Santa Fe, NM
This story was featured in the August 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art August 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art August 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
On Friday, August 2, Manitou Galleries brings together the latest works of B.C. Nowlin and Star Liana York at the gallery’s West Palace location, where both artists reveal new elements in the work that has made them favorites among collectors. “We’ve been showing them together for years,” says the gallery’s Frank Rose, “and they work great together; they’re both iconic of the Southwest.” The gallery hosts a preview party on August 2 from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and the show remains on view through August 16.
Nowlin continues to focus on the theme of travelers that he has pursued for many years. As he puts it, “My work is the journey. I love to paint people traveling through distances, beauty, mystery. You don’t ever see my figures’ faces; I don’t want you to know if they’re female, male, old, or young.” Nowlin presents new works in which “a couple hundred figures organize themselves into geometric patterns. I’m calling it All Souls; it’s the big human story.” These works boast vivid, rich colors that the artist creates by using acrylic as a base; Nowlin then “goes in with oil for its focus. Oil is sexier; I like when it stays wet, and I can work into it,” he says. Additionally, Nowlin includes in the show several vignettes that feature “a lot of words, painting, and photos; it’s the closest thing I’ve done to abstract.”
York, like Nowlin, continues to push her work while maintaining its essence. She brings to the show a collection of pieces from her new Origins of Art series, a series of works that are inspired by cave paintings from the Paleolithic period found around the Southwest. “I did a monumental piece—about 8 feet—from a painting that dates back 1,000 years—a big deer in velvet. It’s from an unusually large painting from this time,” she says. York has also discovered yet another approach to her art with sculptures of large herds of horses. “I’m taking those paintings and, as I like to think of it, giving them new life,” she says. “That imagery resounds with all of us in our DNA; it’s so ancient. They’re amazingly sophisticated drawings, created 32,000 years ago, and yet they show an understanding of perspective.”
Perhaps the most exciting sculpture in the show—for both the artist and patrons—is York’s portrait of the famed potter Maria Martinez. “I was asked to create this by the Millicent Rogers Museum,” she says. Typical of York, she set out on this project deliberately: “I wanted to capture her spirit. For someone to be as groundbreaking as she was in her art and move pottery from craft to fine art, that has got to be someone special who goes beyond the norm.” York searched through archives of photographs until she discovered the perfect image. “She’s caught in a candid moment with a twinkle in her eye,” York says. “I really had fun trying to capture that.” —Anne Hopper Vickstrom
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