It may be the height of the summer season here in Taos but we've nevertheless got reminders that fall is right around the corner. Afternoon clouds routinely build with the sweet …
It may be the height of the summer season here in Taos but we've nevertheless got reminders that fall is right around the corner. Afternoon clouds routinely build with the sweet potential of monsoon rains. Waist-high thistles adorn the fields and roadways. Stores are laden with crayons, notebooks and back-to-school displays. Then, there's this: "15.15 Hz Sunlight 04.01.2018 09:16:17.003 36*24'22"N 105*34'31"W."
What looks like an unintelligible GPS designation is actually not that at all. It is, in fact, the title of Sasha Raphael vom Dorp's winning poster entry for the 2019 Taos Fall Arts Festival. And when the TFAF committee announces this winner we all know the distinguished event, now in its 45th year, is rapidly approaching.
"The announcement of the winning poster artist is a time-honored tradition of Taos Fall Arts, one which sets a tone for the festival itself," said Norlynne Coar, who directs marketing and promotion for the festival and who noted that this year's theme is "Of Heaven and Earth/Del Cielo y de la Tierra." "Our artist has captured that point of view in a very relevant and exciting manner," she said.
Plan on being at Old Martina's Hall in Ranchos de Taos today (July 11) at 5 p.m. and join in the unveiling ceremony where you'll see for yourself the astonishing image created by the artist's wizardry.
"Sasha created this work with a machine he built that allows him to see sound - a visual representation of the seemingly intangible in an ever-changing universe. In his images, vom Dorp, the alchemist, captures moments in time and space, and captures these glimpses that will never be repeated," Coar said.
The artist then prints his photographs on archival watercolor paper using archival pigment inks and then mounts them onto aluminum.
"In the case of the winning image, the title describes the exact moment, up to the 1,000th of a second in time and space, that light moved through sound-stimulated water," she explained.
You don't need a graduate degree in chemistry or physics to appreciate the movement and spectrum of colors that vom Dorp managed to seize in his entry. The image appears to be alive, a specimen of molecules swathed in shades of blues and purples and accented with prismatic details that do not need a microscope for you to appreciate its inherent beauty.
"Sasha has long been revered for his unorthodox yet compelling work," Coar continued. "He is proof that contemporary art is alive and well here in Taos." For the selection of his winning image, vom Dorp will receive a cash prize and a premier spot in the TFAF Open Exhibition, which will once again be held at the Guadalupe Parish gymnasium, on Don Fernando Street.
Vom Dorp began his career as an oil painter and has evolved into the exploration of kinetic sculpture, photography and multimedia installations. A native Taoseño, vom Dorp has also lived in Sweden, Mexico, Taiwan, the Philippines and Los Angeles, where last year the Kellogg University Art Gallery mounted a major exhibit of his work. He continues to work here, where he lives with his wife and four children.
As an ancillary feature of the unveiling ceremony, Coar said, "We of the Fall Arts committee are, once again, recognizing two image artists this year. There are so many excellent submissions for the poster competition that TFAF also wants to recognize those who are runners-up in the final selection."
Robert Pérez Jr. has been selected for his oil painting "The Reaper," as well as Karen Ahlgren for her watercolor and gouache painting "Cloud Dancer."
"Robert gives us an oil painting that is very Van Gogh-esque in its rendering, and is quite lovely in its interpretation. Karen's work is slightly more traditional in the Taos art sense, but equally colorful and representative of what Taos Fall Arts wants to elevate in our community. They are both very deserving artists," Coar concluded.
Pérez grew up in New York and studied at both the prestigious Pratt-Phoenix School of Design and Art Students League. Now living in Cerro, Pérez is renowned for his large-scale paintings which, he said, "follows the realistic form with [a] painterly spirit, meaning a void of line. In its place is abstract design. The source of abstract design comes from observing life, resisting or registering what is significant and leaving out the rest."
Ahlgren grew up in northern California which, she noted, was responsible for her enduring love of wildlife and wild places. Using a saturated, jewel-toned palette, her goal now is to connect the viewer of her works with "the majesty and sentient soulfulness" of the wildness of New Mexico.
The unveiling ceremony is a free and all-ages event, at which you will have the opportunity to purchase one of vom Dorp's signed posters.
Old Martina's Hall is located at 4140 State Road 68 in Ranchos de Taos. For more information, call (575) 758-3003, or visit taosfallarts.com.
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