Show Preview | Manitou Galleries: Art Lopez and Ethelinda

Santa Fe, NM, September 7-21

Ethelinda, The Arapaho, oil painting

Ethelinda, The Arapaho, oil, 30 x 26.

This story was featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!

What is southwestern art? In September, Manitou Galleries in Santa Fe offers two distinct answers to that question as it presents a joint show of works by two New Mexico artists: Ethelinda (the artist uses only one name) and Arthur Lopez. Ethelinda’s vivid oils include classic images of the West, whereas Lopez is an accomplished santero (an artist who makes santos, Spanish-style religious art) whose work borders on political and social commentary.

“We try to pair up diverse artists to create contrast,” notes Frank Rose, the gallery’s marketing manager. “Ethelinda is a representational artist, known for her horses and Native Americans. Arthur comes from a long line of New Mexican folk artists—but with a twist.” Rose adds that viewers are especially drawn to the energy emanating from Ethelinda’s equine art, whereas Lopez’s edgy creations evoke more visceral responses.

Born in Hawaii to an artistic family—her mother studied with Nicolai Fechin—Ethelinda got her first horse at the age of 13. Many of her canvases capture her beloved horses both in repose and in motion. “People invite me out to see their horses,” she explains, “so I always have new subject matter.” The artist observes that with each stride, a horse looks different. WHITE LIGHTNING, a painting she recently finished for the show, presents four views of a white Andalusian that recently died. “It’s an homage,” she says. “He was the most beautiful horse I ever painted.”

Ethelinda says she plans 25 new pieces for the Manitou show, including some still lifes, as well as her Native American and equine pieces. Her highly textural still-life paintings are surprisingly large, with some measuring 40 or 50 inches wide. “The viewer needs to see how magnificent the fruit actually is,” she says. “It’s more exciting to paint something that is arresting.”

Arthur Lopez, Lagrimas de Fe, wood/mixed media

Arthur Lopez, Lagrimas de Fe, wood/mixed media, 36 x 18 x 7.

Lopez is considered one of the finest santos artists working in the tradition of the northern New Mexico wood carvers. His provocative bultos—three-dimensional carved representations of the saints—provide a twist on the more reverential nature of much folkloric religious art. “I was trained as a traditional santero,” says Lopez. After only three months of study, his work was accepted into the prestigious Spanish Market in Santa Fe. Over time, Lopez began to experiment with more contemporary depictions of the lives of the saints. “If you try to tell the story of a martyred saint in traditional iconography, it’s off-putting,” he explains. “My idea was to tell the story of the saints in a modern way.” His figures, rendered with a glossy pop-art finish, present religious icons from a contemporary perspective. For example, WORLD’S CHAMPION depicts a winning Jesus on top of the world and in the form of a boxer.

The show takes place at Manitou’s 123 West Palace Avenue location. An opening reception, where visitors can meet the artists, is on September 7 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. 
—Mark Mussari

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Featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition
Or click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!



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