Saturday, October 31, 2015

Creation/Migration Exhibit: "Under a Common Sky", Taos

Common Sky, Lise Poulsen

Creation/Migration is excited to announce their new invitational exhibition, "Under a Common Sky". Group members and curators of this exhibit, Betsie Miller-Kusz and Donna Caulton began discussion with Paul Figueroa, vice president of  Taos Arts Council and curator of the Town Hall Art Gallery, in February of 2015 and lots of decision making and planning followed. The idea of the theme "Under a Common Sky" was chosen to encompass all the the visions of artists who have lived in or moved to New Mexico and stayed, in part because of the magic of the sky and the way it affects their work.

Horse, Ralph Greene
100 years ago, the Taos Society of Artists did the same. Taos has been celebrating that anniversary druing 2015, and this exhibit concludes that year long celebration. When the exhibition theme matched up beautifully with the centennial celebration of the Taos Society, the idea took off. Below is the article that was sent to the press. It includes all details of dates, places and times, and information about the artists and the exiting poetry event that previews the exhibit. Interspersed are some images of the very special  works of art that are included.

Chisos Mountain Morning, Trish Booth

Under A Common Sky: A Two-Part Art and Poetry Event Sponsored By The Taos Arts Council and the Creation/Migration Group

In one of the most exciting events of the Fall Season, Taos Arts Council and the Creation/Migration group co-present Under a Common Sky. This broad-ranging exhibition explores the concept of sky from many different vantage points and through the following artistic disciplines: painting, sculpture, retablo, weaving and other fiber arts, printmaking, photography, and assemblage. With this exhibition, the town of Taos concludes a year of remembrance for the 100th Anniversary of the Taos Society of Artists. Invited artists from Northern New Mexico fill Taos Town Hall with their interpretations of the theme, Under a Common Sky, which holds special significance in this region that has attracted and supported artistic endeavor throughout history.

Exhibition Artists are: Nick Beason (printmaker), Trish Booth (painter), Donna Caulton (painter), Mary Cost (tapestry weaver), Jim Forcier-Call (mixed media artist), Lorrie Garcia  (retablo and bulto artist), Ralph Greene (painter), Theodore Greer (photographer), Betsie Miller-Kusz (painter), Michael Miro (glass artist), Jean Nichols (mixed media artist), Kimberly Pollis (tin artist), Lise Poulsen (fiber artist), and Harriette Tsosie (painter).

Promise of Snow, Jean Nichols
Under A Common Sky opens with a special preview on Saturday, November 7, at 7:00 p.m., in The Navajo Room of Kachina Lodge, 413 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, when ten poets from New Mexico, Colorado, California, and Texas will perform poems they composed in response to selected artworks in the show. The event promises to be a dynamic evening of verbal and visual exchange, with dialogue and refreshments.

Exhibition Poets are: Will Barnes, (paired with artist, Jean Nichols), Karen Córdova, (paired
with artist, Lorrie Garcia) Max Early, (paired with artist, Donna Caulton), Veronica Golos, (paired with artist, Nick Beason), Jane Lin, (paired with artist,, Lise Poulsen), Joan Ryan,(paired with artist Jean Nichols), Leslie Ullman, (paired with artist, Jim Forcier-Call), Andrea Watson, (paired with artist, Betsie Miller-Kusz), Scott Wiggerman, (paired with artist, Harriette Tsosie) and Dom Zuccone (paired with artist, Lorrie Garcia).

 Under A Common Sky holds its official art opening on Friday, November 13, with a reception for the artists from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the Taos Town Hall, 400 Camino de la Placita. The art will be on display in Town Hall from November 13, 2015 through February 5, 2016. 

Since its inception in 2012, each of the member artists of the Creation/Migration group has immersed herself in a personal journey of art-making that centers on a larger view of the concepts of creation and/or migration. These personal journeys, accompanied by scientific information gleaned from DNA studies of their matrilineal lines, have proven fruitful ground for ever expanding ideas in their artwork. The artists explore new ground even while revisiting and reformulating older ideas, finding common threads through time.

Yoke of the World, Betsie Miller-Kusz
 Under a Common Sky artists were selected based on an array of image-making styles and mediums. Each has a vision of what the exhibition title suggests and has created images based on that vision. Additionally, they all live in Northern New Mexico, have migrated here from other places, even if that happened generations ago, and stay, in part, because of the gracious expanse of sky that binds them. All have deep and heartfelt attachment to “Sky”.

 Photographer Theodore Greer explains: “The sky is big; we are small and as short-lived as Mayflies. The sky gives a context to our lives on Earth.”

Fiber artist Lise Poulsen comments: “This is the first place I have lived where you feel as though you can see every single star and experience so many shooting stars; it feels magical in the most primeval sense.”

All Life Matters, Lorrie Garcia
“I love the towering, flat-bottomed clouds of this place. There is a huge, immediate and palpable connection between the earth and sky,” reflects painter Trish Booth.

Lorrie Garcia, who creates retablos, believes that “the sky is very important in creating devotional art, primarily to symbolize heaven…attaching spiritual meaning to sky elements: sun, clouds, rays, stars, lightning etc.”

 Painter Ralph Greene beautifully sums up the theme when he observes: “I belong to the sky, and it belongs to me. I came from the sky, the universe, the sun, the stars and mother earth; they live in me.”  

Under a Common Sky is curated by Donna Caulton and Betsie Miller-Kusz, with the Town Hall exhibition managed by Paul Figueroa, and poetry curated by Andrea Watson. Funding is provided by New Mexico Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Taos Arts Council.

All events of Under a Common Sky are free and open to the public.

Pleiades, Harriette Tsosie

Flower of Life Alter, Kimberly Pollis

Milky Way, Ted Greer

Saw The heavens Fill With Commerce, Nick Beason

When Time and Eternity Meet, Jim Forcier-Call

Flight II, Mary Cost

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"Dreaming Earth's Body": A Long-term Collaboration

At long last the collaborative work of poet, Carol Alena Aronoff, and Creation/Migration artist, Betsie Miller-Kusz, has become a published reality. Dreaming Earth's Body, described by poet Bill
Brown as a "luminous collection of poems and paintings" has been in the making since Betsie and Carol came together many years ago in San Francisco. They found an immediate affinity to one others' work while involved in the Braided Lives project.

Rarely has a book title been more appropriate. Meeting in that realm between earth and spirit, the poems and images come together with the force of birthing and slide into the golden liquid of regeneration. It is a place words and images do not inhabit, and yet Carol has found the words and Betsie the guardian figure to guide the senses in interpreting the mysteries of transformation.  Two examples follow.

Rain Dance

              Savoring the still after storm,                 
The only sounds: raindrops on stone,
a few peeps from plovers
sheltering under wing.

Above, the clouds release their gloom
in fragrant downpour, leave tentatvie 
smiles to cover sun, moist
folds in verdant pasture.

The stillness will not last
nor will the musky scent of soil--
air fresh as orange blossoms; soon,
day's symphony will start again,

willows weeping softly while wind
bows her head to nudge dead leaves
along the way of wary travelers.
Air grimaces at the return of dust,

the smoke and rot of daily living.
Algae grow anew in tide pools,
sunflower faces wizened
by the heat of unmuzzled sun.

Dry riverbeds creak their warning
to dying fish; it is time to pray for rain.


Slight as the whisper of chrysalis
on cloud branch, she is painted
with the black brush of underworld, 
trailing wings of lambent white past
raven sky. She faces east to sun's
 rising, awash in creation's fire.

Guardian of all that is changeless,
she carries the promise of morning 
to yesterday's children, transluscent
vessel dispelling fear. With darkness
her mentor, she dances
to the music of temporal reality.

Floating beyond time, 
she will listen to your night terrors,
heal your inner stories.
Her wisdon, forged in temple rites,
will protect those in childbirth
then help them cross Stygian waters. 

Both Carol and Betsie were present for the recent well-attended readings in Taos, which were especially well received at the SOMOS bookstore.
The many years of  work and collaboration shine through in the finished work of art that is this stunning new book.

Dreaming Earth's Body is available through Blue Dolphin at

Carol Aronoff, Ph.D, is a psychologist, teacher and author of many books, including a chapbook of Native American/Hawaiian poems, Cornsilk, published by Indian Heritage Council in 2004. and an illustrated poetry book, The Nature of Music, published by Pelican Pond/Blue Dolphin Publishing in 2005, as well as Her Soup Made the Moon Weep, in 2007 and Blessings From an Unseen World in 2013. Currently Dr. Aronoff lives in Hawaii, working her land, meditating in nature and writing.

Betsie Miller-Kusz lived and painted in San Francisco for over thirty years and has exhibited widely in the San Francisco area, as well as New York, Santa Fe, and numerous international locations. She now lives in  New Mexico, where she owns a small rancho and studio, drawing continual inspiration from her surroundings in the beautiful Jemez Valley. Dreaming Earth’s Body is her first literary collaboration.

Friday, July 10, 2015

A New Direction for Creation/Migration: Under a Common Sky

It is with great excitement that Betsie Miller-Kusz and Donna Caulton plan a new direction for Creation Migration. Two of our founding members, Belinda Edwards and Harriette Tsosie, have retired from the collaboration (see right sidebar, "retired founding members"). While open to the inclusion of new artists to the group, a thoughtful process is involved in making that happen. To have a group come together and coalesce in the magical way that this one did requires time and incubation. For now the structure has changed and the planning process has also taken on new life.

We are very excited to have been invited by Taos Arts Council to produce the closing exhibition of the year long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Taos Society of Artists. Opening November 13th, at Taos Town Hall, is what promises to be a thoroughly engaging exhibit, "Under a Common Sky", the first in a series of exhibits that feature the diverse works of multiple New Mexico artists. 

The focus of this exhibit, in keeping with the anniversary celebration, is to recognize the works of artists who have gathered here under the magical skies that surround us, invite us here, and hold us in the Northern New Mexico mountains. Some of the artists have spent their entire lifetimes here, but most have migrated from other places. Many work in tradition manners, others add new slants to traditional art languages, and still others bring entirely new ways of working. Without doubt, all are influenced by the skies above and the land that holds us side by side with the native peoples of the region. It is a place like no other.

Fifteen artists join this upcoming exhibit. The small selection of pieces shown here are examples of the works of some of the exhibition artists. They are not the exhibition pieces, but provide an idea of the diversity we will be displaying. The final pieces will include each individual artists' interpretation of the theme, "Under a Common Sky",

EXHIBITION ARTISTS (alphabetical order):           
Chevrons, Nick Beason, monoprint

Nick Beason, Llano de San Juan, prints
Esteban Bojorquez, Santa Fe, assemblages
Trish Booth, Truchas, paintings
Donna Caulton, Chamisal, paintings
Mary Cost, Santa Fe, tapestry
Jim Forcier-Call, Jemez Valley, mixed media
Lorrie Garcia, Rio Lucio, retablos
Ralph Greene, Albuquerque, paintings
Theodore Greer, Jemez Valley, photographs
Betsie Miller-Kusz, Jemez Valley, paintings
Michael Miro, Taos, glass
Jean Nichols, Llano de San Juan, mixed media
Kimberly Pollis, Chamisal, tinwork
Lise Poulsen, Llano de San Juan, felt
Harriette Tsosie, Albuquerque, encaustic

Distant Rain, Mary Cost, tapestry
Retablo, Lorrie Garcia


Oil on Canvas, Ralph Greene
In addition to the fine selection of artworks this exhibit brings to Taos, there will be a preview event featuring poets from locations throughout the United States. Each of the ten poets will select a piece that strongly resonates with his or her poetry. Both the poems and the matched work will be presented on November 7 at a reading in the Mural Room of the Old Taos Courthouse at 7 PM. This event was organized by Andrea Watson, writer and Taos Arts Council representative.

Opening event:
Taos Town Hall, November 13, 2015
Exhibit runs through Feb 5, 2016

Twilight, Trish Booth, oil on canvas

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sisters Sharing Birthday Trip

My sister (Bertie on the left) and I are sharing the grand adventures of a joint birthday trip.  Yes, believe it or not we have the same birthday, five years apart. And if that's not trip enough, tomorrow we head from Grand and Zion Canyons.