Santa Fe’s Destination Galleries

Aline Brandauer | - January 14, 2008

Santa Fe is simply chock-full of art galleries for all tastes and budgets. A few of those galleries are, however, destinations in themselves, places people intend to go to long before they arrive in New Mexico. Winter is a time for Santa Fe galleries to show work by well-known local artists and many of our top picks this month are doing just that.

The Gerald Peters Gallery, founded in 1972, is recognized as one the world's largest and most respected dealers in American art of the nineteenth- and twentieth- and now twenty-first century.

This winter the gallery will have a retrospective of Margaret Lefranc (1907 - 1998). Lefranc began her career in the European art capitals of Paris and Berlin during the 1920s and 30s, where she studied art at the École du Louvre (under Andre L'Hote) and the Sorbonne. Upon returning to the States, Lefranc opened the Guild Art Gallery in New York and began promoting important artists including Arshile Gorky. After several visits to Frieda and D.H. Lawrence in Taos, Lefranc relocated to New Mexico permanently in 1945, basing herself in Santa Fe. During this period, Lefranc provided illustrations for several books on Native American artists and culture. She worked in multiple media throughout much of her life, choosing to paint colorful landscapes, still lifes, and figures, usually in a loose, post-impressionist style close to expressionism.

Next door to Gerald Peters is Nedra Matteucci's Fenn Galleries. Begun by the redoubtable ex- airman Forrest Fenn and now owned by Nedra Matteucci, Fenn Galleries exhibits a range of material from Native American jewellery to late -nineteenth- and twentieth-century art of the Southwest to contemporary figurative sculpture. Walking through Fenn is like being in a high-end trading post with treasures at every turn. Don't miss the spectacular back garden, sure to delight even in January.

Now part of the Nedra Matteucci constellation of galleries, Morning Star is recognized for carrying cultural and artistic treasures of unparalleled quality and beauty from over fifty Native North American tribes. Morning Star claims that their "perspective on our objects is maintained through current art historical theory, anthropological research and ethnographic context. " (These objects) are part of a larger artistic tradition that has been inherited by contemporary Native American artists."

Linda Durham Contemporary Art has been the passionate center of contemporary art in New Mexico for thirty years. Durham has discovered and represented many of the best contemporary artists with strong ties to New Mexico including Robert Kelly, Eugene Newmann, Erika Wanenmacher, Grant Hayunga and many others. Go by and see a group show of gallery artists.

James Kelly Contemporary, now back at the Railyard in its spectacular new digs, will have local darling Peter Sarkisian's new work up in January. Sarkisian has shown at the Whitney Biennial and many venues in the US and abroad. A perfect artist to illustrate James Kelly Contemporary's flair for showing quality contemporary art of international stature, Sarkisian's multi-media installations invoke both humour and the felt border between the material world and the limitless.

Evo Gallery is a fairly recent player in the local scene, but its attention to quality and a global perspective on contemporary art make it a true destination gallery. Established in 2000, the local and regional artists include the figurative painter Gerry Snyder; minimalist sculptor George Thiewes; the pioneering video artist Steina, conceptual artists Anne Marie Jugnet and Alain Clairet who recently moved to Santa Fe from France; and conceptual photographer David Maisel.

From classicizing Milton Avery to surrealizing Roberto Marquez, Riva Yares Gallery shows an eclectic but impressive group of artists at its Santa Fe location. January's group show displays a range of these along with Douglas Kent Hall's photographs, Forty Images Forty Years.

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, whose representation of neo-Concrete artists brought her gallery's reputation international stature, has recently opened a project space. On January 13, a retrospective exhibit of the late Florence Pierce will open at the Marcy Street location. Pierce was originally a member of the Transcendental Painting Group and went on to continue making extraordinary evanescent, layered resin paintings. Like Margaret Lefranc, Pierce was a pioneer in New Mexican art. David Simpson and a group show of gallery artists share the spectacular project space this season.

With the Museum of International Folk Art in town, fiber arts hold a special place in Santa Fe. Recently three galleries best known for textiles have expanded into contemporary art. Jane Sauer Gallery, best known as a cutting-edge fiber arts gallery has opened up its choice of media to "those who have mastered a variety of media: glass, fiber, textiles, bronze, ceramic, metal, and more." Tai Gallery, long a venue for museum-quality textiles from around, has a new emphasis on Japanese photography and bamboo artists. At the William Siegel Galleries, a solid roster of contemporary artists including sculptors Tom Waldron and Colette Hosmer and painters Zachariah Rieke and Signe Stuart complements extraordinary Andean textiles. The gallery does an admirable job of achieving its mission to create trans-cultural, trans-historical dialogue between the diverse works of art.

This winter gives visitors to Santa Fe a chance to see a wide variety of art, much of it with a local tinge on the global art market. It is always instructive to see how much wonderful art has been produced here, to remember that there is something special about New Mexico.

Gerald Peters Gallery
1011 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Nedra Matteucci's Fenn Galleries
1075 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Morning Star Gallery
513 Canyon Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Linda Durham Contemporary Art
1101 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87505

James Kelly Contemporary
1601 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Evo Gallery
554 South Guadalupe
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art
200 Marcy Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Project space: by appointment only

Riva Yares Gallery
123 Grant Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Jane Sauer Gallery
652 Canyon Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Tai Gallery
1601 B Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501

William Siegel Galleries
540 South Guadalupe
santa Fe, NM 87501