Claude Smith

January 04, 2016, 8:46am

In The Studio: John Phillip Abbott’s Choice Words

Occupying a small space in the long-since vacant, historic El Sol Theatre in downtown Silver City, New Mexico, John Phillip Abbott’s second floor studio is made immediately recognizable by the makeshift spray booth on the wall just outside his front door. Inside, I found him busy packing work for two solo exhibitions opening the same weekend in January: Turquoise Sunset at Devening Projects + Editions in Chicago, and On Any Sunday at Pierogi Gallery in New York. While the work that comprises On Any Sunday is a continuation of his familiar geometrically abstract text and word paintings, Turquoise Sunset marks the beginning of a newer, slightly more experiential body of work that has Abbott revisiting his approach to painting. Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


John Phillip Abbott |
Cosmos, 2015, spray paint on canvas, 36 x 30 inches; image courtesy the artist

Listed under: In The Studio

October 19, 2015, 9:27pm

Larry Bob Phillips: Paintings of the Electric Night

“I was told that my color wasn’t good early on, but the truth is that I worked too fast and was lazy about how I used it, so I kind of fell prey to the standard pitfalls of being a young painter,” says Larry Bob Phillips as he gestures to an enormous ink drawing tacked to his studio wall. We’re standing in his South Valley Albuquerque studio, a space that doesn’t resemble so much a studio as a wood shop; there are drawings and studies strewn about almost entirely covering a behemoth of a table saw in the center of the room. Numerous picture frames Phillips has built for clients hang on the wall amongst stacks of rough cut lumber, and his neat, hand-lettered script identifies drawers of repurposed cabinets containing various tools and other miscellaneous equipment used for carpentry and sign painting. Phillips offers, “I definitely had to work at it though, so I definitely don’t feel like color is a weakness, I’m just at that point that I feel like color stops some of the complexities that happens when you’re working with black and white.” – Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Larry Bob Phillips | Brainbow, 2015, ink on paper, 40 x 60 inches; image courtesy the artist and PHIL SPACE

Listed under: Interview, Review

September 24, 2015, 9:11am

James Sterling Pitt: The Ritual of Remembering

“It drives people absolutely crazy," James Sterling Pitt (NAP #103) tells me with a laugh one hot summer afternoon in Albuquerque’s North Valley. “So many people want to see my work strictly as either sculpture or painting that when I tell them they’re vessels, they just can’t figure it out.” Uniquely occupying both symbolic and utilitarian spaces, Pitt’s work initially grew out of his response to both personal trauma and the subsequent recovery process, but more recently however, these experiences have led to a fundamental shift in the ways in which he views and records his surroundings, interactions and memories. This desire to physically document his daily experiences makes his artistic practice virtually inseparable from his everyday life. - Claude Smith Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


James Sterling Pitt | Installation view, 2015, courtesy of the artists and Anglim Gilbert Gallery; Photo: Rhiannon Mercer

Listed under: Interview

August 21, 2015, 9:36am

Deciphering Bart Exposito’s “Strange Alphabet”

After living in Los Angeles for 14 years, Bart Exposito knew the exact moment returning to life as usual in sunny California was no longer an option. In 2012, after participating in a residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute, his mind was made up and as he put it, “I just decided right then I wasn’t leaving.” He marks his return to L.A. with Strange Alphabet at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, which showcases his latest body of work as a continuation of his interest in design, typography and affinity for line. – Claude Smith Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Bart Exposito | Untitled, 2015, acrylic on canvas 60" H x 48" W (152.4 cm H x 121.92 cm W) Gallery Inventory #EXP106, Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles ProjectsPhoto: Robert Wedemeyer

Listed under: Interview, Review

March 18, 2015, 9:03am

Visualizing the Uncanny: Scott Anderson

Sitting huddled around an electric space heater in Scott Anderson’s (NAP #35, #53) studio located in the rural township of La Cienega–about 20 minutes south of Santa Fe–he confessed, “I had these aspirations to be in New Mexico even before I had ever been to New Mexico. My wife and I had this 10 year plan to eventually get to Santa Fe, and drop off the face of the earth–or at least we thought so.” On a day in early March, New Mexico had just seen record snowfall for the year and my drive north from Albuquerque was punctuated with unusually grey skies and the vague threat of new precipitation. Anderson preempted my visit, warning that his enormous studio–originally built to accommodate the large sculptural works fabricated by the building’s previous occupant–would be slow to warm up. – Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Scott Anderson | Foyer, 2013, oil on canvas, 60 x 75 inches; image courtesy the artist

Listed under: Review

December 23, 2014, 9:32am

NAP Contributor Top 5: Claude Smith

Previously we shared our Associate Publisher's top picks for 2014. Next up, Claude Smith, one of our favorite NAP/Blog contributors, shares his shows of 2015...

2014 had numerous memorable moments–both locally and elsewhere, but for me, there were a few that stood out as exceptional. These are my top 5–in no particular order. – Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


From "Pattern: Follow the Rules" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Jason Middlebrook | Another Vein, 2012. Courtesy the artist and DODGEgallery, New York, Photo: Karen Pearson. © Jason Middlebrook

Listed under: Noteworthy

December 04, 2014, 9:47am

Field Notes: Bethany Johnson at Moody Gallery

In a strong showing, Austin-based artist Bethany Johnson’s (NAP #108) recent exhibition Field Notes at Moody Gallery in Houston explores her affinity for natural sciences and is a continuation of her interests in the “study of systems and the visual representation of information.” Field Notes is comprised of a variety of complex drawings detailing landscapes–both familiar and unfamiliar–that immediately call to mind a more electronic or mechanical means of production including computer printouts, maps, scans or 3D renderings. –Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Bethany Johnson | Apollo stacks, 2014, ink on paper, 11" x 8 1/2"; image courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas

Listed under: Review

October 14, 2014, 10:10am

Far North: Interview with Beau Carey

As a culmination of a recent winter residency in Denali National Park, Far North marks Beau Carey’s second exhibition at Goodwin Fine Art in Denver, CO. This recent offering showcases a group of exquisitely painted artic environments that highlight contemporary themes of globalization, environmental concerns and the variety of constructs that shape our perceptions of landscape. No stranger to the harsh conditions of the northern-most hemisphere, Carey’s inclusion in the Artic Circle Residency in 2012 prompted an interest in coastal surveying and profiling, a theme he hopes to continue next year during a residency at Rabbit Island, a remote, 91-acre forested island on Lake Superior three miles east of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. I recently caught up with Carey to discuss his work. – Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Beau Carey | Batholith, 2014, oil on canvas, 40 x 46 inches; image courtesy the artist

Listed under: Interview

October 13, 2014, 9:46am

The Notion of Landscape: Michael Cook

Albuquerque-based artist Michael Cook (#42, #114) has long been exploring the vast terrain of both landscape and our perceptions of it. Citing an interest in semiotics and specifically, the point at which “objects become visible in culture” he often conflates symbols, language and diagrams to build complex, multi-layered compositions. In his current exhibition The Notion of Landscape at the Francis McCray Gallery of Contemporary Art at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, NM, Cook presents a diverse body of work that spans the years 1981-2009. –Claude Smith Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Michael Cook | Venetian (Alamogordo) 2007-2009, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches; image courtesy the artist

Listed under: Review

September 26, 2014, 9:17am

Matt Magee at James Kelly Contemporary

In his first solo exhibition at James Kelly Contemporary in Santa Fe, Phoenix-based artist and recent NYC transplant Matt Magee (NAP #14) offers a bit of a departure from his typically looser, more shapely and often-codified works. In this stripped-down, analytical offering, Recent Paintings and Sculptures features works inspired by observed and imagined forms, collections, data analysis and the Arizona sky. – Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Matt Magee | Narita, 2013, oil on panel; image courtesy of James Kelly Contemporary

Listed under: Review

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