Jul
21
to Aug 3

Martha Rea Baker | Bret Price

Shapes and Surfaces

Martha Rea Baker and Bret Price

 

 

SANTA FE, NM. Owen Contemporary is delighted to announce Shapes and Surfaces, a duet exhibition featuring new works by New Mexico abstract painter Martha Rea Baker and California sculptor Bret Price.

 

The surface is the viewer's introduction to each painting created by Martha Rea Baker. The texture, color, shapes, and value all may spark an idea, convey a message or evoke an emotion. However, the surface also begs the question, "What lies below?" In each painting a history is built through multiple layers of paint application, mark making and drawing, removal and veiling of information. It is the artist’s intent that the surface of the painting will draw the viewer in to discover that the work is more than skin deep.

 

Baker’s new body of work continues to be land-based, inspired by the textures, colors and light of the Southwest landscape--ancient landforms affected by the passage of time ---- natural weathering and human intervention.

 

Born in Corsicana, Texas and raised in Clinton, Mississippi, Baker attended the University of Mississippi and received her BA from University of California, Santa Barbara. She continued her art studies at the University of Dallas and Collin College in Texas as well as European studies. Since 2006 Baker has resided in Santa Fe where she has become a well-established abstract artist.

 

Shaped rings and bands are welded together by California artist Bret Price to form elegant abstractions in brilliant colors. Price creates a sense of softness in his sculpture by building heating chambers around large pieces of steel to manipulate the metal. The variables of intense heat, size and shape of the raw material produce a wide range of results with a degree of unpredictability. This exhibition will feature his recent series composed of bands of stainless steel joined together in unexpected ways. 

 

Educated at Pomona College and Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, Price received his MFA from the California Institute of Arts. He has exhibited in distinguished galleries from New York to Hawaii and his work is in the collections of Smithsonian Museum of American Art,

the Dayton Art Institute in OH, the Laguna Beach Museum of Art in CA and the Toyota Corporation in Chicago, IL. He maintains studios in Southern California and Ohio for his large-scale pieces.

View Event →
Sep
30
to Oct 13

Kurt Meer | Stephen Pentak

Kurt Meer and Stephen Pentak

 

SANTA FE, NM. Kurt Meer and Stephen Pentak are teamed together in this exhibition of landscapes that showcases their unique and contrasting interpretations of the world outside. Both artists create images of nature from their mind’s eye rather than work in the plein air style of painting on location. It is the strong creative techniques of Meer and Pentak that set them apart from other more traditional landscape artists.

 

For Kurt Meer, the images reflect a general sense of place, rather than a specific location. Water, sky and land are like mantras repeated over and over where the image of the landscape simply becomes a point of meditation. “For several years I worked in downtown Memphis and watched the changing face of the river throughout the seasons, in times of drought and flooding, and under varied lighting conditions. I’ve come to know its subtleties, and while the rivers in my paintings are imaginary abstractions of water, sky and vegetation shapes, they undoubtedly go back to my memory of the Mississippi.”

 

Meer paints loosely with a rough brush and then uses a soft brush to blend the new layer of color almost immediately after is applied. The paintings are made with thin washes of oil paint diluted with turpentine and alkyd medium. His vivid and interesting colors are achieved by maintaining transparency between the layers of paint.

 

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Meer received his BFA in Graphic Design and has pursued graduate studies in painting from University of Memphis in Memphis, TN.  He resides in Memphis, TN.

 

Stephen Pentak’s paintings are based on his maquettes; drawings inspired by nature but drafted with a conscious mind to the abstract. He is informed by his surroundings but holds fast to his freedom to create and invent space. The paintings have changed subtly over Pentak’s expansive career as he determinedly works in an extended series. This persistent image is a means to discovery, to exploring light and mastering the balance between representation and invention.

 

Pentak builds densely forested landscapes by dragging palette knives and large brushes across a wood panel surface. Surfaces are built up of many thin layers of oil paint, pulled and crosshatched, one over another. Brighter under-layers gleam through shadowy upper layers, acting as the sun on the horizon, gliding over the edges of trees, lakes and mountains. The backgrounds are panoramic, while the foregrounds are dotted by sparse collections of trees…often birches, with their white bark formed by the delicate lines of individual bristles.

 

Stephen Pentak received a BA from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and a MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA.  He is Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University and resides in upstate New York.

View Event →
Sep
16
to Sep 29

Martha Rea Baker | Journey

SANTA FE, NM. Ruhlen-Owen Contemporary

 

Although Martha Rea Baker’s art journey began many years ago, it was her relocation to New Mexico that strongly influenced her exploration into mixed-media abstract painting. Baker’s intrigue with the rich history and culture of the area is reflected within the multiple layers of her paintings. The artist’s personal vision is revealed through subtle textures that invite discovery. Her process becomes a metaphor for life. “All of our past experiences, one building upon the other like the layers on the canvas, weave a rich tapestry,” says Baker.

 

Martha Rea Baker’s technique of choice is driven by her selection of mediums. She has successfully moved between the unique properties of oil and cold wax, acrylic paint, and encaustic hot wax to skillfully create a cohesive body of artwork for her upcoming solo exhibition. She explains, “I usually have a color tone in mind, one that conveys the mood of the original idea. However once I start to paint, I don’t force the issue. I begin with automatic drawing in charcoal and oil pastel followed by spontaneous layers of color, remaining in this “non-thinking” state as long as possible. I allow the painting to have a life of its own, each line, brushstroke and layer informing the next. I hope to achieve a bit of mystery in my work, inviting the viewer to bring his personal experience to the painting. ‘

 

Martha Rea Baker’s inspirational journey is derived from her travels as well as her personal observations on the natural passage of time and is reflected in her ongoing series with titles such as Dordogne, Chronos, Baranca, and Cliffhanger.

 

Born in Corsicana, Texas and raised in Clinton, Mississippi, Baker attended the University of Mississippi and received her BA from University of California, Santa Barbara. She continued her art studies at the University of Dallas and Collin College in Texas as well as European studies. Since 2006 Baker has resided in Santa Fe where she has become a well-established abstract artist. 

View Event →
Jul
1
to Jul 14

Mary Long | Daniel Phill

Flowers and Fields:
Mary Long | Daniel Phill

Who: Mary Long and Daniel Phill
What: Exhibition of painting
When: July 1, 2016 – July 14, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, July 1,5-7 pm.
Where: Ruhlen-Owen Contemporary,
225 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Ruhlen-Owen Contemporary’s first duo show of the 2016 season proudly features encaustic artist Mary Long and mixed-media acrylic artist Daniel Phil. Both well-established artists have experienced successful careers with Ruhlen-Owen Contemporary.

 

SANTA FE, NM. Aerial views of urban landscapes that are separated by boundaries and rural fields that are isolated by fences are a consistent theme in Mary Long’s geometric abstractions. “It’s a juxtaposition of architectural grayness against expanses of happy saturated colors that inspires my work to this day,” she says.

 

Mary Long is a self-taught encaustic artist whose use of that technique brings to her work elements that are both solid and transparent, those that are easily and immediately understood positioned next to those that are evasive and subdued. The wax medium allows her to further explore the painting in a tactile way by selectively scraping, incising and scarring; the mediums and materials are broken down only to be rebuilt and reshaped, making the work an extremely personal psychological reflection and reaction to the subject matter presented.

 

Daniel Phill is known mostly for his botanical imagery, his paintings bear his signature bold strokes and improvised gestures and marks that are created and composed on layers upon layers of thick, wet, viscous paint on canvas. He has transformed, recreated, reimagined and evolved his unique style of blurring the boundaries of abstraction and representation.

 

First and foremost a colorist, Phill creates fiery, saturated hues critics say are reminiscent of David Hockney's work.  Working in an Abstract Expressionist style, he pieces together organic shapes in his abstractions and teases images from splatters of paint in his floral paintings. His canvases demonstrate an impressive control of his material.  In large, loose gestures, he describes essential details - long, slender tendrils become reeds, pressed and flattened globs of paint turn into petals, and delicate veins emerge from colors bleeding together. 

 

Phill received his MFA from Stanford University and his BFA from San Francisco Art Institute.

View Event →
May
27
to Jun 9

Creative Transition Group Exhibition

Who: Gallery Artists
What: Exhibition of painting and sculpture
When: May 27th 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, May 27, 5-7 pm.
Where: Ruhlen-Owen Contemporary,
225 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501


2016 introduced an exciting change at one of Santa Fe’s well-established and best known art galleries.

Tim Owen, long-time gallery director with Karan Ruhlen Gallery became the new owner in 2016. Ruhlen-Owen Contemporary will continue to personify the quality and integrity of its founder and will continue to represent our long-standing roster of wonderful artists.

Our inaugural exhibition, Creative Transition, will open on May 27 and will feature artwork from all of our talented and established gallery artists.

 Featured artists: Painters: Martha Rea Baker, Elaine Holien, Mary Long, Martha Mans, Kurt Meer, Stephen Pentak, Daniel Phill, Jinni Thomas, Kevin Tolman, Pauline Ziegen Sculpture: Sally Hepler and Bret Price


Martha Rea Baker’s paintings that are rich both in oil or encaustic medium are indicative of the passage she has made from her more objective watercolor paintings to her strong abstract compositions. Daniel Phill engages the viewer with his paintings that transform bright colors and botanical shapes into powerful compositions.

 

Pauline Ziegen’s oil and gold leaf panels reflect her transition back and forth from her classic landscapes to a more abstracted version. Stephen Pentak creates modified landscape paintings with broad brushstrokes and marked surfaces.

 

Adding to our group of landscape artists with a more traditional style are Martha Mans with her oil and watercolor paintings of the Southwest and Kurt Meer with his masterfully painted oils of water scenes that have a dream-like quality.

 

Kevin Tolman’s works on paper and canvas move from child-like markings to a sophisticated composition all within the same painting. Random markings also appear on the beautifully muted color surfaces of Mary Long’s many-layered encaustic paintings. One can always sense that there is a story from the script-like markings just beneath and above the surface of Jinni Thomas’ paintings.

 

The bronze sculpture of Sally Hepler is a dramatic transition of steel that has been transformed into elegant abstract metal ribbons. Like-wise, the sculptor Bret Price has manipulated both thin steel strips and rebar into his brightly colored and fluid sculptures.

 

 

View Event →
Oct
16
to Oct 29

The Landscape

The Landscape

Classical to Modern

FEATURING:  Martha Mans, Kurt Meer Stephen Pentak and Pauline Ziegen

 

SANTA FE, NM.  Artists are continually looking for new ways of perceiving, interpreting, and translating the reality of nature into the language of art. Karan Ruhlen Gallery will feature the work of four accomplished artists with varying approaches to painting the landscape and exploring the beauty of nature in painting.

 

Martha Mans has lived in New Mexico and Colorado where the weather and seasonal conditions create dramatic and changing effects on the mountains, valleys and mesas. She has traveled extensively in Italy and France immersing herself in the culture. “The most familiar of landmarks, wherever you are, take on different elements that can be fleeting and you only see that one time. It’s fun to discover these moments and use them as inspiration for my paintings,” says Mans. 

Mans will also be the gallery’s featured artist for the “Seventh Annual Historic Canyon Road Paint Out” on October 17th from 10 to 3 pm. Over 100 artists will participate in this not-to-be missed outdoor event on historic Canyon Road

 

Tennessee artist Kurt Meer was profoundly affected by the theories of Whistler. “I have adopted Whistler’s comparison of painting to music,” he says. “Color is like a keyboard where there is a root key or color harmony within which there are a variety of chords created by playing opposites against one another, such as warm and cool, saturated and unsaturated.”  Whistler found one means of expressing his theories in a series of works depicting the river Thames at night. For Meer, the Mississippi river is the inspiration. “I’ve come to know its subtleties, and while the rivers in my paintings are imaginary abstractions of water, sky and vegetation shapes, they undoubtedly go back to my memory of the Mississippi.”

 

New York artist Stephen Pentak’s subject is the great outdoors. His method: a tried-and-true combination of oil paints, wood panel, large brushes and palette knives. He works from his mind’s eye, pulling from memory the landscapes he has seen. The creation and combination of color plays a major role in his work.

Pentak’s serene landscapes radiate an inner light. Surfaces are built up of many thin layers of oil paint, pulled and crosshatched, one over another. Brighter under-layers gleam through shadowy upper layers, acting as the sun on the horizon, gliding over the edges of trees, lakes and mountains, on its way to the other side of the earth. The backgrounds are panoramic, while the foregrounds are dotted by sparse collections of trees…often birches, with their white bark formed by the delicate lines of individual bristles.

Pentak is informed by his surroundings but holds fast to his freedom to create and invent space.


Pauline Ziegen’s earliest landscape paintings were painted outdoors in Kansas where vast stretches of prairie lead to distant horizons. Representing the unique dichotomy of where the earth seems to meet the sky or the apparent boundary between earth and sky, the horizon is, she says, “an ever-shifting location that you can never reach, yet it is always compelling.” At the time, Ziegen’s landscapes were representational; however, she has been “editing” ever since, creating suggestive abstractions inspired by the landscapes she views from a ridge-top home and studio on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. “...abstraction is all about editing and simplifying the visual world into formal elements that become metaphors of emotion,” says Ziegen.

View Event →