From Ross to Rosenberg

  • by Kelly Skeen
  • February 1st, 2016

Rosenberg at Pippin ContemporaryRosenberg’s complex acrylic abstractions vibrate with vivid repetitions of color, shape, and wandering lines. Intricate patterns created in a reverse painting style on the back of acrylic panels are often built around geometric shapes, while others are completely free flowing. As a result, Rosenberg’s paintings become meditations that allow viewers to resonate with the spirit and energy in which they were created.

“While I work, I try to keep my logical and academic mind at bay,” explains Rosenberg (aka Tom Ross.) “Instead, I intuitively choose colors and patterns. Each painting session seems to be an exercise in letting go. Fairly soon after beginning a piece, I lose awareness of time and place, almost as if I’m entering my own meditative state.”

Known to most as Tom Ross, the Santa Fe artist has adopted his family name of “Rosenberg” for this body of abstract work. He inherited the name from his Polish father, a Holocaust survivor who died when Rosenberg was 16 years old. The name was changed and lost during the war, but Rosenberg reclaimed it after his father’s death. He now signs his work with a visual symbol of its translation, “rose mountain.”

Rosenberg hanging paintings at Pippin Contemporary“I choose to use my family name for these paintings because it gives me a certain grounding,” says Rosenberg. “My painting name has no first name because in a certain sense, I feel like my art isn’t about ‘Tom’ who’s here right now; it’s about a whole lineage that has brought me to this point.”

While Rosenberg’s work serves as a personal connection to his father, his biggest influence in becoming an artist is credited to his mother. With an artistic flair and love of color, she took notice of her youngest son’s talent and encouraged his artistic pursuits. The vibrant and varied color palette in Rosenberg’s current paintings is in part inspired by her vivid and eccentric style, which permeated his childhood.

Our staff at Pippin Contemporary recently met with Rosenberg to discuss his paintings, process, and inspiration. His one-word titles put each piece in perspective and provide a mode for deeper contemplation and interpretation. Below is a sampling of Rosenberg’s current paintings as well as musings from the artist.

Click here to view Rosenberg’s full inventory. 

Unforeseen by Rosenberg at Pippin Contemporary

Unforeseen, 30×120″ acrylic/acrylic panel

“When I completed Unforeseen, I came to interpret it as a transition piece traveling through changing realms. Perhaps ultimately a spiritual journey where one passes through the depths of mysterious and alien waters. Surprisingly, and when least expected, there is a sudden resurfacing into a new world, a new life of hope, where one’s soul is unfolding and blossoming.

The branches on the right side of the fourth panel match up to to the branches on the left side of the first panel – almost as if it is a continuous loop. And the center of the rose on the right side has a nautilus like center…it’s spiral echoing the theme of the circle of life.

The rose did not start out as a rose for me. I was originally painting patterns that were inspired by lapping waves on the beach. But these designs began to take on the form of petals emerging as a full blossomed rose silhouetted against mountains…like the symbol I sign my paintings as a tribute to the Rosenberg name.”

Impulse by Rosenberg at Pippin Contemporary




Impulse, 36×12″ acrylic/acrylic panel

“I saw the orange paint and it grabbed me – I felt an impulse to add it, which really changed the piece. It has vibrating qualities and light spots that could represent some sort of life form not necessarily of this realm.”





Glory, reverse acrylic painting on acrylic panel by Rosenberg at Pippin Contemporary
48×48″ acrylic/acrylic panel

“I painted this piece after a visit to the aspens. I was searching for that patch of color that was the most intense and saturated. The word glory came to me; I was looking for that particular leaf having that particular day where it shines above the others in its full glory.”



Oneness by Rosenberg at Pippin Contemporary


Oneness (SOLD)

“In this painting, the tree blends into its background. Oneness is not only having the strength and solidity to be by yourself, but also being interconnected to everything around you.”

2016 Brings New Artists to Pippin Contemporary

  • by Kelly Skeen
  • January 13th, 2016

We are proud to welcome eight new local artists to the gallery this year with our relocation to 409 Canyon Road. Preparation at our new gallery is underway, and in the meantime we are representing our new painters and sculptors in our current space. Our move is scheduled to take place next month and we will be celebrating with a Grand Opening and Fifth Anniversary Celebration on Memorial Day weekend. We will host a lively reception on Friday, May 27th, 5-8pm with music, food, and wine, and the festivities will continue through the weekend with paint/sculpt outs and artist talks. It’s time to start planning your 2016 art getaway to Santa Fe!

Get to know our new artists…

Rosenberg (Tom Ross)

Rosenberg (Tom Ross) at Pippin ContemporaryAfter 25 years of exploring a representational style, Rosenberg (aka Tom Ross) has launched his true life’s work into the exciting and alluring world of abstract painting. He reclaimed his heritage by adopting his original family name, Rosenberg, for this body of work. He does reverse painting on acrylic panels with vibrant color and complex patterns, creating pieces that act as contemplative meditations with a free flowing energy. Rosenberg was born and raised in New Mexico and has shown his work in Santa Fe since 1988. He was the owner of the former Tom Ross Gallery at 409 Canyon Road. View Rosenberg’s available work.

John Charbonneau

John Charbonneau Pippin Contemporary ArtistJohn Charbonneau’s digital work is philosophically driven and raises questions in a comical way. When making imagery, he starts with an interesting irony or absurdity and creates disillusion around subjects such as politics, science, and religion. He’s interested in and concerned about our cultural confusions in these areas, and his work reflects those concerns. Sometimes his images are solely humorous, but they also often have a sarcastic, dark element. His subject matter typically consists of creatures with human bodies and animal heads, placed in dreamlike settings that play on familiar cultural themes. View John’s available work. 

Elizabeth Hahn

Elizabeth Hahn at Pippin ContemporaryElizabeth Hahn’s acrylic paintings are playful and imaginative, with her most recent works inspired by the mysterious and curious landscapes of her mind. Many of these visions come from her childhood growing up on an island in Louisiana, where she explored the wild lands between the Red River and the levee. Her current works also consist of close up imaginings that tell a story, such as her Domestic Mysteries series. These intimate paintings explore the stories of everyday items through close-up renderings that portray Hahn’s proficiency of minute detail and love of colorful patterns. View Elizabeth’s available work. 


Rebecca Haines

Pippin Contemporary Artist Rebecca HainesAnimals offer the world a unique presence, appearance, mystery, and message, which local artist Rebecca Haines seeks to explore through her art. Born in Wyoming, wild creatures inspired her from a young age. She believes that animals are a sacred link to our connection with the world, acting as intermediaries between the civilized and the wild. Her oil paintings use color and grease pencil to depict animal imagery on wood surfaces, and act as a similar bridge to the true spirit of these creatures and their sacred stories. View Rebecca’s available work.

Margaret Nes

Pippin Contemporary artist Margaret NesPastel artist Margaret Nes was born in France and spent most of her childhood in northern Africa, exposing her to various cultures, art forms, and landscapes at a young age. She moved to Taos, New Mexico in 1969, and has called the southwest home for more than three decades. A self-taught artist, Nes creates pastel drawings saturated with pigment and blended with an almost sculptural quality. Her work reflects the aesthetics of the stark southwest landscape and adobe architecture of the area. View Margaret’s available work.

Gina Rossi

Pippin Contemporary Artist Gina RossiGina Rossi’s atmospheric landscapes explore the relationship between color harmonies and surface textures, while also depicting the grand quality of nature’s landscape. Santa Fe’s crimson sunsets and swirling clouds find their way onto Rossi’s canvases in magnificent ways. A mother, teacher, and now full-time artist in Santa Fe, Rossi spends her days painting the beauty of the area with vibrant passion and energy. View Gina’s available work.


Greg Skol

Pippin Contemporary Artist Greg SkolThe culturally progressive atmosphere of NYC in the 60’s shaped Greg Skol’s artistic impulses, exposing him to various art forms in early life from music to printmaking to painting. However with his transition to the southwest in the early 90’s, the desert cast its spell on Skol and he found his artistic focus. His work since consists of oil landscapes or ‘meditations on nature.’ Paintings of treetops reaching toward a full moon, horizon lines giving way to billowing clouds, and mountaintops reflecting glowing skies portray a spiritual connection with nature. “Devoid of agenda and socio-political statements, the landscape just ‘is,’ and therefore allows me to also just ‘be’.” View Greg’s available work.

Paul White

Paul White Pippin ContemporarySanta Fe artist Paul White’s work consists of colorful masks created from kiln-formed glass. Each piece is inspired by age-old images, designs, and patterns that come from many years of studying various art forms. White’s masks are imbued with a personality that emerges during the process of assembling pieces of dichroic glass in varying shapes. By incorporating new technologies and using ancient masks as a template to create modern works of art, White continues within a mask-making tradition but with a new twist. View Paul’s available work.

Mark Your Calendars!
Our Grand Opening and Fifth Anniversary Celebration will be Memorial Day weekend, Friday, May 28th, 5-8pm, learn more here.

We’re Moving!

  • by Kelly Skeen
  • December 31st, 2015

409 Canyon Road, Pippin Contemporary, Santa Fe
Exciting news – Pippin Contemporary is not only relocating, but expanding in 2016! This February, we move to our new permanent home at 409 Canyon Road, the previous location of the Tom Ross Gallery. This means more wall space, more artists, and more contemporary art for us to share with you. We’re invigorated by the growth of our business and are looking forward to new events and ideas for the coming year, starting off with a five-year anniversary celebration and grand opening in May 2016!

Tom Ross has shared his art in this space with Santa Fe locals and visitors for the past 23 years. We plan to continue the thriving atmosphere the gallery has sustained while bringing a new and vibrant energy to this active Canyon Road location. We’ll continue to show Tom’s work along with several other artists – John Charbonneau, Rebecca Haines, Margaret Nes, Gina Rossi, Greg Skol, Elizabeth Hahn and Paul White. We’ve also been privileged to add two outstanding artists to the gallery this past fall, Adam Shaw and David Baca, and will continue to show the core group of painters and sculptors who’s work you’ve come to love over the past several years at Pippin Contemporary. Our full roster of talent will be as follows (click the artists’ name to learn more):

Aleta Pippin
Adam Shaw
Cody Hooper
David Baca
Elizabeth Hahn
Gina Rossi
Greg Skol
John Charbonneau
Margaret Nes
Rebecca Haines
Stephanie Paige
Rosenberg (Tom Ross)

Greg Reiche
Kevin Robb
Paul White
Suzanne Wallace Mears
Troy Pillow

We’ll be introducing our new artists on the blog over the next few months. Subscribe to our e-newsletters to stay updated on the move as well as exciting upcoming events at our new gallery space, and mark your calendars for the grand opening on Memorial Day Weekend, May 27th, 5-7pm. This will be a lively event of meeting new artists and reconnecting with current ones, as well as enjoying music and relishing hors d’oeuvres and wine. Not to mention helping to usher in the next five years!

Our goal for the 2016 season is to create a welcoming place to spend an evening immersed in Santa Fe’s art and culture, as well as the local contemporary art scene. We’re excited to share our journey with you as our business grows, and most importantly as the careers of our artists reach new heights.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for regular move updates and behind the scenes photos, and watch our live broadcasts on Periscope (read more about how we’re using this live stream app here).

Pippin Contemporary Holiday Gift Guide

  • by Kelly Skeen
  • December 1st, 2015

Pippin Contemporary Holiday Group Show

It’s time to deck the walls! Our Holiday Group Show opens on December 9th, and we’re hosting a festive cookie & cider reception on Saturday, December 12th from 3-5pm. All our artists will be represented and are showing works that will brighten the coming winter with color and welcome the holiday season with joy– not to mention make the perfect gift for your favorite art lover. Here’s a preview of some new pieces coming in for the show – at reasonable prices and smaller sizes, they make beautiful and heart felt gifts for the holidays.

Suzanne Wallace Mears Christmas Totems

Suzanne Wallace Mears’ whimsical glass totems have names like “Swaggy” and “Giles the Butler,” making them fun and playful gifts while also unique pieces of art. They range in size from 13″ to 21″ high and are priced anywhere from $710 to $1350. See more on Suzanne’s artist page.

Desert Storm by David Baca at Pippin Contemporary

Near the Storm by David Baca at Pippin ContemporaryDavid Baca’s acrylic paintings on wood panels are small framed wall pieces that you can easily find a perfect space for. These two pieces are framed with light wood and remind us of a winter snow scene. See more of David’s acrylic/panel paintings in 10×10″ or 14×14″ (pictured), with prices ranging from $750-$950.

Yama Studies #1 by Tony Griffith at Pippin Contemporary

Yama Studies #1 by Tony Griffith has a different look with a sleek resin finish, bringing out the rich color and texture in this 12×12″ painting priced at $1050. Make it a pair with Yama Studies #2. 

Heart to Heart by Guilloume at Pippin Contemporary

Looking for sculpture? Guilloume’s Heart to Heart is a beautiful gesture for someone special. The hugging figures represent this idea expressed by the artist: “If you hug with your left arm around your friends neck, your hearts will be pressed together in a true symbol of love and companionship.” This piece comes in two sizes to meet any budget; find it on Guilloume’s artist page

Connected by Cody Hooper at Pippin Contemporary

Cody Hooper’s Connected is a 16×16″ acrylic/panel with vibrant colors reminiscent of the holiday season. Cody has several new pieces in the gallery for the holiday show in various sizes and prices, see them all here.

I Knew in an Instant by Aleta Pippin at Pippin Contemporary at Pippin Contemporary

Aleta Pippin’s I Knew in an Instant is an acrylic/resin 12×12″ painting that sparkles in the light. Priced at $1250, this charming painting is a lovely size that glows with vibrant colors. See more of Aleta Pippin’s small resin paintings on her artist page

View more small works on our Holiday Gift Guide Pinterest Board, and join us to celebrate Christmas in Color on Saturday, December 12th, 3-5pm at the gallery with a festive reception.

Doing your shopping early? Call us at 505-795-7476 to reserve a piece, and we’ll ship it to you in time for the holidays.

Periscope and the art world

  • by Kelly Skeen
  • November 17th, 2015

Pippin Contemporary on Periscope
Explore the world through someone else’s eyes.
This is the tag line for Periscope, a popular new app launched by Twitter that allows users to connect through live stream videos. Think of it as Skype or FaceTime, except you can broadcast to viewers all over the world and tune in to just about anything you can think of; sneak into a closed sporting event, watch a political riot unfold, or go backstage with your favorite television actors. Periscope is a new and exciting way to share experiences and connect to the bigger picture. And for the art world, its possibilities are endless.

Museums and galleries have embraced Periscope as a way to bring their collections even closer to the public eye and broaden the impact of exhibitions. The British Museum was one of the first museums to take advantage of the app this past May with an after-hours guided tour of the acclaimed exhibition Defining Beauty: The Body in Ancient Greek Art. The broadcast provided an intimate view of Greek masterpieces, and viewers were able to send in questions and comments as they watched. Watch the broadcast here.

Soon the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Rubin Museum, and the Grand Palais in Paris followed suit with live broadcasts from curators and tours of exhibitions. The trend has now grown to include MOMA, The Guggenheim, The Andy Warhol Museum, and more, who have broadcasted events, historic video footage of famed artists, and museum tours to unlimited audiences. If you follow these institutions on Twitter, keep an eye on their feed to be notified of their next broadcast. Each video is available for streaming 24 hours after it’s posted, unless the broadcaster saves the video and uploads to YouTube.

Galleries and auction houses also started reaping the benefits of Periscope by using it as another outlet to sell. Videos of new acquisitions give collectors a closer look, and live streams of opening receptions and auctions attract wider audiences. Talk with an artist about a particular painting, visit a sculptor’s studio, watch an exhibition installment, or even witness a three million dollar sale at Christie’s.

You guessed it; Pippin Contemporary is now on Periscope! Follow us and tour the gallery, meet new artists, see exhibitions going up, and more. Make sure to stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter to be notified of live broadcasts.

Santa Fe Art Tour at Pippin Contemporary
Our first Periscope broadcast was of a tour group led by Santa Fe Art Tours. Follow us for more live gallery tours.


David Baca: Visionary Abstractions

  • by Kelly Skeen
  • November 3rd, 2015

Viewers enter into the dimensions of David Baca’s imaginative abstracts as if they are floating through a dream. Taking a train into the depths of a painting, you may encounter rural mountainsides blending into urban landscapes, with lines and forms of color pushing and pulling you into different dimensions. Silhouetted figures lead you into a new picture plane, where you cross a bridge into an empty space and disappear into its depths. You reemerge on a foggy city street, and as you turn corners made of sketched lines and enter into rooms of color, your journey continues.

Insight by David Baca at Pippin Contemporary

Insight, 48×36″ acrylic/canvas

The Boat 36x50 Acrylic on Canvas - David Baca at Pippin Contemporary

The Boat, 36×50″ acrylic/canvas

Baca’s paintings are intriguing for the eye and the mind, whether they contain reoccurring icons and discernible forms, or are simply made up of sketched lines, geometric shapes and planes of color.

“For me, painting transcends time. It gives me the catalyst to reflect onto canvas, panel, and paper many paths for the viewer to see all at once.”

Train Yard by David Baca at Pippin Contemporary

Train Yard, 40×60″ acrylic/canvas

There is an urban, architectural feel to Baca’s current style, which took form in his years working as an artist in New York City. Originally from New Mexico, Baca started his artistic journey with pastel drawings and monotypes of the southwest landscape. Baca’s galleries and dealers were selling everything he produced, so he volunteered for layoff at his management job in Albuquerque, ended his pursuit of a business degree at the University of New Mexico, and spent all his resources on art materials and studio space. Baca was painting full time and had successfully embarked on a dedicated life as an artist. However after a few years, he felt a tug for something more.

Reflector V by David Baca at Pippin Contemporary

Reflector V, 38×54″ acrylic/canvas

“As I was watching other artists’ careers, and more importantly my own, I wanted to make sure I didn’t limit myself to a regional style,” explains Baca. “It was a turning point in my career when I moved to New York.”

With the confidence and ability from his successful career in New Mexico, Baca took off for the big city without any of his previous inventory. Blank canvases and an empty studio were eventually filled with explosive inspiration from his new surroundings. Creating monotypes and pastel drawings eventually progressed into paintings of inner city glimpses on panel and canvas, where Baca began to find his niche.

“The monotypes gave me latitude to explore imagery and composition, which really opened the doors for painting,” says Baca. “Everything started to add up to allow me to indulge purely as a painter.”

Transgression by David Baca at Pippin Contemporary

Transgression, 30×32, acrylic/canvas

Things added up for Baca in the form of SoHo gallery directors and private dealers, which lead him to solo shows in Manhattan and commissions from clients across the country. He had broken out of regionalism and felt no more limitations when it came to his art and his growing career.

On August 30th, 1990, Baca’s good fortunes took a turn for the worse. The building on East 8th Street where he lived and worked burned well beyond repair in a rampant fire. While he had luckily just shipped out a large body of commission work and had much of his inventory hanging in a dealer’s loft, Baca still lost a considerable amount of paintings, materials, and memories. Instead of dwelling in the loss, Baca quickly reassembled paint, canvases, a new studio and was working again within a few days.

“The fire fueled my work in definite ways. I still remember some of the paintings I lost, but they are only memories. But instead of feeling bad over losing so much, I turned the emotion into a body of work that landed me a solo show in SoHo.”

Baca calls them the Fire Paintings: large canvases with oppressive imagery and screeching emotion. Dark human energies, screaming skulls, and vibrant colors capture Baca’s response to the loss. “I utilized this profound experience to fuel my work,” he explains.

With All My Heart by David Baca

Detail of With All My Heart (Fire Painting), 78×80″ acrylic/canvas

Baca spent another year and a half in New York after the fire, but that powerful experience ultimately brought his time there to a close. He moved back to New Mexico in the early 1990s and allowed the culmination of his experiences and surroundings to dictate his next body of work and present style. He maintains the influence of the cityscape but with more spatial compositions, use of drawings, and looseness of paint.

“My past choices have provided a well based platform for these current abstractions. Memories from different parts of life flow through me as I’m painting – it’s all just mixing itself in the moment. It’s a very powerful driving force.”

See Baca’s work now on display at the gallery, and browse his complete portfolio on his artist page of our website.

Poetic Expressions: Bronze Sculpture by Guilloume

  • by
  • October 21st, 2015

Pippin Contemporary Sculptor GuilloumeGuilloume’s bronze sculptures and wall reliefs are made up of simplistic human forms, individualized by stone-like patinas and subtle movements that convey a range of complex emotion. A slight tilt of the head, an outstretched arm, or graceful curve in the body are minimal movements in Guilloume’s figures that express an array of sentiments to the viewer. The figures are faceless as the artist seeks to portray the commonalities that unite us instead of the physical differences that set us apart.

Guilloume (pronounced ghee-jho-may), a Colombian native who resides in New Mexico, also offers a personal narrative to go with each piece, describing it’s inspiration or providing an explanation of what the figures’ movements mean to him. These eloquent descriptions are poetic and heartfelt, allowing the viewer to feel an even stronger connection to a piece that first aesthetically drew them in. Many of these narratives describe Guilloume’s relationship with his wife or family; he is one of twenty children and now has three sons and one daughter of his own. His passion for love and family relationships shows in his sculptures and is articulated in their narrative descriptions.

Here are few of Guilloume’s sculptures we are currently showing in the gallery with their accompanying narratives. Which one speaks to you?

Stealing His Heart by Guilloume at Pippin Contemporary
Stealing His Heart, Bronze Wall Relief Ed. 25

Stealing His Heart is my sculptural interpretation of a recent photo taken of my wife and me. When I first looked at the photo, I was struck by the fact that I found my wife to be every bit as appealing and mesmerizing as the day I met her – perhaps even more so. I reflected on our initial meeting in our native Colombia and how I was swept up in love as she instantly stole my heart. What is so amazing to me is the fact that I have never gotten my heart back from her – it remains stolen to this day! I am not referring to that ‘crazy love’ that one experiences in the early stages of courtship. This is a mere illusion of love that gushes forth as we mistakenly assign all of the attributes that we desire in a mate to our new lover – while at the same time, unconsciously overlooking those traits that are less appealing. Although we certainly experienced ‘crazy love’ at first, as most couples do, our love has endured because that infatuation was soon fortified by more enduring relationship builders like appreciation, understanding, support, and mutual growth.

Relying on Each Other by Guilloume at Pippin Contemporary
Relying On Each Other, Bronze Ed. 15

Every now and then, I see my daughter and wife conversing across the room in hushed tones. When I ask what they are discussing, one of them invariably responds, “It’s just girl talk.” I have come to understand that this is my cue to drop it and “butt out.” The first few times I encountered this response, I felt a bit excluded, since we have a close-knit family and I like to think that I can talk about anything with my wife and children. Over the years, however, I have become comfortable being on the “outside looking in,” and in fact, have come to appreciate the fact that they have each other to rely on. I created “Relying On Each Other,” to honor the close relationship that my wife and daughter enjoy. The touching hats help to form a heart-shaped void that is meant to symbolize their heart-to-heart conversations and the respect that I have for those special “girl talk” moments.

Getting Closer by Guilloume at Pippin Contemporary
Getting Closer, Bronze Wall Relief Ed. 50

Throughout much of my life, my brain seems to have selectively deleted so many of my memories. Yet, for some reason, I am able to easily recall small, seemingly unimportant things. A good example would be my recollection of a family photo session several years ago while visiting my homeland of Colombia. I was taking a picture of my wife and kids when my wife exclaimed, “Get closer, Guilloume!” On the basis of that single, obscure memory of a moment in time, I created this work. I have always wanted us to be a close knit family and, in my heart, I believe we are. I’ve heard psychologists use the term “emotional bank account” when making reference to those special memories of family and friends. Getting Closer was created to serve as a personal reminder that family and friends create the true “wealth” in one’s emotional bank account.

Time to Fly by Guilloume at Pippin Contemporary
Time to Fly, Bronze Ed. 50

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.” -Lucretius, Roman Poet & Philosopher (c. 99 BC – c. 55 BC)

I love this quote. The idea that we cannot fly alone, but are only able to soar to the heavens when partnered with the complementary wing of out mate, resonates in my mind as a powerful truth. In this piece, I positioned one wing slightly forward while the other is angled backward. This is my attempt to symbolize my belief that oftentimes one partner leads and the other follows. One guides while the other supports. It’s a balancing act that moves back and forth in perfect harmony. It was only after meeting my wife that my life began to take flight. Out union truly lifted me up and gave me a chance to achieve new heights in both my personal and professional life. I adore my beloved wife. She is truly my angel. Without her, I would have a difficult time remaining aloft for any length of time.


Tony Griffith: Passages

  • by Kelly Skeen
  • October 7th, 2015
Taos Passage by Tony Griffith at Pippin Contemporary
Taos Passage, Griffith, 30×24″ acrylic/resin/panel.

Surrealist abstract painter Tony Griffith creates complex compositions that adhere to the style of southwest contemporary art lovers. His simplified forms and color tones have a southwest, yet modernized look, blending the idea of a simplified desert landscape with contemporary elements.

Griffith’s newest paintings for Passages, opening next week at Pippin Contemporary, vary from pure abstractions to quasi-representational surreal sky and landscapes inspired by desert sunrises and sunsets. The California artist created this body of work in the summer heat of the Coachella Valley desert near Palm Springs, which resulted in warm energy and vibrant colors in each piece.

Screen shot 2015-10-13 at 4.41.37 PM
Interphase #1 and Interphase #2, 36×48″ acrylic/resin/panel

Passages also takes on a spiritual theme, with paintings like Astral Passage, Bone Passage, Dawn Passage, and others acting as portals through which the viewer can enter into a world of depth and color. Other pieces such as Truth to Power metaphorically address internal self-reflection or peace, and the freedom of the “constant barrage of non-natural outside influences.” Interphase #1 and #2 (below) act as a diptych representing dual realms that lead to a single spiritual destination.

“The theme of Passages concerns the individual’s journey from the earth-bound physical into the spiritual realm toward enlightenment,” explains Griffith. “The work may serve as visual touchstones along the viewer’s own mortal journey.”

In order to achieve the depth and portal-like quality in his paintings, Griffith is using a technique that adds spatial layers beneath the surface, giving atmospheric effects of light, color and space within the piece. Acrylic stains mixed and applied with a spray bottle create a granite ground and marble-like appearance, while acrylic aerosols produce airy, sky-like formations. Finally, a resin finish adds a water-like dimension to this juxtaposition of elements, which according to Griffith is reminiscent of a desert oasis.

Seasonal Passage by Tony Griffith at Pippin Contemporary
Seasonal Passage, Griffith, 30″ x 24″

“The title of the series brings to mind the layers beneath the surface, which allow the viewer to pass into other realities or possibilities,” says Griffith.

“There are so many distractions in our society. I hope that when looking at my work, the viewer can clear their mind and experience inner peace for a moment.”

Join us with Tony Griffith at Pippin Contemporary on October 16th, 5-7pm for an artist reception, and see the show through October 27th.


View Tony Griffith’s online show catalog.

Back to the Future: The Art of Exploration

  • by Kelly Skeen
  • September 22nd, 2015

Aleta Pippin in her studioPainter and Pippin Contemporary founder Aleta Pippin has followed an artistic journey of continuous exploration through various media, styles, and color palettes. From luminescent oil paintings to acrylic abstract landscapes, from poured paintings to LED lit panels, Pippin’s constant experimentation keeps her work fresh and exciting to viewers and collectors. For this show however, Pippin is revisiting her original passion for creating vibrant, abstract oil paintings, and plans to bring that energy and emotional resonance into her future artistic endeavors.

Back to the Future: The Art of Exploration opens September 23rd with an artist reception on Friday, September 25th from 5-7pm. Vivid blues, glowing yellows, and joyful pinks fill the gallery with light and evoke a feeling of happiness from the viewer. Some paintings take on a more spiritual and thought-provoking theme, while others, such as Caribbean Play, are simply about Pippin’s use of color and the emotions each tone can trigger.

Aleta Pippin Paintings at Pippin Contemporary

Caribbean Play (left) and Magical Mystery Tour hanging at Pippin Contemporary.

“The reason I continue to pursue color and light in my work is because I believe it has a positive impact on people,” explains Pippin. “My goal is to create art that when people look at it, it joyfully inspires them.”

Bloom Where You're Planted by Aleta Pippin at Pippin Contemporary

Bloom Where You’re Planted, 16×16″ oil/panel.

Pieces like Reaching Deeper, Garden’s Gate, and Bloom Where You’re Planted still burst with color, but the titles allow for a deeper perspective. According to Pippin, these paintings are about connecting with your inner self and looking past the obvious.

Bloom Where You’re Planted is all about being present where you are in life,” explains Pippin. “People are always saying, when I do this or when I get that – then I’ll be happy. But all those things are outside of ourselves. All of us can make the best of where we are at any given moment.”     

Garden’s Gate takes on a similar theme of looking beneath the obvious. It was inspired by the story of The Secret Garden, a book Pippin loved as a child and continues to read often as an adult.

Garden's Gate painting by Santa Fe artist, Aleta Pippin

Garden’s Gate, 40×40″ oil/canvas.

“I think the first time I read The Secret Garden may have been in the fourth grade. I loved it then. On the surface, it’s a “feel-good” story. However after reading it several times as an adult, I’ve discovered many nuggets that can be applied to real life challenges.”

Once Again by Aleta Pippin at Pippin Contemporary

Once Again, 16×16″ oil/panel.

Pippin is constantly making new discoveries through her art that lead to exciting career opportunities as well as deeper self-exploration. With painting as her third career, the journey is never ending as new passions are pursued. Once Again is a small panel bursting with energy that speaks to this theme.

“You always have new opportunities to show yourself. For me, being an artist is a life journey as well as an interior journey.”

Join us Friday, September 25th from 5-7pm for Aleta Pippin’s opening reception for Back to the Future: The Art of Exploration.

Can’t make it to Santa Fe for the opening? View new paintings in the online show catalog. 

Poet to Painter: The Contemporary Art of Adam Shaw

  • by
  • September 9th, 2015

Adam Shaw at Pippin ContemporaryA line will take us hours maybe; yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought, our stitching and unstitching has been naught.

This excerpt from William Butler Yeats’ poem, a favorite of Adam Shaw’s and appropriately titled ‘Adam’s Curse,’ embodies the concept of Shaw’s painting process, one that evolves over time with layers of paint and texture, but that looks as if it were created in a spontaneous moment of quick strokes and fluid color.

“I may work on a painting for ten years, but I want it to look like it just happened – like it was an accident,” explains Shaw. “There may be thousands of accidents in there, but I want it to look spontaneous and unconstructed, even though it’s intensely constructed and labored over.”

Abstract interpretations of landscapes, flowers, and trees make up Shaw’s body of work, as well paintings that use language as a visual element. He is educated in the Renaissance tradition as well as in poetics, having spent time translating poetry and writing and publishing his own work. His fascination with language can be seen in the etchings of words or phrases within the layers of paint on his canvases and panels. The placement of the words, sometimes obscured beneath the paint or written in non-linear directions, creates narratives within the piece that add to the mystery and viewer’s interpretation.

True Nature Is Toward Awakening by Adam Shaw at Pippin Contemporary

True Nature Is Toward Awakening, Shaw, 60×54″ oil/canvas

This unique style is really where Shaw’s artistic career began. He started painting as an escape from writer’s block – so inspired and moved by the poets he studied, Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, Yeats and others, Shaw often felt overwhelmed by their talent and unable to produce anything that could compare. Consequently, he turned to a creative outlet that didn’t feel quite so menacing.

“I never thought of myself as a painter the way I thought of myself as a poet, so I had a lot of freedom as a painter,” Shaw admits. “Little by little, the idea of wanting to do something creative started to shift from writing to painting.”

In his shift to painting, Shaw started with what he knew by filling the canvas with a poem by one of his heroes or an original work of his own. He would then slowly cover it up with layers of paint, maybe leaving a few words or excerpts visible to the eye, but mostly using it as a starting point for his composition. It eventually dawned on Shaw that he could use the words he obscured as the focal point of the piece, as well as the basis for his entire artistic philosophy.

“At some point I realized I can bring my love and knowledge of literature into the painting and leave it there,” says Shaw. “I can incorporate those elements and actually make the painting about that.”

The world is a symptom of the mind by Adam Shaw at Pippin Contemporary

The World is a Symptom of the Mind, Shaw, 60×66″ oil/canvas.

The World is a Symptom of the Mind is one of Shaw’s language infused paintings hanging at Pippin Contemporary. It’s part of a series of globe paintings with random words and phrases contained inside a circle. This globe of ‘chatter’ can be interpreted as the world, the inner workings of one’s mind, or both simultaneously – which is how Shaw sees it.

“The title is a Zen sentiment meaning all that really exists is a projection of your mind,” explains Shaw, who is also a believer in Buddhist philosophy. “It’s the mind that creates the world.”

The ‘chatter’ inside the sphere consists of song lyrics, phrases, poetry, formulas, political statements, and more. The excerpts of thought climb over and push against each other; they’re thrown in all directions, bouncing from one idea to the next within the sphere’s painterly line. This painting is a picture of Shaw’s world, a haphazard display of what was going through the artist’s mind during its creation. The result is a thought-provoking piece that pulls viewers in as they examine and decipher the interrupted ideas and displays of thought.

New Solution to the Universe by Adam Shaw at Pippin Contemporary

New Solution to the Universe , Shaw, 66×60″ oil/canvas

Viewers can also get lost in paintings such as New Solution to the Universe, as they contemplate the depth of the layers and continuously see new passages and pops of color within the abstracted aspen trees. Shaw works on his paintings for years, building up and scraping down paint and texture to create these visual experiences. He can be working on 20 to 30 pieces at once in his California studio in the heart of wine country, spending lengthy amounts of time each day immersed in the process. Shaw has a strong sense of place and his natural surroundings seem to make their way into his art, but not in the realistic way that nature affects some artists’ work.

“I never paint what I see. My trees are a referential viewpoint. They’re not really trees…they’re just abstract. I am never interested in what a painting is of, I’m only interested in what it does to you when you are in its grips.”

See Adam Shaw’s paintings now on display in the gallery, and browse his complete inventory on his artist page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be the first to know about new work and show announcements!