A Residency Reunion: “(RAiR reCONNECT 2013-2023)” at Bone Springs Art Space, Roswell
The Roswell Artist-in-Residence (RAiR) program in Roswell, New Mexico was founded by Don Anderson in 1967, with the goal of giving artists the “gift of time.” The time given, of course, is granted with generous living and studio accommodations for artists, their partners and children, stipends, and more. (Seriously, artists should apply!) Six artists who participated in the RAiR program in 2013 have come back together at a new Roswell gallery, Bone Springs Art Space, for a 10-year reunion exhibition, RAiR reCONNECT 2013-2023.
In RAiR reCONNECT, gallery owner and RAiR alumna Miranda Howe exhibits alongside five fellow former artists-in-residence: Natasha Bowdoin, Derek Chan, Jessica Kirkpatrick, Ryder Richards, and Ven Voisey. Howe founded the Bone Springs Art Space in 2018, where she hosts rotating shows in the extensive exhibition space, sells regional and local works in a gift shop, and hosts workshops in the class and studio space on the basement level. RAiR reCONNECT is a phenomenal show in the “middle of nowhere,” the sort of setting and pace I appreciate most about Southwestern art spaces.
Texas-based artist Ryder Richards’ personified sports-object pencil drawings are masterfully-rendered and rife with bleak humor. (If you happen to use the restroom at the gallery, a crushed Gatorade Zero bottle drawing from the same series is comically displayed above the toilet.) In the exhibition, a Baden volleyball sits in the lower right quadrant of one drawing, dramatically lit and dented, flattened and crushed into itself. It exudes loneliness, looking like a sad clown.
The diptych of minimally-framed drawings includes a similarly-squelched soccer ball, also placed heavily low upon the page. It is hard to see these without relating them to playground politics, or feelings of being outcast. The drama and focus of the drawings give them a spotlight feel; these items, rendered useless, have a story to tell. Richards touches on themes of childhood, relationships, and aging — through the lens of loss of function and deflated dreams and squashed hopes, a literal “kick-in-the-balls.”
The full article covers each of the artists in the exhibition.