New Mexico Museum of Art

Tuff Stuff

April 08, 2008


Santa Fe, NM—In Tuff Stuff, four New Mexican artists, Dunham Aurelius, Mike Diaz, Harmony Hammond, and Jack Slentz present work that challenges notions of beauty associated with typical understandings of sensitivity, grace, and harmony.

A dominate approach to the making of art calls for the sensitive use of art materials. Paint should be applied with a fluid stroke, the surface of paper should be respected and not gouged, and wood should be worked with the grain, these are words of advice offered by artists and teachers. Derived from various traditions such as Eastern aesthetics, European craftsmanship and guilds, and 19th century art academies, such directives limit the vocabulary of art.

Some 20th century art movements have spoken out, violating these rules to produce work associated with angst, rawness, and distress. German Expressionists in the 1920s, for example, used harsh colors and bold marks to create stark political statements of opposition. In the 1980s, Julian Schnabel became famous for his neo-expressionist paintings covered with broken shards of ceramics.

The artists in Tuff Stuff create beauty by aggressively manipulating their art materials. Wood hacked, paper marred, paint clumped, and rubber stitched, these are the basic vocabularies used to produce evocative works that provoke us in unexpected ways.

The exhibition was curated by Tim Rodgers, Ph.D., Chief Curator at the New Mexico Museum of Art.


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