Arthur Lopez is one of the leading Santos carvers in New Mexico. This piece is entitled, “Vicente”. There is a very detailed carved crow on the top of a pillar. The pillar is surrounded by grapes and hand-carved leaves. There is a recessed area with a painted retablo of San Vicente. The carving on the leaves and the bird are exceptional! Arthur said of this piece:
“This tells the story of Saint Vincent of Saragosa,” says Lopez. “He is the patron saint of winegrowers but his story is that he was tortured in a wine vice and as he was being tortured his blood flowed like wine through the press. Afterwards, his bones were thrown into a pit and it was a raven who flew there and protected him. So, the raven is part of his iconography, and like many of these pieces, the stories of the saints and animals are combined.”
This piece is part of Arthur’s new series “Kindred: The Spirit Within”.
“Kindred: The Spirit Within:
St Francis is the patron Saint of Santa Fe but is best know as the patron saint of animals. It was said that he could speak to the animals and would preach to the birds. Saint Francis even tamed a wolf that was terrorizing the village of Gubbio in Italy. In Arthur Lopez’s new show “Kindred: The Spirit Within” Arthur captures the harmony of the animal spirit by focusing on the relationship between animal and spirit and highlighting the animal as the main subject of the story. Being kindred is having a quality that comes deep from inside, kindred spirits feel as if they have similar souls or as if they may have ‘known each other in a past life this may be why when you look into an animals eyes with out words you can feel its emotions or the spirit within.
Spirit Animals are guides or messengers that appear to a person as an animal of the spirit’s choice. Indigenous and First Nations peoples do not view their Spirit Animals as a sign of what kind of person they will be. Instead, they view their Spirit Animals as messengers, teachers, and support systems for life.”
The process for Arthur’s work is bound in tradition. After the piece is carved, is covered in gesso (a glue made from rabbit hide) which is allowed to dry and then sanded. It is painted with both natural and watercolor pigments. Natural colored pigments, such as brown, are derived from black walnut hulls. These are the time involved and historic foundations for his work.
We are pleased to present this amazing body of work from one of the leading Santos artists in the country. Arthur’s artistic expression continues to break through the history of Traditional Spanish Colonial art in New Mexico. Each piece demonstrates his expressive ideas by utilizing and honoring traditional techniques to arrive at his uniquely contemporary one-of-a-kind creations. Consistently Arthur has pushed the boundaries of the New Mexico Santero tradition that has placed him a the forefront of his craft.
Arthur’s work is found in numerous museum and public collections, including Albuquerque Museum of Art & History, Denver Art Museum, Freedom Museum (911 Memorial at Ground Zero), Harwood Museum of Art, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, and the State of New Mexico Permanent Art Collection. Most recently he received the New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2022!