Sunday, October 16, 2011

Houser Sculpture Garden

Allan Houser was a prolific sculpter whose work can be found throughout the southwest, and on display from Washington D.C., to the Japanese Royal Collection in Tokyo.  I visited the Houser Sculpture Gardens during my visit to New Mexico last week.  The gardens, and the foundry used to duplicate the many works of art, is located south of Santa Fe, near Madrid, along what is referred to as the “Turquoise Trail”.  A short dirt road winds it’s way up to the visitor’s center, which is a modest building on the edge of an amazing garden of sculptures.

What we learned about Allan Houser, who died in 1994 of cancer, was that he was born in 1914 in Oklahoma to parents who were members of the Chiricahua Apache tribe.  Many members of the tribe moved to New Mexico to join the Mescalero Apache reservation, but it wasn’t until 1934 that Allan was enrolled in the Painting School at the Santa Fe Indian School.  After leaving New Mexico for some period of time, it wasn’t until 1962 that the family returned to Santa Fe when Allan jointed the faculty of the newly created Institute of American Arts.  It was from this time period through his death in 1994 that Allan’s artistic output blossomed.

This was an inspiring place.  It was hard not to feel connect to the deep emotions that the artist must have had when creating the many unique and incredible scuptures.  They call New Mexico the Land of Enchantment, and if you visit here, you'll begin to see why.

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(metadata 1/500 sec at f/5.6 and ISO 200, focal length 70mm)

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