Show Preview | Kim Wiggins

Santa Fe, NM
Manitou Galleries, August 18-September 1

Kim Wiggins, Santa Fe Night, oil, 36 x 48.

Kim Wiggins, Santa Fe Night, oil, 36 x 48.

This story was featured in the August 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  August 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

In recent years, beautiful memories of his childhood in New Mexico have stirred Kim Douglas Wiggins to record them on canvas. This month, in a solo show at Manitou Galleries on West Palace Avenue, the artist shares more than 20 new oil paintings in which he relates some of those cherished memories as well as other symbolic reflections on the American West, from a landmark John Ford film to the majestic wild mustang. The show opens on Friday, August 18, with an artist’s reception at 5 p.m. 

The overriding theme throughout Wiggins’ new collection is the rural New Mexico he remembers as a boy in the 1960s, and as a result, his portrayals of old Spanish missions and adobe villages in the moonlight call to mind an earlier, almost magical era. “Kim’s evocative, expressionistic style not only conjures the sights of New Mexico but, more importantly, the feelings,” says gallery marketing coordinator Matt Mullins. “His subject matter recalls a deeply rooted history in this region.”

Those roots were firmly planted by Wiggins’ ancestors, who journeyed west by covered wagon and settled into ranch life in southeastern New Mexico. The artist himself grew up on his parents’ ranch near Roswell, where he began sculpting and painting at a young age. “I tend to portray things that spoke to me as a young child, to grasp those memories and put them on canvas before they’re gone,” says Wiggins, who resides in Roswell today. “I see things changing so quickly. What I document now has meaning and purpose not just for my generation, but for future generations.”

The artist’s father, who remained one of Wiggin’s most trusted critics until his death in 1992, was a prolific photographer with a passion for art, and his appreciation for western modernism heavily influenced his son’s own painting style. Another “tremendous influence,” says Wiggins, was Texas Regionalist Alexandre Hogue, a former student of Ernest Blumenschein and an active member of the Dallas Nine in the 1930s. Decades later, Hogue took Wiggins under his wing and taught him the power of using color and impasto to affect viewers’ senses. “He taught me the importance of symbolism,” recalls Wiggins, “the value of an iconic image, the use of patterns and rhythm in nature, and many other things.”

Over the past 20 years, the artist has been adding to a series of paintings that recounts Santa Fe’s cultural history, and he continues this homage in works like SANTA FE NIGHT, which celebrates a little bit of everything that compels Wiggins to paint. The piece captures a scene from an old photograph his father took of a group of vaqueros performing a lively midnight serenade. “I walk by this silver print every morning on my way to the studio,” he says. “I’ve often pictured this memory as being from one of our trips to Santa Fe, although the photograph was taken way before my time.” The painting, adds Wiggins, ties together his deep love for his father, his heritage, and the iconic city itself. —Kim Agricola

contact information
505.986.0440
www.manitougalleries.com

This story was featured in the August 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  August 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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