Contemporary Art
Palette Contemporary Art and Craft

art review ABQ, 2017, Vol. 2, p. 7

Nestled between a home décor store and natural foods shop at the far back end of the Mossman Shopping Center on Albuquerque’s northeast side exists a remote gallery of contemporary art. The gallery is situated in such a way that if you weren’t specifically looking for it, it could be easily missed. However, upon visiting, one will find the Palette Contemporary Art and Craft gallery far more remarkable than the undistinguished plaza where it is housed.

The space is open with high black ceilings and fixtures, stark white walls, and concrete floors that click under each step. There is a distinctly clean, minimalist feel to the place that contrasts itself from the colorful, primarily glass, work that it displays. Walking in, my eye is immediately drawn to Laura De Santillana’s Bambu Vases, a tall arrangement of brightly colored hand-blown glass vessels that waver and bend gently in their long necks. These organic vessels, more like bottles than vases, are organized in a seemingly random cluster atop two high sandwiched pedestals. The composition is reminiscent of a mini bamboo forest that has been reimagined into abstracted glass forms.

For similar reasons, I found myself also enticed by the vibrant, organic, linear qualities of Minnie Pwerle’s Awel-Atnwengerrp #2, an acrylic on linen painting dawning a classically modern pallet of reds, blues, yellows, black and white. Without interpreting the title or knowing the artist’s background, the piece appears to be a configuration of latticed horizontal line-work flanked by rows of small circles that are twice interrupted by radiating rings in the center and the upper right hand side of the image, all set against a dark background. The colors bleed into each other with streaks of contrasting hues just enough for the transition between them to seem natural. Contrary to this sensible gradation is yet another feat of color presented in Peter Botos’ Fibonacci II, a smaller optical glass piece comprised of four colored and two clear rectangular prisms fused together in the sacred spiral formation of Fibonacci’s sequence. The blocks of see-through glass grant the viewer a look at every sharp angle created by each new prism inside of it. Its multiple internal edges are made all the more visible by the built in lighting from the cylindrical pedestal beneath it.

As the name of the gallery suggests, all of the artwork is tied together by an underlying theme of contemporary aesthetics. The colors, the mediums, and the processes of all the works harmonize the space into one immersive modernistic experience. Not one piece feels out of place or as if it doesn’t belong. For these reasons, Palette Contemporary Art and Craft not only succeeds but, by my judgement, excels at bringing the viewer closer to the work and inspiring deeper appreciation for the genre. It is a must see destination for Albuquerque residents and visitors alike!

Sara Martinez