Fine art

See the color, feel the light

El Monte Sagrado showcases painter Richard Alan Nichols and jeweler Lawrence Baca

By Yvonne Pesquera
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 6/28/18

The bright and spacious gallery on the second floor of El Monte Sagrado Resort and Spa is a special place.With a wide window and high ceiling, the gallery overlooks the resort …

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Fine art

See the color, feel the light

El Monte Sagrado showcases painter Richard Alan Nichols and jeweler Lawrence Baca

Posted

The bright and spacious gallery on the second floor of El Monte Sagrado Resort and Spa is a special place.

With a wide window and high ceiling, the gallery overlooks the resort gardens. The gallery is an excellent exhibition space and sparkles with a new dual exhibition.

The exhibit features Taos painter Richard Alan Nichols and Santa Fe jeweler Lawrence Baca in what El Monte is calling its "Artists Showcase." It opens with a reception Friday (June 29), 4-7 p.m. The showcase is part exhibit and part demonstration as both Nichols and Baca will bring their tools to demonstrate their talents.

Another crowd-pleaser is that the event will include a chef's reception. Chef Cristina Martínez will offer bite-sized tastes from De La Tierra Restaurant's menu. Light refreshments will be served. The admission is free and all are invited.

The showcase is coordinated by Dakkya Gallery and Gifts, which is the retail space on the first floor of El Monte Sagrado. Lynn Fitzgerald is the gallery consultant and organizer of this showcase.

Nichols has "a strong background in traditional impressionism," Fitzgerald said. "At Dakkya Gallery, we are the main distributor of his prints. His original paintings are carried by Parsons Gallery of the West on Kit Carson Road."

Nichols is an internationally recognized artist and is well-known locally. His rich and sumptuous works capture many scenes of daily life from across the region.

One of his works, "Heritage, Hearth, and Honor," shows a Taos Pueblo family tending an horno (outdoor adobe baking oven). This image graced the cover of "Taos Aglow" 2017, the annual holiday traditions magazine produced by The Taos News. His studio is at the Blumenschein Home and Museum on historic Ledoux Street where he also teaches classes.

Nationally and internationally, he has won awards in numerous juried exhibitions, including Oil Painters of America, The Society of Master Impressionists and The Salon International, to name a few.

A prepared artist's statement about Nichols reads: "His works are heavily influenced by his time in Taos, New Mexico and exudes an interconnectedness with this region, which has been his home for 20 years … Acutely aware of the delicate hues created by light, Richard Nichols strives to render, in his words, 'a visual poem' with each painting."

Award-winning jewelry designer Lawrence Baca was born and raised in Santa Fe. Fitzgerald said, "We are thrilled to have him. He's in several galleries around the state and in the Hotel Chaco in Albuquerque and Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe."

A prepared artist's statement about Baca reads: "His designs fuse Native American old pawn and traditional Spanish Colonial and Southwestern motifs, sprinkling stones like garnets and moonstones into the mix. His inspirations spring from what he sees around him: fence posts, leaves, sandstone, crooked adobe buildings. 'I am very spiritual. I use the cross as a symbol,' Baca said.

"It all started when he was 29 years old and working as a jewelry salesman," the statement continues, quoting the artist saying, "I'd never done art in my life. I love the process of making it. I love the fact that there are so many techniques, and it makes people happy.'"

Fitzgerald said, "His pieces are quite extraordinary. They're very labor intensive and inventive."

Baca's collection of tools includes several old Navajo stamps. He adds arrowhead and scallop shapes to frame his pieces. He also creates his own stamps. "Making your own is ideal," he said in a statement, "because no one else has it."

Some of his color techniques are very unusual. His shaped hearts are surfaced with 15 coats of car paints and then clear coat. They are then embellished with silver and gold and different semi-precious stones. "He's one of a kind," Fitzgerald said.

El Monte Sagrado Resort and Spa is located at 317 Kit Carson Road, east of the Taos Historic District. For more information, call (575) 737-9840.

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