Maria Samora's dream come true

Taos Pueblo native opens stunning new showplace

Posted 6/5/19

The new Maria Samora Gallery showroom will take your breath away. The light, white expanse quietly dazzles the senses as the sparkle of glass, gemstone, silver and gold whisper enticements through …

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Maria Samora's dream come true

Taos Pueblo native opens stunning new showplace

Posted

The new Maria Samora Gallery showroom will take your breath away.

The light, white expanse quietly dazzles the senses as the sparkle of glass, gemstone, silver and gold whisper enticements through swinging plexiglass - a free-floating haute couture vibration Maria Samora and husband Kevin Rebholtz have created in their new Taos showplace.

A grand opening and artist reception will be held during tomorrow's Taos First Friday event (June 7), from 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery, located at 824 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, across the street from LMNOC Broadcasting. Look for the triangular-patterned exterior tumbling sideways across the gallery wall facing the Paseo.

The couple took over the showroom space in November 2018. They already had studio space in the back of the same building for some six years, but when the front became available they grabbed it.

"It used to be a livery," Samora said, pointing to the thick, now white-washed barn timbers and beams. "I like the feel of the barn actually, but when we got around to getting it ready we realized it would have to be all redone." So they left the rough beams, added sheetrock and a gazillion gallons of white paint - ending up with a feeling both traditional and contemporary.

"This new space is her flagship store," Rebholtz said in the press about the new addition. "It's a contemporary Native American jewelry gallery that is attached to Maria's workshop, which adds a full 1,000 square feet to her workspace."

The expanded studio space affords room for two new part-time sales associates and a shop manager cum jeweler extraordinaire. Rebholtz is Samora's "right-hand man who does everything under the sun," and whose specialty is photography.

"It has been a dream of mine as long as I can remember, for at least 10 years, since Blue Rain Gallery left Taos," Samora said of the elegant new showroom, adding that she hasn't had a presence here in Taos since Blue Rain closed its gallery on Taos Plaza. Since then, she's always wanted that "aesthetic here in Taos" again, more like the old days of the '70s and '80s.

Samora is a Taos Pueblo tribal member and has been making jewelry for 20 years; she started her career under the mentorship of world-renowned goldsmith Phil Poirier of Taos.

"I grew up here and it was always about the arts," she said. "For me, I think it's important, to help bring back this Taos economy of art."

In "Maria Samora: Master of Elegance," an exhibit at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, which ran over a year and ended in early March, Samora was featured as the 2018 Living Treasure of the museum. The show highlighted her "minimalist lines, interdisciplinary approach and modern designs," the museum press states. The metalwork Samora has learned to incorporate are rooted in Etruscan, Greek, Egyptian, Syrian and even Korean designs.

Samora's career has been meteoric. Since 2005 she has become a premier Native American jeweler. In only her second year showing at the Santa Fe Indian Market, she won first place. She won again in 2007 and just two years later, she was featured on the 2009 official Indian Market poster. Besides being the youngest to receive the award, she is the first jeweler, and one of only three other women so selected in the market's 88-year history.

In 2011, Samora won Best of Jewelry Award from the prestigious Heard Museum art market. She's been featured in at least four books on American Indian jewelry.

Of more than 60 artists from the U.S. and Canada (including Patricia Michaels of Taos Pueblo and TV's "Project Runway" fame), Samora was selected for "Native Fashion Now," a large-scale traveling 2017 exhibit funded in part by the National Museum of the American Indian, of the Smithsonian Institution.

With designs inspired by Pueblo Indian tradition, yet resonating with contemporary influences, Samora said she feels she is barely scratching the surface of what is possible in her work.

"Taos has provided me with cultural and creative richness," she notes in an online statement. "Life in Taos is simple and beautiful and I believe that my jewelry is a personal expression of this simplicity. The purpose of my art is to accentuate the body and capture the movement of the human form, enhancing one's personal beauty and grace with sophistication and elegance. My designs appeal to the senses and come to life on the body."

Samora is looking to bring collectors here the week before the Indian Market opens, like R.C. Gorman used to do in the old days. "We want it to be a really unique shopping experience here in Taos."

For more information, see mariasamora.com.

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