Abend Gallery, May 16-June 14
This story was featured in the May 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Artist Peggy McGivern and her husband, Peter Stravlo, have taken many unforgettable—and sometimes risky—trips together. “My husband is a writer and avid traveler who always wants to go to distant and dangerous places, and I end up going along for the ride,” McGivern laughs. The couple’s most recent journey included an illegal route through Cancún, Mexico, to Havana, Cuba. “I had a panic attack the first night,” the artist admits. But after a few days she began to feel more at ease, and before long she’d fallen in love with the people and places she encountered in Cuba. “We traveled the country, frequenting cafés, art galleries, and artists’ studios, exploring winding Havana streets full of vintage cars and horse-drawn wagons, and finding tango dancers in the barrios and jazz musicians on every corner,” she says.
After returning to the U.S. (the artist spends about half her time in Taos, NM, and the other half in Denver, CO), it took McGivern some time to fully digest the whole experience of the trip. About a year later, she says, “The work began pouring out of me.” The results of this stream of inspiration are on view this month in a solo show at Abend Gallery, which opens with an artist’s reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 16, and runs through June 14. The show, titled Cuba: A Cuban Adventure in Image and Word, features about 30 new works—each accompanied by prose written by Stravlo—inspired by the people and places of a country that few Americans ever get to visit.
In addition to all-new subject matter, the artist has been experimenting with different mediums—including acrylic, charcoal, pencil, crayon, and even dirt—as well as shifting her style. “The new work for this show is much more abstracted and simplified than before,” she says, though she is quick to clarify that every piece is still representative of a memory or photograph from her travels. Her intention, however, is to show something deeper than a particular person or scene. “I hope [these works portray] the essence of the place and the gentle peo- ple that I have come to love and admire,” she says. —Lindsay Mitchell
Featured in the May 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art May 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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