Ramp up your art appreciation by 300 percent this weekend during the First Saturday Art Walk (May 4), 4-8 p.m., when three Kit Carson Road galleries host meet-the-artists receptions for "Taos Art Insurgency: The New Protagonists."

The three galleries and jurors are the artist-owners of Greg Moon Art of Taos, David Mapes of David Anthony Fine Art (DAFA) and Rob Nightingale of Wilder Nightingale Fine Art. Each gallery will host roughly 20 each of the 61 artworks selected for the show.

This second annual, national, juried exhibition created in 2018 by the aforementioned principals poses the questions: "Who will be the artists who lead the way for the new millennium? What will be the movements and issues they champion?"

This year, Moon, Mapes and Nightingale propose a host of unique painters, printmakers, digital and assemblage artists, a bronze sculptor and a ceramist - all who taunt our mood and open our perception to their new ways of expressing artistic realities. Most of the works twist out of a traditional genre, pushing the envelope of common expectation into slightly more edgy dimensions where freedom simply clamors for more.

"Taos is a major artist's colony that has been at the forefront of all of the modern art movements initiated within the last 120 years," Moon said in a press release about this national exhibit, noting that the viewing public needs to be reminded that Taos art really isn't just about coyotes and red neckerchiefs, though there is that, too.

"Throughout history, various seminal art movements have been concentrated in this sleepy little mountain village," Moon continues. "Taos has been a major seat of modernism, abstract expressionism and minimalism."

DAFA owner-artist Mapes notes there were 341 entries from 23 states for this year's show. "This is data from the artists who were juried-in, not all who applied. Just under 350 works were submitted (usually more than one piece was submitted per artist); 61 pieces were juried-in, representing 29 artists."

Significantly, the show required a blind jury - artists' names and residences were not given to the jurors, who scored entries on a 0-to7-point basis. Of the 29 artists juried-into the show, 12 are from New Mexico - four from Taos, one each from Ranchos de Taos, Arroyo Hondo, El Rito, Corrales, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, and two from Albuquerque.

"It's really interesting to see how many talented artists are local or are from New Mexico," Mapes said and Moon agreed in telephone interviews last week. The remaining 17 artists in the exhibit hail from Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Maryland, North Carolina, California, Oregon and Washington.

"David MacDougal, this whimsical artist, and his wife drove down all the way from Wyoming to deliver his work," Nightingale said. "And they will drive back out again for the reception. Giuseppi Palumbo is coming out from California for the opening. He had a friend drive his bronzes [sculptures] down from his studio in Colorado."

The exhibition is evocative and poetic.

Jini Kim's linocuts are being shown in all three galleries. Mapes said Kim sells her work on her website. "She cuts it all out of linoleum, then inks it and then it's all printed on archival paper. The more you look at it, the more you see. She admitted she hasn't been in the gallery world a lot. So, besides the fact that you buy it because you love it, in this case there is also the emerging-artist excitement, a new wave of work."

Fascinating, too, is how the jurors sub-curated their gallery exhibits, according to their scoring of the works. For example, Nightingale is showing all of Monique Belitz's acrylic-and-ink-on-paper and panels in his gallery. He gave all her imagery high marks, and she then self-selected them into his gallery. "I like her moody landscapes," so similar to his own aesthetic, he remarked, two weeks before the show was hung. "I haven't even unwrapped them yet. I can't wait to see them. I just know I'm going to love them - the darkness, the moodiness, all these little details."

Moon said he loved Michael Spiller's three digital archival prints titled "Lady with a Herman - 1, 2 and 3" - (takeoffs of Italian master Leonardo da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine," ca. 1490 and a national treasure of Poland). One hangs in each of the three galleries.

DAFA took both of Arizona artist Rhonda Urdang's pieces, "Lunar Goddess" and "Snow Moon at Standing Rock," a "femmage with decorative rice paper, historical elements and ink" - femmage is a feminist artwork, created by women assembling objects by collage, photomontage or other methods, typically by means of traditional women's work such as sewing, etc. (In Taos, traditional women's work includes adobe wall plastering - femmage indeed.)

This second annual collaborative exhibition at the three Kit Carson Road galleries occurs in conjunction with the 2019 Taos Spring Arts Festival. Quietly renewed last year, Taos Spring Arts Festival is celebrated from April into June.

Typically a slow visitor season, Taos creatives are peppering springtime in Taos with visual, literary and performance arts, all geared to draw in visitors and locals to numerous venues throughout the county.

"Come see works that reflect the diversity of media, style and subject matter that are currently defining visual arts in our time," Mapes concludes in his press release.

For more information about the galleries or 2019 Taos Spring Arts Festival see: davidanthonyfineart.com/taos-art-insurgency , wnightingale.com/artists and blog.gregmoonart.com/taos-art-insurgency.

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