Melting: Marietta Patricia Leis and David Vogel

The following information about this past Turchin Center exhibition is kept here for archival purposes only. This exhibition is not currently on display. View current and upcoming exhibitions.

Friday, April 1, 2016
Friday, July 1, 2016 (6:00pm - 10:00pm)
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Gallery A

Marietta Patricia Leis and David Vogel are quietly eloquent activists. They recently traveled to Antarctica aboard a Russian research icebreaker under strict conservation guidelines established to allow visitors to observe but not disturb the pristine wilderness. The artists hope that if people are drawn to the beauty of their art from the expedition they will become acutely aware of the fragile future of Antarctica and it's natural inhabitants.

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Vacuities 1-4; Marietta Patricia Leis; 2015; Print on metal; 20" x 24".

Artist Statement

Drawn to Antarctica because of its unique position on our planet, "the end of the earth" so to speak, we ventured to this primal place. Being hurled through the Drake Passage during a turbulent storm made us quickly aware of nature's unadulterated force. We were fortunate to be traveling aboard a Russian research icebreaker with a Russian crew who had extensive skills and experience in both Polar Regions.

After nearly two extra days in the Drake Passage as a result of having to "heave to" in the storm, we awoke at 3am to a magnificent pink sunrise reflecting on icebergs and the snowy peninsula. There were yellows and apricots-soft but intense colors with incredible luminosity because of the non-polluted almost translucent skies. Thus in the first days of our expedition we saw nature at "polar extremes"-first dark and violent and then delicately and heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

We were grateful to have this experience in a place so special, so untouched, so regal in natural beauty and never disappointing. It far exceeded ALL our expectations in ways we never anticipated. The magnificence of the glaciers, mountains & icebergs dwarfing our ship and our "humanness" were beyond anything we had ever experienced. Our raw and untouched surroundings felt like being on a different planet seeing a new world for the first time.

The animals seemed uninhibited and unafraid of us. Whales slept like logs in the water for hours undisturbed by us humans sitting in a tiny rubber raft alongside them. 1200-lb leopard seals went about their business of feasting on penguins, almost within reach. And during our daily land excursions penguins walked over our legs if we were rude enough to sit in their path. This all added a Jurassic Park aspect to our adventure, only this was life in nature, as it truly exists.

There were strict preservation rules that we gladly adhered to such as washing our boots with disinfectant each time we returned from shore, never touching or relating to the wildlife no matter how cuddly the penguins, and more obvious things like never removing even a pebble. The expedition crewmembers were fierce in their commitment to protect this pristine continent.

When our expedition leader was asked why, given his concern and love of Antarctica, was he bringing people to this primal place he replied, "If people see, experience and learn to love it they will work harder to protect it". That resonated with us. Our art expresses our feeling and love for this place. These are our innermost impressions of the precious environments we were privileged to visit.

If people are drawn to beauty in our art we hope they will also become more acutely aware of the fragile future of Antarctica and it's natural inhabitants. This future is threatened not only by climate change but also by geopolitical competition for natural resources and other economic gain. Regrettably, man's ever increasing impact on our planet has destroyed much of this magnificence forever. Our intention is to help us all understand our own role in halting the otherwise inevitable by preserving the exceptionalism of Antarctica for generations to come.

Marietta Patricia Leis
David E. Vogel

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Pixels Installation; Marietta Patricia Leis; 2014; Oil/wood; 18" x 18".

About the Artists

Marietta Patricia Leis

"My career as a visual artist runs more than 30 years—yikes! Albuquerque, NM is where I live and work and where I renovated a mid-century house with my husband and built a studio. I received my MFA from the University of New Mexico. My resume is a long one that tells you of grants, honors and exhibitions.

"I think about our world a lot so my reductive paintings are inspired by water, sky, forests, food, air—the intangibles, the vulnerable, the beautiful. Color is a theme in my work. We're all impacted by the colors of our environments.

"'The aim of my art is to represent not the outward appearance of things but their inward significance.' My current paintings were called “sublime” by the late New York Times Contributing Art Critic, William Zimmer."

- Marietta Patricia Leis

David Vogel

"I have been photographing for over 50 years starting with a borrowed camera to shoot family road trips & camping adventures.

"In 1970 I chose to live in New Mexico, first Taos, then Santa Fe and now Albuquerque, because I was drawn to the spirit of the place and its geography which evoked meaningful memories of my recent experiences in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

"Over the course of years, my photographic focus has evolved from travelogue to documentary to fine art & abstract non-figurative work that continues to be influenced by my wife & soul mate Marietta Patricia Leis. I am privileged to collaborate with her in this exhibit as we have several times in the past.

"I photograph exclusively with a simple pocket camera that I push to its maximum. Historically I have been reluctant to alter an image once it's shot. Recently I have experimented with a variety of editing techniques that have allowed me greater artistic photographic expression.

"My intention is to contribute a moment of beauty and perhaps even a bit of enhanced consciousness to the viewer who I invite to 'inhale' and enjoy whatever I’ve created."

- David Vogel

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Untitled; David Vogel.

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