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Canvas and Darkroom

Examining works from Frederick Hammersley and Patrick Nagatani

Two new exhibitions at the New Mexico Museum of Art explore the works of artist Frederick Hammersley and photographer Patrick Nagatani.

Frederick Hammersley: To Paint without Thinking is on exhibition for a limited engagement through September 9, 2018. Illuminating the painstaking process Hammersley used to create his hard-edged, geometric paintings, the exhibition showcases 62 objects from the American abstract artist’s sketchbooks, notebooks, inventories, and vibrant color swatches. Hammersley lived in New Mexico from 1968 until his death in 2009.

The presentation includes a dozen additional works from the museum’s comprehensive collection of Hammersley’s artwork, from early student work, his computer drawing and punch cards, prime examples of his fully mature paintings, as well as archive materials and color studies. Hammersley’s invaluable record-keeping outlines the process and materials used in more than 150 of his geometric paintings. The exhibition contains dated entries for every step of the painting process, from stretching a canvas, to applying paint, and touching up.

Also on exhibition at the Museum of Art is Patrick Nagatani: Invented Realities, through September 29, 2018. An Albuquerque-based artist and longtime member of the University of New Mexico faculty, photographer Patrick Nagatani (1945–2017) didn’t just take pictures, he made pictures. While most art photographs are the result of careful choices about subject, framing, lighting, and other factors, Nagatani went to even greater lengths to get the picture he wanted. With experience working in Hollywood special-effects and an MFA from UCLA, Nagatani began creating models and staging scenes specifically for the camera. He became a leading figure in the directorial style of photography, often using humor and exaggerated narratives to draw attention to social issues, particularly the legacy of the atomic bomb.

This survey of photographs from the museum’s extensive holding of Nagatani’s work concentrates on the artist’s creative process and use of visual storytelling. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with summer shows of the artist’s work at the Albuquerque Museum and the University of New Mexico Art Museum. Aspects of the show and related programs also support the New Mexico History Museum’s Atomic Histories exhibition.

Saturday–Thursday, 10 a.m –5 p.m; Friday, 10 a.m–7 p.m; $7 for NM residents; $12 for non-residents; free for children 6 and under. NM residents admitted free Fridays 5–7 p.m through October. The first Sunday of each month is free for NM residents with ID. Wednesdays are free for NM resident seniors (60+) with ID. School groups, including all chaperones, are free.

Two new centennial-year exhibitions are also on exhibition at the New Mexico Museum of Art: Horizons, People & Place in New Mexico Art through Nov. 25, 2018 and Shifting Light: Photographic Perspectives through Oct. 27, 2018.

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