Re-collections–A Duet of Upcycled Art, an exhibition of works by New Mexican artists Violette Alby and Carl Burrows, features a diverse body of works that respond to and utilize the abundance of unwanted materials, aka trash. Carl Burrows on art, “Art is something that takes a fair amount of time, is made of the best materials, and doesn’t end up in the dump or in a second-hand store.” Violette Alby on art, “I saw the possibility of working with fabric. The paint dries, fabric doesn’t. I like to work big and flash the colors.” Re-collections brings together for the first time in a two-person show the parallel art practices of Violette Alby and Carl Burrows at the El Museo Cultural in the Railyard. As longtime friends and committed recyclers, they have inspired and influenced each other on their respective paths in upcycling discards into artworks. Burrows will show paintings, sculptures, masks, pipes, drums, shields, jewelry, assemblages, and multimedia collages constructed entirely from others’ debris. Alby will display new site responsive quilt installations and photographs of her 100% recycled fabric crazy quilts. Both Alby and Burrows are sophisticated junk hounds of Northern New Mexico region–from flea markets to free boxes–these two have their pulse on the waste stream, thereby making their output both art and documentation of New Mexican material culture of the last thirty years.
For Burrows, combining found objects into witty commentaries on our consumer society is the goal. Meanwhile, Alby explains that ”the quilt form, meant for a bed, but created with the intention and force of a painting—is not really home on a gallery wall, but rather should be hung from the rafters of a Bridge, a building, or the top of a garage door.” Re-collections–A Duet of Upcycled Art shows the power of a friendship built on trash, art, and New Mexico.
Opening Reception: Friday, April 6th, 6-8 pm
Show Dates: April 7 — May 20, 2018
Galleries are free and open to the public
Tuesday-Saturday from 11:00 am-6:00 pm
Improv Quilting & Collaging Workshops with Alby and Burrows on Earth Day Weekend April 21 and 22.
Bring your own discards (fabric, buttons, lace, photos, etc.).
For more information on workshop times, contact:
Carl Burrows is an interdisciplinary visual artist. Born in Washington, DC, in 1939, Carl Gordon Burrows grew up in rural Illinois, surrounded by woody nature and the handmade crafts fashioned by his father, a structural engineer, and his mother, a professional knitting-instructor. He never “decided” to become an artist, he just “always made stuff as good as [he] could.” Somewhere around the age of five, he developed what was to become a lifelong interest in Native American art and culture. In adolescence, he became a member of a Native American Dance Group that toured Illinois and surrounding states. He began to create elaborate costumes with beading, silverwork, and hides. In his teens, Carl became a champion archer. He developed skills in hand-making all sorts of weapons. He was drafted — sent abroad and assigned to a communications crypto-intelligence group, where he did some painting and camouflaging, eventually being given the job of games room orderly.
Discharged from the Army in Germany, Carl decided to travel the world. Working his way through Europe as a carpenter, plumber, sandal-maker, leather clothing designer, he hitchhiked to India and into the Himalayas. He was a deckhand aboard a yacht sailing from Florida to Tahiti for several years, intermittently working as a cabinet maker and art gallery delivery man in New York City. He spent some of the late 1960s in Haight-Ashbury where he built the second largest dance floor in San Francisco at the famed Straight Theater. Not an urban dweller by choice and increasingly disturbed by what American lifestyles were doing to the natural environment, Carl moved to New Mexico where he continued being a silversmith, making costumes and accoutrements for films, carving modern kachinas from discarded wood and combining found objects into witty commentaries on our consumer society Scrounging for materials is something that Carl has done since childhood, making high art out of others’ debris, most recently elaborate multi-media collages.
Violette Alby is an interdisciplinary visual artist, teacher, and recycling activist. She makes quilts, drawings, prints, and photographs, while mobilizing everyone to appreciate and utilize unwanted fabric–rescuing it from the dreaded landfill. Born in Paris, France in 1953—her quilting practice was inspired by the architecture of the city streets, she thought then that she needed to make a quilt that would fit that scale and harmonize with this original influential force.
As a quilting artist in the economically depressed state of New Mexico, Alby used her quilts as barter for every imaginable service, from the doctor, the mechanic, the dentist to the veterinarian; each one has one of her quilts in payment for services rendered. She feels that this practice of exchange is not only an economic act, but also an artistic act fostering new connections between art and life. “Furthermore, living in a culturally rich, although remote mountain community, has made it hard to have a typical art career, instead of exhibiting in galleries, my work has been in the collections of these people and when I do have an opportunity to exhibit my work it is most commonly in alternative spaces, like the local Library or fiber arts center.”