2015 Local Treasures

For the eighth year, the Albuquerque Art Business Association is honoring area artists who not only excel in the arts, but who have given back to their communities. By sharing their time, talent and passion, they help give birth to the next generation of art lovers and artists and sustain the hope that New Mexico will continue to be home to thousands of working artists for many years to come.

This year we honor eight exceptional artists as Local Treasures and the President’s Award will go to the late Fermin Hernandez, Master Printmaker. The awards ceremony will be held at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Sunday, September 6, 1-3pm. In addition, there will be receptions for the artists at sponsoring galleries throughout the fall.

Marian Berg:

Marian is an exceptional, multi-media artist who is dedicated to her community. In addition to working as a Registered Nurse and spending time on her own art, she also finds time to help others. She has volunteered at the NM Aids Service and the Rape Crisis Center. She became interested in the emotional healing opportunities art can bring to children and returned to school to earn an MA in Art Education. Once licensed to teach art in NM, she partnered with the NM Art League to create the Art Heals Project which provides art experiences for hospitalized children. Marian engages the children in the creative process, allowing them to relax for a brief time and focus on something other than their illness. Her glass work can be seen at SE-OC Right Brain Gallery in the Heights where she will be given a First Friday reception October 2, 5-8:30pm. marianberg.com

Dahl Delu:

Dahl’s prize-winning paintings have been exhibited in Mexico, New Mexico and across the US. His renderings of succulents and desert plants wonderfully capture their unadorned shapes and the play of light and shadow on their leaves. He is also recognized for his achievements behind the scenes in the theatre where he is known for his work on set design and lighting. As Art Director for several television series he received two EMMY awards. Since moving to Albuquerque he has shared his expertise in the classroom, teaching at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and UNM. He is resident designer for Landmark Musicals and Opera Southwest Theatre where he shares his time and expertise as a community service. His work can be seen at Yucca Gallery in Old Town where he will be given a First Friday reception September 4, 5-8:30pm. Deludign.com

Roger DiCamillo:

Roger credits growing up in Gallup, a melting pot of nationalities and culture, with the colors and images that are present in his paintings. He had a career in architecture and was partner in an art gallery before moving to Albuquerque. In addition to working in oil, watercolor and pastel, he produces sculpture and pottery and has been creating lithographs at Tamarind Institute. His work has won many awards and is in collections around the world. He is a generous contributor to organizations such as the Albuquerque Symphony, Casa Esperanza, Kids of the Southwest and the Italian Film Festival for Children’s Hospitals. His work can be seen in his Albuquerque studio and at Essence Gallery and Boutique in Old Town where there will be an artists’ reception honoring him (date TBA).

Carol Maestas:

A native of Albuquerque, Carol traces her family to some of the earlty Spanish settlers in NM. She has been an artist all her life – painting, ceramics, jewelry making, paper work and, as of five years ago, watercolor. As Carol tells it, “I had a very serious mountain biking accident and could barely walk for a year or so. I decided rather than allow depression and frustration to set in, i would learn to paint, a long long dream. I found I had a hidden talent, a natural extension of who I am.” Throughout her time in Albuquerque, Carol has been active in both the New Mexico Art League and the Watercolor Society. She began selling her work to help raise awareness of Rett syndrome, a rare disease affecting nearly ever aspect of primarily girls’ lives: their ability to speak, walk, eat and even breathe easily.. One hundred percent of Carol’s art proceeds go to Rett Syndrome Research or helping families on behalf of her granddaughter who was diagnosed with the disease in March of 2015. Her work can be seen at Amapola Gallery in Old Town where there will be an artist’s reception First Friday, September 2.

Carla Forrest:

Carla approaches art as an observer of the soul, enlightening the viewer about the presence, wonder and dignity of nature and life. While painting en plein air, she thinks about scale and how insignificant and unimportant we are in relation to the natural elements. She thinks about light and how nurturing our sun is in bringing life and death in our world. Her work was featured in Outdoor Painter, December 2013. She obtained her Bachelor in studio art with a concentration in three-dimensional design and Master of Science in Teaching. During her tenure as President of Plein Air Painters of NM, Carla supported numerous art events and fundraisers for nonprofit envionmental organizations such as the Albuquerue Open Space Alliance, Friends of New Mexico State Parks and the NM Water Collaborative. Her work can be seen at Purple Sage Gallery in Old Town where there will be an artist’s reception Saturday, September 19, 3-5pm.

Juanita Fragua:

Juanita is the matriarch of a family of well-known artists.  She has been making pottery since the early 1950s, exhibiting her work at Santa Fe Indian Market and at many galleries around the country.  She is considered to be one of the main potters responsible for the renaissance of polychrome pottery. When Juanita began making pottery in the 1950s, what was found at Jemez was mostly sun-dried pieces painted with poster paints.  In the early 1970s, along with some of her fellow young potters, Juanita researched historic pottery in museums in Santa Fe, and learned how to hand build pots out of local clay. She researched the natural materials that had been used in the past, especially the minerals and plants used for paints, and developed her own designs for decoration, inspired by her affiliation with the Corn Clan. Juanita has mentored and inspired many artists at Jemez, especially her son, sculptor Cliff Fragua, her daughters, potters Glendora and B.J. Fragua, and her granddaughter, Tablita Fragua. She is a very active member of the Jemez community, taking a leading part in many of the events that are essential for keeping traditions alive and well at the Pueblo. Her work can be seen at Wright’s Indian Art in the Heights where there will be an artist’s reception for her (date TBA).

Karen Simmons:

A self-taught weaver and papermaker, Karen is engaged in casting paper that she has made from local plant materials – creating vessels and structures that attempt to capture the fragility and mystery of nests and cocoons while celebrating their unique resilience. She has been a member of the Albuquerque art community since the late 70s and has been an active board member of various arts organizations including Albuquerque Designer Craftsmen, Las Aranas Weavers Guild and she is Standards Director for the 2014-15 New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair. She has taught both weaving and papermaking and has donated her artwork for fundraising events such as the Harwood Art Center’s annual 12×12 exhibition and fundraiser. She has been the recipient of many awards. Her work can be seen at Weyrich Gallery in The Heights where there will be a First Friday reception for her on September 4, 5-8:30 pm. You can also observe her creative process on her website.

David Snow:

David has spent the last decade perfecting his skills as a contemporary enamelist.  Enameling is the art of manipulating powdered glass over copper plates and fusing the imagery into metallic creations.  Originally, he was heavily influenced by his mentor, business partner, and life partner Craig Ruwe, the Godfather and one of the spearheads of Contemporary Enameling. The two owned and operated for four years FUSE Gallery in Madrid, NM where Ruwe taught and stimulated many of the current American Contemporary Enamelists.  David has come into his own in the world of contemporary enamelists.  His first One Person Show was at Sumner & Dene San Diego in 2004.  In September of 2015 David will present at Sumner & Dene Albuquerque  “A DECADE: Revisiting Ten Years of Enameling”.  In this retrospective exhibition, David will revisit many of his trademark images including his Haiku, Figurative, Birds, Daisies, Cityscapes, and DOT series.  David has committed himself in the last six years to helping others in the AA community to reaching their goals being clean and sober. Children are also a large part of David’s community outreach through workshops and fun experiences to stimulate and motivate our youth through art. The opening reception for his September exhibit is September 4, 5-8:30 pm.

Laura Wacha:

For several years in a row, Laura has been named “Best Artist” by the readers of Albuquerque, The Magazine. This does not come as a surprise since her work is humorous, entertaining, obsessive, accessible, well-made and intelligent. She is a full time teacher, raising two children and dedicating all her spare time to creating art and sculpture, writing books and being creative on every level. Her imagination is boundless and her work continues to grow both in technique and content. Laura was very active in the community before she began her personal journey through breast cancer three years ago. Her work can be seen at Matrix Fine Art where she will have a reception September 4.

The President’s Award: Fermin Hernandez (1949-2015)

Master printmaker, Albuquerque artist and gallery owner Fermín Hernández, whose work hung on the sets of “Breaking Bad” as well as in the collections of Secretary of State John Kerry and actor Ted Danson, died in a car accident in Costa Mesa, California on May 2, 2015.

One of America’s leading Serigraph artists, Fermin was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, the eldest of ten. He moved to Denver in 1978, seeking a new path for his life, where he began art school.  He entered the Community College of Denver and met his mentor, Mel Carter, his first and most influential teacher. During his third semester, Fermin studied Silk Screen Printing, known as Serigraphy.  “As soon as I pulled the first squeegee over the silk, I knew that this was the medium with which I wanted to work.” During his second year in college, he came to New Mexico for a short trip.  “When I first entered New Mexico, I stopped the car and walked out on the land, gazing at the open sky, the dirt and rocks…I knew this is where I wanted to be.”  He saw his first pueblo, which changed his life and the direction of his art. Fermin moved to Albuquerque in 1985 and truly loved Old Town, Albuquerque where he owned Hernandez Fine Art  for nearly 24 years.

Fermin characterized his work as “Stylized Realism.”  First noted for his adobes and scenes in soft pastel tones, his recent work showed rich colors and crisp treatments of a more varied nature.  He had a lifelong passion for travel and from each trip and adventure he brought back images that would be transformed into more artwork. The seeming simplicity of his work, done mostly in three to five colors, belies the complexity of the silkscreen process – which involved from thirty to forty hues of each of those colors and requiring a number of ‘pulls’ on his screen. Some of his later works required days of agonizing planning to create color strategies for the images in his mind. The finished works were astounding. By the time of his passing, he left an absolutely masterful legacy with his work selling to collectors worldwide. As the age of digital photography and the versatility of the computer became so convenient, Fermin began to also do some incredible images with this medium also.

He was sought out for charitable contributions, donating or sometimes even creating custom works for the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Award, and many others. His work can be seen at Essence Gallery and Boutique in Old Town and Sumner and Dene in Downtown Albuquerque.