The line between life and art can often be as indiscernible as the gradations between the first layer of canvas primer and the next. For Gallup-born painter and multimedia artist Vanessa Wilde, the richness of her portraiture can be traced to its roots in a similar amalgam between personal experience and a barrage of seamlessly woven artistic stylings.
As a child she was awed by moving murals that would race through her hometown in the form of graffiti-bombed train cars. She marveled at the stoicism she saw in photographs of Native American chiefs. She was enlivened by hip-hop culture in her teenage years. Eventually, art school in Colorado gave her a platform to blend all these influences into a singular vision.
Wilde’s Albuquerque debut, Retrospective of Experience, opens this week at Nob Hill’s Tractor Brewery (118 Tulane SE). The collection of roughly 12 pieces showcases Wilde’s eclectic balance of oil, spray paint, gel transfers and acrylic. Most often, loud color interplays with solemn portraiture. In one of two collaborations with Patrick CloudFace Burnham, a proud female visage is adorned by a Día de los Muertos rose crown, planted against a backdrop of harmoniously chaotic red and blue hues and line work that screams hip-hop. Wilde’s palette in such works is bewitching, and as good a reason as any to head to Tractor and temper your palate with a pint of La Llorona Dry Hop Amber, especially at her artist's reception on Sunday, Nov. 2, from 5 to 7pm. ()