Friday May 1, 2015
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New paintings by Santa Fe artist Paul Steiner. Runs through 5/27.
Title of the Show: “Parables and Stories: A Re-interpretation”
Opening: May 1st with an artist reception from 5-8pm and continuing through May 27th
This month long show features Santa Fe artist Paul Steiner. Paul moved to Santa Fe as a teenager. He lives in the adobe house he built when he was eighteen. He spent thirty-five years working as a carpenter and is largely self-taught as an artist; but he has had a range of excellent mentors, in Santa Fe and in the history of art.
These paintings came out of thinking about what the Bible stories might mean in modern times in New Mexico, and how they might look. An example: I painted the story of Abraham's banishment of Hagar and Ishmael at the same time as the hysterical outcry by some Americans who wanted to banish little children back to the bloodworld of El Salvador. On the other hand, the interpretation of the story in early Islam was that the Arabs were the descendants of Ishmael, sent out as nomads into the desert. Many meanings are possible.
Oil painting is made of gross material facts (color and shape and weight). One way to explore those facts is with terracotta. Modeling figures in clay to learn the look and feel of a gesture goes back to Pierro della Francesca and Tintoretto, as well as Thomas Hart Benton. And terracotta figures can then be arranged, and lit, and drawn from.
Painting is the savory bit: the juxtaposition of strokes of opaque color, trying to get across what I've learned from the drawing and the clay, and pinning down what it was that made me want to paint it in the first place.
I paint New Mexico because that's where I live. It's as good a setting as any other, maybe better: a culture of clannish tribal people struggling to live in a desert landscape.