Maye Torres' new show, 'Birth-Re-Birth,' heralds season of renewal

By Kathleen Steward
Posted 6/5/19

The new show at Maye Torres' gallery, titled "Birth-Re-Birth," which follows a theme of birth and renewal, is at a confluence of several things happening at once for her. For one, …

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Maye Torres' new show, 'Birth-Re-Birth,' heralds season of renewal


The new show at Maye Torres' gallery, titled "Birth-Re-Birth," which follows a theme of birth and renewal, is at a confluence of several things happening at once for her.

For one, it works nicely with a lovely spring unfurling from a long, cold winter. But there is also new life in Torres' family with the birth of her grandson, Sebastian. And, for those following the local art scene, it dovetails with the major exhibition by feminist icon Judy Chicago, "The Birth Project: From New Mexico Collections," which opened last weekend at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos.

The opening reception for "Birth-Re-Birth" is Saturday (June 8), 4-6 p.m., at Torres' Studio 107-B, North Taos Plaza.

Torres herself continues to create, and is stepping up to the plate as a patroness of the arts. It all fits into place -- her long art career, her deep love of Taos and understanding of the community, coupled with a dynamic, compassionate core that makes her a tour de force. All of that is rooted in the depth of her heritage and connections to the art community in Taos. Her relations connect her to venerable Padre Jose Antonio Martínez, who led the first coeducational school and printing press in Taos, and to her mother, the late and beloved Cecelia Torres, who for many years ran New Directions Gallery in the same spot on Taos Plaza where Studio 107-B is located.

She is not only carrying on a tradition, she has become a part of tradition itself.

Torres is a 13th-generation Taoseña. She said she would have 100 artists if she had the space. Her venue is focused on selling contemporary, cutting-edge work to keep artists economically viable. "It's important to have patrons and have that flow of financial support," Torres said.

There will be a broad spectrum of artists in the show, drawing from the 40 or more she represents. Torres said she tries to represent Native, Hispanic and Anglo artists, men and women, world-renowned, emerging and everything in between, or, as she says, "even-steven."

"Larry Bell's been selecting individual pieces for each theme, which is a real honor," Torres, who apprenticed with him in her youth, said. Bell has been in Taos since the 1960s and he is internationally renowned. Through a high-tech process, his work shimmers with three-dimensional geometrical shapes. Bell's innovative approach to sculpture and perception explores the effects of light on glass, using a wide variety of methods, materials and surface treatments.

"He is probably one one of the best-known contemporary artists in Taos and around the world right now. He is a real generous contributor to the art scene," Torres said.

Ronald Davis is another person from the same era whose work is internationally celebrated. His work is associated with geometric and lyrical abstraction. According the Torres, Davis created his own 3D program. He is a pioneer in contemporary art and a veteran of nearly 70 shows. "I'm honored to have them in the show because they are world-class artists," Torres said.

Torres has her eye out for emerging artists as well. In "Birth-Re-Birth," two young people from Taos Pueblo, Suann Davin and Lyle Wright, both working in clay, will exhibit alongside the heavyweights.

"It's important for the younger artists to get that encouragement because art isn't an easy field at all," Torres said.

"Birth-Re-Birth" will include woodwork by Carlos Barela. "I never know what he is going to bring in - it's always a surprise," Torres said.

"Carlos' work goes to a very refined area with his wood," Torres said. He is carrying on the legacy of his grandfather Patrociño Barela, who created secular and religious figures from the root of cottonwood trees, a hardwood to work with, according to Torres. You can see Barela's work at the Harwood until July 28.

"The artists we represent are really authentic with what they are doing. They are not commercially oriented with the imagery they are going to sell," explained Torres. "They are doing whatever comes up inside of them and I really honor that in contemporary art."

While Torres said she likes representational work, she is looking for artists who are pushing abstractedness such as Isabel DePuy.

"Isabel DePuy does some beautiful abstract-like landscapes that are juicy and rich and her own. They are not copies of someone else's work that you can often see around here," she said.

Torres has included a layer of political comment in the show. She has all 12 of a series of lithographs created by Kent Allen Jones. Jones lived in Taos in the 1980s and completed the lithographs 10 years ago. "They address the conditions of the world politically, the absurdities of the world. He adds different personalities in these multilayered images," Torres said.

For the year 2020, Torres will plan shows around a world-wide renaissance: effecting and expressing change with art, music, literature, poetry and science. She already has artists from Peru, Ethiopia, Spain, France and Japan to contribute. "We are trying to change the consciousness of people in power," Torres said.

For more information, call the venue at (575) 779-7832 or follow it on Facebook.


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