Friday, March 20, 2015

STEVE THOMPSON IN SANTA FE, Part II of II: The Design Guy Reflects on Good Art in Santa Fe

Two more artists, not in this gallery district but both not to be missed: Painter Gigi Mills, and photographer Robert Stivers.
It is said that Gigi Mills is influenced by the work of Milton Avery and on close examination one can indeed see the influence, but that's where the similarity's stop: Gigi grew up in the circus, her father owned the Mills Brothers Circus based in Florida, and while other girls read comic books or learned to embroider, she practiced balancing on elephants! I loved her story so much and the idea of her work being influenced by Avery that when she offered to drop a catalog by our hotel I gratefully accepted. She did, and we loved the work so here are a couple of examples below. These pieces are sold but Mills is represented by gf contemporary in Santa Fe.
Gigi Mills, The Pianist's Birthday, Oil, Paper, Crayon and Graphite on paper 
Gigi Mills, Reclining with Still Life, Oil, Paper, Crayon and Graphite on paper
Robert Stivers is an American photographer whose collections are owned by museums (The MET, The Getty, LACMA, etc...), and is a long time favorite of ours (we own three of them). We've featured Stivers with a show his work at our Cabana Home store in Santa Barbara, and the work is available to be seen by appointment through the store.
Shown above and below: The same work printed in color, top, and in sepia tones, below

Hotel Find! The old St. Francis Hotel has been newly refurbished in white, crème, tan, beige, and taupe, with raw, antique style, early New Mexican style furniture in natural waxed and patinated finishes. The room was small but handsomely appointed (if I’d been less penurious I could have had bigger. Gorgeous lobby and oversized fireplace. Great bar but neither it or the restaurant were owned by the hotel hence no room service (none!).     

Best Restaurant: Hands down, The Compound reins supreme! We've been going to this restaurant since it was reopened a decade and a half ago by Chef Mark Kiffin. we hadn't been there for ten years and it is still one of my favorite restaurants of all time.  
The restaurant is still headed by Kiffin, who took the time to come by to say hello and catch up on our kids (ours now an adult and his in high school). Kiffin is a James Beard award winning chef, which the Beard Foundation calls him the best chef in the southwest.
The original interior designed by Alexander Girard (best known for his textile design for the Herman Miller company where he created fabrics for the designs of George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames) is as relevant today as it must have when the restaurant opened in the 1960’s.
Alexander Girard Textiles, reissued by Herman Miller
Interesting new store: Modern General, where Bauhaus meets warehouse. The store is owned by Erin Wade who also owns the Vinaigrette restaurants in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Wades premise is, "things I use everyday"... Okay, so here you'll find hammers, shovels, dish soap, books, brown rice and milk, as well as freshly brewed coffee. Well okay then. Check it out, its fun!

Worst in Show: Two categories here, Interior Design and Fashion.
The worst designed bathroom I've ever seen was at the historic El Farol on Canyon Road. I love the old El Farol, but they should have left the bathroom in its original state over this mess. Let's test your design mettle: Can you name six design flaws in this photo (there are more than six)?
Fashion, shown below: As seen in a store window on the Santa Fe Plaza. Okay, I know, I know... don't go to Santa Fe to augment your wardrobe.


Good night moon.

STEVE THOMPSON IN SANTA FE, Part I of II: The Design Guy Reflects on Good Art in Santa Fe

Was in Santa Fe last weekend to see close friends after a ten year hiatus from the “city different”?

Santa Fe is a slow moving town in every way… so maybe ten years is about the right amount of time in between visits if you want to see something new in Santa Fe. I do miss is the local ski basin, twenty-five minutes up the road to 8ft of snow, and no time available to ski… so close but yet so far away. Damn!
The Santa Fe Ski Basin
New to me on this trip were the art galleries located in the Santa Fe Rail Yard. When I lived there, the rail yard was a proposed project in a blighted area of the city, one that city officials and a loud-mouth group of opponents did everything they could to stymie…one of the things I loathe about Santa Fe.
Twelve years later it is a stunning development and the site of the much heralded Santa Fe Farmers Market as well as three stunning new art galleries. Located across the street (and tracks) from SITE Santa Fe, the center of the contemporary (sans western schlock art) arts scene in Santa Fe, and the original contemporary gallery in this area, James Kelly Contemporary.  The new kids on the block (but not to the Santa Fe or New York art scene) is the David Richard Gallery, William Siegal Gallery, and TAI modern.

The David Richard Gallery, exterior and interior.

The David Richard Gallery had the most beautiful interior, designed by architect Devendra Narayan. The gallery specializes in post-war American abstract art, including Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, Geometric, OP, Pop, and Minimalism art.
David Richard Gallery- Julian Stanczak, Translucent Orange, Acrylic on canvas

David Richard Gallery- Tadaskey, C143, 1965

David Richard Gallery- Richard Anuszkiewicz, Exact Quantity, 1963, Acrylic
Currently on exhibition, POST OP: “The Responsive Eye’ Fifty Years After”, a current version of a show which was originally presented at MOMA in 1965 as a comprehensive overview of the OP Art Movement. All of the artists in the current show were presented in the original show (though not the same art works). They also represent the sculpture of fellow Californian and artist Betty Gold. The show closes April 12th 2015.
Sculpture, Betty Gold, at the David Richard Gallery
William Siegal Gallery specializes in museum quality textiles and objects, from Asian to pre-Columbian, clay, ceramics, and textiles with a smattering of early New Mexican antiques.
The interior of the William Siegal Gallery
What stood out to us at the Siegal Gallery was the contemporary steel sculpture by New Mexico artist, Tom Waldron. Waldron’s work shows mastery of the razor thin line from smaller table top work to those of civic proportions; technically and artfully executed steel sculpture in the vein of Minimalist sculptor, Richard Serra, but with a fine finish. Siegal’s gallery featured one of the most attractive display case for antiquities I’ve seen.
William Siegal Gallery- Tom Waldron, FLASK, Steel, 55 x 67 x 36

William Siegal Gallery- Tom Waldron- Nickel Plated Steel on concrete base, 20in 13in 7in

Siegal's Gallery also had one of the most unique display cabinets, as shown below.
The corner of this row of galleries was anchored by the TAI modern gallery.
TAI modern features contemporary Japanese basketry. I’ve experienced antique Japanese basketry, but nothing like these modern works.
Hondo Syoryu, MOUNTAINS and RIVERS, Madake and Rattan, 2914. 11 x 12 x 10

Shono Tokuzo, FEATHER, Madake and Rattan, 2010. 17 x 15 x 11

Yamaguchi Ryuun, SHO, Madake and Rattan, 2014. 12.5 x 24 x 24

Hondo Syoryu, PROMINENCE, Madake and Ratttan, 2012. 19 x 18 x 9

The baskets were so sculptural in both abstract and traditional forms, priced from $3,300 to over $30,000, these are some of Japans most important basketry artists.
Also on view at TAI modern were optical paintings by artist Rebecca Shore.
See the photo below of the gallery’s unique dropped ceiling panels, made with metal mesh and steel grids with recessed tracks for lighting.   

All right, let that wet your whistle, and stay tuned for STEVE THOMPSON IN SANTA FE, Part II of II: The Design Guy Reflects on Good Art in Santa Fe.


Good Night Moon