Visit to Verve Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

by Sean MaryHelen Johnson

Josephine Sacabo is a brilliant artist and illustrator. I recently visited Verve Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where some of her latest work is currently exhibited. Her latest color photogravure work is most amazing. All of her work is brilliant and dreamlike. She works with images as if recalling a place deep in the subconscious mind. Literature, poetry, and emotion guide are said to inspire her work. While at Verve, I enjoyed visiting with managing partner John Scalan about his Texas roots and those of Ms. Sacabo, born and raised in Laredo, Texas. Mr. Scanlan, after retiring from his law practice in Austin, Texas, came to Santa Fe to help his son start an art gallery (now Verve Gallery). We talked about the process Ms. Sacabo uses to print her work. It is similar to the etching and other intaglio arts although she uses photoshop to make the images and then imprints the plates from the photographic images. The images with which I was so impressed were the color photogravure pieces, part of her latest work. She prints all of her own work on a press similar to that at Santa Fe’s Argos Gallery and studio. See Ms. Sacabo’s website and her video explaining her process. She lived and worked in France and England, and she now divides her time between New Orleans and Mexico. Her husband Dalt Wonk is a writer and illustrator.

 "When I'm 64," 2016 self-portrait by Sean MaryHelen Johnson, all rights reserved.

"When I'm 64," 2016 self-portrait by Sean MaryHelen Johnson, all rights reserved.

“When I’m 64,” is a self-portrait I created just before my 64th birthday. Inspired after a visit to Verve Studio’s current exhibit of Josephine Sacabo’s work, I composed this image. I was particularly moved by seeing Sacabo’s latest work, beautiful color photogravure pieces which Sacabo prints herself. This piece was created digitally by combining an image of one of my paintings with a tintype self portrait. The layers were again adjusted digitally to get the effect you see.