Show at Aztec gallery features four artists

Mike Easterling
Paintings by Ethan Wynne are included in a new show opening this weekend at the Feat of Clay gallery in Aztec.

FARMINGTON – As much as he enjoys art, Aztec High School senior Ethan Wynne has no intention of pursuing it as a career.

“If you do something you love as a job, (you) eventually come to hate it,” he figures, explaining that he believes he can accomplish more by tapping into his creative spirit only when the mood suits him.

That doesn’t mean Wynne — who will be one of four local artists showing their work in a new show opening this weekend at the Feat of Clay gallery in Aztec — doesn’t take art seriously. He’s been studying under Zack Pettijohn for three years at Aztec, starting with regularly scheduled art classes that evolved into more of an independent study arrangement as he’s gotten older. Pettijohn is another of the artists featured in this exhibition, and Wynne is looking forward to showing his work alongside that of his mentor.

“He’s almost more like an uncle to me,” Wynne said, describing their relationship.

This show also will mark the first time Wynne has had several of his pieces displayed in a private gallery, though he did have one of his works included in the “Heart as Art” show at Feat of Clay in February.

Mixed-media work by Aztec artist Zack Pettijohn will be featured in a show opening this weekend at the Feat of Clay gallery.

Wynne paints mostly in acrylics, though he has been experimenting lately with mixed media and Dadaism.

“It’s kind of like anti-art,” he said.

One of the pieces he’s created for this show features a male figure with a fire hydrant for a face. When he discussed the idea with Pettijohn, his teacher made a valuable contribution, Wynne said.

“He basically gave me the idea to do color contrasting,” he said. “He gives me ideas here and there.”

Describing himself as “kind of an out-there person,” Wynne said he’s found a good sounding board in Pettijohn.

“It helps to have someone to tell my ideas to,” he said.

That’s not always a one-way street. When asked if he ever provides Pettijohn with feedback on his work, he replied, “Yes, whenever he asks for it.”

Wynne was particularly impressed with a piece Pettijohn created for this show, a collection of 20 ceramic hand silhouettes with the fingers bent mostly in two different patterns — one group making peace signs, the others bent into what Wynne described as a rock ‘n’ roll symbol.

"Nevada Test Site" by Michael Darmody will be one of the artist's pieces featured in a show opening Friday, March 25 in Aztec.

That kind of imagery would seem to correspond well with the abstract work of another artist in the show, Farmington’s Michael Darmody. Darmody will be showing work from throughout his career, including four pieces from his “Night Vision” show that opened in March 2014 at Studio 116. But he’ll be showing older work as well, including a charcoal drawing he did in 1993.

“I used to really love doing charcoal drawings at one time, but it’s not something I’ve done lately,” he said. “I’d like to get back to it. It has a special place in my heart.”

Darmody will be showing nine pieces, and he believes the work will provide those familiar and unfamiliar with his work with something new to see.

“There’s a lot of stuff that hasn’t been seen here in a long time,” he said, explaining that he’ll be displaying work from a show he did in Santa Fe in 2012 that was never shown in Farmington.

One of his most noteworthy pieces for this exhibition, “Georgia on My Mind,” features photographs on separate panels. One is an image of a rumpled bed in a motel room. The other is a view of the distinctive Cerro Pedernal near Abiquiu, one of the favorite subjects of famed New Mexico painter Georgia O’Keeffe.

“It’s some kind of remark about artistic ambition,” he said dryly.

The final artist included in the show is self-taught jeweler Ronnie Werito, whose work is focused on silversmithing and wire wrapping. He’ll have five pieces in the exhibition.

The show remains on display through late April.

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

Jewelry by Ronnie Werito will be on display in a show opening this weekend at the Feat of Clay gallery.

If you go

What: Opening reception for an exhibition of work by Ronnie Werito, Ethan Wynne, Zack Pettijohn and Michael Darmody

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 25

Where: Feat of Clay gallery, 107 S. Main Ave. in Aztec

For more information: Call 505-334-4335