Artist and gallery owner Greg Moon is celebrating another year of "poking a stick through the bars of convention."
Keeping up that tradition, Moon's eponymous art gallery is about to unleash its sixth annual invitational show of "Lowbrow Art." This year's edition is called "The New Dadaists: New Méxi-Low 6." The show opens with a reception Saturday (Aug. 11) from 5-8 p.m. You can find the gallery at 109A Kit Carson Road.
The Dadaist art movement had its roots in early 20th-century Switzerland. Dada artists employed humor, performance and shock tactics to express revolutionary ideals. In the process, they challenged the definition of art itself.
"I've always seen a connection between Dada and Lowbrow," Moon said. "Like the Dadaists, our Lowbrow artists were initially pooh-poohed by the 'art intelligentsia.' Now, they're starting to value the social commentary in these pieces. This art may or may not be what blows your skirt up, but it makes you think."
The art on view represents an exceptional level of skill and encompasses cultural references from Godzilla movies to vintage advertising and cartoons. The show will feature work from 16 invited artists.
Anthony Ausgang's Texas childhood was spent attending custom car shows with his father, and operas and museums with his mother. "He's in Los Angeles now and writes an art blog there," Moon said. "He is among the best-known artists in the show, a pioneer in that West Coast custom car-culture-centered Lowbrow art."
Joel Nakamura lives and works in Santa Fe. "This is somebody who has had one-man shows at La Luz De Jesus, a seminal Lowbrow gallery in Los Angeles. He brings in a Japanese sci-fi sensibility and a whole different cultural mix. I've always admired his work and I'm so excited to be able to show him."
Dennis Larkins spent years designing stage sets for artists like Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead. "When he came back to Santa Fe, he started doing 3-D work that was different than anything I'd ever seen. It takes incredible skill to build up the surface, and the effect is absolutely unique."
Tony Ortega was born in Santa Fe and now teaches at Regis University in Colorado. "In his work, he can do cultural mashups that really resonate in this part of the country. He captures something I love about Lowbrow -- a way to talk about sensitive subjects through humor."
Holly Wood has been showing at Moon's gallery for a few years. "Her work is very narrative, that cartoony quality that I like about things, and she works in acrylic wash. Lowbrow has been dominated by men until recently, and I want these shows to have a different perspective."
Esteban Bojorquez spent his early life as a surfer and surfboard designer. "The dude can make anything. He's one of the guys who did a lot of the Meow Wolf project. You can see his fingerprints all over the House of Eternal Return. For me, going to his studio is like going to Mecca."
Heather Ross is a photographic artist based here in Taos. "Her stuff is very surreal. Her darkroom work is actual alchemy, spinning straw into gold. I love what she does technically, and I'm excited for the collector base to start following her the way they should."
Sarah Hart's work has been seen in Taos gallery shows as well as in posters for local bands and theater companies. "We actually bought a couple of her pieces. I admire her work, and her work ethic and professionalism. I'm delighted to have her in this show."
Ric Farley has lived and worked in Lowbrow hot spots, such as Los Angeles and Amarillo "He's a Taos guy now, but he's got that West Texas feel. He worked with the Cadillac Ranch art installation project. His work is vivid."
Petro's work reveals staggering depths when viewed with 3-D glasses provided by the gallery. "Even kids who come in and are unimpressed with everything in the place -- they look at Petro's stuff and they're floored.The detail and the way he paints is so different."
Ryan Singer is a Diné artist based in Albuquerque. "I love to see people who can paint, who bring a different perspective and cultural references -- from Southwestern influences to 'Star Wars' imagery. The amalgamation of how he combines these elements is something all his own."
Sam Yeates was an early artist-in-residence at Armadillo World Headquarters, the legendary music venue in Austin, Texas. "I met Sam way back in college," Moon recalled. "I told him, 'If I ever start a gallery, I want to show your work.' All these years later, here we are. He was one of the first artists who inspired me to work."
Harold Romero works in digital prints on aluminum. "He's somebody new for me," Moon said. "I got introduced to his work when he came in to show me his stuff, and I was so impressed. The pieces have this glow to them."
Gary Aagaard has done two juried shows at Moon's gallery. "He's a very fine painter. These juried shows give you a chance to take a run and see how your client base reacts. You recognize talent as a painter. I like his subject matter, treatment and style."
Marvin Moon is Greg Moon's father, and a renowned artist. "He's been showing in Taos since about 1975. He did a lot of Pop work in the 1960s. Even though he's a classically trained educator with a Ph.D. in art education, the majority of his own collection is original comic book art, which is such an important influence in this movement. His work in this show is like coming back to roots."
The gallery owner's words about his own work: "I'm just the guy that gets tired of doing one thing over and over. If a night painting isn't looking alive to me, I go over and work on a light box. I don't like artists that take themselves too seriously. There can be many hard truths that are best expressed through humor."
He spoke about the Lowbrow movement's revitalizing effect on the art community. "If we're going to attract a new client base, we need an educated younger populace to take us in new directions in addition to the traditional. The approachability of this art appeals to people. They can point at the walls and laugh, and I'll love that. If people really enjoy it and they want to take one home, that's great too."