Archive for the ‘Taos Project’ Category

1924, Doel Reed accepted a teaching position at Oklahoma State University, where he remained for thirty-five years. Beginning as the sole art professor, he developed the program when it became an independent department in 1930. Through his stewardship, the university gained a reputation as one of the best for printmaking in the country. His connection with Taos was established in 1959, when he, his wife, and daughter moved there to Talpa Ridge. Settling into a complex of three adobe buildings.


I met Martha, the 84 year old, chic and accomplished daughter of Doel Reed, in one of those pink adobes that she has been living in for more than 50 years. Martha keeps her father’s studio intact, Doel’s thick, horn-rimmed glasses still lay on his desk. Packets of letters, postcards, receipts, and photos date back to the forties. Teapots sit on the heater and hang beside the kiva fireplace. Comfortable chairs, books everywhere, paintings on easels, prints on the walls. Stacks of etching plates, awards and the focal point—the etching press designed by Doel in the 1920s and built by the OSU shop, which he used throughout his career.

Martha was in the process of donating the 3 building family compound to Oklahoma State University to be used as an International art center – The Doel Reed Center for the Arts.


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We met Jerry, at the opening, of the first of his Annual Two Man Shows with Walk Gonske. It was one of the largest opening we had ever seen. He was standing greeting people, on the grand sala, dressed in a white western cut suit, a blue ruffled shirt and a large white cowboy hat. The earring he wore seemed out of place. Heck, the whole outfit seemed out of place, that’s Taos. It was appropriate that we should meet him here, in this gallery, the former home and studio of western landscape artist Victor Higgins. Kit Carson’s home sits across the street and I wondered how many artist openings it had witnessed during the 40’s and 50’s when this building housed The Blue Door, one of Taos’ most famous early art galleries. What is not out of place is Jerry’s New Mexican landscapes. One look at the golds, verde greens and turquoise blues and you know this man loves this area….. and has spent allot of time here.


The last of the fans, collectors and family members had left the area when I got the chance to photograph Jerry in his home. For over 20 years, he has been splitting his time between Texas and Taos. Jerry and his wife, Marilyn, sold their historic adobe and today, they rent a small adobe, where he feels right at home painting the landscapes of which he is nationally known for and loves.

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There is something ethereal about Claudia Kleefeld. She is an internationally known contemporary, figurative oil painter who’s work focus on issues of self, sexuality and identity. She always seams to be searching for something.

I photographed her in the studio next to her house. I liked the look of the old New Mexican alter piece (just left of center), the kiva fireplace and the wood beams over head. Look at Claudia, she always seems to be bathed in some kind of heavenly light -it follows her everywhere. I see that same light in her paintings.


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Jonathan’s work focuses on relationships. Each morning, he and his wife, sit under a red umbrella, sipping coffee. Together with friends, they discuss politics, art, books and the weather. Jonathan believes that “Nothing stands alone in this universe, all actions touch something else, and there is nothing inconsequential or petty about life.” He is a painter, sculptor and philosopher.

It took Jonathan a few weeks to warm up to the idea of being photographed. He is a private man and enjoys creating in the solitude of his home. He has a fragrant view from his workshop, the smell of the chamisa and sage mixed pleasantly with the aroma of his pipe tobacco. Jonathan’s work is composed of figures and forms of sculpted areas of color interact and overlay each other, effecting each other and transmuting their interactions into yet another relationship.
The beguilingly simple forms and compositions become richer and more meaningful as the eye moves fluidly through the canvas. Ones physical tensions become lessened by the calmness emanating from the surfaces. His paintings seem to live in parallel universes simultaneously, the forms at first seem normal and familiar, but shift with time into a dimension which although familiar is undeniably different from our routine sense of reality.


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Rich Nichols is a nationally recognized impressionism painter. It’s also quite evident that Rich Nichols is a family man, by the 100s of snapshots of his three children taped to the door jamb in his studio, where he also keeps a copy of his favorite quote: “Art is the representation of that which the mind can imagine – but only the heart knows to be true.”

Long time gallery owner and showman, Rich paints in the back of his gallery that sits, a short walk from the main plaza, on the main Paseo that runs through Taos. The blue room, left of center, shows western themed art. The red room at the far right shows contemporary art and the gold room deep into the red room, was showing art with an oriental theme.


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Bella and her husband and art historian, Jim (pictures here) run the Bent Street Gallery, located about 4 doors west of our building. She believes in the celestial and the extraterrestrial. After one look at her fused diachronic glass jewelry and hand-woven chenille clothing I thought they may indeed be from another planet. Using intense heavenly color and unmistakable astronomical themes, Bella’s artwork is indeed divine.

Jim had been ill, so Bella set up her studio in their living room. Glass, beads and spools of thread were clearly marked, categorized and organized . A versatile artist, Bella works in many different media and needs access to it all. Poor Jim looks exhausted as he watches Bella’s non-stop hands work on a piece of jewelry.

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Karen Fielding and her artistic colleague, Pamala S. Dean are co-owners of Dragonfly Journeys, a Taos Art Retreat and and the developers of Healthy Forest – Happy Potters, Inc, where they built and maintain a community kiln using downed wood from the national forest.

Their house and studio is located in Ranchos de Taos. They rehabbed the adobe and build the kiln themselves. Pamala grief counsels women with art therapy techniques. She and Karen are both potters and find the time to continue with there own art and help others reach their creative goals. The old dog in the center of this image is not dead… she is worn out watching these two women work so hard.

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