Show Preview | John Nieto

Santa Fe, NM
Ventana Fine Art, August 17-September 4

John Nieto, Pueblo Water, acrylic, 16 x 20.

John Nieto, Pueblo Water, acrylic, 16 x 20.

This story was featured in the August 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art August 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Editor’s Note: This story was written in June, shortly before John Nieto passed away in early July at the age of 81. At the time of his death, he had already completed numerous works for his August show, including the ones shown. For more information, please click here.

This month at Ventana Fine Art, in a show entitled A Legend Continues, there are, in fact, two legendary talents to celebrate. The gallery is filled with new paintings from acclaimed New Mexico artist John Nieto, who scales the heights of Cubism in a special tribute to the great Pablo Picasso. The show opens with a reception on Friday, August 17, at 5 p.m. “John has paid homage to other great artists in the past, including Botticelli, Vermeer, van Gogh, and de Kooning, but no master has intrigued him more than Picasso,” says gallery sales manager Wolfgang Mabry. “There’s a huge new infusion of enthusiasm, of energy, in this show.”

Nieto’s creative vigor is especially remarkable in light of his recent treatment for congestive heart failure. After regaining his physical strength earlier this year, the 82-year-old artist returned to his studio with an intensified fervor. His decision to honor Picasso stems, in part, from what he shares in common with the famed Spanish artist, who was inspired to paint in the Cubist style after visiting an ethnographic museum in Paris. Nieto himself, being half Hispanic and half Native American, has long depicted ethnographic subjects. “John is still painting the things that made him famous—the animals and people native to North America—but now it’s through this Picasso-inspired lens of Cubism,” says Mabry.

Nieto’s trademark subjects are doused in vibrant, asymmetrical planes of color that express his continued love for Fauvism and strong, graphic imagery. His Native American figures wear brightly woven garments, and many clutch hunting tools, buffalo shields, feathers, and other objects that represent their heritage. “Sometimes there is an American flag in there, or a cavalry glove from the Battle of the Little Bighorn, to show where natives have been and where they are now,” says Mabry. “This forward-looking view in the modern Cubist style appeals to John because natives embrace the present.” —Kim Agricola

contact information
505.983.8815
www.ventanafineart.com

This story was featured in the August 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art August 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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