Dennis Hopper was a collector of Robert Dean Stockwell’s collage art; and he once described the collages as, “The jewels of a great eye and the macho hammer of a politically sensitive being.”

Ranging from colorful, modern-day photography to sepia-toned engraving reproductions, Stockwell juxtaposes imagery to reveal –– like Hopper’s quote –– many facets to meaning.

On Saturday (May 31) Stockwell’s “Collage and Bones” show opened with a reception in the Grand Bohemian Gallery of El Monte Sagrado Living Resort, 317 Kit Carson Road.

“I’m really happy to be invited to show there,” Stockwell said. After a few puffs on his cigar, he thoughtfully continues, “I am just enthused by that room and the energy of the place. It’s perfect.”

Musician friend Robby Romero was instrumental in setting up the show. In a statement, Romero says, “I was looking for a unique place in Taos to turn the community on to more of the exceptional and exquisite art of Robert Dean Stockwell. I was attracted to The Grand Bohemian Gallery because of its talented gallery director, Jennifer Longo, who is not just hip to Robert Dean Stockwell, she is in the know on art.”

Stockwell will display more than 50 works of art that the press release calls “eclectic and mind-bending.” Indeed, Stockwell’s art form takes something so basic (snip and glue images) and transcends it with an unleashing of his psyche.

Most notable is a collection of collages titled “Arcana.” Stockwell created 22 collages representing major Tarot cards. Each collage is mounted on board (16x 22 inches) and is numbered on the back. Stockwell sourced images from various publications and uniquely coalesced them into a recognizable Tarot, such as Number XII – The Hanged Man.

“Anon” is another beautifully crafted collage collection and it comes with an interesting backstory.

Two months before American artist Bruce Conner died in 2008, he mailed Stockwell clippings from early 20th Century periodicals –– and included no note. Stockwell used the clippings as the source materials for this body of work. The collages (16” x 22”) are displayed in an embossed case.

“Bruce was a very dear friend,” says Stockwell. “He mailed the clippings to me and the envelope was addressed: ‘To: Anon c/o RDS. From: Anon c/o BC.’”

In addition to collage works, Stockwell will show several dice sculptures. Artist Doug Coffin once gave six dice to Stockwell, who in turn, used them as a basis for a series of sculptures, including a cross and diorama.

“The collages are what they are and the dice, they are the ‘bones’ of my show,” Stockwell explains. “When Doug sent me the dice, my initial thought was the ultimate contrast between two elements: Dice inferred chance; each roll would be different. Then there was the more steadfast form: the cross.”

Visitors to the show are in for an extra treat. Romero’s statement explains: “The Grand Bohemian Gallery at El Monte Sagrado has a space with a wonderful window facing north that would shine the magical mystic Taos light on Dean’s fab idiosyncratic dice sculptures.”

Most people around Taos recognize Stockwell from his long career as a Hollywood actor. He has won Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actor (twice) and Best Actor award of the Cannes Film Festival (twice). To date, he has acted in 94 feature films, and 67 television shows.

But, his reputation as an artist is equally revered. For example, Stockwell’s art was part of the “Dennis Hopper and Friends” exhibit at the Harwood Museum of Art in 2009. His art has been shown in nine exhibits, including Santa Monica, Dallas, and New York –– as well as the R.B. Ravens Gallery in Ranchos de Taos.

Like Hopper, after living in Los Angeles, Stockwell made Taos his home. “I moved here because of ‘It,’ whatever ‘It’ is in Taos,” says Stockwell. “I was stimulated by the energy here.”

Romero’s statement includes a cherished memory, as well as a recollection of Stockwell’s work. “Dennis Hopper turned me onto Robert Dean Stockwell’s art in the early 1970s,” Romero writes. “There was this one collage that hung in the Tony House (near the Mabel Dodge Luhan House) where we lived ... it captured and intrigues me to this day. Sometime later, Dean came to visit. It was the season of summer snow, 1974. Dennis, Dean, me –– and a host of visiting inspired spirits –– ran wild under the Sacred Mountains in Taos and survived. It was a crazy creative and dangerous time, man … We kept the faith … I am looking forward to Dean’s show.”

For more information, call El Monte Sagrado Living Resort at (575) 758-3502.

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