November 25, 2011
Santa New Mexican
Pasatiempo, 11/25/2011
Michael Abatemarco


Santa New Mexican
Pasatiempo, 11/25/2011
Michael Abatemarco

I come to the paintings of David Solomon as I would to the imagery in a tarot deck, with a mingled sense of wonder and curiosity. From his work, I get the feeling I am being shown something from behind the veil of the ordinary day-to-day world, something that hints at the portentous. Solomon paints seedlike and cellular shapes that mingle and converge with other biomorphic forms on aluminum panels. Something about aluminum as a painting surface is suited to the kind of abstract painting Solomon does: energetic, hastily applied brushwork that is thick in some places and as thin as a wash in others. In some pieces a light shines through, reflected by the aluminum underneath.

Solomon's body of work on view at David Richard Contemporary is a selection of recent paintings that augments the gallery's main exhibit, features work by Jack Jefferson, Frank Lobdell, and Charles Strong. Solomon's work is in a small interior gallery adjacent to the main exhibit space. This positioning respectably keeps Solomon's new work at arm's length from the historic period represented by the paintings in the larger show but, because his work shares obvious affinities with those paintings, it belongs there. Solomon once worked as an assistant to Lobdell, and some of his work appears to have been influenced by the older artist.

I have not figured out exactly what it is that draws me to Solomon's work. It has to do, I think, with the mechanisms at play between the biomorphic forms. Solomon's work manages to be figurative without being overtly representational. In Midnight Dreaming or Anti Dream, for instance, a few dark lines suggest a vaguely human shape around which undefined images swirl. In that painting, and in others, there is the sense of bodies moving through space, of something happening. A triangular shape emerges in the lower right corner of In Midnight Dreaming. I get the sense that it is moving into my field of view, not out of it. Similar imagery appears in a small painting called Path to Road Cloud. The triangle is a recurring motif, along with the "seed pods," in Solomon's work.

Solomon captures a feeling of the movement of life on two levels: one molecular and the other macrocosmic. The painting Knowledge of Good & Evil is a good example: a cell-like shape with an image of an embryonic figure (just a thick drip of paint) contained in a nucleus that looks like a dark field of stars. The image is also vaguely apple shaped. Notice how the paint in Solomon's work is rendered — simple and uncomplicated. He makes it look effortless.

After a string of critically well-received and dynamic exhibitions, I am convinced that David Richard is among the most important contemporary galleries in Santa Fe. Nothing there ever seems haphazard. One senses, though no wall text is needed to make it clear, that careful research goes into each of the gallery's exhibits. If you have not yet seen the series of historic exhibitions it has been offering, then you owe yourself a visit. Somehow, the owners manage to keep older work fresh and newer work connected to the legacy of the past without feeling derivative.
Michael Abatemarco
New Mexican’s Pasatiempo
November 25, 2011

Santa New Mexican
Pasatiempo, 11/25/2011
Michael Abatemarco

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March 27, 2019
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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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