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

Local Treasures 2008 honored 12 artists (see below) who are representative of both the diversity and quality of the over 1,000 artists who live and work in Albuquerque. This was a month-long celebration beginning with a city-wide Artscrawl and ending with the GO Arts Festival in Downtown Albuquerque. We look forward to Local Treasures 2009.

Kevin Burgess: traditional New Mexico tin work
Kevin Burgess is an eighth generation New Mexico native and traditional tinsmith.  Burgess’ rich heritage has heavily influenced this self -taught artist in the traditional styles and techniques of New Mexican metal work. While living in Germany and Spain and traveling throughout Europe, he absorbed many ideas from those cultures, which also expanded his artistic world. His work can go beyond the traditional tinwork and explore many facets of metal work. He was the 2007 Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau artist whose work was presented at trade shows and as gifts to dignitaries and associates. His work can be seen locally at Sumner & Dene Gallery in Downtown Albuquerque.

“Relationship/The Eternal Journey”, bronze sculpture

Joe Cajero: Pueblo Indian sculptor and painter
Joe Cajero, Jr. was born in 1970 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and raised in the Pueblo of Jemez. He is a descendant of a long line of Pueblo artists, including his father, a painter, and his mother, Esther, a potter. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe after high school, where he studied two dimensional art and traditional pottery making. He became known internationally for his smiling koshare figures, but in recent years he has made limited-edition bronze figures. He is also beginning to paint again, an art form that has always been close to his heart. In New Mexico his work can be seen atWright’s Indian Art and Legends Santa Fe.

“Blue Water Lily”, tapestry

Donna Loraine Contractor: tapestry
Donna Loraine Contractor was born in Waukegan, Illinois and came to New Mexico to attend St. John’s College in Santa Fe. She moved to Albuquerque 20 years ago. She has won over 20 art competitions and commissions through the many state, county and city Public Art Programs. Donna operates an Apprenticeship Program at her Nob Hill studio. To date there have been four apprentices, each for about two years and one has become a tapestry artist in her own right. In 2005 Donna created the Bravos Award, a series of small weavings given to the award recipients. Contractor’s work can be seen at four New Mexico galleries: Mariposa Gallery and the Albuquerque Museum Gallery Store in Albuquerque, the Tapestry Gallery in Madrid, NM and the Weaving Southwest Gallery in Taos, NM.

Kathryne Cyman: porcelain ceramics
Kathryne Cyman follows a 400-year old Japanese pottery tradition to create radiantly translucent porcelain plates, cups and bowls. She developed her craft studying with Jim Srubek at UNM and with porcelain masters in Arita, Japan. Some of the glazes she makes from the West Mesa volcanic ash that she has collected with her students. The Arita method was developed in Japan more than 400 years ago. when a large porcelain clay deposit was discovered near the town of Arita. That clay is now only available to Japanese masters because it is a limited resource. During the past 25 years, a new porcelain clay body with properties similar to Arita clay was developed in the US to provide material for students and professionals using the Arita method. Cyman is a master of this highly disciplined technique and has received many awards in her field. She was selected by Professor Jim Srubek and Manji Inoue (an important cultural National Living Treasure from Japan) to continue Scrubek’s work at UNM and maintain the international relationship with Arita, Japan in ceramic arts. This is the only such program that exists in the US. Cyman’s work can be seen atWeyrich Gallery in Albuquerque.

“Lost Dreams”, watercolor

Charles (Bud) Edmundson: watercolor, pastel and oil paintings
Born in Clayton, New Mexico, Bud Edmondson decided at an early age become an artist, not a cowboy. He now devotes full time to his painting, although he also teaches and gives workshops. Although adept at several media, watercolor is his favorite. “It allows me to combine draftsmanship and spontaneity” he says. He is a firm believer in painting on location, really getting a feel of the place. He maintains a studio with The Artist Studio, a group of 13 artists who share studio space. He is actively involved with several arts organizations including the New Mexico Watercolor Society, Pastel Society of New Mexico and Rio Grande Artist Association. He has been honored with Signature Membership in both the New Mexico Watercolor Society and the Pastel Society of New Mexico and has received numerous other awards for his work.Edmondson’s work can be seen in the Rod Hubble Gallery in Santa Fe, the Varient Gallery in Taos, and Framing Concepts Gallery in Albuquerque.

From Ellis’ Post-Aegean series

Robert M. Ellis: abstract paintings and drawings
One of Albuquerque’s best-kept secrets is octogenarian Robert M. Ellis. Ellis has made many contributions to our arts community. He worked as Assistant Director and Director at the UNM Art Museum in Albuquerque for seven years. He was a professor at UNM for 23 years and Director of the Harwood Museum in Taos for 12 years. Awards include the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Individual Support of The Arts and a Regents Meritorious Service Medal from UNM. His work is in numerous collections including the Albuquerque Museum, Museum of fine Arts in Santa Fe and the Roswell Museum. Most recently, Ellis was awarded a Wurlitzer Foundation Grant where he will be an artist in residence in Taos for three months. Today, Robert Ellis can be found working in his Nob Hill studio, producing wonderful abstract paintings and drawings. His work can be seen at Coleman Gallery Contemporary Art.

Scott Krichau: metal sculpture
Scott Krichau was born in Grand Island, Nebraska and received a Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He is a prolific sculptor who has exhibited extensively in Albuquerque at the Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque Museum (Contemporary Albuquerquee 2004), and Coleman Gallery Contemporary Art where his “Objects for Getting Away” are on display through March 29. His process involves cutting sheet steel, hammering the parts, welding them together, and finally grinding the welds away. This creates a seamless, rounded object from flat sheets of steel. Static then becomes mobile through the evolution of wings, wheels, and new power sources. The pieces have a sense of humor about them and with the addition of a bright pastel paint job or some strange antenna, they become more engaging. Albuquerque Journal writer Wesley Pulkka wrote about Krichau’s recent exhibit “This guy can really work steel.” –and- “The power of Krichau’s imagery causes viewer emotions to run from bemusement to anxiety. His undeniable craftsmanship and attention to detail demand that these works be taken seriously no matter how funny, silly or scary they may seem.”

Steve Madsen: wood furniture and sculpture
Born in Oxnard, California, Steve Madsen dropped out of an engineering program at 20 to go to work in a shop producing kitchen cabinets so he could work with wood. There he learned the basic of woodworking and furniture production from skilled artisans. Following his calling is now bringing him national attention. He is best known for his meticulously crafted inlaid boxes with lidded compartments and drawers. Each box is different and they are made from a medley of rare and common woods and their shapes are strongly influenced by art-deco designs of the 1920s and 1930s as well as the native architecture of Albuquerque, where he lives. The National Endowment for the Arts has honored Madsen with a Craftsman’s Fellowship. His work is in the collection of the Albuquerque Museum as well as other museums and private collections across the US and internationally. His work can be seen at MoRo Gallery on Mountain Road.

“El Campo Amarillo”, oil painting

Frank McCulloch: contemporary landscape painting
Frank McCulloch has contributed to the Albuquerque community on many different levels. He taught art at one of the local high schools until his retirement about 10 years ago and is a prolific painter who continues to exhibit extensively. If he is not in his studio painting, you can find him somewhere in town performing with his band, Frank McCulloch y Su Amigos, keeping old New Mexican folk songs alive. Frank was born in Gallup, NM and received his BA from UNM. He went on to receive an Master of Arts from NM Highlands University and a Master of Fine Arts from Instituto Allenda in Mexico. Awards include Governor’s Award in the Arts, National Endowment of the Arts, and National Endowment of the Humanities. His work can be seen locally at Matrix Fine Art and through May 4 as part of the Albuquerque Elder series at the Albuquerque Museum.

“Jane Austen”, mixed media

Carol Mullen, mixed media paintings
Born in Concordia, Kansas, Carol Mullen has been an active part of the arts community in Albuquerque for more than 30 years. She received a BFA from UNM with Painting and Drawing concentration, then her MA from UNM in Art Education. She was an art instructor at UNM for eight years and at Manzano High School for 20 years. Carol loves anomalies, whimsy, oxymoron, tongue-in-cheek, puns and parables, metaphors, dislocations, subtle humor, informality, warmth, looking forward, free radicals, imprisoned radicals, all manner of nuts, peace-filled sleep, the leading edge of the anvil cloud, sacred geometry, simple wisdom, plain truth, silliness and depth, color, shape, solitude, Jess and Megan and sweet Pop; embracing the Alpha and Omega, Lion of Judah. Her work can be seen at Our Summer House and Weyrich Gallery in Albuquerque and Conley’s Studio, Madrid, NM.

“Only Place”, oil

B.C. Nowlin, oil paintings
B.C. Nowlin has spent most of life in Alameda, NM, just a few miles from where he was born in 1949. The influences of the many cultures of Albuquerque’s north valley are visible in his work but the figures in the paintings really represent all the people of the world. The horses in his paintings are representations too – symbols of liberation and mobility (though he now spends more time on motorcyles than horses). The images in his paintings come almost spontaneously from his mind and dreams – not from real life, preliminary sketches, photos or other reference material. He is known for being a prolific painter, and his highly recognizable style and colors are known across the nation. He is indeed a treasure for Albuquerque and we are lucky that his work is represented locally. His work can be seen at Weems Galleries in Old Town and the Northeast Heights.

“Channel of the Rio Grande”, oil painting

Jeff Otis: oil paintings
Jeff Otis spend half his pre-adult life in Europe where his interest in art was facilitated by the proximity of some of the world’s greatest art museums. After moving to New Mexico in 1969, he became involved in anthropological research at UNM. During his professional career as a statistical analyst, his interest in art expanded. In 1984 he began showing professionally. Eventually, he opted to leave the corporate world and paint full time. Landscape, especially the dramatic vistas of the desert Southwest, are his central focus. The light in NM has a quality all its own and Jeff continually tries to capture its effects on the colors around him. His style is representational and often accompanied by contrasts of light and shade as well as dynamic color harmonies. The Rio Grande is one of his favorite subjects and he has painted it from most of the area bridges. He attributes much of his development as a painter to great artists of the past such as Monet, Sargent and Sorolla. Contemporary artists having equally important influence include Wilson Hurley, Clyde Aspevig and Richard Schmid. His work can be seen at Concetta D Gallery in Downtown Albuquerque.

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