Emerging Artist | Dan Vigil

Pow Wow by Dan Vigil

By Gussie Fauntleroy

When Taos, NM-based artist Dan Vigil first starts moving paint around—usually acrylic on board—it’s a little like seeing shapes in clouds. Amorphous colors suggest an image, which Vigil pulls into more solid form. Yet even in his finished works, figures are often loosely evoked, reflecting the artist’s interest in the Bay Area figurative style of the 1940s and ’50s as well as painters such as Nathan Oliviera and Richard Diebenkorn. As a child, Vigil was introduced to the work of these and many other artists by his father, renowned artist Veloy Vigil [1931-1997]. From his father he also learned printmaking, artistic discipline, and the ways of color and form. He refined these skills through training with printmakers from the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, NM, and by years of printing the work of his father and other artists.

Now a master printmaker himself, Vigil, 53, often works in monotype, sometimes using the medium to “sketch out” ideas for paintings. These days his mood-infused imagery—which has always harbored symbolic meaning—often includes angels, with or without wings. The faces of human figures interacting with these holy beings may suggest a story of need or joy. “I always have a vision that they’re messengers, communicators, healers,” Vigil says of the angelic figures. “With their wings wide open they’re saying,‘I’m here to help.’” Vigil’s work is on view at Meyer-Munson Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Gallery Elena, Taos, NM; and Faust Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ.

Featured in “Aritsts to Watch” Janurary 2006