On June 15, City of Mud collaborative art space will open a new group show called “OUTRAGE.” An opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. will be attended by many of the contributing artists. A diverse offering of entertainments will surprise the public.
Approximately two dozen artists will have 2-D and 3-D works in the show, which will provide a venue for expressionistic and conceptual art capturing a sense of discontent or alienation often (but not always) inspired by national or global political events.
“This is uncomfortable art for uncomfortable times,” says Sasha Pyle, the gallery’s curator. “Not only do we live with political and environmental news which saddens and infuriates us, but as artists we are increasingly on the chopping block ourselves. The more instability we see around us, the more we are made to feel our work is somehow superfluous. Why buy a painting if you’re moving to Canada? Why support living arts when the natural world and social justice are under constant attack? We feel it’s quite the reverse. Artists have not just a right but also a responsibility to express the full range of their human experience through their artworks, not just the pretty or cheerful side of life.”
Some of the exhibited art addresses specific issues such as environmental destruction, war, violence against women, child abuse, border conflicts and homelessness. Some speaks to the nation’s acrimonious political climate. Other pieces capture the mood of outrage more abstractly.
One artist featured is Issa Nyaphaga, a Cameroonian activist who has been imprisoned and tortured for organizing to counter the repressive regime in his homeland. He built a radio station in the jungle so villagers could have access to programming not created by the government. His current art takes the form of photography and performance art. He now calls Santa Fe his home for several years. You may have seen him walking across town in face and body paint, dragging dozens of water bottles to call attention to water use issues.
“I was in exile in Paris for ten years, working for the publication Charlie Hebdo and making presentations to the UN. But I was lonely. I got a residency grant here and I stayed,” says Nyaphaga. “I projected my freedom and vision of being here the way you visualize a drawing on blank paper. This is where people pay attention to art. I don’t have to compete with anybody to do the things I want to do. I would be arrested in Cameroon for the kind of projects I do all the time here.”
Gallery partner Jamie Chase, both a painter and an illustrator, bridges the gap with his Atrocities series, scenes of conflict and destruction painted onto irregular shapes of torn cardboard. “I painted these on cardboard deliberately because it is not precious,” explains Chase. “It matches the content of the imagery, which I found hard to create—these are not easy subjects to look at—but I felt the need to express my horror at what is going on in the world.”
Brad Bealmear’s Reckonings, a series of large-format canvases, each feature a brushily depicted human form falling or contorting within an undefined space of turbulent black strokes against bright colors which suggest a pop-art or street-art influence.
The show’s youngest artist is 21-year-old Isaak Kevan-Hoffman, raised in Santa Fe by two artistically creative parents, and currently attending UNM and residing in Albuquerque. His paintings on canvas or board convey the struggle of an individual spirit confronted with a vortex of chaotic energies.
Other media represented will include sculpture, assemblage and textiles.
The show will hang until the end of August. Related events, such as readings by award-winning poets, and musical evenings, will be announced as the dates approach.
“To my knowledge, no gallery in Santa Fe has ever mounted a show like this,” says Pyle. “We are providing an immersive experience quite different from the roomful of non-threatening art you typically see in galleries. Our intention all along has been to showcase local artists with global sensibilities, and OUTRAGE fulfills that mission to a T.”
Partners Sasha Pyle, Jamie Chase and Nancy Nichols opened City of Mud in 2015. They mount themed group exhibitions which juxtapose art, artifacts and décor showing each element to its best advantage. Located one mile west of SITE Santa FE and the Railyard, City of Mud is part of an expanding modern arts scene on the west side of town. This is the first large group show after the Spring 2018 Artist Spotlight series, which focused on two complementary artists for each month.
OUTRAGE will be followed by a fall group show centered on the concept of BLISS.
Date(s) - June 15, 2018 - August 19, 2018
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
City of Mud Gallery