SUMMER OF COLOR: The Artist’s Toolkit

Summer of Color- Matthews Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Santa Fe’s Summer of Color officially began on Memorial Day, and we’re busy preparing our contribution to the city-wide cultural celebration. This special collaboration between the city’s top museums, galleries, restaurants and hotels showcases the vibrant array of colors that the City Different has to offer. Many participants picked specific hues to feature: the International Folk Art Museum took red, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture has turquoise and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art settled on indigo and cobalt blue.

At Matthews Gallery, we decided to showcase an enormous array of colors for our special exhibition The Artist’s Toolkit: New Mexico Artists at Work. The show features rare artifacts of legendary New Mexico artists next to their work, giving visitors insight into the complex process of conceptualizing, mixing and applying color.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view Tommy Macaione’s paint palette, William Lumpkins’ brushes, Alfred Morang’s notes on color, Arthur Haddock‘s pigment bottles and other behind-the-scenes ephemera from Santa Fe private collections.

Scroll down for a preview of these fascinating fragments from New Mexico history, and make sure to attend the opening this Friday, June 5 from 5-7 pm.  Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on Summer of Color.

Tommy Macaione- Paint Palette- Matthews Gallery Blog

Tommy Macaione’s Paint Palette

Leon Gaspard- Easel- Matthews Gallery Blog

 

 

Leon Gaspard’s Easel 

Arthur Haddock- Pigment and Oil Bottles- Matthews Gallery Blog

Arthur Haddock’s Pigment and Oil Bottles

Alfred Morang- Sketchbook Teaching Notes- Matthews Gallery Blog

 Alfred Morang’s Teaching Notes

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COLLECTOR’S FORUM: Conservator Matt Horowitz

 Fine art conservator Matt Horowitz will appear at our COLLECTOR’S FORUM workshops
on October 17 and 24. The free events are for anyone who’s ever considered buying, selling or caring for fine art and has questions about the inner workings of the art world. To reserve a seat, make sure to contact us!

Matt-Horowitz-Goldleaf-Framemakers-Conservator

Conservator Matt Horowitz with a 17th century painting he restored for Matthews Gallery

“I came in and they gave me a de Kooning,” says Matt Horowitz. He’s telling the story of his arrival in Manhattan at 24 years old to work for a famed art restoration firm. If he failed this audition, there would be dire art historical consequences.

“A piece of the white paint had chipped away, which is the hardest thing to match, because white is never really white,” Horowitz says, nervously twisting the ring on his finger. “I was like, ‘You don’t even know who the hell I am, and you just gave me a de Kooning and you want me to fix it.'” At the end of the painstaking task, Horowitz had a new job. Eight years later he sits in Matthews Gallery’s front room among paintings he’s restored for us, with a budding reputation as a rare young master in his field.

Horowitz grew up in Santa Fe, where his father Marty founded Goldleaf Framemakers in 1988. One summer in high school he got bored with the family business and asked local art conservator Steven Prins to teach him the tricks of the trade.

After receiving his BFA in painting and drawing at the University of New Mexico, Horowitz returned to Santa Fe to work with Prins, but he’d always dreamed of living in New York. When he got a job offer from Lowy Frame & Restoration Company in Manhattan, he took the leap.

Matt Horowitz- Art Conservator- Goldleaf Framemakers of Santa FeHorowitz at work

“I didn’t go and get my masters degree in conservation because I went for a ‘apprenticeship to working commercially’ route,” Horowitz says. “I prefer it because when you go to school it’s a very different environment. It’s very intellectual.” At Lowy he got hands-on experience with diverse museum-quality work: paintings by Degas, Dali and other legends.

Horowitz had a great job and an apartment in Manhattan, but he was far away from his family. “Things had gotten really rough after the recession,” he recalls. “My dad calls and says, ‘Would you be interested in coming back and helping your old man out?'” It was a difficult decision, but Horowitz left New York behind.

His first winter back in Santa Fe was hard work. Horowitz lived in the family shop and turned out beautifully restored artwork on tight deadlines, building a successful new wing of the business. It’s been four years since his return and a decade since he started working as a professional art conservator, and business is booming.

Still Life Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer- Matthews Gallery blogUntitled still life by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, impeccably restored by Horowitz

“Now that I’ve been doing it for 10 years, I really push that,” Horowitz says. “I’ve definitely come up against the ageism, and the people who say, ‘How could you know what you’re doing? You’re too young.'” That’s why he jumped at the chance to collaborate with us on our Art Matters event, COLLECTOR’S FORUM. During our free workshops on October 17 and 24, he’ll discuss the fine points of maintaining and restoring artwork in your collection and tell fascinating stories from his career, including the tale of restoring one of Matthews Gallery’s oldest works of art.

“It’s kind of like being a detective,” he says. “It’s exciting. Something comes in and it’s not always totally straightforward, there’s a combination of things. It can be stressful but it’s exciting. You have to follow the clues and figure it all out.”

Learn more about COLLECTOR’S FORUM on our exhibition page, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily gallery updates.

SHOOTING SPARKS: Frank Morbillo’s Elemental Process

Frank Morbillo Sanding a Sculpture- Matthews Gallery Blog

Frank Morbillo sanding his sculpture Sprung

As we learned in his NEW HORIZONS show, sculptor Frank Morbillo is inspired by the way the elements carve the canyon lands of the American West. It’s fitting that his process is just as elemental. He bends and twists flat pieces of steel and bronze and then welds them into seamless three-dimensional forms, first creating smaller studies and working up to towering sculptures that possess the same gravitas as the rock formations he loves.

Witness the fiery birth of Frank’s sculpture Sprung and read quotes from the artist about his process and influences in this photo montage:

Process Photo of Sculptor Frank Morbillo's Sprung- Matthews Gallery blog

Fitting fabrication

“When you’re working with steel, you can work pretty inexpensively to generate an idea and get proportions down, and then make it a little bit bigger. Eventually this can go to the scale of the piece outside the Matthews Gallery.”

Frank Morbillo TIG Welding a Sculpture- Matthews Gallery Blog

TIG welding

“My background was in ceramics when I first started. For two years of college I thought my major was going to be ceramics, but in my sophomore year I took a blacksmithing class on forging and fabricating metal. I was like, ‘You can heat the stuff up and move it like clay? Oh my God!’”

Frank Morbillo Welding a Sculpture- Matthews Gallery blog

Welding

“You knock a piece of clay off the table and it breaks on the floor. You knock a piece of metal off and it dents the floor.”

fine sanding on Sprung-1

Fine sanding

“A lot of the pieces come from hiking canyons and experiencing the paths that you take in a canyon. If you look at a topo of a canyon, you can see its meandering course. When you’re down in a canyon and you see how it’s been eroded and shaped by water and wind, it takes on another shape.”

Frank Morbillo Adding a Patina to a Sculpture- Matthews Gallery blog

 Patina

“When I was in the foundry business doing patina work for different artists, we always used to talk about the translucency of bronze. They always wanted that, to where if you put this really nice golden brown patina over metal, you could see the metal coming through.”

Tesuque Artist Frank Morbillo with his Sculpture Sprung- Matthews Gallery blog

Almost there…

“One of the nice things about being out in nature is that all of the things we connect ourselves with are gone. Where does that take you? I think we need to do that still in our lives.”

See Frank’s finished sculpture here and learn more about the Tesuque sculptor on our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.