Show Preview | Weems International Artfest

Albuquerque, NM
Manuel Lujan Complex, November 14-16

Michael Naranjo, Freedom, bronze, 12 x 11 x 7.

Michael Naranjo, Freedom, bronze, 12 x 11 x 7.

This story was featured in the November 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

The 32nd annual Weems International Artfest, held at the Manuel Lujan Complex at EXPO New Mexico, returns for the weekend of November 14-16. More than 280 artists bring works in nearly every medium imaginable. Each artist shows up to 45 pieces, making the event a dynamic experience for collectors. “I don’t think there’s anything we don’t have,” says show founder Mary Ann Weems. “You name something and I think it’s in the show, from useful wood items to beautiful sculpted wood pieces and from practical pottery to decorative. We have abstract art all the way to total realism.” With artists working in sculpture, glass, jewelry, and fiber as well as watercolor, pastel, charcoal, oil, and photography, there are plenty of opportunities for both new and seasoned collectors to go home with something special.

The show prides itself on showcasing the talents of both emerging and well-established artists, as well as creating an environment where art patrons can interact with artists. “Our show is unique because it has artists who don’t [otherwise] do arts and craft fairs,” says Weems.

Proceeds from this year’s show benefit local organizations that help returning veterans. On Friday, November 14, at 7 p.m. the show honors New Mexico artist Michael Naranjo, a highly regarded sculptor who is himself a veteran. Naranjo sustained major injuries during his service in Vietnam when a grenade explosion blinded him in both eyes and damaged his right hand. For the past 40 years, he has been creating sculptures full of profound beauty and grace. “I see with my mind’s eye, and it tells me whether I need to make adjustments,” Naranjo told Southwest Art in a 2012 interview. “For large sculptures, it takes tens of thousands of touches to see it in my mind as the complete piece.” Naranjo’s work has encompassed a wide variety of Native American subjects, figures, and animals.

After more than three decades of annual shows, the Weems International Artfest has become something of an institution in New Mexico. “It’s been a great journey, and this year I think will be one of our best,” Weems says. “It’s a fabulous show.” —Joe Kovack

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Featured in the November 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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