Fine art

State of affection

An invitation to see New Mexico through the eyes of a harmonious relationship


Wilder Nightingale Fine Art owner Rob Nightingale said painter Peggy Immel and photographer Steve Immel chose the name “Immel and Immel” and the subtitle “Our New Mexico” for their show that opens with a reception Saturday (Sept. 2) from 5-7 p.m.

He said, “Steve and Peggy wanted a title that gave them room to honor their adopted state from a variety of perspectives. The show tilts toward landscapes, but also portrays New Mexico’s amazing diversity with a keen appreciation for its history and three major cultures.”

According to Nightingale, “It has been a couple years since the gallery has had an Immel show. The last one was a great success. This time, Steve and Peggy have broadened their theme to encompass New Mexico. Peggy will feature many small plein air works from various painting excursions from around the state. Steve has also done the same, however, capturing the desolate, often overlooked parts of New Mexico. I like how he captures the contrasts in the ever-changing light. I love contrasting shapes and color in art and photography – and this exhibition and sale, I feel, accomplishes that.”

For Peggy Immel, the painter in the duo, the show gives her a chance to display her love for New Mexico’s diverse landscape. She described it as the overarching goal. From conifer forests and mountain villages to high-desert scrublands, her work in this show includes a range of landscape subjects.

The special quality of New Mexico’s light and its influence on the way the landscape feels plays a major role in these paintings, she said.

“I love the ever-changing landscape and I’m always challenged to capture its mysteries. My landscapes are inspired by my love of the outdoors and the unique beauty of the land. Each painting begins with an idea. Sometimes it is the light. Sometimes it is the pattern of light and dark, other times the color scheme. It may be a philosophical idea. The idea generates a visual point of view and from there, the painting begins. I enjoy contrast and the tension it can bring to a piece, from the texture of the paint to the value patterns of the painting itself. As I paint, I continuously remind myself about my reasons for beginning the painting in the first place with the final goal of producing a painting that conveys all of this to the viewer,” Peggy Immel said.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Peggy Immel is a second-generation resident of the Southwest. She spent her youth traveling the world as the daughter of a career Air Force veteran. She took her first oil painting class at age 10 in Salina, Kansas. In college, she studied architecture at Arizona State University and after she married, she took art classes at three major New England art schools, along with workshops with artists she admired.

When she lived in Boston, Massachusetts, she became a rock and ice climber. She describes this as a turning point, one in which nature and adventure became her muse. When she moved to Taos with her husband, it brought her back to her Western roots, one where her landscapes are inspired by her love of the outdoors and the Southwest’s exotic beauty.

The photographer in this harmonic duo, Steve Immel, is best known for his spare black-and-white images of the depopulated reaches of the desert Southwest. He is also known for classic landscapes, architectural structures, abstracts, still lifes and portraiture.

“I’m aware that showing all of that in 12 to 15 images risks continuity,” he said. “Yet I don’t know a better way to express my love for our vast vistas and my deep appreciation for all that New Mexico has given me. I hope that each photograph tells a story or that it causes the viewer [to] weave one of her or his own for the image.”

He is an award-winning black-and-white photographer whose photographs reflects the work of the midcentury masters, such as Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Margaret Bourke-White and Wynn Bullock. He practices the medium with an eye toward graceful composition and views each frame as a discreet design project with the objectives of elegance, balance and precision. His work has been shown in exhibitions across the United States and in Canada and England.

“Again, this two-person show, like my last one, invites the viewer to see New Mexico through the eyes of two artists, who happen to be married, different points of view through two different mediums,” Nightingale said.

The exhibition is open through Sept. 17. Wilder Nightingale Fine Art is located at 119 Kit Carson Road. For more information, call (575) 758-3255 or visit