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About the cover


  D e s e r t   E x p o s u r e   August 2010

Our Cover Artist: Victoria Chick



The cats climbing around this issue's cover are unmistakably the work of Arenas Valley artist Victoria Chick, who will be holding a grand opening for her Cow Trail Art Studio on Wednesday, August 11, at noon. The date marks changes in days and hours that the studio is open to visitors, as well as the inauguration of a changing exhibition of 19th and early 20th original prints.

Victoria Chick
Victoria Chick at work in her Arenas Valley studio,
which will hold a grand opening August 11.

"Anyone who has seen my work may think I have a fixation on cats," Chick confesses. "They do figure prominently in my expressing what I have to say. They are great metaphorical figures. Over the years my husband and I have had many cats that have been my willing models."

Besides a working artist's studio — for paintings of cats and other subjects — the facility also showcases Chick's longtime interest in prints, which began in college. She had been a regular visitor to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City during high school. Bethany College, the first college she attended, was next door to the Birger Sandzen Art Gallery, so she also spent a lot of time there.

"On a break from school, my mom and I went antiquing," she recalls. "I was shocked to see a beautiful Sandzen lithograph in the antique shop at a price I could afford. So I bought an artwork that I had seen in a museum. Amazement was what I felt and a new sense of ownership. I had been bitten by the collecting bug."

While unpacking, she adds, "I was surprised at how many prints I had that I had forgotten about, not having seen them through four years of storage." A portion of the Arenas Valley studio walls will be devoted to an ongoing exhibit of woodcuts, lithographs, etchings, linocuts and drawings by American and New Mexican artists she has collected over the past 38 years. Every two months the exhibit will feature different prints.

"There is a lot of American history in the collection," Chick says. "Changing landscapes and attitudes over a hundred-year period are reflected in the prints. And, as I have researched the artists, fascinating life stories have presented themselves to me. As an artist, my past experience with various printmaking processes has helped me to choose some great prints. On occasion, I have found what should have been a 'jewel' but had damage from neglect. I have bought several in bad condition thinking they would be OK after cleaning and been disappointed. But, overall, collecting has been a rewarding experience."



As for the studio part of the operation, Chick says, "I have good north daylight as well as halogen lights that let me use the studio at night. The mornings still allow time for me to concentrate on my own painting and if I get involved in a painting I may still be working on it during the time the studio is open."

New days and hours are Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons from noon until 3 p.m. "The expanded days and hours are possible now that our move to living quarters on the same property as the studio is completed," she says, adding, "My goal in opening the studio is to offer an educational visual experience to visitors and for me to meet people interested in art."

Cow Trail Art Studio is located at 119 Cow Trail in Arenas Valley, www.victoriachick.com Chick's paintings and monoprints are available for sale at JW Art Gallery, 99 Cortez Ave. in Hurley, 537-0330, www.jwartgallery.com JW Art Gallery is open Wednesday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.







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