Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saint Makers: Devoted to their art

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Editor's note: If you're interested in the upcoming Saint Makers show mentioned on this week's Seven Days to Live pages, here's more information on the exhibit from one of our writers, Cicily Janus.

Corazon Nicho by Jerry Vigil
  • Corazon Nicho by Jerry Vigil.

The tradition of creating the native New Mexican and Coloradan artworks known as santos is alive and well.

What began in the 1700s as a necessary art for the Roman Catholic Church conversions during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, is now a fusion of folk art and new works that highlight the changes of the art through millennia in Colorado and New Mexico. Jerry Vigil, a Chicano artist based out of Denver, has brought together seven artists native to New Mexico and Colorado in the Saint Makers exhibit opening at Cucuru Gallery and Café from 5 to 8 on Friday, March 18.

Vigil’s keen eye and eclectic tastes are to be credited for this diverse group of artists. According to Vigil, all those featured must have created a devotional work of art in order to be considered for this exhibit.

Featured works are presented by such artists as: Tony Ortega, a professor of art at Regis University; Stevon Lucero, better known as the “Godfather” of the Denver Chicano art scene and a true visionary in the genre; controversial, self-termed “conservative liberal” Rob Yancey; and Denver santos historian and former Penitente (a member of a confraternity of devout Roman Catholic men), Jose Esquibel. Artists Judy Miranda and Metro State art professor Carlos Fresquez are also part of this sublime exhibit.

Despite their diverse presentations, these artists display a powerful representation of the santos. Those who attend can expect a wide span of works including the humorous side of the genre, like Vigil’s own tribute to Jerry Garcia.

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