Gail Rieke Opening

I am very lucky to have lived in Santa Fe all these years, and seen so much art. Among my absolutely favorite artists is Gail Rieke. Her studio is in an unassuming house on an ordinary street, just a few minutes from my house. But what is inside is extraordinary.
A kind of permanent installation space/working studio is full of old suitcases and globes. Rieke’s work derives a great deal of its energy from place and travel. In her new exhibition Shadowcatcher (Open House August 2,3,4 from 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM at Rieke Studios, 416 Alta Vista, Santa Fe. Also by appointment after the open house…call 505-988-5229 or e-mail to schedule) I also became aware of her relationship to time.
Much of her work can be described as collage, assemblage, collection, aggregate–and she herself uses the word “cumulative” to describe it. Take, for instance, an old fashioned metal egg box. Inside, in a charred nest of burnt material, is a silver egg. This egg isn’t for scrambling, but out of a fairy tale. Turns out the title is “Phoenix” with its attendant image of resurrection. I was also thinking of the Russian Firebird and even of the forest fires that ravage our landscape–they have rejuvenation too. As do the images of butterflies and dove feathers in other works that flank the piece.
A fascinating wall hanging caught my eye. A net from Laos, it is woven of vine material. On it are hanging small tags–a description that doesn’t do justice to its eerie emotional power. Rieke explains that the piece is a kind of a calendar. Each tag is inscribed to represent a person she is thinking of–with concern, gratitude, or awareness. And each day she attaches a tag. The piece is called “Making Visible” and also includes old price tags–the antithesis of the personal ones.

Making Visible… the net piece with tags added daily.

The show also includes several highly original presentations of travel journals, often wrapped in fabric and nestled in baskets. These are actual journals, along with objects, that turn memoir literally into sculpture. Many will be unwrapped and displayed in detail for the show.
Gail Rieke’s work inspires. Looking at it always makes me want to write a poem.

Part of the 2012 Japan Journal. The entire journal is called Otafuku’s Dream. These journal pages are mounted on the frosted mylar which covers the window.

I look forward to seeing the entire show mounted in August. Do come look at it.

Otafuku’s Dream with the suitcase lid removed.

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

1 thought on “Gail Rieke Opening

  1. Pingback: Dancing through the Chihuly Exhibit at The Denver Botanical Gardens by Gail Rieke | Miriam's Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond

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