Painter Jono Tew and photographer Cody Brothers met years ago when both artists were represented by the same Canyon Road gallery.
After they discovered that visiting wide open spaces in the West, and national parks in particular, was important to both of them personally and professionally, they started taking camping trips together. “We realized that our work complements each other,” says Tew, who has often provided Brothers with an extra pair of hands for holding and setting up photographic equipment.
On May 4, Tew and Brothers celebrate the grand opening of their new gallery, Modernist Frontier, which happens to be in the same Canyon Road space in which their work had been shown together more than five years ago.
A native of Massachusetts, Tew studied painting and printmaking at Tulane University and graphic design at Savannah College of Art and Design. In 1999, after moving back to Massachusetts and closer to the ocean, he began experimenting with landscape painting.
Thirteen years ago, during what he initially thought was going to be an extended visit, he landed in a remote area in San Miguel County less than an hour from Santa Fe and started painting the rural scenery around him.
Today, with his easel set up in the small back room of the gallery, he’s focusing his attention on painting scenes in oil on canvas that are inspired by visits to protected lands around the West including Yellowstone National Park, Arches National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and Monument Valley.
Brothers, who attended West Point Academy for two years, was born in Farmington, New Mexico and spent most of his childhood in Albuquerque. He co-owns Visions Photo Lab in Santa Fe with his wife, Nikkol Brothers. “It allows me to not only offer custom photo services to the community but also to personally inform every step needed to complete my own work, from the initial processing of the film to the mounting and finishing of the final pieces,” he says.
Brothers points the many different cameras he uses in his work on scenes in national parks and at neglected churches, abandoned farms, forgotten cars and other objects set in the vast Southwestern landscape. He works almost entirely with infrared film. Shooting pictures in the early morning or late afternoon with a black and white infrared film is his favorite thing to do “because of the dreamy effect and the length of the exposure times required to get a great shot,” he says.
Tew and Brothers are excited about their new venture together, which allows them to share their visions of contemporary Western subjects, both monumental and mundane.