Art

'You can do anything you put your mind to'

Anaïs Rumfelt debuts works featuring 'mythically infused environments'

By Virginia L. Clark
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 10/16/19

No excuses. That's what Anaïs Rumfelt said when she turned age 40 three years ago and challenged herself to create a piece of art every day for 30 days.

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Art

'You can do anything you put your mind to'

Anaïs Rumfelt debuts works featuring 'mythically infused environments'

Posted

No excuses. That's what Anaïs Rumfelt said when she turned age 40 three years ago and challenged herself to create a piece of art every day for 30 days.

"I really retrained my brain to say what I have time to do," Rumfelt said. "I have to work full time so I'd just kept saying I don't have time. Then I said to myself, 'Actually you're wrong, you do have time and you can do anything you put your mind to.'"

The result of her most recent work is a new solo exhibit titled "Flesh, Bones and Feathers," which opens with a reception Saturday (Oct. 19) from 5 to 7 p.m. at MoMo Taos gallery, 133 Bent Street. Admission to the reception is free.

"Anaïs Rumfelt portrays human forms in mythically infused environments." That's how Moriah Stanton, MoMo Taos gallerist and jeweler, describes the new work Rumfelt is showing.

The work predominantly consists of nudes, human bones and excruciatingly exact works of feathers, all in a mix of her mediums of the moment.

"I'm a big fan of letting things come to you," she said, pointing to various pieces in her studio awaiting installation at the gallery. Layer upon layer is how she describes her painting process. Using ink, gesso, graphite, water mediums and maybe a few feathers from her cat's nocturnal prowls, she painstakingly digs down into her psyche even as she builds up her imagery, creating deeply satisfying studies of the heart.

"I don't like acrylic's shininess and since I sleep in my studio I don't want all the fumes of oil paint," Rumfelt said, pointing to her home studio set up. "It's really important to me to maintain the matte finish I get by building layers on layers, layers and more layers of water-based inks. I love ink. It's really rich and deep," she said, pointing to two softly expressive nudes that evoked a hushed regard from this viewer, examples of the "flesh" element in the exhibit's title.

A mythic male nude with antlers on his bowed head, titled "The Depths," Rumfelt said is all about vulnerability, "about being in a dark place and finding inspiration in that vulnerability. When we see a stag we think of a strong, virulent figure, and this guy has to slow down for a little bit. And the only way he can see and find what he needs to find is by slowing down and surrendering. It may probably be more challenging for us, for society, to be accepting and allowing men to be vulnerable and surrender."

"Eclipse" is a mixed-media on canvas side view of a female nude with softly radiant, copper-bronze skin, eyes closed in peaceful mien. "It's the relationship of the emotional body with the natural world," Rumfelt said, a work inspired by her trip to Chile during the July 2, 2019 solar eclipse.

The bones and feathers elements of the exhibit are works on paper, depicting human skulls and feathers she has been moved to express. "I love drawing feathers," she said with a bemused air. "It's very meditative."

J. Matt Thomas, the former curator of collections at the Harwood Museum of Art and The Paseo festival co-founder, curated Rumfelt's "108 Crows" for November of 2017, one of the first installations for the monthlong Studio 238 series he began. Featuring local artists, particularly underrepresented artists in the Taos art community, Thomas told Tempo at that time he was looking for "experimental or challenging work that isn't usually seen," noting that Rumfelt's work was "awesome" and fit the bill precisely.

An artist and working mother, Rumfelt notes in her bio that she was born and raised in "the creative Mecca that is Taos." Her work has been in multiple shows at Máye Torres's Studio 107B gallery on Taos Plaza, and she has been chosen as a Taos Is Art banner artist for the last two years. Her banner "American Woman" is on view on Kit Carson Road, just west of the Kit Carson Museum.

"Nature, the subconscious and the human form inspire my work," Rumfelt says in an artist statement for the exhibit. "I combine these elements to depict images which blur the distinction between the intellectual and the instinctual, the mundane and the enchanted. I use a combination of water-based mediums including ink and gesso. The surface of my paintings is built in layers to create an atmospheric texture that has a soft and mysterious appearance while it maintains richness and depth. To me, these images represent an exploration into the beauty and power of vulnerability. I invite you to have your own experience."

Rumfelt's exhibition continues through December. MoMo Taos hours are Thursday through Tuesday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, see momotaos.com or call (505) 690-7871.

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