Sorrel Sky Gallery, June 2-30
This story was featured in the June 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art June 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
This month and next, the clean, well-lit contemporary interiors of Sorrel Sky Gallery’s two locations are filled with the spirit of prehistoric sites like Lascaux, France, or Mesa Verde, CO, thanks to a new body of sculptures by Star Liana York. Her pieces are inspired by, and explore, our deeply connected, shared history with the ancients and their lost cultures. Entitled Mysteries From Lost Worlds and Forgotten Dreams, York’s solo exhibition opens in Durango on Thursday, June 2, with an artist’s reception from 5 to 7 p.m., and then in Santa Fe on Friday, July 1, with an artist’s reception on Thursday, July 8, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Each location displays numerous animal bronzes and a few clay studies, all grouped ceremonially around a large sculpted shaman.
Fans of York’s more overtly western themes and animal sculptures will be familiar with her work’s rich patinas and distinctive dark, smoky edges, which translate seamlessly to what the artist describes as the more “stylized primitive” sensibilities of these new pieces. Her exploration of, and admiration for, the beauty and sophisticated designs found in the world’s dark caverns
deeply inform this show. “I felt,” York explains, “like my role could be to give the images new relevance, to make the paintings three-dimensional, to bring them off the walls, allow them more movement, and have them come alive in a more concrete way, giving them a contemporary physical reality.” She intentionally sculpted some of the pieces to look like found objects, as if she has liberated the animal spirits from the cave walls and created for them a bridge between the spiritual and natural worlds, the Paleolithic past and the present day.
Shanan Campbell Wells, owner of Sorrel Sky Gallery, finds York’s dual shows not only aesthetically enthralling but also particularly timely. “We are thrilled to be showcasing her rock-art series this summer,” Wells says. “What an ideal opportunity to celebrate our ancient ancestors in conjunction with our Durango location’s close proximity to Mesa Verde National Park, which will be observing its hundred-year celebration this coming August.” —Lynn Dubinsky
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