By Donna Tennant
Our Saints Among Us: 400 Years of New Mexican Devotional Art
By Barbe Awalt and Paul Rhetts
Barbe Awalt and Paul Rhetts began collecting devotional art—santos, retablos, and bultos—in the mid-1980s. After moving to Albuquerque, NM, in 1990, they stepped up their acquisitions and began educating themselves further on the subject. In 1994 they published a book on Charlie Carrillo, author, anthropologist, and award-winning santero. The following year they began to publish Tradición Revista, a quarterly journal on Spanish Colonial art. Last year Awalt and Rhetts authored The Regis Santos [swa oct 97]. Our Saints Among Us accompanies a traveling exhibition curated by the authors to mark the 400th anniversary of Spanish influence on the Southwest. More than 250 santos, dating from 1750 to 1997, are pictured and discussed. Chapters address the history and major themes of devotional art, the 110 artists included in the exhibition, and the feast days and saints of New Mexican culture. The exhibition, which was at the University of New Mexico last month, opens June 5 at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, CO.
1998 LPD Press, Albuquerque, NM, 192 pages, 248 illustrations, 129 in color, $59.95 hardbound (ISBN 0-9641542-2-6), $44.95 softbound (ISBN 0-9641542-8-5)
Missouri to New Mexico
Paintings by Hugh Greer
This self-published book of paintings by Hugh Greer dispenses with details like page numbers and dates, focusing instead on 38 of his evocative paintings. Greer’s subjects include country roads, old bridges, small-town churches, homes, and other scenes from his native state of Kansas (he resides in Wichita) and nearby Missouri, along with the more rugged mountain vistas of Colorado and New Mexico. These finely detailed acrylics and watercolors are accompanied by the poems of Cathy Bolon Stephenson of West Texas.
1997 Hugh Greer, Kechi, KS (ISBN 0- 9660735-0-9), 90 pages, 38 color illustrations, $29.95 softbound
Valley of Shining Stone: The Story of Abiquiu
By Lesley Poling-Kempes
Thanks to Georgia O’Keeffe, the lower Chama River Valley northwest of Santa Fe, NM, has become a mecca for tourists. Each year thousands of visitors take the winding road north to Abiquiu, site of the artist’s home and studio, hoping to experience the sources of O’Keeffe’s inspiration. The area referred to as the Valley of Shining Stone is actually the Piedra Lumbre basin. It encompasses Cerro Pedernal, the distinctive flat-topped mountain that O’Keeffe often painted, along with the Chama River, which emerges from a steep, walled canyon before winding through the rich valley. There are also distinctive pink-and-white formations known as the Cliffs of Shining Stone on the northern edge of the basin. Author Leslie Poling-Kempes, who has lived in the valley for more than 20 years, presents a detailed account of the complicated history of the region. The first half of the book tells the story of the valley from prehistory until the mid-1800s and explains why it became known as “the land of war” by the conquistadors. The second half is the story of Abiquiu and Piedra Lumbre from the late 19th century into modern times. Many pages and vintage photographs are devoted to O’Keeffe and her friends.
1997 University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 265 pages, 68 illustrations, $50 hardbound (ISBN 0-8165-1421-6), $24.95 softbound (ISBN 0-8165-1446-1)
Featured in April 1998