Felix Vigil is a multimedia artist who draws on heritage from both his Jemez Pueblo and Jicarilla Apache forebearers. His new solo show “Meditations on the Journey” was unveiled in an opening reception at the remodeled Artists Circle Gallery at the IPCC in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Friday, July 21.
“I consider my work contemporary meditations on ancient themes,” says Vigil. “I depict traditional symbols in their essential forms and bring them to life with saturated colors.”
Rachel Moore (Hopi) is the new Curator of Exhibitions at IPCC and told ICMN. “As part of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s 40th Anniversary in 2016 all exhibition and gallery spaces were re-evaluated to ensure our center was innovative and in-line with our mission to preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture. “Marla Alison’s (Laguna Pueblo) “Consumed by Design” was the inaugural exhibit.
The south rotunda was a space that had been used for artist shows to extensions of exhibition space. It is a unique space with tall ceilings, abundant natural light, and rounded walls. We developed a new concept for the South rotunda as the Artists Circle Gallery to showcase living Pueblo artists as a means to promote and sustain pueblo arts.”
“We unveiled Felix Vigil’s “Meditations on the Journey” for opening on July 21st. He will be here for three months to October 30. After Felix Vigil, the gallery will host our Annual Native American Student Art Show (NASAS). As part of the goal to promote pueblo arts the Student Art Show encourages our youth and children to experience the arts and sell their work. This year’s NASAS is titled “The Power of Stories” to be opened November 4th,” said Moore.
“We currently have an active Call to Artists to recruit our next three artists for the year 2018. Applications close September 6th.”
Felix Vigil (Jicarilla Apache/Jemez Pueblo) was working in his studio in Dulce, NM and brought his new work to Albuquerque to start installing for his exhibit at the Circle Gallery. Felix was able to answer a few questions with ICMN.
You have made quite a journey to get here at this show, at this time, at this space. Can you tell us about yourself?
Felix Vigil: Yes it's been some journey! Starting out from childhood observing my dad, Francis Paul Vigil, working on his paintings. Getting my BFA degree from Maryland Institute College of Art, then teaching at the IAIA for 11 years. While at IAIA I taught painting, life drawing and 2-D design. I was department chair in 2-D area and then Dean of Fine Arts for 3 years. Teaching college level was one of my favorite jobs!
My father is Jicarilla Apache and my mom, Juanita is Hemis (Jemez). We grew up both in Walatowa and in Dulce. Two distinct cultural identities but we were fortunate to be raised in those environments. My parents and grandparents were very traditional. So we were able to participate in the ceremonies of both cultures.
Can you tell us a little about your film-making and how it relates to your artwork, your painting today?
I worked on the artwork for Surviving Columbus, while working at IAIA. It is a documentary about how our world was disrupted by the European invasion of Columbus.
Then I worked on several projects with Cortina Productions for the Smithsonian and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.[Nearly a dozen of Vigil’s short films are on permanent display.] It is a very slow process working on film projects. I literally have to shift my state of being to work on film. Usually when I'm painting it's fast paced and more reactionary. But film imagery is deliberate and very planned out.[text_ad]I still use my cultural identity as inspiration for all my work. I don't separate who I am with what I do as an artist. We are one and the same.
Tell us something about your painting process now, inspiration, motivation and studio.
I work both in mixed medium and collage painting. I also work in bronze sculptures. When I'm working on my painting it is usually fast paced and reacting to what is happening on the surface. One color or textural quality will influence something else and it's just a continuum of endless possibilities. I never think of a finished painting because I don't know where a painting will take me.
With bronze sculptures it's more deliberate and slow. But I like the shift and change of pace. It helps me to think in a different mode and mood. I can visualize in a three dimensional state and 'walk' around a piece. My inspiration comes from my cultural background or should I say it is my anchor. It is who I am that dictates my work and my thoughts. Ideas can come in endless ways and forms. I have to be open to those hints of inspiration. Sometimes it is very simple and subtle.
Is there anything you'd like to share with our audience?
Life is a gift. It is also a journey. All the things we experience and all the people we come in contact with are a part of our journey. The work that we create comes from within, it is our story, our identity. Our story is unique and powerful, and it should be told without hesitation or digression. The Arrows of Fate fly across the Universe and we are part of that design.
Felix Vigil - “Meditations on the Journey” at Artists Circle Gallery, opening began Friday, July 21, at the IPCC at 2401 12th St NW, Albuquerque. For information visit the IPCC webpage.
Artists interested in displaying their work can visit the IPCC Artist's Circle Gallery webpage.