The stories behind the sculptures
By Kristin Hoerth
This story was featured in the October 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story
When you visit Santa Fe during Indian Market weekend, as I recently did, you always encounter a lot of interesting people. It starts even before you arrive, with plenty of fellow art lovers on the plane, at the car-rental counter, and in your hotel lobby. Indian artists from countless tribes converge on the plaza. Sometimes there’s even a celebrity sighting or two; for me this year, it was actress and longtime local resident Ali MacGraw in the lobby of La Fonda Hotel.
It happens in the galleries, too, where many artists are on hand to talk with collectors and other visitors. This year I met sculptor Scott Rogers during a Friday-night opening at Sage Creek Gallery on Canyon Road. Rogers was working on the clay model for a complex piece featuring an 1890s football team. He told me that he loves history, especially stories from the early days of the West that most people have never heard about—he calls them stories from the “fringe” side of the West. Most people don’t know, for example, that there were not only football teams but also baseball teams in the early West. Rogers’ enthusiasm for these little-known stories was infectious, and it shows in his work as well.
The next day I was introduced to another sculptor, Robin Laws, at Joe Wade Fine Art. Laws sculpts animals she has loved and lived with on her farm, and she regaled me and my colleagues with stories about their crazy antics and quirky personalities. Buck Bunny, for example, was a gentle rabbit who used to accompany Laws when she taught first-graders how to sculpt their own tiny bronzes; her portrait of him is titled JUST ONE BUCK. Another tale that got us laughing involved a group of chickens who were obsessed with pecking at a particular patch of earth. Three mules stood nearby watching the chickens for a while, and then one mule would run full-tilt at them, making them scatter and leaving a flurry of white feathers behind. The mules would watch as the chickens gathered again, and soon a different mule would take his turn breaking up the group.
Stories like these aren’t just fun to listen to—they also give us a chance to appreciate each artwork from a new perspective and with a deeper understanding. It’s always rewarding to encounter artists who are eager to tell us more about their work. Whenever you can, I hope you’ll take advantage of opportunities to hear about art from the people who create it.
Featured in the October 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art October 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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