“Together” – a solo exhibition of new works – opens tonight at the Meyer Gallery in Santa Fe. There is a limited reception at the gallery to keep everyone safe from 5-7pm. I unfortunately am not attending in person but will be in conversation on Facebook Live at 4pm. To watch the event, please go to the Meyer Gallery’s Facebook page here.

Fatima Ronquillo’s new series of oil paintings for her solo exhibition, “Together,” contemplate warring feelings of love and grief, loss and hope. The Santa Fe artist, whose imagery is typically joyful and light as childlike figures act out love stories from mythology, literature or theater, struggled to find solace in her subjects this year in the midst of a global pandemic and societal unrest.

“The realities of the coronavirus pandemic hit home in March just as I was beginning a new body of work,” she states. “Suddenly the paintings that had been germinating in my mind were arrested in thought, evolving as rapidly as the collective emotions all around me. Shall I continue to paint love and joy when there is so much sorrow and panic? I found myself unable to grasp at one coherent voice from the disparate images rising into my heart and mind.”

It was from this internal struggle that Ronquillo’s first painting for the exhibition emerged, inspiring the show’s title and overall theme. “Together” is an image of two clasped hands before a landscape, fingers entwined as green vines with fresh purple blooms circle around. Two birds are perched on top, which brought the words of Emily Dickinson to the artist’s mind: “Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all…

~ written by Kelly Skeen for Meyer Gallery
“Charity with Family of Lemurs”
32×30 inches, oil on linen
available at Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe

Ah, these jasmines, these white jasmines!
I seem to remember the first day when I filled my
hands with these jasmines, these white jasmines.
I have loved the sunlight, the sky and the green
I have heard the liquid murmur of the river
through the darkness of midnight;
Autumn sunsets have come to me at the bend of a
road in the lonely waste, like a bride raising her veil to
accept her lover.
Yet my memory is still sweet with the first white
jasmines that I held in my hands when I was a child.

Many a glad day has come in my life, and I have
laughed with merrymakers on festival nights.
On grey mornings of rain I have crooned many
an idle song.
I have worn round my neck the evening wreath of
bakulas woven by the hand of love.
Yet my heart is sweet with the memory of the
first fresh jasmines that filled my hands when I was
a child.

~ THE FIRST JASMINES by Rabindranath Tagore

“The First Jasmines” 
paper size 22×19 inches, image size 16×13 incheson Somerset Grey paper
5-color lithograph on aluminum substrate.edition 30. 
in collaboration with Landfall Press. 2020.
for pricing and availability please contact Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe

“The First Jasmines” was inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s poem of the same title. I have always been fascinated by traditional printmaking process after being introduced to etching over 25 years ago. Other than the odd workshop I had not had the chance to explore the medium. Imagine my delight when Jack Lemon, master printmaker and founder of Landfall Press, invited me to create a print with them. It is my first editioned print and Jack’s final official print before his retirement. It is such an honor to have been given the chance to collaborate with this legendary print shop. Landfall Press has just celebrated 50 years of printmaking publishing prints by so many artists whom I admire such as Claes Oldenburg, Sol LeWitt, David Ligare, Kara Walker, Leslie Dill and Judy Chicago to name but a few. I am so honored to be a part of  it. “The First Jasmines” print was run on an antique press from the 1860s, the Marinoni Voirin. It is an impressive piece of machinery that was converted to electrical power from steam power having made its way from Paris to Santa Fe. My work has always referenced the art of the past and I find it romantic and fitting that this print was made on the Voirin. To see the Voirin in action at Landfall Press please click here.

“Flora in Armor”
2020, oil on panel, 24×20 inches

2020, oil on panel, 9×12 inches
“Clasped Hands with Hummingbirds and Passiflora”
2020, oil on panel, 12×12 inches

In what other lives or lands
Have I known your lips
Your Hands
Your Laughter brave
Those sweet excesses that
I do adore.
What surety is there
That we will meet again,
On other worlds some
Future time undated.
I defy my body’s haste.
Without the promise
Of one more sweet encounter
I will not deign to die.

~ REFUSAL by Maya Angelou