Giving illuminates the spirit of the holiday season! Remember when Dylan Thomas wrote “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”? Thomas wrote: “I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find.” James and Patricia Ratliff have “brought out” a cornucopia of one of-a-kind gifts, many small in size and price points.
Patricia Ratliff says, “We will be showing Ying Muncy with decorative realistic clay women’s purses, Kay Hill’s saggar-fired pottery, and award-winning Sumi-e style watercolors of Kay Stratman. Greg Heil, with his lovely inspired AZ oil paintings, portrays stunning landscapes. Judy Choate’s smaller paintings have all the magical vibrancy of her large works. Although Louis De Mayo often works on very large canvasses depicting strong but isolated Native Americans, his smaller pieces also communicate powerful messages. Award-winning Navajo artist David K. John’s clay masks and small paintings tell stories regarding the Yei spirit and ceremonies. William Crook’s small whimsical and brightly painted houses arouse smiles all around. All of our December show’s art pieces will be of a small/medium scale so will fit into intimate spaces or great for grouping to create another look altogether.”
Price points will range beginning from below $100 for Adrianna’s hand crafted jewelry to high hundreds for a Reno Carollo bronze sculpture. Local jeweler, Sally Peck, will offer one-of- a- kind handmade intricately beaded necklaces beginning around $100. Cary Henrie’s butterfly wall pieces and sculptures begin in the low hundreds. Other innovative wall pieces by Henrie have no butterflies. JRG’s very happy to store the gift for you until you want to pick it up or have it shipped. Added joy all the way around!
The Ratliffs have carefully assembled a mélange of gifts for giving, sharing or adorning the home. They believe the spirit of joy and creativity displayed by the gallery’s artists can be perfectly partnered with discerning clients who recognize a unique gift for those they love and appreciate. ‘Tis the season, and this year James Ratliff Gallery invites one and all to enjoy the holidays with their whimsy, nostalgia, and memory making gifts to others.
While you’re at it, don’t forget yourself! There is so much to discover, to enjoy, to share. Dylan Thomas might have felt “One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices. . .”. but this Christmas rings now and its voices speak to you from the James Ratliff Gallery. Feel free to familiarize yourself with the featured artists in December by visiting the gallery’s web site: www.jamesratliffgallery.com.
Louis De Mayo embodies Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. Born in 1926 in Philadelphia, De Mayo is a first generation Italian-American. He was raised in the same neighborhood that produced Mario Lanza and Frankie Avalon. "If you spit," he claims, "you would hit a singer."
This wry sense of humor along with his strong sense of traditional values and the American Way prompted De Mayo to serve in the Marines during World War II. He then studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under the G.I. Bill, De Mayo went on to complete a series of commercial art jobs when an offer to become an Art Director for Arizona Highways magazine brought him to Phoenix, Arizona. Since 1973, De Mayo’s home became Arizona. Dissatisfied with having “a job”, De Mayo soon quit, establishing himself as a full-time artist. Continuing with the “My Way” theme, De Mayo frankly admits: "I really have only one regret about leaving Philadelphia and that is that I didn't leave it sooner.”
In Arizona, De Mayo chose to exclusively produce contemporary paintings of Native Americans. He states: “I choose Indians to paint because of their dramatic quality and their manner of dress," he states. "I had a strong emotional attraction to the Yaqui and their black garb. Maybe it's because I grew up seeing women in black. My people are all dark skinned.”
Continuing, De Mayo states: “I don't want to make too much of a racial issue in my work, but it certainly could stem from such roots. I look at life as if it were a big slow-moving steamroller. It gives you a helluva lot of time to get out of the way if you fall down, but if you just want to lie there, it is going to roll right over you."
Louis De Mayo is incompatible with a steamroller. At 90, he’s still going strong, presently preparing for his exhibition opening Friday, November 6, at the James Ratliff Gallery in Sedona, Arizona. Ratliff states: “I have known him for 40 years, representing him for 30 years. Louis De Mayo certainly is in the forefront regarding artistic talent. In my 50 years in the gallery business, which has involved watching and representing many fine artists, De Mayo continually captures my attention with his unique ability to very successfully break the rules of art. De Mayo’s remarkable abilities with color and composition are unprecedented. He portrays his subject with astonishing simplicity creating meaningful art works of lasting value.”
Rapport with popular Native American artists soon developed. De Mayo recalls: “When a gallery owner suggested that De Mayo tell people he is Indian to facilitate sales, De Mayo asked whether "if I wanted to paint a horse, would I have to say I was part horse?" His friend, Carl Gorman, who was Navajo, told him, "Louis, if people ask what tribe you're from, tell them you're Awoppaho."
De Mayo paints images from many Southwest tribes. De Mayo has lived in the Southwestern United States for many years absorbing the rich spiritual heritage of the Native American cultures that inhabit the deserts, mesas and mountains. Arizona was the catalyst De Mayo used to express himself and the freedom he has always associated with art. He was able to capture the splendor and grandeur of Arizona where he was exposed to a magical beauty and wealth of imagery. From this emerged his distinctive style and vision of the world.
As a contemporary painter of the American Indian who uses very little detail to let the viewer’s imagination run, De Mayo explains: “The features in my figures are usually obscured and lack individual identity. They become generic, lost and out of place in contemporary landscapes. In contrast to the current mode of dress, they seem baroque.”
A trailblazer in the realm of contemporary southwest art, De Mayo has been instrumental in pushing the envelope and abolishing the stereotypes of what the viewing public considers Southwestern. He utilizes dramatic color, the abstract, numbers and a bit of whimsy to enhance his images and message together with a bold, daring and controlled simplicity that fill his canvases. De Mayo is best known for his interpretation of the Native American spirit, however, in recent years, he has found a renewed passion in contemporary and realistic style.
De Mayo’s work is in the collections of: Smithsonian, Museum Biedermann, Longview Museum, Scottsdale Museum, Both the Robb Report and Southwest Art have featured De Mayo’s work. Contemporary philosopher, Charles Taylor, writes about “the culture of authenticity” and in so doing, brings us to understand Louis De Mayo’s life and work “my way”. David Brooks has recently included this priority in The Road to Character as he writes: “As Taylor puts it, “There is a certain way of being that is my way. I am called to live my life in this way and not in imitation of anyone else’s. . .If I am not, I miss the point of my life. I miss what being human is for me.” To understand and appreciate De Mayo’s work, it is imperative to understand his life’s choices.