Art

Allegra Sleep's artistic journey through time

With a color palette rooted in Latin America, Taos artist brings a vivid approach to new body of work

By Tamra Testerman
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 11/8/19

Gold, purple and green is the color palette Allegra Sleep explores for her solo exhibition titled "Time, Travel." She said her color choices represent her childhood in Latin America, and the theme "transportation and time" is "to tie together two of my favorite bodies of work … paintings of the past and modern transportation, taxis, trucks, trains - and a few of my friend's ancestors."

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Art

Allegra Sleep's artistic journey through time

With a color palette rooted in Latin America, Taos artist brings a vivid approach to new body of work

Posted

Gold, purple and green is the color palette Allegra Sleep explores for her solo exhibition titled "Time, Travel." She said her color choices represent her childhood in Latin America, and the theme "transportation and time" is "to tie together two of my favorite bodies of work … paintings of the past and modern transportation, taxis, trucks, trains - and a few of my friend's ancestors."

Patrons will have a chance to meet Sleep at a reception planned Saturday (Nov. 9), 2-4 p.m., at the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos. Admission is free.

Sleep began painting for this show after Taos Art Museum's Executive Director Christy Schoedinger saw her work on a 2018 "Taos Is Art" tourism promotion banner and invited her to do a solo exhibition. Sleep said she was thrilled to receive the invitation. "I am very excited to show at the Fechin Studio in a solo show," she said. "Very excited and very honored."

We asked Sleep a few questions about her process as an artist and the exhibition. Here is what she said.

What brought you to Taos - what were your first impressions, and when did you know you couldn't leave?

We moved to Taos from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, during the winter of 1989-1990. That winter was a hard one. Lots of ice and snow. It wasn't a culture shock as so much as weather shock that I suffered from. It took me awhile to get used to the different smells. When I first smelled Taos after a rain, that sharp peppery creosote smell, I did not like it at all. The rain in Puerto Rico smells sweet like sugarcane. Taos has been my home base now for many years. It is where I have roots in the United States. I consider it home.

What medium do you work with - how did you arrive at working with this medium, and why do you prefer it to others?

I work in watercolor and acrylic. I use both in each of my paintings. It took me awhile to work with both and to balance them both in each piece. The two are complementary to one another. I can achieve a wider range of effects by using both.

Who, what, where inspires you?

I cannot work without music in my studio. I painted the large 40-by-40 inch painting titled "Hondo Bear" to one song -- a remix that the DJ Diplo made from Will Call's song. The rumor is that he made it for a friend's bear, but I am not sure of the authenticity of the tale. It still makes for a good story. I also listen to Talvin Singh's music while painting.

What does your studio space represent, and your routine for getting in "the zone"?

My studio space is the most important space in my house. It is a controlled chaos - it must have enough room for the large paintings that I work on, and must have a good sound system. I put music on, and can transcend linguistic thought, and think in color, shape and form.

What is the plan for the reception? How do you feel about displaying your work in the Fechin studio?

Plan for the opening right now is to show up, fully clothed and presentable. I have been too busy with my last minute "to do" list (framing, digital captures, etc.) to fine-tune anything like food or music. I hope to have both. On a side note, I use Barry Norris Studio for digital captures and John at Zia Frames for my framing needs - both are excellent local resources.

Anything else you think is important for our readers to know?

I would like to let everyone who does not know already that I am very hard of hearing, and wear behind-the-ear digital hearing aids. So, if I have trouble carrying on a conversation with you in a crowd, now you know why. See you at the show!

The exhibit will be on view through Dec. 8.Sleep is a signature member of the Taos Watercolor Society and has been featured in Southwest Art Magazine. Her work is in collections all over the world. For more information on the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, call (575) 758-2690 or visit taosartmuseum.org.

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