Good Vibes Only
Newly New Mexican artist Jesse Wilson finds the warm and the good in Safe Haven installation with Axle Contemporary
Artist Jesse Wilson says she has been an artist and performer and creator her whole life. At least, for as far back as she can remember. Some might know her work through Bay Area arts collective Cardboard Institute of Technology, while others might have seen it at Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now that Wilson calls Northern New Mexico home, though, we’re likely to see it popping up around here more often.
As a sort of introduction, and a homage to childhood splendor and primer for the types of things she likes to do and create, Wilson this week opens Safe Haven, an installation piece featuring, among other components, a large ogre crafted with cardboard, butcher paper and hot glue. Within its belly, a safe space appears in the shape of a fort-like area; it’s warm there, and carpeted; all friends are welcome; music plays in the background; you can sleep if you wish; you can interact with the ghost of your dead pets.
“I want to be a good person and an amazing maker, and at this point I’m falling in love with where I’m at,” Wilson tells SFR. “The most important part is cultivating the safe space for your physical safety and also your confidence. We don’t often get the opportunity to emote in a safe space, so we should invite our anger, our trauma, our dead friends.”
Wilson says she’s a bit of an outcast, too—being expelled from schools, sometimes houselessness, sometimes coldness. But her story also includes dancing; apprenticeships; collective artistry; blacksmithing and fabrication; plus community engagement, connection and vulnerability. Santa Fe, she says, is full of “top-shelf weirdos.” These are her people. Safe Haven will thus likely evolve based on the needs of the community, along with her desire for positive interpersonal entanglements.
“It’s a marriage of creative practice and the industrial work I’ve done—like if you look at faux rock at the zoo,” she explains. “I’m excited for people to have intimate experiences with this guy.” (Alex De Vore)
Jesse Wilson: Safe Haven Opening: 2-5 pm Saturday, Jan. 20. Free. Axle Contemporary (parked near the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Pavilion), 1607 Paseo de Peralta, axleart.com
Though folks might be most accustomed to metal fusion band The Hu when it comes to traditional Mongol-Tuvan throat singing, the genre’s rich tapestry includes plenty more acts to discover across a wide geographic swath including Mongolia, Russia and China. In Santa Fe this week, that sweet Tuvan action comes in the form of Alash Ensemble, a Russian act that has incorporated Western influences into their repertoire alongside those deep and droney jams. Some have likened the style to that of a human bagpipe while others have found an almost spiritual nature to the circuitous vocal work. You’ll feel it. (ADV)
Performance Santa Fe Presents: Alash Ensemble: 7:30 pm Friday, Jan. 19. $25-$75. St. Francis Auditorium, 107 W Palace Ave., (505) 476-5072
Well, hoooooooly shit, Albuquerque metal band Distances sneaks up on you from out of pretty melodic rhythms and straight into the crossroads of numerous metal genres (OK, and some subtle nods to…I wanna say classical dirges). On forthcoming Abstruse, which the band launches in Santa Fe via Tumbleroot’s ongoing Metal Mondays series, Distances proves its reputation as one of the more innovative metal bands in the area. Is it death? Is it black? Is is post-metal? And so much more? Short answer, yes. Longer answer, Distances totally rips, brah, from the punk-ish/mathcore leanings of track “Full Circle” to the slow-mounting-ride-to-your-doom of closer “Poison Dowery.” TKTWA, Marrow Monger and Demogorgon open. (ADV)
Metal Monday with Distances: 6 pm Monday, Jan. 22. $10-$12. Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery, 2791 Agua Fría St., (505) 303-3808
If you didn’t get a good enough dose of metal mayhem at the Distances show on Monday, filmmaker Clyde Petersen has a little something for fans of all things heavy with his 2023 film Even Hell Has Its Heroes. A combination band doc with a focus on longtime doom/drone act Earth and its leader Dylan Carlson, Petersen’s opus wends through the early days of PNW grunge, the development of Earth’s style and the death of Carlson’s longtime friend and roommate—a musician you might have heard about named Kurt Cobain. Petersen deftly showcases the ways in which Earth changed everything while bizarrely remaining semi-underground for decades. This is vital music history, people. (ADV)
Even Hell Has Its Heroes: 6 pm Tuesday, Jan. 23. $13. Center for Contemporary Arts, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, (505) 982-1338