, he changed the way he looked at potential imagery.

He said while working with a camera he was forced to look at what was immediately before him—the potential picture and its composition. More a process governed by what already existed.

"Switching to imaging really changed my whole direction," he said. "Rather than concentrating on finding the good photograph, I was looking for things as elements, because now I could combine or subtract or even enhance them.

"Before I would never take a picture of just a wall or flowers," Buckley said. "Now I do all the time because I know I can use them later. As part of something else."

The Magizine; The Santa Fe Arts Monthly




Polaroid transfer with oil, Darkroom collage. Photomicrograph. Dye sub print. Slide transfer. This is a photography show and a very interesting and varied one at that, thanks to the selections by jurors Joan Myers and Linda Montoya. The work of the 16 photographers included in this statewide juried exhibit hangs extremely well together in spite of the diversity of photo-based methods. A slide transfer—that sounds straightforward enough, doesn't it? But, what a slide transfer actually means in terms of Regua Tolbert's image, Bas Relief, I simply can't tell. What I see are three, quite small, watercolor-like landscape "paintings" positioned under a rectangle of handmade, buff-colored paper.

Photography is not only in the process of altering and reinventing itself at the speed of light (no pun intended), it sometimes seems to vanish entirely. Often it comes out the other side of some particular process looking strange...stranger...strangest-like some medium you can't put your finger on at all. It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's a postmodern photograph. Which means it's both a bird and a plane, perhaps scanned into a computer, manipulated like hell, and then color enhanced to a few degrees beyond an electric Kool-Aid acid test, like Edward Buckley's two color-enhanced, dye sub prints, Izzy and Danny. The color in these photographs is unnatural and intense all the better to convey a sense of angst-ridden drama, particularly in Danny.

Not all the work is altered and manipulated in extremis, but little of it is what you could call "straight photography." Most of these artists are on a conceptual fast track that uses photography as a springboard into other concerns—be they political, psychological, cultural, or a recombinant form of personal aesthetics on a fulcrum o "reality testing." In this show, even if a photograph is "straight," it's a little askew-like Barry Norris' two wonderful silver gelatin prints of birds: Cirrus Swainson's Hawk and Quid Nunc-Chihuchuan Raven. What the hawk and the raven are doing perched on Corinthian columns in a hand-painted environment that has the floors looking like the walls and vice versa, well, your guess is as good as mine. But the images are riveting, straight or not, and printed with a fine attention to detail, and they have a luminous quality reminiscent of platinum photography. This pair of conceptually enhanced, enigmatic feathered friends is no flighty affair, and neither is the rest of this engrossing show

The Santa Fe New Mexican


Stop by for coffee, epitaphs
Adobe Pottery Gallery, First Street, Cerrillos


The Intergalactic Garden Club meets in Madrid to do creative writing together, and at one meeting last year, Garden Club members were asked to write their own epitaphs. The idea intrigued Cerrillos resident Elizabeth Rubin, a member of the group. So much so that it came to mind again when Rubin was looking for a theme for an art show to be held in conjunction with the grand opening of her new gallery.

The Adobe Potterv Gallery, on First Street in Cerrillos, is the first new business to open in the village in 11 years, said Rubin, a ceramic artist who moved to Cerrillos three years ago from New York. The gallery debuts on the Santa Fe art arena with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday for the First Juried Tombstone Show.

The show features tombstone-inspired works by 17 artists—from New Mexico and elsewhere—and continues through July 8. The art runs from somber to playful and includes paintings, works in wood and mixed media, bronze, clay, photography and even a three-headed mythical outdoor ceramic sculpture by Santa Fe artist Judy Tuttle.

Sharing the Adobe Pottery Gallery's large, k-shaped space is a studio area where visitors can watch Rubin and other ceramic artists work. On view as well is a selection of works by regular gallery artists, including pottery, hand-woven silk scarves, jewelry, woodcarving, handmade paper items, walking sticks and other hand-crafted items. ' The gallery also is the only business in Cerrillos selling coffee," Rubin said. "It's not a cafe, and you can't get espresso or other fancy brews. It's just a place to pick up a cup of "plain ol' decaf or real coffee," she said.

Santa Fe photographic artist Ed Buckley is among the local artists in the Tombstone Show. He saw the theme as a challenge, and discovered that —in some quite personal ways —it was. Creating digitally processed images from combinations of his own photographs, Buckley envisioned his own tombstone. By chance, he had just the photo he needed to include: an aging, cracked slab of cement he'd been drawn to with his camera several weeks before hearing about the show.

He used the computer to "carve" the slab into the shape of a headstone, then superimposed that image on photos of hands holding a rose, patchy brown and green grass and a dark, lightning streaked sky as background. Again using the computer, he carved his own name on the tombstone. But when it came to putting his date of death on it, he hesitated.

"That was the big stop sign for Ed," he said. "I didn't want to put a question mark, and I didn't want to put '12th of never,' because that's not true. It felt kind of weird." In a spoof on the way personalized items are advertised, Buckley handed the metaphysical challenge back to the viewer. He carved, your name here Born: Yesterday/Died: Tomorrow beneath it. "It allows everyone and anyone to think about their ultimate destination," he said.

Stone carver Mark Saxe has been thinking about the language of epitaphs for years. It's a language with kinship to poetry, which is Saxe's other medium of expression. "The Romans were really the ones that mastered the epitaph," he said in a phone conversation from his Ojo Sarco home, near Dixon. "There's a whole style of writing geared toward writing in stone, where everything is dense and concentrated. When you have to carve it in stone, you think about the words."

The words on one of Saxe's pieces—a white marble slab with an iron wedge hanging on it—formed in his mind on the day of the first snowfall this past winter, as he contemplated an enormous pile of firewood and his ax: Iron hand/split and stoke/ the freeze/upon the land

The sculpture is his Paul Bunyan piece he said. Saxe’s other work in the show came out of an anti-violence series he did, in which he carved realistic-looking guns—like the AK47 and .357 Magnum—out of stone. For the Tombstone Show, a simple stone in the general shape of a pistol is set into marble under the words: Keep It Holstered.

WHO/WHAT: the First Juried Tombstone Show'/ Gallery grand opening WHEN: Opening reception 5-7 pm Saturday
WHERE: Adobe Pottery Gallery, First Street, Cerrillos INFO: Through July 8

The Albuquerque Tribune

Pluged-In: An Exhibition of Digital Art


The old image of an artist standing in a paint-stained room with a palette in one hand a brush in the other, and a second brush clenched in the teeth has a modern corollary: the artist in front of a computer with three windows open on screen, a mouse in one hand while the other taps feverishly against a keyboard.

And it's not the radical offshoot it once was. Digital art can be seen in major museums around the world Today in Albuquerque, the Rio Grande chapter of SIGGRAPH, a professional graphics group, is holding its annual convention, and tonight, 12 visual artists from New Mexico will be represented at the opening of" Plugged in: An Exhibition of Digital Art." They were invited by gallery owner Sandra Humphries, who became interested in the medium after taking some classes in computer art at the Rhode Island School of Design.

"I thought it was just fascinating," says Humphries, who opened her gallery in the Rio Grande Plaza near Old Town last April. "The medium is still defining itself, so as far as what type of work the artists are doing, there's really nothing similar."

Her gallery is located in an old converted house, and Humphries herself often plays be-bop jazz and blues, lending the gallery an aura of the 1930s. But her newest showing IS aecidedly '9Os.

"It's not traditional," Humphries says. "As a gallery owner, I'm faced with things like the quality of the printout, which is not something I've dealt with before."

Humphries contacted the artists through her friend, Anne Farrell, a digital artist who coordinates the Electronic Graphics curriculum at the Santa Fe Community College. New to a medium where aesthetic rules are still being written, Humphries called the artists recommended by Farrell and invited them to bring whatever works they pleased. The result is a show of surrealism, Pop Art and paintings which are nearly sculptures.

"The tools don't restrict creativity," says Farrell. "So I wouldn't say that digital art is going in any one direction."

But it is gaining in popularity. According to Farrell, "Everyone and their mother wants to know Photoshop (a graphics software)."

Digital art is a familiar medium because of its wide use in advertising and for generating special effects in movies and television. But Digital Artists fighting for respect from an art world inclined to think of the computer as a commercial tool.

"Digital Art is going through what happened to photography until recently," Farrell says. "Photography is 150 years old, but was only recently accepted as an art form, within the last 15 years."

Many of the digital artists use photographs as base imagery in their work. Santa Fean Edward E. Buckley's works start with models posing for his camera. He then scans the images and uses the computer to highlight images and draw the viewer's focus. He often takes multiple photographs and uses his computer to overlay the images, as in his portrait "Ann With Roses" which began as five separate photos. Combining images helps Buckley to explore his favorite themes.

sense and a sensual sense and try to find the convergence," Buckley says. "I like to work with the female form. Aside from my natural appreciation for it, it's symbolic of so many things I work to express."

Buckley says his work is an extension of Pop Art and surrealism, citing artists like Andy Warhol and surrealist Rene Magritte as influences. His use of natural skin tones pronounced to an unnatural degree in works such as "Ann With Roses," "Dusk" and "L.C." are similar to Warhol's silkscreenportraits of notables such as Marilyn Monroe.

The new medium has left some missing the external features of oil paintings and water colors.

"What I miss about this is the smell and feel," says Humphries. "The actual texture of oilbased paint. This is a purely visual medium."

Artist Mariannah found those features missing as well, so she'll be displaying "Light Boxes" in the gallery. The decorated boxes which illuminate computer images on transparency ride the fence between paintings and sculpture.

"I was a painter before I started working on the computer," Mariarmah says. "One ofthe most exciting parts of working on the computer is that things are illuminated, but I always struggle with them somehow not being in the physical space. I was used to working on paper and seeing a tactile presence."

Farrell, who will also be showing work at the exhibition, praises the computer for the lack of texture which troubles other artists.

"There's no such thing as scale when you're working with acquired imagery on the computer," she says
“Though there's a difference between a piece of newsprint and a strip of velvet in the physical world, when the images are scanned, they're all equal. They all become digital zeros and ones."

The new medium has also brought new problems for artists. They must learn to deal with their tools. System crashes, screen freezes and software incompatibility are issues which have invaded the artist's studios just as they have offices and laboratories.

"The software you have on your computer is a lot like prescription drugs," says Buckley. "A lot of them do not mix together well. I'm getting comfortable with the art end of it. But things like databases and spreadsheets I just haven't been able to conquer. I like it for its artistic end. In terms of being an expert—some things I can figure out, some things I spend time trying to figure out."

Digital art can also be expensive. Though artists like Buckley use desktop computers, they must also contend with the costs of developing base photographs and printing the final pieces, which can range into hundreds of dollars per print to generate show-quality work.

"I'd read somewhere that in this medium you have to spend thousands of dollars to become a starving artist)" Buckley says. "That quote has always struck with me because whenever you do something on the computer it's all about software capability and hardware. The better you have, the more options you get, but it becomes increasingly expensive."