Saint Makers: A Living
Tradition in American Folk Art
September 23 - December 3, 2005
(above: Arlene Cisneros Sena, Santo Domingo, c. 2000,
carved and painted wood, 32.5 x 18.25 x 1 inches. Collection of Chuck and
Selected artist biographies
- Frank Applegate (1881 Atlanta,
IL 1931 Santa Fe, NM)
- Already an accomplished artist when he moved to Santa
Fe in 1921, Frank Applegate was one of the first to recognize the value
of local Native American and
Hispanic artwork. Adopting the santero style, he used local imagery for
his own work, but most importantly he began to collect and promote the
exhibition and preservation of the santero tradition. He was instrumental
in the development of societies and organizations devoted to this kind
of work, including the Spanish Colonial Society and the Indian Arts fund.
He was one of the leading proponents of the "Santa Fe Style."
Although he lived a short ten years in New Mexico, his influence reached
much farther and is still felt in New Mexican art. (right: Frank
Applegate, Santo Niño de Atocha, c. 1925, carved and painted
wood, string, cloth, 8 x 5 x 3.5 inches. Collection of Chuck and Jan Rosenak)
- Dr. Charlie M. Carrillo (b.
January 18, 1956 Albuquerque, NM)
- A teacher as well as an artist, Carrillo has conducted
over a hundred workshops on santeros under the auspices of the Spanish
Colonial Arts Society at museums and colleges throughout Northern New Mexico
and Southern Colorado. By his own account he has produced over 6000 religious
objects since he began in 1977. His works can be found in churches and
moradas across New Mexico, and was included in numerous exhibitions, such
as Chispas! Cultural Warriors of New Mexico at The Heard Museum,
Phoenix (1992), Cuando Hablan Los Santos: Contemporary Santero Traditions
from Northern New Mexico at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, Albuquerque
(1995), and Our Saints Among Us: 400 years of New Mexican Devotional
Art (1997). His work can also be found at Regis University, Denver,
the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, the Denver Art Museum,
and the Albuquerque Museum and the Taylor Museum for Southwestern Studies
of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, among others. He is also the
subject of a book by Barbe Awalt and Paul Rhetts, Charlie Carrillo:
Tradition & Soul/Tradicion y Alma (1995). His work has been presented
to King Juan Carlos of Spain and President Bill Clinton. He has won countless
awards including People's Choice Award at Spanish Market (1999), Best of
Show at Los Colores Festival (2000), New Directions Award at Spanish Market
(2000), and New Mexico Arts & Crafts Festival Poster Award (2002).
Carrillo's most recent academic publications include A Tapestry of Kinship,
2005 and Saints of the Pueblos, 2005.
- Gloria Lopez Córdova
(b. October 6, 1942 Córdova, NM)
- Gloria Lopez Córdova's work is a part of the Córdova
santero tradition characterized by unpainted figures decorated with chip
carved patterns. Following the footsteps of her family from her great-grandfather
she has nevertheless developed her own celebrated style.
- Córdova opened a family store in 1978. Her work
can be found at the Museum of International Folk Art and the Spanish Colonial
Arts Society in Santa Fe, the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, and the
Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Her work has been included in exhibitions
such as One Space/Three Visions at the Albuquerque Museum (1979),
Cuando Hablan Los Santos: Contemporary Santero Traditions from Northern
New Mexico at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, Albuquerque (1995),
and Art of the Santera at the Museum of International Folk Art (1993).
Córdova has been participating in Spanish Market since 1976 and
has won many awards over the years.
- Gustavo Victor Goler (b.
March 12, 1963 Buenos Aires, Argentina)
- Goler arrived in New Mexico when he was six years old,
and he grew up in Santa Fe. He earned a degree in Graphics and Advertising
Design from the Colorado Institute of Art. As a restorer and conservator,
Goler has studied the art of historic santero masters like Jose Aragon
and Rafael Aragon. His work is considered to be progressive, and his increasing
knowledge of iconography and religious themes as well as his growing ability
to manipulate his medium has made him a popular sculptor. Goler joined
Spanish Market in 1988 and has won many ribbons. He has won first place
in the bultos category from 2002 to 2004. His work has been included
in several major exhibitions and can be found in the permanent collections
of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, the Museum of International Folk
Art, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the Taylor Museum for Southwestern
Studies of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Regis Collection
of Santos, and the Smithsonian Institution.
- Nicholas Herrera (b. July
11, 1964 El Rito, New Mexico)
- Herrera describes his youth as a time of rock and roll,
drunk-driving arrests, drugs and girls. In fact, it was a pivotal car accident
and near death experience that acted
as a major influence in Herrera's current works. Although Herrera might
be the most internationally acclaimed santero, he has not had the same
success in Spanish Market as other more traditional santeros. Herrera's
work has been called edgy, crude and humorous.
- After Herrera's accident, he built private chapels and
worked on the restoration of many churches and moradas in Northern New
Mexico in gratitude for his second chance at life. His work has been included
in Our Saints Among Us: 400 years of New Mexican Devotional Art
(1997), Wind in My Hair (1996), Contemporary Folk Art from the
National Museum of American Art (2000), The Low Rider Santero
(2001), Santos and Diablos (2002), and Ahora: New Mexican Hispanic
Art (2002), and many others. His work is in the permanent collection
of various museums such as the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, the Museum
of International Folk Art, the Sheldon Art Museum, and the Smithsonian's
National Museum of American Art. (right; Nicolas Herrera, Walking
the Line, 1997, carved and painted wood, 18.5 x 62 x 22 inches. Collection
of Chuck and Jan Rosenak
- David Nabor Lucero (b. November
22, 1957 Santa Fe, NM)
- Lucero's bultos are characterized by strong lines of
color, extravagant forms, and elaborate gestures. His work contrasts sharply
with the simple folk forms so often prevalent in New Mexico. Working in
collaboration with his wife Kimberly, Lucero creates work that is a finely
crafted and finished earning the name "baroque." This style has
come to be recognized in a group of "Baroque Santeros" who refer
to themselves as "La Gavia" including other artists such as Charlie
Carrillo, Nick Herrera, Ramón José López, Jerome Lujan,
Alcario Otero and Arlene Cisneros Sena. Although their work is not necessarily
similar to one another, they all share a more modern outlook on the santero
- Lucero has participated in Spanish Market, winning numerous
awards including the Grand Prize/Best of Show award two years in a row
(1996, 1997). His work has been in exhibitions such as, Our Saints Among
Us: 400 Years of New Mexican Devotional Art" and Northern New
Mexico Devotional Art. His work is in the permanent collections of
the Albuquerque Museum, the Taylor Museum for Southwestern Studies of the
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and the collection of El Rancho de las
- Catherine Robles-Shaw (b.
February 23, 1953 Denver, CO)
- Robles-Shaw's bultos and retablos are rich in muted tones
of red, yellow and brown. Her signature pieces to date are large retablos
with strong lines of color. They are almost abstract representations of
reredos found in the famous old churches of Northern New Mexico. Her images
contain a mixture of elements, both three-dimensional and flat. Determined
to become a santera out of religious devotion she began carving based on
the work she had seen hanging on church walls and illustrations in books.
- Robles-Shaw has been participating at Spanish Market
since 1994, the first artist from Colorado to be accepted, and also sells
work through local galleries and antique shops. Her work is included in
the permanent collection of the Taylor Museum for Southwestern Studies
of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Hardwood Museum in Taos and
the Regis Collection in Denver.
- Horacio Valdez (b. 1929;
d.1992 Dixon, NM)
- Valdez began carving as an adult in the mid-1970s after
an accident crushed his hand. Both Charles Carrillo and Luis Tapia cite
Valdez as a major influence on their own work. He was one of the first
santeros to show painted work at Spanish Market.
- Although he considered his crucifixes and other bultos
far more important, Valdez is well known for his large-scale death carts.
Death carts are considered memento mori, reminders of human mortality,
and often appear during Holy Week when they are closely associated with
the crucifixion of Christ. Members of the Penitente Brotherhood, or Hermandad
de Nuestro Padres Jesus Nazareno, a lay religious society prominent in
northern New Mexico, reenact aspects of the suffering and death of Christ
by pulling carts filled with stones in a procession as penance. His work
may be found in the National Museum of American Art.
(above: Luis Tapia, Pieta, 1996-1997, carved and painted wood,
14.5 x 11.5 x 7.75 inches. Collection of Chuck and Jan Rosenak)
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