Originally published in The Taos News, Tempo Section >>

by Tamra Testerman | September 23, 2021 Updated September 27, 2021

Take a walk on the Southside

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There are a few artists who live and work on the south side of Taos who were zipping around town to a few locations this weekend for the Taos Fall Arts Festival. Sculptor artist T.J. Mabrey was one of them.

Southside Arts includes the artists and galleries on Reed Street and Gusdorf Road. They adopted the name in 2019 to promote the area as the Satellite Events of Taos Fall Arts Festival. This year, with new artists onboard and Taos Ceramic Center, and Chimayo Trading Del Norte joining, a “newly invigorated Southside Arts” is a Taos Fall Arts Festival destination.

The complex of studios at 1022 Reed Street will host open studios this weekend with Jivan Lee, Studio D and TJ Mabrey’s Studio E recently expanded to include Studio ‘Exhibits.’

On Saturday, September 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. Studio Exhibits Studio E presents a show titled Black and White with work by Larry Bell, Kathleen Brennan, Jane Ellen Burke, Melissa Kennelly, Ann Landi, TJ Mabrey, and Brian Shields.

Mabrey, the exhibit organizer, said “the artists selected to share the intimate space of her Reed Street Studio E, have an interesting take on the possibilities of black and white, all are based in Taos, and the studio offers the perfect environment for an informal dialogue between the artists.’ Also interesting to note the artists in Black and White have “disparate reasons for working with those ‘hues,’ which physicists do not count as colors because they do not have specific wavelengths.”

Printmaker Jane Ellen Burke calls black and white “elemental, the starting point of learning that helps the eye discern shapes and lines and dimensions without the distraction of color.” Melissa Kennelly says of her drawings in the show that “shades of gray create emotional movement in me and in my work. The simple act of moving bits of charcoal across soft white paper is a pipeline to complex emotion.”

Photographer Kathleen Brennan, who started her career 50 years ago in black and white, says the recent prints feel like “coming full circle.” Brian Shields said working in black and white offers “serendipity without embellishments.”

The artists in Black and White use traditional mediums of painting, printmaking, drawing, and photography except for Larry Bell, who is “long affiliated with the California Light and Space Movement, uses the process he pioneered for his iconic cube sculptures of the 1960s to the present to create “vapor drawings” through similar means, exposing sheets of rag paper to electrical currents inside a vacuum chamber. Lesser known are his bronze sculptures based on gestural figurative drawings – the only vaguely representational works in Bell’s oeuvre.”

Bell added, “See the artists in their studios. That’s where you’ll see their best work.”

Chimayo Trading Del Norte on the historic Saint Francis Plaza is breaking new ground and joining Southside Arts this year hosting an exhibit of contemporary artists titled Eleven. The artists in the show Eleven have more than a hundred years of living in Taos between them, navigating the shoals of a mercurial economy, finding a life balance, and feeding the muse.

Eleven includes: Nicki Marx, Gretchen Ewert, Annell Livingston, Margaret Nes, Mimi Chen Ting, Sandra Lerner, Ann Huston, TJ Mabrey, Ginger Mongiello, Paula Verona, and Christine Taylor Patten.

This exhibit brings them together for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m. to “anoint” the new wing at Chimayo.

Gabriel Abrums, the owner of Chimayo, said “this is something very different from what we’ve done in the past, it’s experimental, mixing contemporary art with our traditional. I’m pleased we’re hosting these artists together at one moment in time. It’s an extraordinary first for Chimayo, and a tradition we plan to continue.”

Taos Ceramic Center 114 Este Es Road (TCC) is hosting an artists reception Saturday, Sept. 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. for Marcia Oliver and Serit Kotowski’s exhibition titled Two remarkable Taos artists: Side by Side.

The exhibit showcases the “transcendent paintings of Marcia Oliver and primordial ceramic sculptures/vessels of Serít Kotowski, side by side. These two wonderful Taos artists have been pursuing and exploring their art for decades, continuing to reveal visual and tactile nuances of the world in which we live.”

Jules Epstein, one of the founding partners of the center, said he hopes to establish a year-round collaboration with galleries and artists on the south side of town.

Bareiss Gallery, 15 State Road 150 is not part of the Southside Arts scene but there are artists in the show who have studios on the Southside. Outside The Lines opens Friday, Sept. 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. and will remain open every day through Oct. 3 from 1 to 5 p.m.

The group of artists in this exhibit calls themselves The Curious Artists. They came to be when art seminars at UNM-Taos ended, and the artists continued to meet to discuss art history, current art events, and techniques, and to share new ideas and new work with the other artists and receive feedback in a nonjudgmental form of critique learned in the seminars. The social interaction and communication became a nurturing stimulant to their curiosity and creativity and has continued.

Also on Friday, Sept. 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. you’ll find T.J. Mabrey’s marble sculptures as part of the Taos Fall Arts Festival 2021 open exhibition series at Guadalupe Parish Gym, 205 Don Fernando Street. She’ll be exhibiting Sky Fishing, an Italian white marble sculpture, reflecting the theme of this year’s festival, Return to the Earth: Sky/Water. Mabrey said the “watery world carved on the stone is filled with astrological symbols of various constellations. Prominent on top are the two fish of Pisces tethered to a boat.

For more details about Southside Arts, Bareiss Gallery and ‘Exhibits Studio E, contact T.J. Mabrey, call 575-613-3269 email tjmabrey@gmail.com or website tjmabrey.com.

For more information about Taos Ceramic Center, visit their website taosceramics.com.

For further details about Chimayo Trading Del Norte, visit their website chimayotrading.com.

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