Len Chmiel, West I Know: Summarizing Solitude, Utah | Oil | 32 x 45 inches | Courtesy of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Editors Note: Facing an Audience

Artists may create meaningful work, but it only makes an impact if they are willing to share it with others. Creativity cannot exist in a vacuum, and giving away one’s inner world takes bravery. 

Many have learned, however, that it’s worth persevering through self-doubt because that exchange between artist and audience can lead to transformative experiences for all involved. 

Inside this issue, we meet some of the individuals who have decided to participate in this exchange, broadening our understanding of their worlds — and ours.

Western skies inspire painter Mark Bowles, who creates a sense of depth in his work through color (“Interpretations of a Western Sky,” pg. 140). “I address the canvas with a huge amount of trust that my inner artist will guide me,” he says. “My heart pushes my work to find new ways of expressing what I see and how I feel about it. In effect, the result is the language of my soul, a reflection of being in the ‘now’ and living in the moment, in my own truth.”

The 2023 Santa Fe Indian Market offers an exceptional showcase of many different forms of self-expression through fine artistry, and it also provides the opportunity to meet some of the artists. WA&A provides a road map for navigating the event that’s become an “Art Basel of sorts” for Native American art. We also highlight a few — among the many — talented artists and designers to watch for this year (pg. 152).

The homes profiled in this issue show us how architecture reflects its setting and inhabitants. And we read how a father-and-daughter architecture team is designing buildings by drawing on one another’s strengths (“Rendering,” pg. 118).  

Artist R.C. Gorman is also an enduring inspiration for his orchestrations of color on canvas and his life story. When Gorman opened his gallery in Taos, New Mexico, in 1968, it was the first Native-owned and -operated fine art gallery in the U.S. As Christian Waguespack, Head of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of 20th Century Art at the New Mexico Museum of Art, notes in “Perspective” (pg. 98), along with Fritz Scholder, T.C. Cannon, and other Native artists of the late 1960s and ’70s, Gorman was “taking ownership of Indigenous imagery.” He was forward-thinking in eliminating the non-Native middleman from the sale of his art, and he was also “depicting Native people with love, affection, pride, and dignity, rather than as ‘other.’”

Inside this issue, there is much to draw joy from, consider, or excite us. I hope you enjoy the many different ways artists and architects have shared their moments of bravery.

Christine Rogel, Editor in Chief

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