203 Fine Art offers look at 'Two Generations of Early Taos Artists'

History in a nutshell

By Tamra Testerman
Posted 2/13/19

The artists' work carefully hung on the smooth 18-foot-high walls of 203 Fine Art Gallery spans more than a century of art history in Taos.The show the gallery is hanging this week …

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203 Fine Art offers look at 'Two Generations of Early Taos Artists'

History in a nutshell

Posted

The artists' work carefully hung on the smooth 18-foot-high walls of 203 Fine Art Gallery spans more than a century of art history in Taos.

The show the gallery is hanging this week is titled "Two Generations of Early Taos Artists" and it is slated to open with an open house reception Saturday (Feb. 16), 2-6 p.m.

It is a rare opportunity to see early Taos Art Colony painters, alongside a selection of the earliest Taos Moderns. Gallery owner Eric Andrews spoke to Tempo by phone as he was riding chairlift 2 at Taos Ski Valley. He noted there was "great snow" and then launched into his passion for the exhibition at his gallery.

Andrews said the reason for this show was to illustrate that "our scope goes beyond the Taos Moderns, to a wide range of periods and movements."

It isn't often these artists are shown together. But, is it that rare? "There were a few instances when some of these artists would have presented their work together in one place," he said. "For example, Cliff Harmon showed his art along with some founders and earlier Taos artists at the La Fonda Gallery back in the '50s, however rarely throughout the last 60 years have works from two such diverse periods of art been presented in this fashion."

Andrews downplays the idea that this blend of works is in any way impressive, mainly because it comprises only 14 paintings. "So there is only one example of each of the earlier colony artists and mostly the same for the midcentury Taos Moderns," he said.

Andrews added that the unique works are those by two of the first Moderns to arrive in Taos in 1944, Louis Ribak and Beatrice Mandelman.

Two of Ribak's representational works, a classic Talpa Village scene as well as a painting of the Valdez Valley, are included in the hanging. The other more abstracted works are mostly from the 1950s. Andrews said they are by some of the earliest Modern artists to arrive in Taos. They have a very midcentury period feel, when compared to the works from the 1920s and '30s.

He said there are "interesting comparisons to be made by the viewer, seeing an abstract painting by Clay Spohn right next to a painting by Herbert Dunton, which has similar brush work and abstracted forms within a representational piece. A large abstract charcoal done by Edward Corbett in 1955, which has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum and is in the artist's retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Art, hangs next to a colorful Oscar Berninghaus, which is a simplified depiction of the old Talpa Church, painted in 1919."

According to Andrews, the 203 is a great space for showcasing this work. "The comparisons are as interesting as the contrasting styles, but the artwork from these two periods works well together and the exhibition looks wonderful in our wide-open space on 18-foot-high walls."

The list of work and time periods represented at this show include: Victor Higgins (1884-1949), Dorothy Brett (1883-1977), Sheldon Parsons (1866-1943), Herbert Dunton (1878-1936), Oscar Berninghaus (1874-1952), Louis Ribak (1902-1979), Beatrice Mandelman (1912-1998), Cliff Harmon (1923-2018), Edward Corbett (1919-1971), Clay Spohn (1898-1977) and others.

The exhibition continues through March. The gallery is located at 1335 Gusdorf Road Suite I. After the opening, the gallery is open daily by appointment by calling (575) 751-1262.

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