press releases

Tammy Garcia: Effigies in Glass
Contemplating the Ancient, Envisioning the Modern
A Collaboration with Shelley Muzylowski Allen

Feb 26, 2009

Contact: Denise Phetteplace
Phone: 505-954-9902
Images available upon request.


Tammy Garcia: Effigies in Glass
Contemplating the Ancient, Envisioning the Modern
A Collaboration with Shelley Muzylowski Allen

Blue Rain Gallery’s first all-glass art show will be held during the SOFA WEST: Santa Fe contemporary art exhibition June 11 – 14, 2009.

SANTA FE, N.M. [February 26, 2009] – Two of Blue Rain Gallery’s most dynamic artists, Tammy Garcia’s and Shelley Muzylowski Allen, are joining forces to create a new series of glass sculptures for Tammy Garcia: Effigies in Glass–Contemplating the Ancient, Envisioning the Modern–A Collaboration with Shelley Muzylowski Allen. The gallery will present the art show from June 8 – 22, 2009 with the sale of artwork beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8. Artists' reception will be held on Friday, June 12 from 5 – 7 p.m. Tammy Garcia: Effigies in Glass will be staged during SOFA WEST: Santa Fe the newest edition of the internationally recognized Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair (SOFA) contemporary art show. SOFA WEST: Santa Fe will be held at the new Santa Fe Convention Center, located one block from Blue Rain Gallery, June 11 – 14, 2009.

This will be Blue Rain Gallery's first ever all-glass show. “It’s a continuation of our effort to bring glass to the forefront in the Southwest, and particularly in Santa Fe,” says gallery owner Leroy Garcia. Tammy Garcia and Shelley Muzylowski Allen are combining their talents to create about 15 glass sculptures for the show. Garcia is taking the lead designing a series of effigies and fetishes reflecting her contemporary approach to ancient Native American pottery. Then Muzylowski Allen will use her talents as a glass blower and sculptor to render Garcia’s designs in luminous colored glass.

Garcia’s artwork emanates from what has inspired her for years: the motifs and forms created by ancient Native American artists. “I want to pay tribute to these incredible artists that lived long ago because they are part of my heritage and I have great admiration for them,” says Garcia.

While she continues to be motivated by the work of ancient Native American people, she finds new ideas in different forms and mediums. “I have a way of keeping the traditional work alive in a very contemporary modern sense which I think is something very special. I’m blessed to have been born into this and to be able to keep this legacy alive,” says Garcia. While new forms, materials, and approaches continue to reshape ancient artistry, Garcia notes that change is intrinsic to tradition. “It’s about adapting and using what’s available to you. Keeping an open mind, being willing to take risks, and trying different mediums is very much in the line with tradition.”

Garcia says the artwork in Tammy Garcia: Effigies in Glass is specifically inspired by historic pottery forms, effigy shapes, and design patterns, which she revisits then adds her own contemporary ideas. “There is a story in the shape of each piece,” says Garcia. The collection of glass sculptures features a range of forms including birds and turtles, as well as vases embellished with water snakes, a human shape on the face of a vessel, and a bird perched on the rim of a bowl.

As a medium, Garcia says glass fires her creativity. “Having made pottery for so many years, I was pushing the boundaries of the clay and I was ready to do more,” she says. She adds that working with glass gives her tremendous flexibility due to the medium’s unlimited color palette. “Having the freedom to work with so many colors is great. The colors we chose for each piece were very intentional and meant to emulate the colors of each animal.” While Garcia has worked in glass before, she says that the medium always injects an element of the unknown. “Working with glass is somewhat unpredictable. There’s a sense of risk, but that’s what keeps it interesting,” she comments.

Tammy Garcia: Effigies in Glass isn’t Garcia’s first venture with glass. In past, she collaborated with Blue Rain Gallery artist, Preston Singletary, to create glass artwork featured in two well-conceived shows in 2005 and 2008. Both shows were instantaneous successes and the works sold out within the first hour of their respective openings. The achievement of those landmark glass shows continues a pattern for Garcia who enjoys a large and loyal following of collectors and art enthusiasts worldwide. Her work is sought after, highly collectible, and often draws big crowds. During Santa Fe’s famed Indian Market, it’s not uncommon to see several hundred people inside Blue Rain Gallery on the morning of her annual pottery show—all awaiting an opportunity to purchase a piece of Garcia’s pottery.

Garcia is well known for her voluptuous clay pots of amazing proportions each covered with stylized carvings of traditional motifs. Despite her incredible talent working with clay, Garcia’s penchant for pushing boundaries drives her to look for new mediums. “I need to continually try new things to keep the work interesting for myself. It’s my own need to keep exploring,” says Garcia. Over the course of several years, she transitioned into bronze sculpture and began creating jewelry. Both formats allowed her to experiment with new shapes and gave her different surfaces to apply her contemporary take on traditional patterns and themes.

Garcia’s talents are not only validated by her following of avid collectors, they’re also certified by the many awards she’s received and prestigious shows she’s been invited to join. Garcia is one of the youngest individuals ever to receive New Mexico’s Governor’s Choice Award for Excellence in the Arts. A committee selected Garcia for the award in 2008 because of her accomplishments in creating breathtaking pottery and sculpture, for introducing contemporary design to so many mediums, and for bringing wide recognition to the state. The lifetime achievement award is generally given to mature artists with several decades of accomplishments, and has been awarded to such illustrious artists as Georgia O’Keefe, Bill Maudlin, and Cipriano Vigil.

Garcia has also been invited to show her work at many prestigious locations and national events. Recently she was honored with a one-woman show at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. The show was titled Beyond Tradition: The Pueblo Pottery of Tammy Garcia.

Shelley Muzylowski Allen is the ideal artist to work in concert with Garcia in executing the designs because of her exceptional skill sculpting hot glass and, in particular, creating animals. Based in Seattle, Muzylowski Allen has worked with world-renowned glass artist William Morris and is a graduate of the Pilchuck School of Glass. A well-established, highly-collectible artist in her own right, Muzylowski Allen blends her talents as a painter and glass artist to create glass sculptures of animals adorned with metal and hair.

Leroy Garcia says that visitors who see Tammy Garcia: Effigies in Glass–Contemplating the Ancient, Envisioning the Modern– A Collaboration with Shelley Muzylowski Allen will find an unparalleled mode of expression that will define a new artistic movement. “This artwork by Tammy and Shelley is very refined and very collectible. The effigy pieces have never been done in glass. So Tammy Garcia: Effigies in Glass is monumental and really represents the beginning stages of a true movement in art.”

About Blue Rain Gallery
Established in 1992 in Taos, Blue Rain Gallery, now permanently located in Santa Fe, features an eclectic collection of contemporary paintings, ceramics, glass and bronze sculptures by Native American and regional artists. Blue Rain Gallery is located at 130 Lincoln Avenue, Suite D, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501. Phone 505-954-9902. For more information, visit the Blue Rain Gallery web site at