Jimmy Murray’s Envision and Georgia Gersh’s Magpie are next door neighbors and on Saturday evening, you will be treated to a show of three of Taos’s stellar artists in close proximity.
I posted my short interview with Maye Torres and Gretchen Ewert on Monday. Today it’s Reto Messmer’s turn in the hot seat!
Reto is originally from Zürich, Switzerland but relocated to Taos two decades ago. He is known for his fantastical sculpture made from steel and bone, along with his decorative painting which has adorned many a Taos interior. This show focuses on paintings he’s been working on for a few years.
1) You grew up in Switzerland, but have lived here in Taos for a long time – can you tell us how and why you came here?
I was travelling in the late eighties, had an address in Taos, had just finished a fishing stunt in Alaska and decided to visit the south, came to Taos and thought that this was the coolest place i had ever seen, just Indians, locals, artists, hippies , the whole mix…got stuck the whole year of 1980, then went back to Switzerland to sell my belongings so i could move here for good, but life came in the way and it took until 1994 for me, my son and wife at the time to emigrate.
2) The sculptures you have shown at Envision – using steel and bone – have become your signature, – when did you start making them and what inspired you to do them?
I have been a sculptor and painter all my life – I was doing very well in Europe, and steel was always my medium of choice. One day driving in Taos i saw a coyote skull on the road , picked it up , saw something and voila, a new medium was added. I have always considered my sculpture as surrealism, and the juxtaposition of bone and metal helps to even reinforce that.
3) Your decorative painting is spectacular, but now you are painting copies of old photographs – can you tell us a little about why you decided to do these paintings (in sepia) ?
I have always painted, and decorative painting was just the commercial part, a way to make a living doing what i love doing…My painting on canvas i take more seriously on an artistic level, striving to create good paintings in an old-fashioned sense. My sepia paintings are just a step in my process as artist, i guess ..a vision i got one day that’s hard to explain, maybe having to do with trying to recreate and capture that almost otherworldly and mysterious quality old photographs can have with a different medium on a larger scale…
Reto Messmer’s show “Sepia Moments”, opens Saturday, September 9th at Envision at Overland Ranch. For more information about the artist, the gallery and the show, please visit the site linked below this post.
All images thanks to Envision