Sunday, January 20, 2013

Volcanic Majesty at Valles Caldera National Preserve

Production stills from Fran Hardy interviewing Rourke McDermott at Valles Caldera National Preserve where he is the landscape architect

Valles Caldera is a spectacular landscape formed by the eruption of a volcano and the collapse of its cone creating a massive verdant valley surrounded by the the Jemez Mountains. It is a breathtaking place and we went there to visit the History Grove with its ancient ponderosa pines and see the preserve with Rourke as well as to hear about how a landscape architect helps to protect and preserve this very special place.

Production still: Looking from the edge of the History Grove into the valley

Yes, Fran is a tree-hugger and that is one of the reasons she chose the History Grove as a place to include in our shoot for "Earth Chronicles Project: New Mexico".

Fran grabbing stills for paintings she will do of the magnificent trees of the History Grove
"Ponderosa Pine" by Fran Hardy, 48" x 38", colored pencil on acrylic ground on panel
If you hug a ponderosa pine you will smell the wonderful vanilla odor that its bark has.

Our documentary "Earth Chronicles Project, The Artist's Process: New Mexico" will contain a fascinating interview with Rourke at Valles Caldera as well as an insider's look at this magnificent 

Rourke is a very fine photographer also and all of the images below are his photographs of Valles Caldera which are also included in our exhibitions at New Mexico Highlands University, Burris Hall in Las Vegas, New Mexico January 14- February 14 with a reception January 31st from 5-7pm and an airing of the documentary in progress at 7pm. 
Santa Fe Art Institute will be airing our documentary April 15 and hosting our exhibition April 15- May 17. 

copyright Rourke McDermottt
copyright Rourke McDermott
copyright Rourke McDermott
copyright Rourke McDermott
copyright Rourke McDermott

The Valles Caldera National Preserve was a private ranch until 2000, when Congress created it from a well-known ranch known as “the Baca Ranch” in New Mexico’s volcanic Jemez Mountain Range. This 89,000 acre property is situated inside a collapsed crater. Studded with eruptive domes and featuring Redondo Peak (11,254 feet), this old ranch property is now being developed to explore a new way of managing public lands.
Valles Caldera (or Jemez Caldera) is a 12 mi (19 km) wide volcanic caldera in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico. It is one of only six known land-based supervolcanoes. The highest point in the caldera is Redondo Peak, an 11,258 foot resurgent lava dome located entirely within the caldera. Also within the caldera, Valle Grande (local pronunciation: /ˈv. ˈɡrɑːnd/vy-ay grahn-day) is the largest valle in the park and the only one with a paved road.
Spending a day in the quiet expanse of the Valles Caldera National Preserve is worth the effort of booking reservations and getting to this remote location. Hidden beyond Los Alamos in the New Mexico Jemez Mountain Range, the 360-square-kilometer (89,000-acre) preserve is a secret garden enclosed by a geologic wonder, just two and a half hours from the Albuquerque airport. From Albuquerque, the highway winds through pueblos and red rock canyons before it reaches Jemez Springs and the preserve.
The Valles Caldera is one of three active calderas in the United States. It encircles a field of volcanoes whose resurgent domes partition the 22-kilometer-wide caldera into five sections, or valles, which means valleys without trees in Spanish. The largest of these, Valle Grande, is almost 10 kilometers long and six kilometers wide. A magma chamber seethes five kilometers below the idyllic grasslands that shroud the surface of the Valle Grande. The eruptions formed the caldera roughly 1.2 million years ago, when the volcanic field expelled more than 750 cubic kilometers of ash and lava. Ash deposits contributed tuft to the surrounding Jemez Mountains, and the landscape sank back in on itself to form the vast bowl of the Valles Caldera.
Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor public areas, landmarks, and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioral, or aesthetic outcomes. It involves the systematic investigation of existing social, ecological, and geological conditions and processes in the landscape, and the design of interventions that will produce the desired outcome. The scope of the profession includes: urban designsite planning; stormwater management; town or urban planningenvironmental restorationparks and recreation planning; visual resource management; green infrastructure planning and provision; and private estate and residence landscape master planning and design; all at varying scales of design, planning and management. A practitioner in the profession of landscape architecture is called a landscape architect.
Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the Ponderosa PineBull PineBlackjack Pine,[1] or Western Yellow Pine, is a very large pine tree of variable habit native to western North America, but widespread throughout the temperate world. It was first described by David Douglas in 1826, from eastern Washington near present-day Spokane. It is the official state tree of the State of Montana.
P. ponderosa is a large coniferous evergreen tree. The bark helps to distinguish it from other species. Mature individuals have cinnamon-red bark with black crevices. Younger trees have black to reddish-brown bark. The tree can often be identified by its characteristic long needles that grow in tufts of two to four (or five)[2] depending on subspecies.
Sources differ on the scent. Some state that it has no distinctive scent,[3] while others state that the bark smells like vanilla if sampled from a furrow of the bark.[4] Sources agree that the Jeffrey Pine is more strongly scented than the Ponderosa Pine.[3][5]
The National Register of Big Trees lists a Ponderosa Pine that is 235 ft (72 m) tall and 324 in (820 cm) in circumference.[6] In January 2011, a Pacific Ponderosa Pine in Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon was measured with a laser to be 268.35 ft (81.79 m) high. The measurement was performed by Michael Taylor and Mario Vaden, a professional arborist from Oregon. The tree was climbed on October 13, 2011, by Ascending The Giants (a tree climbing company in Portland, Oregon) and directly measured with tape-line at 268.29 ft (81.77 m) high.[7][8] This is now the tallest known pine. The previous tallest known pine was a Sugar Pine.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Mexico exhibition installation already garnering enthusiasm

Yesterday was spent a Burris Hall at New Mexico Highlands University helping with the installation of our exhibition "Earth Chronicles Project: New Mexico"

It was a long day but very satisfying, as by the time we left well after dark hours later almost all of the art was on the walls except for Catherine Harris's installation on foraging that she will install this Saturday. There is still lots left to do with lighting, wall tags, PR and advertising and other final details. Kirk Naegele, preparator for the NMHU gallery pictured above on the left was invaluable. He also designed a beautiful poster for our exhibit. Bob is on the right preparing the scrim for a video installation that will be projected on the scrim near the ceiling hanging down for about two feet and ten feet across.

These pictures will take you through our process of installing.

Milt from NMHU repairing and painting a sculpture stand for Lauren Camps 7 foot long piece 
"Disappear the Stars", an artist's book about a proposed development that would have affected the rural quality of the La Cienega community she lives in with her husband David. Bob still working on that projection scrim.

Kirk starting to hang some of my ancient New Mexico trees. Mark and Linda Winter of The Toadlena Trading Post are up front starting to arrange the display case of the Navajo weavings of the Two Grey Hills region.

Kirk and Milt discussing technical details

Unpacking and arranging Bill Gilbert's pieces from his "Walking the Grid" and "Constellation" series, which will have QR codes so that anyone with a smart phone can walk along with Bill and hear his adventures creating these series in New Mexico and the southwest as well as Australia, where you can hear his encounter with an emu.

Working on the wall of Lauren Camp's fiber and mixed media pieces which will also include some of her lyrical poetry.

Bob with that scrim again and Lauren Camp's work behind him

Bob talking with Mark Winter in the background who made the long drive from Toadlena in the far west of New Mexico to install the Navajo weavings of the Two Grey Hills region and The Toadlena Trading Post. We were so glad Mark and Linda came as they had a very complex installation and wanted to make sure it looked dynamic which it did.

Mark takes a banana break and confers with his wife and partner Linda and his daughter Marina.
Personally I relied on staying highly caffeinated with coffee. But you won't see my tweaking and giving my input since I took these pictures. So no Fran Hardy in these pictures. She's behind the camera which is what Bob does when shooting our documentaries with me as the on-camera host and interviewer.

Bob figuring out how best to install the projection scrim while Mark works hard on their display.
Bob surveying the installation of Lauren Camp, Bill Gilbert and my work.

Mark Winter's finished installation for The Toadlena Trading Post. It is dense with information and wonderful work which makes a great counterpoint to the rest of the show and Irvin and Lisa Trujillo's weavings in the opposite case which are hung with a lot more space around them. 

detail from The Toadlena Trading Post display. The weavings of the Two Grey Hills all use the natural colors of the wool from the sheep creating a subtle but dynamic palette.

Irvin and Lisa Trujillo's dynamic colorful weavings in their display case with the rich tradition of the Chimayo/ Rio Grande weaving with their innovative contemporary touches and influences. Irv and Lisa have a beautiful shop in Chimayo called Centinela Traditional Arts.

Front of gallery with the two display cases of weavings, note the scrim with the projection near the ceiling. The lighting still has to be worked on so that the projection will be visible enough. 

Bob takes a moment to survey my ancient trees and how they are hung. The pink sticky notes on the wall are so that Kirk will know which wall tags to put next to each one. We artists are good at making up obscure titles for our work that no one else could guess and I have learned to have the artists send me jpgs with titles and other details of their work below them for the preparator to use to match wall tags with the work.
Two of Rourke McDermott's photographs. Rourke is the landscape architect at Valles Caldera National Preserve and takes striking photographs of its magnificent landscape.

We can't wait to see Catherine Harris's installation at the front of the gallery on foraging to be installed this upcoming weekend.

Kirk called us today that people walking through the gallery are already responding enthusiastically to the show not yet fully installed and said it is one of the best they have seen there. How gratifying to us after all our hard work.

The show opens January 14 and runs until February 14 with a reception with the artists January 31st from 5-7 and then an airing of the documentary in progress which Bob is still furiously editing at Ilfeld Auditorium next door at 7pm. We will be shooting some more segments in February to create what will probably be two one hour shows.
If you can't make it to NMHU we will be at the Santa Fe Art Institute for the month of April with an airing of the documentary probably still in process April 15th. If you love this kind of show come to both as the gallery spaces dictate different installations of work which is part of our challenge in curating, designing and mounting these shows.
But plan a day trip to Las Vegas, New Mexico and come to the opening as it is a fun historic town to tour with a real New Mexico flavor.

New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) is a public university located in Las VegasNew Mexico.

The university was first established as New Mexico Normal School in 1893, with the prominent archaeologist Edgar Lee Hewett serving as its first president. The institution became New Mexico Normal University in 1902, and then New Mexico Highlands University in 1941, as it expanded its role beyond teacher education. Today, NMHU offers graduate and undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, education, and social work.
Located in Las Vegas, a city with a population of about 16,000, Highlands’ main campus is close to recreational and wilderness areas, and within an hour's drive of Santa Fe and 2 hours from Albuquerque.
The majority of the school's approximately 2,800 students are from New Mexico and are Latino. Highlands’ programs focus on its multi-ethnic student body, especially the Latino and American Indian cultures distinctive of New Mexico.
To find out more about the Santa Fe Art Institute:
curator (from Latincurare meaning "take care") is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution (e.g., gallery,museumlibrary or archive) is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material. The object of a traditional curator's concern necessarily involves tangible objects of some sort, whether it be artwork, collectibles, historic items or scientific collections. More recently, new kinds of curators are emerging: curators of digital data objects and biocurators.