The Artspace Collection
At the Jonson Gallery, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.


In 1976, William Peterson began publishing a quarterly magazine "devoted exclusively to the contemporary fine arts of the Southwest." Operating from a storefront in Albuquerque, over the next seventeen years Artspace succeeded in brilliantly presenting riffs of the erratic range of contemporary art produced in this region. A fine writer himself, Peterson set a high standard for his contributors, while the publication also became known for the quality of its reproductions.

Then, early in 1992, desiring recognition in a more diverse and dynamic, if not shrill, market, along with the possibility of acquiring fresh funding, Artspace moved to Los Angeles. This was accomplished, however, at the expense of the base which had given it grounding and persona in the Art World. In L.A., losing its reason to exist, Artspace struggled on for a little more than a year before, in the autumn of 1993, delivering its final issue.

During the process of his move to the Coast, Peterson donated to the University of New Mexico's Jonson Gallery seventeen pieces of art that had been bequeathed to the magazine. These became the foundation on which the gallery plans to raise funds to build The Artspace Collection, representing the unique historiography the publication had so vividly encompassed.

A selection of ten of these works, on view at the Jonson Gallery until April 22, includes Elliot Norquist's untitled wire grid that criss-crosses and parses an abyss of dark glass without committing itself to what may appear real or hallucinogenic in these retentive spaces; and Susan Linnell's "The White Robe," a nightmare of abstract energy, unkept edges, and thoughtful empty spaces, painting almost a definition of contemporary New Mexico.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith's lithograph "El Morro" contains her familiar iconography of animal figures, tents, various trail signs, and other glyphs motioning from a sustainable past, broadcasting into a disposable present not so much the validity of these senescent marks, but the very states of consciousness that might produce a matrix complex and flexible enough to generate the labile theophanies our future will demand.

Presented, too, are Felice Lucero Giaccarod's untitled construct of a floating semiotics, dividing while extending, from teeth and mind, some universally ingrained romantic concepts of "Indian Country," and Janet Maher's "Post No Bills," two pages--here mounted in a plexiglass box--from the artist's book of xeroxed photographs of scribed and scored walls found in New York's SoHo district.


(c) Joel Weishaus 1994
(c) THE Magazine, Santa Fe, NM. 1994