In Santa Fe’s Railyard District, in a soaring repurposed warehouse outfitted in concrete, glass, exposed wood, and chrome, you’ll find Evoke Contemporary, one of about 10 contemporary art galleries in the area. Evoke stands out for its focus on representational art with a contemporary edge, especially figurative and landscape works. “We offer a wide range of styles within those parameters, everything from realism to abstract expressionism,” notes co-founder Kathrine Ericsson, who opened the gallery in 2009. “Our mission is simply to present contemporary work that’s provocative and compelling.”
From the outset, Ericsson decided to represent no more than 20 artists at a time so that they could promote each artist with the time and attention to detail they prefer to give. Of the 20 artists currently featured in the gallery, about 15 of them have been with Evoke since the beginning. Evoke’s gallery artists are a diverse mix, including Javier Marin, Alice Leora Briggs, Kent Williams, and Jeremy Mann, and Ericsson says they often invite guest artists to participate in group shows to offer an even more varied selection from time to time.
Evoke’s diversity even extends to outsider art, embodied in the work of Nicholas Herrera. This artist exemplifies all of the qualities the gallery looks for. He’s got an incredibly fascinating life story, and his experiences are reflected in the deeply spiritual work he creates from materials like recycled metal, wood, bronze, natural pigments, and other media. His work is truly compelling, often commenting on social issues related to the life and culture of rural New Mexico, to religious issues rooted in the Santeria tradition, and to political issues that affect us all.
Another Evoke artist who draws upon her life story as well as broader social issues for inspiration is Soey Milk, and Evoke is about to host the first solo exhibition of Milk’s work in Santa Fe, opening May 26. Of Korean descent, Milk is calling the show “Kiokada,” which means “to remember,” and she’s created a new body of work that carries all of the hallmarks of her trademark style—masterful technique combined with a mysterious, edgy, introspective, and sometimes playful narrative. Ericsson notes that Milk has such a huge following that they’ve had to revert to a drawing system, where collectors will be given the opportunity to purchase works in advance of the show. “She’s so popular that I’m sure all of the work will be sold before the opening,” says Ericsson, “but we obviously want everyone to have the opportunity to see her art.”
Although Evoke Contemporary features young and emerging talents like Milk along with well-established artists like Herrera, whose work is already included in more than 30 museums, Ericsson says they all have exceptional quality in common. “As a gallerist, I’m putting art in front of collectors,” she explains, “and they trust me and come to me for assistance with their collections. So, when we select artists for the gallery, we have those collectors in mind. We ask ourselves, Will this work be important in art history?”
An opening reception for Soey Milk’s exhibition, Kiokada, is scheduled for May 26 from 5 to 7 p.m., and the exhibition will be on view until June 24. Evoke Contemporary is located at 550 South Guadalupe St. in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For more information about other upcoming exhibitions, visit their website at evokecontemporary.com.
Jennifer King is a marketer, artist, writer, and entrepreneur. A long-time student of art marketing and the fine art industry, she currently provides art marketing services and coaching to visual artists through her company, Connect Artist Marketing. Learn more at www.connectartistmarketing.com.
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