Opening May 8th – Gretchen Wachs & Susan Sales

Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art announces two solo shows running concurrently May 8- June 6, 2009, Gretchen Wachs’ Casting About and Susan Sales’ At This Point In Time, with the opening reception Friday, May 8 from 5 to 7pm.

New Mexico artist Gretchen Wachs is a painter, printmaker, and ceramicist. For Casting About, her first solo exhibition at Chiaroscuro’s new location on Gypsy Alley, Wachs presents a series of mixed media sculptures and oil paintings. The focus of the show will be the interplay of cast glass and ceramic. Wachs, who casts her own glass, came up with the idea of incorporating glass into her sculptures while looking at a notch at the top of one of her ceramics that appeared perfectly suited for holding a flat piece of cast glass. The smooth, opaque, and monochromatic glass compliments the polychrome forms of her textured clay pieces, adding a subtle difference in material that enhances the whole of each work. It is marriage of two mediums, in a balancing act, essentially bound by a common element: earth. Casting About will also feature Wachs’ paintings: tangible abstractions drawing inspiration from landscapes and organic forms. Her oils are as rich in color and suggestive abstract shapes as her ceramics. The variety of imagery, texture, color, and form in her work makes each piece endlessly and pleasingly diverting.

Chiaroscuro is pleased to now represent the work of Dallas artist Susan Sales. A one time Santa Fe resident, Sales has not exhibited here since 2002. Her work is married to themes of timelessness, destiny, and fate and her paintings beckon from an interior world beyond the frame of the canvas. Reminiscent of bodies of water reflecting the seasons, Sales’ paintings have a feeling of depth and space but, curiously, of intimacy, too. Looking at them one feels as though transported to another place but fully present in the moment, senses engaged. Sales paintings have a life of their own. So many colors combine in her canvasses to lend any sense of primary or dominant hues a shimmering, moving quality, alternately heightened and subdued by the opalescence of her palette. The rich, smooth surface of her paintings is achieved through a process of sanding and repainting that brings out vibrant touches of color, lush and seductive tones. Her work manages to be both painterly and refined.

Sales painting career began in earnest in Santa Fe in the 1990s. Having now exhibited extensively in Texas and Colorado, she has chosen Chiaroscuro as her return venue in New Mexico and we are proud to be hosting a show of her work.

Casting About and At This Point In Time are the inaugural solo exhibitions at Chiaroscuro’s new location: 702 ½ Canyon Road. Nestled among other buildings in Gypsy Alley the new space is accessible and surprisingly large for a Canyon Road gallery. Designed as a residential space by architect Ron Robles, the gallery has an intimate feel despite its large size and a contemporary look with plenty of natural light. Some great features of the gallery include its spiral steel staircase, a large concrete fireplace and spaces perfectly suited for hosting openings and events. Please join us on May 8 for a reception for the artists in this unique new venue.