Fine art

Wurlitzer Foundation Fellows exhibit new works

Wilder Nightingale Fine Art features artists in three-day show


Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, 119 Kit Carson Road, is having a “Wilder Pop Up” show featuring Haley Nannig and Christopher B. Mooney. The show will be on view Friday through Sunday (April 7-9). Meet the artists at a reception Saturday (April 8) from 5-7 p.m.

Nannig and Mooney have recently completed a residency program at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico. The foundation, established in 1954, is one of the oldest artist residency programs in the country. This show will represent what Taos means to the artists.

Rob Nightingale, owner and director of the gallery, described how the idea of “A Wilder Pop Up” show came about.

“One afternoon, Christopher Mooney came in to see what art the gallery had to offer. We got to talking and he mentioned he had just finished a residency at the Wurlitzer Foundation, along with a fellow alumnus, Haley Nannig. I was intrigued. I thought, ‘Let’s have a pop-up show to present what Haley Nannig and you have created here in Taos.’”

Nannig has written in her artist statement, “The environments I have lived in or traveled to and from have always impacted my work. Finding myself moving to a new place every few months for the last couple of years has let me explore different cultures and communities and as a result, my artwork, sometimes without even knowing, is filled with these influences. Being in New Mexico for only a few short months has challenged the way I think about color relationships and has brought line into my paintings, taken directly from my drawings. I am also fascinated in the idea of spending a large or little amount of time on a layer and then completely wiping it out, leaving only windows of time and the feeling of cycles. My most recent paintings have heavy traces of the mountainous landscape in this area, which contrasts so greatly with my Rhode Island origins, growing up by the ocean.”

She is primarily a painter who produces work with pattern, collage and thick gestural paint marks. They are entirely dependent on immediacy and speed.

Nannig has said she is fascinated with the idea of spending a large or little amount of time on a layer and then completely wiping it out, leaving only windows of time and the feeling of cycles. Her work is influenced by where she lives, which is Rhode Island’s coastal area, where she was raised.

She attended Alfred University – receiving a bachelor’s degree in fine art – and specialized in painting and printmaking. She also received minor degrees in art history and education.

“I received a fellowship from the amazing Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and I was lucky enough to continue my practice in Taos. I have always been drawn to the ocean and the mountains because of the relationship humans have with these giant natural phenomena that make us feel so small. After Taos, I plan to continue exploring new and forever-changing horizons, which I feel has an overwhelming impact on my work,” Nannig said.

Mooney is a portrait and urban landscape artist who will also be showing in the “Wilder Pop Up.” His large-scale oils capture the essence of the human spirit while revealing the beauty of the urban landscape and the mark left on it by those very humans.

“I apply techniques using color, perspective, and light to translate our capacity to feel, to shed our masks, and to allow vulnerability,” Mooney said in his artist statement.

“I recently attended The [Helene] Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos ... as an artist in residency where artists are given a studio, time away from home, and the chance to explore Northern New Mexico,” he said in the statement. “The Rio Grande – over millions of years – has sliced the terrain like an open sore scoring the earth wide open. I crossed the majesty of this bridge while breathing in its fascinating and inspiring ingenuity. ... There was nothing between me, my camera, and a 650-foot drop into the gorge except a chest-high guardrail. It gave me a new and unusual point of view.”

He likens the experience to “stepping off the sidewalk and seeing the beauty and connection across a terrain with sunlight and shadows never seen before.”

Living in Portland, Oregon, he established a niche for himself in the art community as a painter of contemporary realism.

“A significant body of my work focuses on Oregon’s bridges and diverse architectural styles that use an interesting mix of materials, framing, and textures. The rivers and bridges are critical to the city’s character and function and are a great source of my inspiration. Bridges frame our landscape and create vital connections between communities and commerce,” he shared on his website.

Geometry, complexity and repeating shapes are the ingredients – and light and shadow are the tools that bring them into immediacy.

“I am fascinated by the complex steel girders and geometric shapes that underpin the majesty of bridges that so often compel us to just stop and look – to be still in the moment – and breathe in the ingenuity of a grand bridge. I enjoy building dramatic perspectives in my bridge paintings to deliver unusual points of view that render exciting realistic and abstract portrayals. I enjoy showing the beauty and life connection a bridge provides through my use of light to illuminate these magnificent structures and the contrasting shadows,” he said.

The Wurlitzer Foundation’s mission is to support the artists and the creative process and serves as a haven for visual artists, literary artists and music composers.

Nightingale added he is delighted the idea came about and he’s looking forward to the show and visiting with the artists.

Wilder Nightingale Fine Art is located at 119 Kit Carson Road, Taos. For more information, call (575) 758-3255.


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