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Larry Bell

1939, Chicago, Illinois
Lives in Taos, New Mexico, and Venice, California

Light Knots, 2014

Mylar, metals, and quartz

The Light Knots are created from a single layer of Mylar film coated with thin films of metals and quartz. They get their mysterious charm from the way they gently move and interact with light. Bell considers them to be “improvisational, spontaneous, and intuitive three-dimensional drawings in space.”

For his two-dimensional Church collages, Bell coats a custom-made red paper with a reflective micro-thin film. The resulting iridescent surface flickers in changing light to give the work an ever-changing appearance. The title refers to his new studio in Venice, a light filled desacralized church.

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Sushe Felix

1958, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Early Morning Mist, 2013

Acrylic on panel

During the 1930s and 40s, Colorado Springs was a center for American Regionalists and Modernists who looked to artists such as Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood as their mentors. Felix, a native of the region, reaches back to that tradition of rhythmic forms, extraordinary light, and layers of brilliant colors to create orderly compositions of geometric forms.

Though this work is abstract, its allusion to a stylish, vibrant city situated in a beautiful, lush mountain setting is clear. Its art-deco-like patterns suggest the painting might have been made in the 30s; yet its inner light and southwestern palette signal a very contemporary depiction of the Southwest.

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Allan Houser

1914, Near Apache, Oklahoma
d. 1994, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Legends Begin, 1990

Cast Bronze

Born to parents who had been imprisoned for twenty-seven years along with other members of the Warm Springs Chiricahua Apaches after their leader Geronimo surrendered to the United States government, Houser was the first member of his tribe to be born out of captivity.

He became one of the most admired Native American artists of the 20th century, and was the first Native American to receive the National Medal of Art, awarded at the White House in 1992 by President George H. W. Bush.

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Kiki Smith

1962, Palmer, Massachusetts
Lives in New York City
  1. Some Choose to Believe It, 2013
  2. Bear Club, 2015

Oil on linen

Landers says, “I generally want to paint cute animals.” And this tartan-covered bear from his North American Mammals series is about as cute as they get. If Picasso could paint blue people and Dali dripping clocks, why can’t Landers paint a plaid bear? Still, when we look closely at this adorable bear happily ambling through a Disney-esque landscape, we see a tiny bee just in front of his nose. This might not bode well for the happy fellow. The charm of the scene belies the seriousness of the work, whose title, carved into the rock in the lower right of the painting, is taken from a line in Kermit the frog’s Rainbow Celebration song. Landers’s works always have multiple layers of meaning, most of them having to do with the vulnerabilities of being an artist, the struggle to maintain the mental freedom it takes to be creative, and respectful nods to artists that came before. The enchanting little cub on the opposite wall seems to be one of the “some” who choose to believe.

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Joel Otterson

1959, Englewood, California
Lives in Los Angeles, California

Bottoms Up, 2013

Vintage pressed-glass and cut-crystal goblets, steel, metal chain, copper wire, and electrical parts

Loosely modeled after late 19th century Baccarat “birdcage” chandeliers, this work is an example of Otterson’s ability to create functional objects for domestic and public spaces by combining lofty high art ideals with thrift shop finds.

Playfully re-purposing common objects, in this case nearly two hundred pressed- and cut-glass goblets that he has collected over the past decade, Otterson’s work results in seriously beautiful, carefully crafted works of art. Unlike many artists today, he takes pride in making all his work himself: “I celebrate what my hands and ten fingers can do.”

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