When KEEP Contemporary put out a call for artwork late last year, gallery director Jared Antonio-Justo Trujillo was particularly seeking lowbrow, outsider and pop art but was open to looking at a wide range of work.
More than 200 artists from around the country sent 700+ images. They hoped that their work, ranging from painting and sculpture to textiles and taxidermy, would be included in KEEP Contemporary’s show “New Contemporary: High Art, Low Art and Everything in Between,” which opens on February 22.
Among the New Mexico artists featured in the show is Santa Fe native Sienna Luna, who came back to town in 2017.
“I moved back to start a design and illustration business and to continue building my portfolio, representation and collector base for my fine art,” says Luna. “I chose Santa Fe because it’s an incredibly special place. I want to be a part of contributing to a city that is already wonderful and is growing in really exciting ways.”
Luna’s two pieces in the show are part of a 2018 series titled “Two Sides/ Same Coin,” which is the name of the larger work. The series explores the idea of the self and finding internal and external balance.
“I am searching for the equilibrium of elements within our human form and outside us through our connection to the earth,” she says.
Sylvia Luftig, a clay artist who lives north of Taos, also has work in the show. The raku pottery she creates is an Americanized version of the 16th century Japanese ceramic process. “The sensual surface of life is what inspires me, as well as the tactile play with clay and fire,” she says. “My new artist’s statement is “fire, clay and the sensual surface of life.”
Stella Kisstiger, a native of Belarus who has lived in Berkeley, California for more than a decade, displays her abstract painting “Making Lemonade.”
“I took a dive into painting shortly after I arrived in San Francisco,” says Kisstiger. “Local City College was a great and affordable starting point for me to get practical knowledge in art, drawing and painting. Over the years my approach to painting evolved to be much less representative and more embracing of the moment, the music, the action, the feeling. I explore the flow of life using my favorite media (watercolors, pastels, acrylics, and fused glass).”
A total of 70 works by 43 artists are included in the show.