Zane Bennett Contemporary Art

Special exhibition for Indian Market Weekend: Virgil Ortiz - Venutian Soldiers, and David Johns - Abstracted Landscapes

Special exhibition for Indian Market Weekend: Virgil Ortiz - Venutian Soldiers, and David Johns - Abstracted Landscapes

Santa Fe, NM USA Thursday, August 16, 2012Thursday, September 20, 2012

Santa Fe, NM USA
Thursday, August 16, 2012Thursday, September 20, 2012

Opening reception on Thursday, August 16, 2011 from 5:00-7:00 pm

Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is pleased to present an exhibition of Pueblo artist, Virgil Ortiz's clay sculpture and photographs: Venutian Soldiers, and an exhibition of paintings by Navajo artist, David Johns: Abstracted Landscapes. Both artists are featured at Zane Bennett Contemporary starting Thursday, August 16. This exhibition continues through September 20th with a public reception on Thursday, August 16 at the gallery, 435 South Guadalupe Street, from 5:00-7:00 pm. The artists and several of the models for Ortiz' figures will be present to sign posters and/or photographs.

Virgil Ortiz a Native of Cochiti Pueblo, NM was born into a family of renowned potters. "I like to tell stories through my pottery and fashion, particularly those centered around the events and repercussions of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt." This is the thrust of Ortiz' latest work; Ortiz has created Native superheroes in clay, photography and video to express his personal interpretation of the Pueblo Revolt - the First American Revolution lead by the legendary Po'Pay. He calls this series Venutian Soldiers; these superheroes illustrate the events of the Revolt and honor a primitive and legendary society whose perseverance and survival continues to prevail in modern times.

Ortiz uses traditional materials and methods of hand coiling to create his clay figures and pots. After digging his own clay on Cochiti Pueblo, he builds the vessels by hand and slips them with local clays and makes his own paint from wild spinach which reads as black paint. Ortiz uses a traditional pit fire similar to raku to fire his pieces.

Ortiz's Vertigo series was exhibited at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, France in May 2012, and the Foundation subsequently purchased a complete set (21 pieces) from Ortiz' Vertigo series for their permanent collection.

David Johns was born near Seba Dalkai, part of the vast Diné (Navajo) territory in Northern Arizona and New Mexico. After receiving his BFA from Northern Arizona University in painting and printmaking, David received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff, AZ. As a child David spent time herding sheep with his grandmother, who passed on the teachings of the Diné People. She taught him how to respect and care for the land, plants and animals as well as the stories and legends of the Diné Way. He learned that all things in the world have male and female counterparts and that life exists because of this delicate balance. David learned to live according to the Diné Way and to strive for balance, beauty and harmony in all aspects of life.

The symmetry of David's paintings reflects this harmony and balance; the colors and textures of the paintings reflect the beauty of his homeland. His portraits express the vitality of the Diné people, and he sees his artistic gift as coming from beyond himself to be shared with everyone. His abstract paintings express his sense of the world by capturing life's subtle phenomena such as the sunlight at different times of the day or the emotions brought by each of the four seasons.

In 1988 David Johns accepted a transformative commission to paint the 36 foot diameter dome of the Concord Place building of Case Construction Company in Phoenix. The dome rises 50 feet above the floor. This mural depicts the story of David's life and heritage written in the mountains, thunderclouds, wind and Navajo symbolism. The culmination of a three year project, the mural is a tribute to all Indian people and a testimony to David's gift as an artist.

"David is a seer, and he comes very honestly by that gift. In his remarkable artwork, he enables us to see as well. His gift becomes our gift. Here is the essential spirit of creations." - Dr. N. Scott Momaday, a noted Kiowa/Cherokee painter, poet and Pulitzer Prize winning author

For further information & high resolution images, please contact:
Meg Hachmann, Special Projects Coordinator, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art:
505-982-8111;, available W-Sat, 10am - 5pm