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Jim Vogel: Happenstance, Opening Reception

October 11th, 2022


September 30 – October 15, 2022

Artist Reception: Friday, September 30th from 5 - 7pm 

The magic of New Mexico is encapsulated by the glorious variety of terrain, simplistic adobe architecture and the mix of cultures that have shaped its history and development. It has been a gathering place and source of inspiration for artists who relocated to cities such as Taos or who have called the state home for their entire lives. That intrigue continues today with luminaries such as Blue Rain Gallery artist Jim Vogel.

A modern master of New Mexico Regionalism, Vogel has long been captivated by the state’s folklore, landscapes and people. He often paints in themes or series, having focused over the years on depicting flamenco dancers, railroad workers, ranchers and more. Storytelling is at the heart of each of his intricately composed paintings. He flushes out every character and detail across the canvas and even to the handcrafted frames, rarely allowing anything to be left untouched by his artistic vision.

Vogel is recognized for his use of exaggerated figures, vivid colors and crafting a sense of movement. Yet, the technique has become second nature for Vogel at this stage in his career and is informed by the narrative he is unfolding.

“I’ve come to this point where the exaggeration is used to help tell the story; it’s not just a design or style,” elaborates Vogel, who adds that the focus is the concept and how he can offer new perspectives on archetypes that have recurred in his work. “I don’t want to have style for the sake of style... it’s really the continual dialogue of trying to address what compels me to choose the topics and how they recur throughout my body of work.”

For his annual fall solo exhibition, titled Happenstance, Vogel decided to paint across his oeuvre rather than honing on a particular subject matter. What emerged with the first work, I Glimpsed the Devil Dancing, was an overarching idea that tethers the show. The more than 7-foot-wide painting depicts a fiesta where villagers are dancing in front of a church and many characters are doing something that could be perceived as devilish. The questioning of who is the titular devil led to the notion of “everything has some level of happenstance.”

In The Bureau of Happenstance, a painting based on the exhibition title, varying paintings are housed in a miniature chest of drawers. As the viewer opens the drawers in any order, what is depicted inside takes them on an artistic journey, “by happenstance,” says Vogel.

Throughout his career Vogel has received numerous accolades including New Mexico’s The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2016. His paintings are in permanent museum collections across the country such as the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, GA, The Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, NY, and the Autry Museum of The American West, Los Angeles, CA.


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