"I'm the first Taos Pueblo artist to have a solo exhibit at The Taos Inn," said David Gary Suazo. This is a point of pride not only for Suazo, but for the Taos community. That's …
'I'm the first Taos Pueblo artist to have a solo exhibit at The Taos Inn," said David Gary Suazo.
This is a point of pride not only for Suazo, but for the Taos community. That's because in the early 1900s, his great-grandfather Ben C. Lujan was a model for E. Irving Couse and Joseph Sharp, both of whom were founding members of the Taos Society of Artists.
"One time a teacher gave my sister a book about a 1975 exhibit of the Taos Society of Artists. When I saw that book, I was like 'Oh wow.' And the Taos Society of Artists used to meet at The Taos Inn. So, yeah, it's like coming full circle," Suazo said.
An exhibition featuring 60 original, new works by Suazo, part of the "TCA Exhibits at The Taos Inn" series, opens with a reception today (Sept. 20), 4-6 p.m., at The Taos Inn, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. It will remain on view through Jan. 28, 2019.
"It's a funny story how I got in to The Taos Inn exhibit. One of my friends works there, and one of her friends is a manager there. I gave them my business card and expected them to call me in two months. Instead they called me in two days. Now, I have to do a lot of work," he said.
Suazo explained that he's not one of those artists who has paintings in storage. He recently exhibited at the Southwest Association for Indian Arts Santa Fe Indian Market and in a small group show at the Denver Art Museum, and he sold at both.
His exhibit at The Taos Inn will include 3-by-4 foot paintings as well as 30 miniatures. "I do a lot of detail. I paint Taos Pueblo and other pueblos in realism as well as surreal and abstract. At Taos Pueblo, we're not allowed to paint our dancers because it's a religious ceremony. But they have dancers on the weekend at the Cultural Museum in Albuquerque. I used them as a subject for my painting, 'Calling for Rain Corn Dancers.'"
Collectors tell Suazo his work is different and that's welcome news to his ear. Suazo wants things to pop, and he uses expensive, high-end paints, and not in one layer. Sometimes his skies have four layers of paint.
"I'm doing paintings about the petroglyphs, the rock drawings along the Río Grande. I use acrylic and sand. The sand is etched into the canvas to look like the petroglyphs," he said.
Suazo was born in Taos and partially raised in Denver. He earned his degree in fine arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Additionally, he worked for artist Frank Howell (d. 1997) in Santa Fe.
"Frank owned fine art galleries and a publishing company which was in the space above the Häagen-Dazs on Santa Fe Plaza. From him I learned the mechanics of how a gallery operates, the business life. I've had my own gallery for 27 years," said Suazo.
His gallery, Evening Snow Comes, is located on the north side of the Taos Pueblo entrance. "Though, I may not be there. I do 24 shows a year," he said.
His biography states that he has won awards at prestigious juried art shows, including the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, Eiteljorg Indian Museum Art Market and numerous others across the Southwest and nationally. You can learn more about him at davidgarysuazo.com.
As a local, Suazo goes to The Taos Inn and knows the layout really well. He's already done a graph map of the space and knows where he'll be hanging his pieces.
"Any exhibit you're showing in is quite exciting. When guests stop talking and get close to look at your painting. They smile, get happy and say, 'I want it. I'm buying that one.' What gives me pleasure is seeing the expression on people's faces, the buyers and lookers," he said.
Colette LaBouff is the new executive director of the Taos Center for the Arts. "TCA Exhibits at The Historic Taos Inn" is a longstanding collaboration that showcases local artists. The 2019 call for exhibition proposals has begun at tcataos.org/news/view/183.
"I'm enchanted by the vibrancy and layers of color in Suazo's paintings. He's said that his work conveys a more simple time for people of the Pueblo. In that representation of a particular time and place, his recurring imagery and themes convey the quiet, the beauty and intensity of that everyday life," LaBouff said.
Suazo added, "From my generation of family, my great grandmother is Virginia Romero. She is a famous Taos Pueblo potter. The historic mile marker on State Road 150 across from Pizaños is about her. My parents are David and Reycita Suazo. My grandparents, parents and teachers encouraged and inspired me to be an artist."
For more information, call the Taos Center for the Arts at (575) 758-2052.
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