Last week I was in Santa Fe for the opening of Cy’s retrospective at the Verve Gallery. At the last minute Cy was unfortunately unable to make it, so I was asked to catch a flight and stand in for him.

The gallery looked stunning. Everyone at Verve has done a fantastic job putting this together. The show consists of platinum prints, polymer-photogravures and 3-colour gum dichromate prints in the main gallery and Cy’s latest book, The Four Elements, in the print room. This is a set of four hand-made books printed on Somerset Book paper with tipped-in images printed on Japanese paper and all housed in a slipcase.

I arrived on the Wednesday afternoon and headed soon after over to Photo-Eye for their First Wednesday Photo Salon with Patrick Nagatani and David Hyams. Patrick showed artwork made entirely of masking tape and which he calls tape-estries, while David spoke about his work with ambrotypes. Meanwhile, outside the gallery stood the Axle Contemporary mobile art gallery. This is a modified 1970 aluminum van that tours around Santa Fe and has a 6′ x 10′ gallery space.

Thursday morning I drove to the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops as I’d been invited there by a friend from Minneapolis who was taking a workshop with Christopher James. The workshop was a hive of activity and it was a pleasure to meet Christopher after hearing so many good things about him and his workshops, but I didn’t want to get in the way or out-stay my welcome so I left after an hour and went to meet another friend, Peter Ellzey, for lunch. Peter’s a great, generous guy and I regret not being able to spend more time with him. He’s an Apple guy, what do you expect…?

The gallery had arranged two openings; one being invite only for collectors on the Thursday evening and a public reception the following day. There was also an artist talk that had been scheduled for the Saturday afternoon, so I went and spoke about our working relationship over the past fifteen years and answered technical questions. It seems everyone in Santa Fe has made alternative/historical prints at some time or another.

I visited many galleries in Santa Fe, of course, but Andrew Smith‘s gallery just took it out of me, there was so much. I’d been to the old location, but this was new to me and seemed much, much bigger. I wanted to see everything but that wasn’t going to happen in one go, so I went back first thing Saturday morning. Despite being a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to images, I absolutely loved the work on show by Louviere and Vanessa. They’ve even invented their own process.

From the Andrew Smith Gallery press release –

Louviere + Vanessa have invented a process of printmaking that generates a similar luminescence to that found in historic orotones or goldtones.

They call their process Photo Noyée, which translates as “drowned image/photo,” to describe how photo-derived imagery, gold and other materials are encased (i.e. “drowned”) in resin. Images are printed on very thin, handmade Japanese “Kozo” paper that virtually disappears when resin is poured over it. Thus they appear to be suspended within glass.

Louviere + Vanessa invented Photo Noyée when they were working on the series “Instinct/Extinct” (2008-2010). They used it again in the silver leaf photographs from the “Folie à Deux,” series, as well as in their most recent body of work, “Counterfeit” (2011).

On Saturday I even managed to find time for a quick road trip up to Taos, located near the Land of Many Uses.


Cy DeCosse, A Retrospective is at the Verve Gallery of Photography, 219, East March Street, Santa Fe, NM. Telephone 505-982-5009. The exhibition is up through September 3rd 2011.