Press Release My Camera in New Mexico Photographs by Craig Varjabedian
Archie West and his pal Buddy, San Marcos NM
Española, NM – With New Mexico's centennial celebration of statehood approaching in 2012, this exhibition of photographs explores the beauty and mystery of New Mexico. Few states are as distinct from the American mainstream as New Mexico—the Land of Enchantment's flavor arises from sources that have touched no other state as strongly, nor as definitively.
'What is New Mexico, then? How to sum it up? It is a vast, harsh, poverty-stricken, varied, and beautiful land, a breeder of artists and warriors . . . It is a land full of the essence of peace, although its history is one of invasions and conflicts. It is itself, an entity, at times infuriating, at times utterly delightful to its lovers, a land that draws and holds men and women with ties that cannot be explained or submitted to reason.' – Oliver LaFarge, 'New Mexico', 1952.
Craig Varjabedian's photographs of the land, the people and cultures, highlight this dramatic unfolding of identity by capturing the moments in which disparate elements combine to create a sense of something greater. His images show New Mexico to be a place of enchantment, in a sense that does not simplify the word or strip it of its contradictory implications: trickery, transcendence, caprice, the sublime, the inexplicable.
The exhibition’s twenty four photographs, both black & white and color, were selected from the body of work Varjabedian has created in New Mexico over the past 25 years. Their subject matter includes some of the state's most significant visual icons—such as White Sands—as well as portraits or anonymous scenes that pay homage to the quiet miracles that inform day-to-day life here. The exhibition is fittingly presented in the NNMRAC’s Convento Gallery, which adjoins the Mision Museum (a replica of the original mission built by the Spanish in 1598, honoring the history and culture of northern New Mexico).
Craig Varjabedian is widely acclaimed for his images capturing the people and places of the American West. While his work reveals a deep grasp of the technical aspects of the photographic process, his gift is his intuitive ability to make authentic and compelling images that illuminate the inseparable ties between identity, place, and the act of perceiving—the 'landscape behind the landscape.' Varjabedian is the director of the Eloquent Light Photography Workshops in Santa Fe, with a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology. Museums nationally have exhibited and collected his photographs, and his work has garnered grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the New Mexico Humanities Council.
My Camera in New Mexico: Photographs by Craig Varjabedian is made possible through the shared generosity of the New Mexico Centennial Steering Committee, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the New Mexico Humanities Council, the Peter & Madeleine Martin Foundation for the Creative Arts and Cottonwood Printing.
The exhibition opens on Friday, June 3, 2011 with a reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and a presentation by the artist.
The Convento Gallery is located at 101 Calle de las Espanolas on the Plaza Espanola, Espanola, NM. The museum is open Monday - Saturday, 9 - 4 pm. Call 505/500-7126 for more information. Visit the artist's website at www.craigvarjabedian.com.