Art

Inger Jirby debuts colorful solo exhibition

'Landscapes, Churches and Some Portraits' shows a different side to longtime local

By Tamra Testerman
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 9/25/19

Taos artist Inger Jirby is stepping out in an exciting new direction with acrylics in her show titled "Landscapes, Churches and Some Portraits." The artist's solo exhibition opens …

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Art

Inger Jirby debuts colorful solo exhibition

'Landscapes, Churches and Some Portraits' shows a different side to longtime local

Posted

Taos artist Inger Jirby is stepping out in an exciting new direction with acrylics in her show titled "Landscapes, Churches and Some Portraits." The artist's solo exhibition opens with a reception Saturday (Sept. 28) from 5-7 pm in her gallery at 207 Ledoux Street. There will be "music, food and wine" and a chance to meet Jirby and talk about the path to her new work.

The show is a brilliant collection of the artist's bold exploration of color. "I have gone to acrylic paint, because the colors are brighter and I can correct or change the paintings whenever I want to," she said. Her paintings of local churches, landscapes and portraits are presented as a bold and bright world where reds and greens predominate and whimsical lines suggest rather than direct the eye. The portraits in the show were painted in her studio and they include images of Taos artists Maye Torres, Stephen Kilborn and Anita Rodríguez. Jirby also is featuring a few self-portraits.

Arianna Archuleta, her administrative assistant who was born and raised in Taos, said she's excited because one of her favorite paintings is in the show - "Costa Berninghaus' Garden."

"It is a garden with bright red flowers, underneath a tree and there are two chairs and a pond," Archuleta said. "The leaves on the tree are yellow, green and red and you can see a path, so it's this time of year when the leaves change, and there's even a Buddha sitting in the middle of the garden."

Archuleta said she also excited to report that Jirby will be painting right up until opening night, and is just now "coming off a weekend of working with her painter friends."

According to the artist's website, Jirby was born in the far north of Sweden, above the Arctic Circle in Lapland, a place of beautiful fall colors. Her earliest memories are bathed in a bright palette, the same colors that characterize her passion-filled fauvist paintings.

She began painting as a child and never stopped. Her first inspiration was Van Gogh, followed by the big colorists, Matisse and Bonnard. Later influences included Picasso, Braque, André Derain, Milton Avery, the fauves and the abstract expressionist artists who pioneered the emotional and spiritual power of color.

Jirby's artistic journey to Taos began after leaving Stockholm and traveling to the Greek Island of Mykonos. There she studied with Luis Orozco. She was in her 20s at the time and able to support herself as a working artist. As did many painters before her, Jirby moved to Paris and began studies at École des Beaux-Arts under the tutelage of Raymond Leguelt and Monsieur Hilaire. La Palette at Rue de Seine hosted the artist's first solo show.

After Paris she painted and exhibited at Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice where she lived for the next two years. Jirby later returned to Greece, met her husband and spent some time in the West Indies and later moved to New York City, where she would live for a decade before discovering Santa Fe, Taos, and Northern New Mexico.

She said she moved to Taos because of "the culture, and it had been an art center for over 100 years." Jirby said what inspires her are "my artist friends - the landscapes and the primitive churches of New Mexico are magical." She said for her current show she selected pieces "that have feeling and an inspiration behind it." She continued to say the title of the show came up simply because "it was the least thought-out title."

Jirby told us her gallery on the historic Ledoux Street is "the biggest adventure of my life." Jirby continues to show and is in collections all over the world. She said "the outdoors is my studio, I paint on-site, [do] interior works, [and] still lifes indoors." She is happy to call Taos home, and "to work right out her doorstep with incredible landscape subjects surrounding her."

The artist continues to explore the world at every opportunity.

"Her quest for color is unquenchable," notes her website. "In search of new subjects, she takes painting trips all over the world to far-flung destinations like Bali, Mexico, St. Barts, Italy - where the people are passionate about color. In the course of her travels, Jirby does more than paint. With a restless intelligence and great curiosity, she immerses herself in the life and history of the countries she visits, pursuing interests in the local arts, architecture, archeology and languages."

For more information, visit jirby.com or call (575) 758-7333.

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