Fine art

Nocturnal mysteries

Greg Moon Art opens national ‘After Dark 6’ exhibit

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There are degrees of darkness. It’s not just the extremes of light and the utter absence of it, but the subtle transitions that give darkness both its mystery and its lure. Besides those things seen and in sunlight, what is happening in the shadows? How will our minds matrix in the answers to the questions that darkness poses?

These dark things have been given some light with an art show that celebrates darkness and things that share the same state of mind as the dark. Greg Moon Art celebrates its sixth foray into this zone of mystery.

An opening reception for the exhibition, “After Dark 6,” is planned Saturday (June 24) from 5-8 p.m. at Greg Moon Art, 109-A Kit Carson Road. Admission is free and the public is invited.

Gallery owner Greg Moon hosts this nationally known show with guest jurors Matt Kennedy and Stuart Ashman.

“I started painting nighttime when I was still in school,” Moon said. “I found that the only time I had to work on personal projects was late at night.” What began as a necessity turned into a muse for creativity and what Moon describes as an odyssey that has been going on for more than 30 years. 

“I love the distillation of nighttime, the simplification of form, the votive emotional content,” he said. 

In 2012, Moon’s fascination with the visual aspect of nighttime hours led to his creation of the first “After Dark” exhibition.

For this iteration of the show, the gallery attracted 689 entries from 36 states.

“Forty-seven pieces were selected and confirmed for the show. In the first few years, we had mainly nighttime subject matter and photography far outpaced the other genres for the best work submitted,” Moon said.

He went on to explain how the focus of the show has expanded over time. “As I’ve stressed ‘dark’ subject matter the last few years, we have expanded the scope of what is submitted. The jurors have moved more and more into a contemporary vein with an infusion of many jurors from the lowbrow and pop surrealism [genres]. This has also led to more media being submitted in mixed media and painting.”

These new media pieces have now surpassed photography as the most prominent media submitted and accepted.

Moon added, “The most difficult decision for me has been picking jurors who have similar taste to mine. It’s very difficult to represent, much less sell, work I don’t particularly like.”

That led Moon to reach out to this year’s jurors, Kennedy and Ashman. Kennedy is the director of La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, and Ashman is the executive director Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.

Prior to his position the CCA, Ashman helped create the legislation – with former Rep. J. Paul Taylor (D-NM), former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and the New Mexico Legislature – to elevate the Department of Cultural Affairs to a Cabinet-level agency. He served as its secretary from 2003-2010. Before that, he served as director of the New Mexico Museum of Art and as the executive director of Santa Fe’s Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.

Kennedy is the director of what is considered one of the most important, groundbreaking galleries in Los Angeles, which quickly garnered its reputation with collectors, galleries and artists around the world and also gave birth to a genre of California art that would come to be known as “lowbrow.”

Moon suggests that “After Dark” is a perfect opportunity for artists to explore those dimly lit nooks and crannies, both in the external and internal worlds. This is the place where we experience our most difficult thoughts and emotions. These are not just the dark alleys, but with dreams and visions, illuminated only by the slightest settling of light.

The show will be on view through July 15.

Call (575) 770-4463 or visit gregmoonart.com for more information.

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