Studio 107-B

Máye Torres opens contemporary, interactive, Taos art space


It feels like a party is going on and we're all invited. Famed Taos artist Máye Torres has taken the plunge to bring contemporary art back to the same gallery space on Taos Plaza where her equally famous and beloved mother, the late Cecilia Torres, had New Directions Gallery for 18 years.

But this won't be your, or her, mother's art gallery. In typical Máye fashion, this will have a whole additional dimension, including interactive performance art, workshops and more. A grand opening and group show will be Jan. 20, from 4-7 p.m.

"Studio 107-B is the location and name of this experimental art studio/gallery on the North Plaza, in the heart of Taos, New Mexico, one of the creative hubs of the world," Máye said about the new endeavor.

Máye Torres is a multimedia artist who has thrilled Taos and the world for many decades with a variety of sculpture and figurative drawings incorporating a sometimes jarring marriage of classic, Renaissance-style imagery with the digital culture of the 21st century. Her most recent show was in September 2017 at Magpie Gallery in El Prado, and she also is showing in Southern California in Venice Beach, San Diego and Los Angeles. In 2014, she was invited to tour "Samba Pa Ti" in Ethiopia as part of the U.S. Department of State's "Art in Embassy Museum" show.

"It is an experimental studio/gallery providing a multicultural art space for local Taos artists to exhibit and produce art, as well as hosting art-based workshops for locals and visitors," she said. "The main focus will be on exhibiting the diverse art of contemporary artists who live and work in the Taos Valley. We have super-contemporary artists here and they need to be seen. So occasionally other exceptional artists' work will be displayed. The focus will be on visual arts but we'll also include music, poetry, dance, discussions and spontaneous happenings."

The initial core of Studio 107-B artists are metal artist Frank Seckler, bronze artist Michael Naranjo, multimedia artists Izumi Yokoyama and Máye Torres, and glass artist Isaiah Trujillo.

"The concept of a hands-on studio/gallery is a new concept," Torres said, adding too, that it's "a relief from the stuffy, often unfriendly, art world. Artists will be encouraged to conduct workshops with local schools, residents and visitors and share and encourage creative thinking in their everyday lives. The gallery is located close to the elementary schools, enabling the children to walk over to Studio 107-B and create art in an environment of world-class art."

Personal and community art

Izumi Yokoyama is a case in point. Beyond her current series of exquisitely ephemeral ink pen drawings, which she exhibited in her first solo show at Magpie Gallery last fall, she hopes Studio 107-B will be a station for community art "with workshops that offer easy access to the community, young and old."

Yokoyama earned her Master of Fine Arts degree at the San Francisco Art Institute, where her work was more focused in installation, interactive and performance art, most notably with Fung Collaboratives, whose artistic mission is summed up in the equation: "process+experimentation+collaboration->experience=community."

"I am concerned about Taos kids. In the cities, kids confront all these different digital performance arts all the time, it's part of the landscape," said Yokoyama, who is the art instructor at Taos International School in Taos.

"In Taos, Paseo is only once a year, and not even one-third of the students got to come," she said of the project her students put on this year at the plaza. Granted that 2017 was an abbreviated Paseo, it still caused her pause, "as an artist, art teacher and as a mother as well." She's contemplating the prospect of an "art shuttle" to get more kids to Studio 107-B and The Paseo.

Yokoyama was born in Niigata, Japan, in 1980. She moved to Taos eight years ago and is now a mother of two. She was selected as one of the 2017 Taos Fall Arts images artists. She said she is honored to be showing with such fine artists, adding enthusiastically, "Frank Seckler is amazing!"

Seckler and Naranjo

Since 1989, Frank Seckler has been creating unique artworks, and it's fitting that his gorgeous metalwork will once again grace the former New Directions Gallery space, which he occupied for over 10 years. Seckler is widely known in the U.S. and internationally for his warm patinas and rich blues and greens, among other elaborations of his metal pieces. Earning his degree in fine art from Rhode Island School of Design and Lewis and Clark College, his printmaking and painting are the foundation of his patina development.

"I'm super excited about the opening of the gallery," Seckler said, noting that he will present a full range of works, from custom sculpture to functional pieces such as mirrors, lamps, tables, sconces and cabinetry. He said he's really looking forward to being in the gallery with this core of excellent artists.

Internationally renowned Michael Naranjo of Santa Clara Pueblo will be showing his bronze sculptures in Studio 107-B. Blinded by a grenade in Vietnam, and nearly left with only one hand, Naranjo creates brilliantly sensitive sculpture that is all the more incredible for the "feeling" viewers are treated to in each piece.

Torres said a scaffolding was built to allow Naranjo to "see" with his hands the statue of Michelangelo's "David" in Florence, Italy. His sculptures are included in collections world-wide, including the Vatican, The White House and the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

What he describes as merely "simple" with "minimal detail" is more like understated, clay haiku. Essence arises and a wholehearted, unreserved love radiates from each piece, large or small.

Torres, Trujillo legacy

Isaiah Trujillo is a borosilicate glass artist, born in Taos to Daniel Trujillo and Máye Torres in 1986. His pieces are intricate and a little mind-boggling given the detail, color and imagination of his glasswork.

In his artist statement, he credits hi mother for encouraging him to create art: whether visual, media or performance art; and due to Grandmother Cecilia Torres, he saw both the artistic and the business sides of the art industry.

After attending Taos High School and the University of New Mexico, in 2007 Trujillo moved to San Diego, California, to pursue music. The beaches and oceanic wildlife snagged his attention, ultimately focusing him on glasswork. Back in New Mexico, mentor Troy Lowe guided him through studio setup and basic lampworking techniques.

Since 2010 Trujillo has experimented and evolved in this new medium. His work is internationally collected and can be found in Scotland, Paris and throughout the U.S. In 2015 he started making glass animals, an aesthetic informed by Taos and oceanic wildlife. He's constantly evolving techniques, he says, pushing the limits of glass, adding elements of mythology and science. Moving forward, he intends to share lampworking with the community. He notes he is excited and humbled to be showing at the new Studio 107-B with this great slate of artists.