Art Over Artifice
Larry D. Blissett and the power of being self-taught
"There's no real mission," painter Larry D Blissett tells SFR of his practice.
He's coyly just mentioned how he doesn't have much of an imagination, either, but looking over his newest series, set to open at Blue Rain this Friday, that's obviously absurd. Blissett's paintings are crammed with the stuff, from his Scholder-meets-Basquiat portraiture and outsider abstracts to his strange but compelling color studies and imperfect geometrics. It's not precisely the kind of work you'd expect from a longtime concrete and general contractor but, according to Blissett, it just comes to him, as it has since he started painting in 2009.
"I was out at my daughter's house doing a remodel, and I just got tired of heading home and watching TV after work," he says. "I went and bought some paint that night."
It wasn't until 2014 that he really doubled down on creating and showing his work. A disastrous canceled show in Amarillo, Texas, would have been his first solo affair, but at some point afterwards, between showing in Santa Fe at Johnny's Classic Barber Shop and Contemporary Spanish Market, Blue Rain Gallery took notice. He's shown there before, but the upcoming Gris Gris Mojo Boogaloo might be his largest collection yet—and it was completed in just six months.
"It's just what comes out of me," Blissett explains. "Artwork is involved in every aspect of our lives, it's a fundamental part of life, we've gotta have it."
Wise words from a self-taught (and proudly so) artist. Blissett paints what he sees and imagines, whether that's, in his words, "a portrait or a wild-ass abstract," and by eschewing the idea that all art must solemnly express profundity and statement, he's made his way to a familiar though not inauthentic style. Yes, Blissett wears his influences on his sleeve, but it's so much more than homage—it's honest and immediate and densely inhabited.
As for the bizarre name of the show?
"It just came to me all of a sudden," Blissett says with a laugh. "I was just being a smartass." (Alex De Vore)
Larry D. Blissett: Gris Gris Mojo Boogaloo: New Paintings:
5 pm Friday Jan. 31. Free.
Blue Rain Gallery,
544 S Guadalupe Ave.,
If there's one way to get people to help, it's to sweeten the deal by offering food. Yeah, we've got any number of famous food-related fundraising events in Santa Fe, but the one that takes the cake (as it were) is obviously the annual Souper Bowl, which enters its 26th iteration this Saturday. First off, proceeds go to the Food Depot, so score there, but secondly, the Souper Bowl is like an all-star game of local chef talent setting out to make the most delicious soups imaginable across four categories: cream, savory, seafood and vegetarian. Who'll take home the coveted Best in Soup award? Hard to say, but with the whole your-money-goes-to-help-people-in-need thing, there's never EVER been a better way to party down with soup. Arrive early! (ADV)
Souper Bowl XXXVI:
Noon-2:30 pm Saturday Feb. 1. $10-$45.
Santa Fe Community Convention Center,
201 W Marcy St.,
Out of the Earth
Western knowledge systems often promote colonial violence by framing the discourse around extractive or otherwise exploitative values. One of the biggest culprits is archaeology, which literally pulls Indigenous material culture out of the ground and ships it around the world to be "studied" while impoverishing the land's ability to speak its own history. However, the field is evolving, with archaeologists such as Joseph Aguilar (San Ildefonso Pueblo) reclaiming the practice to construct Pueblo narratives about Spanish relations during the late 17th century Revolt era. Catch a free talk from Aguilar this Sunday and shift your perspective on the way we approach this crucial period of Pueblo history. (Cole Rehbein)
An Indigenous Archaeology of a Colonial Encounter in the Pueblo Southwest:
1-2 pm Sunday, Feb. 2. Free for NM residents; $12 for out-of-state visitors.
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture,
710 Camino Lejo,
Since the mid-1970s, Brazilian dance troupe Grupo Corpo has basically blown every mind it has come across with, we hear, a smooth blend of bonkers energy and a technically precise take on choreography. Them dancers are coming to Santa Fe, too, with an exclusive-to-here pair of works that are sure to delight and astound in equal measure. "Dança Sinfônica" and "Gira" represent the group at its best, the sort of dance that led the Boston Globe to literally say "Oh, those hips!" and the kind that takes advantage of master dancers' limberness and studied style. To summarize, the Grupo Corpo show is sure to be full of boundless energy and gasp-inducing moves. If you like dance even a little, here's your thing. (ADV)
7:30 pm Tuesday Feb. 4. $46-$94.
Lensic Performing Arts Center,
211 W San Francisco St.,