News Column

Galler-ama: Meyer, Tai Modern, Barbara Meikle

July 11, 2014

By Michael Abatemarco, The Santa Fe New Mexican

July 11--Meyer Gallery, 225 Canyon Road, 505-983-1434

Tucked into a complex of galleries near the start of Canyon Road, Meyer Gallery, in existence since 1967, offers an eclectic mix of Southwestern landscapes, contemporary realist works, and trompe l'oeil paintings and sculpture. "We have over 50 artists at this point," associate director Jordan West said. "One is Robert Daughters. He's very well-known in this area. He had this van Gogh-esque, impressionistic style and is recognizable for his broad brushstrokes and vivid palette." The gallery has a retrospective planned in October for Daughters, who died in 2013. "He's doing well at the gallery -- and has always." Other Meyer Gallery artists who paint the Southwest landscape, such as Ken Daggett and William Hook, also sell. But in the area of sculpture, Dave McGary tops the list. "He's known as a leader in American contemporary realist bronzes," West said. Meyer does well with its different genres. Large-scale works in bronze tend to be purchased more by institutions such as libraries and children's hospitals, and landscapes and figurative paintings are mainly purchased by private collectors. "Daniel Gerhartz is a great figurative painter, heavily influenced by John Singer Sargent," West said. The gallery also represents Milt Kobayashi, whose work recalls that of the French Impressionists and also 16th- and 17th-century Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Kobayashi's works -- women and men observed in domestic scenes and public spaces such as restaurants and cafÉs -- are candid and intimate, as though the artist is a fly on the wall watching people's actions. "I think he does well because it's not portraiture," West said. "It's not somebody staring at you. I find that sometimes people are uncomfortable with somebody they don't know staring at them. With Milt, you're almost a voyeur looking into their lives, wondering what's going on in their conversations." The gallery has one-person shows planned for McGary, Gerhartz, Kobayashi, and Hook during the summer.

----Tai Modern, 1601 Paseo de Peralta, 505 984-1387

When Eight Modern, originally located on Delgado Street, merged with the Railyard's Tai Gallery earlier this year to become Tai Modern, it brought along its stable of contemporary artists. Fay Ku's figurative works on paper and Jason Salavon's pop-culture appropriations, reconfigured into abstractions by use of computer software, found themselves alongside painstakingly crafted works in bamboo. "This location is new to both of us," said associate director Jaquelin Loyd. "There's a different viewer for the galleries in the Railyard. They're more drawn to modern and contemporary. Then there are people who really want more traditional." Tai Modern offers a little of both. "We don't have a huge database of artists, but Tai Gallery had created a wonderful market for the bamboo. We've also done well with Jason Salavon's work. He has a big international following. What works for us is to show artists who are established nationally and internationally. Having shows is really important." Gallery director Margo Thoma agreed. Exhibitions often result in sales. "If you're having a show with an artist that year, that makes a difference. Some artists only sell during shows. I think some level of familiarity helps." The new location near Charlotte Jackson Fine Art and David Richard Gallery should bring increased foot traffic to the gallery. "It will be interesting to see how the location affects the people we get coming in. On Delgado Street, our walk-ins didn't generate many sales," Thoma said. "We sell the bamboo very consistently," Loyd added. "It's an art form where fewer and fewer young artists can really hang in there with what it takes to learn the craft. It's hard for them to make a living until they become very good at what they're doing. So the work is expensive."

----Barbara Meikle Fine Art, 236 Delgado St., 505-992-0400

The focus of Barbara Meikle's artist-run gallery is primarily her own work. She offers a selection of works by other artists on consignment, but her best-selling pieces are by her hand. Meikle paints vibrant, expressionistic imagery of landscapes and wildlife, including horses, donkeys, and birds. The rich palette she employs in her paintings is part of an aesthetic also apparent in the works of her gallery artists. "I have two other painters and three sculptors. My work is so strong colorwise that when I had contrasting painters whose work was softer or more subtle, they just got lost in here. It was better to go strong." Meikle donates a portion of her sales to animal-rescue organizations, including EspaÑola's Wildlife Center, which brought a selection of raptors to the gallery in April for Meikle to paint. "People got to meet a bald eagle named Max. It inspires my art and also gives me great happiness to help support these entities." Meikle has no problems selling her work and made a sale by phone while Pasatiempo was visiting the gallery. "Whenever I sell a painting, I call my mother, and she always wants to know, Was it a landscape? Was it a donkey? Was it a horse? I also sell a lot of bison paintings and longhorn paintings. The birds have done well, and so have the landscapes. I just don't advertise them so much because there are so many landscape painters, and I kind of want to be known for something different." Meikle often brings donkeys to the gallery to paint them, raising funds for organizations such as the Equine Spirit Sanctuary in Taos. "We set up a tent in the driveway, and I set up easels. I usually do four or five paintings during the session. People can make donations or buy a painting or a print. Donkeys are different from horses. They're working animals around the world. They're stoic. They put up with a lot. There's something really special about them, and they're very intelligent." Meikle is in a fortunate position. While galleries in Santa Fe are closing right and left or moving to new locations, she has found a niche market for her work. "When things started to slow down in 2009, I put all my money into advertising. I doubled down on the marketing. Because I'm an artist- owned gallery, I have a little more money to work with because I'm not paying half of it to somebody else."


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Source: Santa Fe New Mexican, The (NM)

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