Previews: Tangram Butterflies by Ramona Sakiestewa and Panoramic Photography

THE magazine | THE magazine - May 2, 2014

Ramona Sakiestewa, Untitled, lithograph, 28” x 22¼”, 2014

Ramona Sakiestewa: "Tangram Butterfly and Other Shapes" at Tai Modern, 1601 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe. 984-1387 May 16 to June 15, 2014 Reception: Friday, May 16, 5 to 7 pm.

When artists move from one medium to another, the results can be intriguing. Does it reflect an extension of the previous style or is it a radical departure? Ramona Sakiestewa has a noteworthy reputation for the striking visual effects of her tapestries; abstract compositions of rich contrasting colors and intersections of form. Tangram Butterfly and Other Shapes is a switch from textile weaving to printmaking, but her attention to composition and shape dominates, demonstrating a consistency of vision and a deft economy of expression. The Chinese tangram puzzle consists of seven fl at shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective of this dissection puzzle is to create a specific shape, with only a silhouette, using all seven pieces, none of which may overlap. In the depicted image, Sakiestewa follows the rules of the game to create a butterfly, an important icon in her Hopi cultural heritage. She binds the image to her Native American tradition using the stylistic designs found on potsherds, which the artist has collected since childhood. The delicacy of the contour lines, which create the shapes, and the butterfly formed from shapes within the greater shape, feel Asian in their minimalist quality and simultaneously echo ancient Southwestern design sensibility. This intriguing combination, not to mention the example of the tangram well played, creates visual pleasure for the viewer, and shows that a talented, perceptive artist can produce striking and well-crafted imagery faithful to their vision regardless of the medium.

Roberto Vignoli, Meeting Marseille, digital print, 48” x 252”, 2012

Panorama: "Panoramic Photography" by Gus Foster, Carlos Silva, Roberto Vignoli April 25 to June 2 333 Montezuma Arts: 333 Montezuma Avenue, Santa Fe. 988-9564 Reception: Friday, April 25, 5 to 7 pm.

Panoramic photography has been with us since 1843, when Joseph Puchberger patented a handcranked Daguerreotype contraption. Intrepid inventors have been tinkering with the technology ever since, from the Cyclo-Pan to the Sony Cybershot—a 3D digital unit that makes flawless 360-degree images without cranks or rotating lenses. You can also attach the Kogeto Dot catadioptric lens for your smartphone and post to Instagram. 333 Montezuma continues to bring us unexpected and intriguing work in its newly expanded space in the Railyard District, with an international trio of artists working in the long form. Gus Foster is old school. He’s been at it since the 1970s, when he began hauling his 1902 Cirkut camera up and down the Rockies, producing black-and-white, ten-inch-by-six-foot images in his darkroom. Although he’s followed advances in technology and works in color, he still shoots in the bush, producing sublime landscapes on a grand scale, many shot on monumental walks on the Tokaido Road in Japan or on his epic trek across the United States. Roberto Vignoli, based in Rome, began freelancing in his teens, shooting in Europe and Africa. He premieres his four-by-twenty-one foot work Marsiglia, which fi lls the north wall of the gallery. Vignoli creates an interwoven narrative, combining elements in a fractured and seamless collage reminiscent of David Hockney, only more kinetic. Carlos Silva, from Valparaiso, Chile, works vertically, shooting urban interiors in seemingly impossible perspectives. The ninety-degree shift is disconcerting. Unlike the work of Foster and Vignoli, Silva’s images are scroll-like with compressed and vertiginous sightlines featuring abstracted but luminous contemporary and baroque interiors.