Alibi V.23 No.50 • Dec 11-17, 2014 

Culture Shock

Intergalactic indigenous

“Truth,” acrylic and spray paint on canvas
“Truth,” acrylic and spray paint on canvas
Sage Hagan
[click to enlarge]
Here’s an art show title that says exactly what it’s about: Indians & Astronauts. Featuring the technicolor paintings of Sage Hagan (who’s Aleut and was one of the artists in last summer’s Indigenous Fine Art Market) and Jason Ward (possibly a spaceman who definitely moonlights as a killer tattoo artist), the exhibit’s open just two days: Friday, Dec. 12, from 4 to 9pm, and Saturday, Dec. 13, noon to 9pm at NM Studio 313 (1115 S. Camino del Pueblo, Bernalillo).

Fans of impossible-to-ignore graphic work in pure colors will happily blow out their retinas here. Hagan’s semi-abstract figures, rendered in acrylic, spray paint and house paint on canvas, surge with bold strokes, Picassoesque visages and graffiti impact. They’re beautifully complemented by Ward’s space-themed oils, in which canvasses and retablos drenched in color are adorned with pop-art lines for an effect that’s part cartoon, part meditation and part artifact. Everything’s for sale, so come out and put some money into the hands of indie artists.

“Curling Helmet,” oil on canvas
“Curling Helmet,” oil on canvas
Jason Ward
[click to enlarge]

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Whatever floats your boat

Laila Weeks
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You may find her paintings strange. That’s all right. They issue from the clash of antipodes, from silence and cacophony, from “pairs of extremes,” as Laila Cola Weeks describes it in her artist’s statement. “I wish to acknowledge and appreciate both sides of each coin that I encounter. Life is beautiful and life is painful.” With Floating in Place, her new show at the KiMo Theatre Art Gallery, she explores the tension erupting in the space between is and isn’t with oil paintings whose organic blobs, precise geometric forms and other inscrutable shapes are sparse populations blasting from fields of light. Weeks is joined by Pudding Head, creator of meticulous scratch board canvasses that are both illustrative and humorous. Attend a reception for both on Friday, Dec. 12, at 6pm at the KiMo (417 Central NW).
Pudding Head
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Amy Beeder
Amy Beeder

Fellowship of poetry things

One of my favorite teachers ever has just earned herself a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. That’s $25k “to set aside time for writing, research, travel and career advancement,” according to arts.gov. (I suggest seizing advancement opportunities for about six weeks in Hawaii.) Anyway, congratulations to Amy Beeder.

Her English 322 class at UNM not only improved my craft and resuscitated my love of poetry, it showed how a skilled wordsmith can lead anyone to stronger, richer writing—a lesson I’ve taken to heart as an editor. Amy’s own smart, stirring work is available in Now Make an Altar (2012) and Burn the Field (2006). There’s still time to sign up for her online class, “Struck by Lightning: Poetry and Risk” at rananim.unm.edu, offered through the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference.

Other Burque NEA grant beneficiaries include poet and novelist Jennifer Givhan (she and Amy each won one of only 36 poetry grants), as well as organizations like Working Classroom and Outpost. New Mexico garnered 17 grants for a total of $440,000. Just another sign that if you’re a maker, creator, doer, writer, artist—whatever—you’re definitely in the right state.