April 11, 2021 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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Saturday, July 2 - Monday, September 5, 2011

Under the Skin of New Mexico: The Art of Cady Wells, 1933-53

Galleries: Joyce and Sherman Scott Gallery and Peter & Madeleine Martin Gallery
Cady Wells, "Battlefield, No. 3," 1946, watercolor on paper, University of New Mexico Art MuseumCady Wells, "Black Mesa and Morado," 1937, watercolor on board, collection of Dennis and Janis LyonCady Wells, "Untitled (Brilliant Landscape)", ca. 1946, watercolor on paper, Fine Arts Museums of San FranciscoCady Wells, "Mountains and Cottonwoods," 1933, watercolor on paper, Collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San FranciscoCady Wells, "Penitentes," 1935, watercolor on paper, Fine Arts Museums of San FranciscoCady Wells, "Barranca at Night," ca. 1937, watercolor on paper, Collection of the University of New Mexico Art Museum
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Cady Wells was one of the most innovative modern artists working within the Santa Fe and Taos milieu in the 1930s and 1940s, if not one of this country’s most accomplished watercolorists in any period. In the 1940s he was included in important contemporary watercolor exhibitions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, and in seminal exhibitions such as the 1947 “Abstract and Surrealist Art” exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago that were influential in defining the nature of the new American avant-garde. Wells was regularly touted in the media alongside critical reviews of new abstraction by Jackson Pollock, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, and Adolph Gottlieb.

Although his earliest paintings were greatly influenced by the plein air landscapes of Andrew Dasburg and John Marin, Wells relied upon his own imagination, fueled by Hispano religious art, the ominous world of the Los Alamos atomic laboratories, and his mutually inspirational friendship with the modern American dance choreographer, Martha Graham.  Organized by the University of New Mexico Art Museum and guest curated by Lois P. Rudnick, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts, Under the Skin of New Mexico traces Wells’ brief but intense two decades as a New Mexico modernist who attempted like no other artist in the Southwest to tap the expressive power of the land and its cultures that lay beneath the surface.

Related Programs

Friday, July 8, 5-7 pm - Alliance members' opening reception.  Go here to join the Alliance. 

Friday, July 29, 7 pm - A lecture with Larry Torres and Lois Rudnick on Martha Graham's "El Penitente," a dance inspired by Penitente ceremonials.  Torres is a member of the Penitente Brotherhood in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico.  $8 Alliance members, $10 non-members. 

Thursday, August 11, 1-4 pm - Watercolor workshop.  Join UNM-Taos painting instructor Bill Stewart for a workshop exploring Cady Wells' technique in opaque watercolor and mixed media.  Lois Rudnick will lead a special tour of the Cady Wells exhibition.  $40 Alliance members, $48 non-members.  $10 materials fee.

Friday, August 12, 7 pm - Lois Rudnick will present a lecture exploring the life and art of Cady Wells.  $8 Alliance members, $10 non-members.