Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Indian Market Discovery

A Good Omen, 24" x 36"
mixed media on canvas
(my painting)

Santa Fe recently celebrated our 88th annual Indian Market, the largest juried Native American arts event anywhere. With over 1000 artists participating, our little downtown district was packed with vendors, buyers, and unsuspecting tourists who just happened to stumble into town during the most exciting event of the year. It's always a busy weekend at the gallery, kicking off with a reception on Friday night. Often I'm so tired from minding the gallery, which remains open into the night on Saturday, I don't take the opportunity to stroll through the Market. This year was different, however. Family members were visiting for my in-laws' 60th wedding anniversary--that celebration occurred Sunday evening--so naturally, they had to be introduced to Indian Market.

I'm so glad I visited the Market. There in the Emerging Artists section, I happened on the exciting ceramic sculpture of Chippewa artist Patricia Bradley. Truth be told, my daughter first spotted these evocative masks sporting the semblance of animal ears, face paint, headdresses, and various sculpted wrappings--around the forehead, over the mouth, over the eyes. "Hey, Mom, look over there at those AWESOME masks!"

Lil Brother

Princess

Dreamer

Animal Guidance

from a series of 25 mixed-media ceramic masks
modeled on the faces of the artist's children

They were powerful and carried a wild, joyous energy. I fell in love. With the art and with the artist, who struck me as a straightforward person, open to possibility. Flan snapped up what I had decided was my favorite mask. It was the only piece loosely modeled on Patricia's own face; several strokes of red paint were dashed across one eye, warrior style. I have to hand it to my daughter: she has quite an eye and she knows what she wants and when she sees it, she takes it. She's a warrior herself.

The next day I returned and saw that Patricia had sold a number of her pieces, but her tabletop sculptures--faces emerging from a mass of fired clay, with coils of metal emerging from the backs of the heads and pieces of found metal sprouting from tops of the heads, a fusion of smooth and rough, playful and sad, Earth and Spirit--remained unsold...



Sun on My Face
mixed-media ceramic


I was mesmerized again. Patricia smiled at me in this open, disarming way and asked, "Hi, what are you doing back here today?"

I confessed that I owned a gallery and that I would love to show her art. Without any pretense, she said, "I would love to leave all of this work at your gallery."

And that's just what she did Monday morning.





The whole process felt effortless, as if it were meant to be.



54 comments:

self taught artist said...

thats an incredible story for both parties...wow.
the masks are fascinating!!!
glad you got to walk around this time :)
nice to see a post too, been awhile.

sukipoet said...

these masks are awesome and i love the ones rising out of clay. that's unusual. How lovely you found her and she found YOU! Are the 1000 natiave american artists all from Sante Fe or different areas of the country.?

Carol said...

How beautiful! The masks seem to ask me to notice parts of myself that are other than the woman one might see sitting at this computer.

I would LOVE to go to Santa Fe's Indian Market. I'm making a note in my calendar for next year, so that if things fall into place as easily as they did for you and the artist, I will be exploring beautiful expressions like you found.

Thanks, San!

Maggie May said...

These are seriously lovely!
Love the masks. My favourite is *The Dreamer*
Don't they look great all put together like that and it all seemed to come about so easily.

San said...

Paula, I'm glad to have a chance to blog. It's been busy times of late. And I'm glad you stopped by. It's always good to see you.

San said...

Suki, they are unusual, aren't they?

The artists come from around the country. It's huge. And exciting.

San said...

Carol, I love what you have to say about the masks asking us to notice other parts of ourselves. That must be part of their power.

I hope you're able to make it next year!

San said...

Maggie May, the "Dreamer" is very special.

Bennie hung them on the wall like that. I really like their assymetrical arrangement. And we've hidden a few away too.

Sugar Creek Beads said...

They are stunning. What a great story, they do seem to belong in your gallery. I would love to see more, does she have a website yet?
Jeanne

San said...

Jeanne, the artist doesn't have a website, but if you go to convergencegallery.com, you can see more.

smith kaich jones said...

Wow! These are wonderful and playful and thoughtful and just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

And by the way, your painting is pretty wonderful also.

:) Debi

San said...

Debi, you've expressed what these are about. Very well.

And thank you for noticing my painting. It was inspired by the whole experience.

ellen abbott said...

And so surely it was (meant to be).

San said...

Ellen, thank you for acknowledging that.

murat11 said...

San: Good to see you back on the circuit. The masks are beautiful, wonderful complements to those gorgeous San-paintings on the adjacent walls.

Kim said...

San, these Masks are absolutely amazing. I am glad you found her to represent...you both deserve it! I adore the NA Markets in your town and have a couple of finds of my own from some years back!

Isn't it amazing what growing up with art does? Exposure, that is what people need if they know it or not! Flan sounds like an amazing young woman!

I guess the two of you will hit the markets a little more often now, uh?

Kim said...

I have to say, these masks are so human, so filled with life, truly I have not encountered a mask like these. I am glad that they are resting happily in your gallery...awesome indeed.

Sandi McBride said...

What beautiful pieces...they made me catch my breath...thank you so much San for sharing them with us!
Sandi

andrea said...

Wow -- amazing work and an almost fairy tale story. THAT is how artists and art galleries should meet.

Lori Skoog said...

She lives and breathes! Taa Daaaaahhh.

I love the masks and they sure fit right in at the gallery. 1000 artists...now that is quite an event.

Santa Fe sure is a happnin place.

Mary Ellen said...

They are wonderful! Glad you made this connection.

The Things We Carried said...

Stunning collection. It was meant to be!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

What a great way to connect with an artist. Santa Fe is so perfect for art lovers....I hope to return one day.

Poetic Artist said...

The masks are so full of spirit.
I have always wanted to visit during the Indian Market..Your gallery looks wonderful..I hope to visit you and your wonderful town one day. Don't stay away so long.
Katelen

Akelamalu said...

The masks are amazing and you both got what you wanted which is great!

Lee said...

San, what exquisite exciting works! Flan does indeed have a good eye and it looks like you now have an exciting new artist in your gallery. In this experience I see a wonderful example of family working together for the good of all.

Good to see you posting again. That's a beautiful painting you started this post with and so appropriate to the subject of an Indian market with that headress like image in its midst.

I agree with Paschal, those masks and your paintings are indeed complimentary to each other.

Hugs!
Lee

jsd said...

that's awesome! Your painting made me think of a little pixie in happy flight which for some reason i think of the sculptures as impish yet powerful - if you dismiss the work too soon you've missed the whole story.

Daryl said...

There are NO coincidences ... love your painting and these masks are truly wonderful .. I guess I need to make sure I come out there next year for this festival ...

San said...

Paschal, it's good to be a circuit rider again. I'll admit--I love the way the masks and my paintings "go."

San said...

Kim, yes we WILL hit the markets more often now. I'm sure your offspring are quite highly attuned to art.

I would love to see your finds from previous Indian Markets...

San said...

Kim, yes they are "full of live." And I feel this is a good home for them--until we find the next proper homes for each!

San said...

Kim, I meant to say, "full of life." Not "full of live." I noticed that just as I was hitting the PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT button. Oh, the horrors of instant publishing.

:-D

San said...

Sandi, I'm not surprised they made you catch your breath. You are attuned to such things.

San said...

Andrea, you're right with regard to the "fairy tale" factor of artists and galleries hooking up. It seems that when hearts click, the details work themselves out. The same with art pieces meeting up with the right buyer--mutual hearts have to click.

San said...

Lori, not only am I living, but, yes, I am finally coming up for breathing time after an intense and busy period.

I will have to visit your place and soak up the peaceful vibes...

San said...

Mary Ellen, I'm glad too. And I'm glad you're glad. :)

San said...

The Things We Carried: YES!

San said...

Leslie, I hope you will return. For selfish reasons. I would love to sit down with you over coffee or tea or whatever, and talk.

San said...

Katelen, thank you for visiting again. I'm not surprised you see the spirit in the masks.

And I hope you will make it to Santa Fe.

San said...

Akelamalu, yes--if life always worked like this, it would be easier!

San said...

Lee, I love what you have to say about family working together for the good of all. I believe that galleries are extended families of sorts. When the artists and the dealers are focused on doing the best work, artistically and professionally, everyone benefits. Especially the buyers.

San said...

JS, I love your "pixie" take on the painting, and your perception of the "impish" quality of the sculptures, along with the power. The ability to disarm is very important, isn't it? In many areas of life.

San said...

Daryl, several people are expressing interest in attending next year's market. Next year instead of the 600th anniversary celebration, we can do the Bloggers Meeting.

lime said...

oh this is a joyous thing to unite an artist with one who can expand the artist's audience. how wonderful.

and the indian market sounds slike the sort of thing i'd LOVE to go to.

San said...

Michele, I believe you'd be in your element. I hope you can come one of these years.

Raven said...

What an awesome collection of masks. And beautifully displayed. Boy, I wish I could visit your gallery. You can feel the creative, loving energy even through your photos.

C.M. Jackson said...

San--what beautiful work! I love market and finding a treasure --kudos to your "warrior" daughter--something tells me that they will go quickly--all the best-c

Meg Wolff said...

What a great story. So cool that you went back. She must have been pleased!

Like how you described Flannery. The apple doesn't fall very far!

katie jane said...

Oh San, how lucky for you to have such amazing work in your gallery! These are so fantastic! I love looking at art that reflects the personality of artist who made it. These are truly exquisite and I'm sure both of you will profit from this colaboration.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Not a surprise that you two found one another...her magical masks pull one in with their spirit and you know spirit!! I especially like the masks built from the clay mass...earthy and beautiful!

Shrinky said...

That sounds an amazing event, San, I know I would simply adore it. (A little twinge of envy as I typed). Now you know, most folk are content collecting one of two pieces of an exciting, newly discovered artists work - but you? You only go and manage to display her entire collection, don't you? (Smiling.) I am sure she was every bit as thrilled as you were to have met so serendipitously.

SandyCarlson said...

Those masks are really wonderful. They do capture joy and beauty--spirit. Your photos are just great.

Anna said...

Hey San those masks are surreal. They look so real, like those people who wear lot of make up. Great choice for your gallery. Anna :)

lunardancer said...

What I would have given to get masks like these! They are true works of art. They exhibit splendid craftsmanship and are imbued with eerily realistic emotions/expressions. Sadly, I haven't been as lucky in finding these in the flea markets and fairs I've visited.