Each year in September AABA honors local artists who represent our diverse art scene and who give back to their community.

Local Treasures 2009 will honor nine artists (see below) who are representative of the diversity, community spirit and quality of the over 1,000 artists who live and work in Albuquerque. This will be a month-long celebration beginning with a city-wide Artscrawl and ending with the GO Arts Festival in Downtown Albuquerque. See calendar here. Click on image for a high resolution version.

Image: “Wings of Dawn”

Nora de Aragon: pastels in the classic tradition
Nora de Aragon was born and raised in Spain. Art and music have been her passions since childhood. She is trained as a concert pianist and as a painter. While she is comfortable with oils and watercolor, it is for her pastels that she has become best known. Awards and honors for her work in pastel have included numerous juried exhibitions and awards, First Place at Masterworks New Mexico in 2004, and coverage in the Dec-Jan issue of the International Artist Magazine in a special edition featuring Master Pastel Painters of the World. She is a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America (PSA) as well as a Signature member and past president of the Pastel Society of New Mexico.  Her involvement in the arts community includes the countless hours she has spent with the NM Pastel Society, helping it grow and prosper, and her leadership in the annual national pastel show. Her work can be seen atFraming Concepts Gallery where she will have a solo show in September.

Image: Detail from “Embrace”, aluminum and paint

John G. Garrett: sculpture and wall hangings
John Garrett is one of only a handful of Albuquerque artists who has gained significant national attention. He trained and began his career as a fiber artist but has expanded to the 3-dimensional realm using a wide variety of materials – particularly metal. Born in El Paso, Garrett taught for many years at colleges and universities in California, including Scripps and UCLA. Locally, he has served as an inspiration for other artists and has lent his expertise to selecting public art for the City of Albuquerque. He also serves on the board of Haystack School of Crafts in Deer Isle, ME. He has exhibited his work extensively for the past 30 years and is in museums, public and private collections across the US and abroad. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Garrett fellowships in 1983 and 1995.

Image: “Divided Riffles”, linoprint

Russell Hamilton: landscape paintings and prints
Russell Hamilton has shaped the New Mexico art scene for years with his intricate paintings and prints. His mastery of the landscape is rivaled by few. His work usually relates to places of long acquaintance – places he has come to know intimately by listening its spirit. The paintings come later, back in his studio where the experience of light and space melds with the instinct, intellect and process which informs the act of painting. His work is in museums, private and public collections across the US and he has been recognized in numerous publications including Southwest Art, American Artist and Art and Auction. In addition, he has operated Exhibit 208 as an alternative exhibition space and provided opportunities for other artists to exhibit their work; his love for life inspired many. Hamilton is a Tamarind trained master printer. His work can be seen locally at Matrix Fine Art.

Image: “Into the Morning”

Steve Hanks: figurative work in watercolor
Steve Hanks is a nationally recognized watercolor artist best known for his figurative work. He studied at the San Francisco Academy of Fine Arts and received his Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland during the explosive 60s. By 1973, Hanks’ work began to gain recognition. He has twice won the Arts for the Parks Marine Art Award of Excellence and has been one of the Arts for the Parks top 100 artists since 1989. He received the national Watercolor Society Merit Award and a Gold Medal from the National Academy of Western Art. He was named Artist of the Year at the Pacific Rim Show in Seattle in 1999. Since 1993, he has been one of US Art magazine’s top 10 American artists. We are proud that Steve Hanks calls Albuquerque home. His work can be seen locally at Weems Galleries.

Image: ”Early Storm”

Angus Macpherson: skyscapes in acrylic
Albuquerque native and UNM graduate, Angus Macpherson, is best known for his acrylic paintings depicting New Mexico’s luminous, billowing skyscapes. Macpherson’s paintings of dramatic skies, often in radiant translucent layers of twilight and dawn hues, are fluid compositions of the grand and intimate simultaneously. A 3rd generation New Mexican, he has been painting professionally since 1983. Posters of his work have been fundraisers for many Albuquerque organizations including the Children’s Hospital. The Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau used his imagery in their nationwide Art of Albuquerque campaign. His work is in many private, public and corporate collections and can be seen locally at Sumner & Dene downtown. Paintings from a Wet Planet, will be shown in September at Sumner & Dene.

Image: “How Sir Bears was changed into Wood by the Queen of Faeries and became Sir Barks”

Santiago Perez: fantasy paintings and installations

Santiago Perez is an outstanding artist who continually goes above and beyond to give back to our community. Born in San Antonio Texas, he lived on ranches and farms as a child and learned to draw animals and cartoon characters from TV. He became an elementary school teacher and illustrated Hispanic readers for the bilingual program. He served in the Air Force for 24 years, continuing to draw and paint western scenes and began focusing on becoming a professional artist. It was during an assignment in Colorado that he got involved in the local art scene and began experimenting in a wide range of work including landscapes, installations, performance art and more. He began organizing exhibits. Retiring here in 2000, he now shows in several galleries and has received recognition for his unique artwork which is represented in many corporate, private and public collections including the Albuquerque Museum and National Hispanic Cultural Center. He is not only a prolific painter, he helps other artists produce quality work and donates many large pieces of art to non-profits for their fund raising. He works out of Studio OneTwelve downtown and shows his work on line at http://www.santiago-perez.com. He will also participate in the Downtown GO Festival in September.

Image: “Shield Dancer”

Andrew Rodriguez: sculpture and bas relief
Andrew Rodriguez is a Laguna Pueblo artist who resides in Albuquerque. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe where he studied sculpture under Allen Houser. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with honors from UNM. Rodriguez works in various styles of sculpture and is best known for his unique bas relief sculptures in clay. His work focuses on pueblo culture with imagery portraying a simple yet strong statement of spiritual emergence found in pueblo dance, religion and belief. His work has nationwide gallery representation and is in collections throughout the US and Europe. He works to benefit non-profit organizations that assist those in need. Whether it be cancer, hear disease, diabetes or needy children, he actively seeks to participate with these organizations in making a difference. His most recent undertaking was creating a magnificent bas relief image of Sister Magdalen, founder of the Canossian Sisters, for Casa Angelica, a home for the severely handicapped children. His work can be seen locally at Margaret Moses Gallery in Old Town and at the Sandia Pueblo Church (14 Stations of the Cross in clay bas relief).

Peter White: musical instruments
Peter White makes violins, violas, and cellos. But, even more important, he is involved in making music history with UNM and the NM Musical Heritage Project, the first university-based violin-making and folk music revitalization program in America. After years of apprenticeship and research, he now teaches Hispanic and Native American students how to make violins (from the cutting of the wood in the Sandia Mountains to the making of the varnish) and how to play the music of this state.. This 2-1/2 year course, developed by White,  covers the cultural and traditional aspects of violin making. The traditions of making and playing the violin for folk or ritual performance are in great jeopardy in New Mexico, with only a handful of elders still able to pass on the tradition. The NM Musical Heritage Project now provides violins and musical training for students enrolled at the Public Academy for the Performing Arts in Albuquerque. White has taught at UNM for 32 years and intends to teach in the NM Musical Heritage Project for at least another 10 years. This is truly a labor of love and a gift to his community. We are honored to include Peter White as one of our 2009 Local Treasures.

Image: “Duality #6″, mixed media encaustic

Susan Zimmerman: abstract mixed media
Susan Zimmerman is inspired and fascinated by the process of mark-making and generating intuitive marks emerging from the unconscious. Brushes, pens, sticks, pencils, paint, ink, charcoal, create marks that speak to her. The use of encaustic adds mystery and depth to the work, allowing elements to fuse or float and color to glow. It allows layers to become unified. The color of natural beeswax reminds her of ancient manuscripts or maps on paper yellowed with time. Zimmerman has had a long and deep involvement in the Albuquerque arts community ever since moving here in 1983. She was with Albuquerque United Artists for many years, formed the Fine Arts Committee at Corrales Elementary School to bridge the gap created by budget cuts in the schools, and coordinated Art in the Schools activities in Corrales. In the late 90s she joined the board of the Arts Alliance which provides advocacy for the arts, arts organizations and artists in the area. She continues to serve Arts Alliance on the Advisory Committee and on the Bravos Awards committee, an annual event recognizing outstanding individuals and organizations in the arts. She has a studio at the Harwood Art Center and shows her work locally at Weyrich Gallery. She has exhibited across the US and internationally.

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