First Friday rolls around once a month, but each and every time it somehow manages to feel momentous. Music spills out of glass doorways and onto city sidewalks from Old Town to the Northeast Heights. Mapping out a night of imbibing art (and free wine! And crackers!) when the first Friday of the first week rolls around can be a challenge—but not a joyless one. There's a few things I'm excited scribbled into the square in my planner for Friday, July 6, and here I am sharing them with you.
Artwork inspired by the natural world comes front and center at the Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center (6500 Coors Blvd. NE) for the opening of Resonations in Clay: Life on the Bosque. We live in a unique biome here on the banks of the Rio Grande, one of the nation's longest rivers that manages to persist even in an increasingly arid landscape. Here, artists interpret the river and the life it supports both within its waters and along its banks through three-dimensional work. Presented by the New Mexico Potters and Clay Artists, this show presents ceramic work from creatives throughout the state and their unique interpretation of culture and biology in the bosque. Artists include Pamela Trujillo, Kim Eichhorst and Virgil Ortiz. Get your dose of ceramic art in first thing during the early reception for the show, which runs from 2 to 4pm.
Afterwards, head to New Grounds Print Workshop & Gallery for the opening of Borders, Boundaries and Limits. This group show examines these fraught spaces through untraditional mediums—photopolymer intaglio, photogravure and cyanotype are just a few of the processes represented. “Basically, any alternative to straight digital printing,” the organizers summarized. And its not just a diversity of mediums recognized here, the curators put a call out for content out to the whole world, and as such, the show—and what it illuminates about borders and boundaries—has a very international tone. Stop in to the Nob Hill area gallery between 5 and 8pm to get the first glance at this boundless show.
More exploration of terrain in all its variations is on display in a joint exhibition by locals Ann Connely and Barbara Lewis at Amapola Gallery titled Of Earth and Sky. Here, materiality is at the forefront. Lewis uses hollowed, carved gourds to create masks, figures and pottery. No species of gourd, and no ill-shaped specimen is off-limits for this artist as she embraces natural curvatures and flaws to create elegant, carefully crafted sculpture. Paired with Lewis' works is ceramics by Ann Connely. Here, Connely aims to bring viewers into closer interaction with the Earth through detailed, charmingly rendered cacti sculpture, functional pottery and more. The two members of the Amapola Collective will be on-hand during the reception for Of Earth and Sky from 4 to 7pm in Old Town.
The wealth of work and concept in these three shows alone will likely fill up an entire evening—and that's just three of several dozen events happening around the city on this day. Though it happens 12 times a year, the energy of this one night is sustaining and encouraging for artists and appreciators the city over.