"Pandemic #56" by Zoë Zimmerman, 41 x 41 inches, Archival Pigment Print, 2021
COVID Vanitas: The Self - Quarantine Still Lifes Photographs by Zoë Zimmerman
On View: October 26 - December 5, 2021 in the Fechin Studio Exhibition Statement The global pandemic of 2020 affected my small household, and my studio practice before most of the rural community in which I reside was fully aware of the imminent threat. My daughter returned home unexpectedly from her studies in a COVID-19 hotspot, and we promptly quarantined; before the shutdown, before paper product shortages, masks and gloves, and hand sanitizer, before mass internet sharing of the experience of social isolation, before a single case of Covid-19 was reported in our county and only two cases in the state. Our experience of quarantine was singular for a time but quickly became commonplace.
My work, both commercial and artistic, was dependent on bodies in the studio (models or clients) and became an impossibility overnight. I found myself with neither subject matter for the projects I was immersed in nor income from my commercial work, but I was loath to pause in my momentum. On the first day of quarantine, I began photographing the people-less quiet of a home and studio in isolation. The still lifes, which I shared daily on the internet, are a visual journal of days passing with little change but the weather and season and what was provided by a small plot of land in rural New Mexico. The quotidian and mundane were magnified as I turned my eye to what had previously been overlooked and barely acknowledged. There were natural events that occurred over time that were particular to place, which I included in the slowly turning narrative of the images (a plague of moths, drought, an unprecedented snow in early September, flocks of songbirds falling dead from the sky), but ultimately the body of work speaks to a more global shared experience of this unfathomable time. The images depict objects symbolizing the specificity of this era of social and physical isolation; groceries held more emotional weight, fruits and vegetables which would not last became poignant, mold was heartbreaking, small blooms of common weeds were gloriously exotic when hothouse flowers were unavailable, an abundance of toilet paper was wealth. News of illness and deaths and unrest and racism and riots filtered into the images, and they took on a look of vanitas paintings of the 1700s, replete with symbols alluding to the transience of life; bones, dead birds, fruit well past its prime, drapery inferring shrouds. The shared images became my conversation with the outside world, and the overwhelming response to the growing body of work kept the studio alive. A patron ordered a portfolio of the first forty images, thus enabling me to begin production of prints of the first forty of a body of work that now contains over one hundred images.
The quick switch of gears in my work was a technical change as well as a subject change. After a consistent career based on analog process, film, black and white imagery, large format cameras, antique and obsolete printing methods, and a darkroom practice of over forty years, I chose to produce this work in color and digital medium. This choice was partially precipitated by the ease of sharing that the medium provides, but I have also viewed ‘the pause’ as an opportunity to hone my skills in a new direction and catch up with the technological advances of the medium of photography. It is rare that one is offered unfettered time to advance in a new direction, but that is precisely what this pandemic has afforded me. ~Zoë Zimmerman
"Fechin SG001" by Matthew Thomas,
Fechin reproductions on newsprint, acrylic paint, on wood panel, 36 x 36 inches,
Reframed Matthew Thomas
On View:December 18, 2021 - January 31, 2022
Sited in the former studio of Russian-American artist Nicolai Fechin, this selection of works by Taos-based artist and architect Matthew Thomas is a conversation between two artists. With over 20 wood, paper, and cardboard works, the exhibition challenges the binaries of new and old, local and global, authentic and appropriated, art and craft, skilled and unskilled, and the masculine and feminine.
Reframed is a series of drawings, constructions, and patterns fabricated from new and reclaimed materials. Broken down, cut up, rebuilt, and repositioned, these works are textures drawn from familiarity, from (un)common histories, and from the self. The process evokes an awareness of tradition and craft while raising questions about context, place, and modes of production and consumption over the past 100 years.
These works are a practice in seeing. Reframed explores the integration of place and identity into a physical and tactile realm. This site-specific exhibition merges personal journeys into a collective experience through the rigorous production of objects and images. These constructions seek to queer where inspiration begins and how authenticity, value, and identity are derived.
Artist Bio: J. Matthew Thomas (b. 1976) is an artist and architect who utilizes the tools of architecture to explore both social and aesthetic patterns. Thomas has had a number of solo shows regionally, with group shows in Germany, New York, and New Mexico. In addition, with a MacDowell Fellowship awarded for the spring of 2022, Thomas has attended a number of residencies, including StudioWorks in Eastport, Maine; Santa Fe Art Institute; Arteles Creative Center in Finland; The PORT Hackathon at CERN, Switzerland; and Art Farm in Nebraska. Thomas has a MA in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University in New York City. He has explored community, place, and infrastructure through parallel practices in architecture and urban design through Studio Taos and the nonprofit he founded, The Paseo Project. Thomas currently resides in Taos, New Mexico, with his husband and 40 chickens. Website:https://www.jmatthewthomas.com/ Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/jmattthomas/
Interested in submitting an idea for a possible exhibition in the Fechin Studio?
Please send a resume, ten examples of your work, and an artist statement regarding artistic intention and vision for the proposed show to email@example.com. Given that the Studio exhibitions are where Nicolai Fechin created some of his best work, we are particularly interested in proposals inspired by his work and legacy, though it's not required.
We welcome all inquiries and make selections based on curatorial standards of artistic quality and relevance to the mission of the museum. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, or marital status.
Taos Art Museum at Fechin House 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte Taos, New Mexico 87571 (575) 758-2690 firstname.lastname@example.org
Taos Art Museum at Fechin House is supported in part by generous grants from New Mexico Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Mexico Humanities Council.