A first-time showing at the Harwood of Museum of Art is a notable moment in Theresa Gray's career. "I've been doing art for 30 years, so showing in a museum environment is pretty …
A first-time showing at the Harwood of Museum of Art is a notable moment in Theresa Gray's career. "I've been doing art for 30 years, so showing in a museum environment is pretty exciting for me."
Studio 238 is a monthly rotating exhibition at the Harwood Museum featuring contemporary local artists. Gray's show runs for the month of October. A meet-the-artist event is scheduled for Friday (Oct. 5) from 4-6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Gray has lived in Taos for more than 10 years. In that time she has shown at quite a few different venues. In 2011 she had a solo show in the Encore Gallery at the Taos Community Auditorium. Some works from that exhibit, called "View from Here," can be seen at theresagray.com.
Presently, Gray shows her works at Magpie in El Prado. And in April, she participated in a women's group show at Studio 107-B.
"Matt Thomas has been watching my work for a while. He noticed something has shifted. In April, he asked if I wanted to do a show at Studio 238," Gray said. Matt Thomas is the collections manager at the Harwood.
Gray graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. She has a long list of gallery exhibitions dating back decades. Additionally, she has years of experience working in galleries.
"In my past, I was a seamstress for a long time," Gray said. "I made my own clothes growing up. I wanted to be a fashion designer. I loved the illustration part. I had an instructor who was good to me and encouraged me to pursue art. I love to sew, but I'm not great at it anymore."
Gray lives in Three Peaks with her husband Peter Halter, programming director and projectionist at the Taos Community Auditorium. It is the sheer beauty of the rugged terrain that inspired the body of work she'll show at Studio 238.
"They are pigment on paper and I drew mostly with my hand. I used charcoal graphite and powder pigment in a jar. I put on a rubber glove, I would scoop it up and draw and use a ton of eraser," Gray explained about her process. She calls the net result environmental pigment drawings.
They are landscapes with some information intentionally left out. She approaches the blank paper in a traditional manner; one can definitely see the horizon line. After meditating on the blank paper for a while, she is swept by an idea. "I get the courage. I get the glove on. I throw the lines down and it just flows," Gray said.
The exhibit will have about seven drawings, depending on what can fit in the space. The drawings measure 23-by-23 inches and are beautifully framed in a crisp silver frame. The paper is hinged and floats on a creamy archival foam board. The paper doesn't float as much as a shadowbox; they are only set back about a half-inch and are framed under glass.
"I worked in a frame shop; I almost always frame myself," Gray said.
She has always loved the outdoors, Gray said, but has "never lived this way before," referring to her off-the-grid home. "Taos has definitely changed my art and changed me. We're in a wild neighborhood. We're in the trees; I have the National Forest behind us. There is juniper and piñon. We're up high."
The press announcement states: Theresa Gray's representations of nature are not static but constantly in motion. They hold the viewer, nearly in a trance-like state of hazy vistas, blurred feathers or dancing grasses. Gray's work is a meditation on living in rural Northern New Mexico.
Georgia Gersh, the owner of Magpie, said, "Theresa captures a spirit and movement in her work with effortless sophistication. Everyone who comes into Magpie pauses in front of her paintings to take them in, in all their subtle fierceness."
A preview of Gray's work shows an intricacy that is characteristic of the mesa. The works produce an emotional response of familiarity, such as the image depicting the powerful downward drive of a rainstorm.
"Taos has changed everything for me: the way that I love, the way that I live. There's something about this area and I don't think it came from me. I think it came from living this way, being here and being open," Gray said.
Admission is free to Gray's meet-the-artist event.
The Harwood Museum of Art is located at 238 Ledoux Street. For more information, call (575) 758-9826 or visit harwoodmuseum.org.
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