Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands presents an oil painting retrospective exhibition for Barbara Davis Lawrence titled, Take Me Home by the Fire Road.
The exhibition opens Nov. 2 in the Kennedy Alumni Hall at 905 University Ave. and continues through Dec. 4. There will be a reception Nov. 18 from 2 – 5 p.m. featuring music by Abigail Lumsden, one of Lawrence’s three daughters, and Les Horan.
“This exhibition featuring Barbara Davis Lawrence’s early works from the 1960s up to her late works in the early 2000s conveys a sense of wonder,” said Renee Buchanan, the Highlands Foundation art curator and archivist. “Lawrence uses powerful imagery and expressive color in her paintings. This retrospective will showcase the fascinating development of her path as an artist.”
Lawrence, a New Yorker who earned her Master of Fine Arts from UCLA, lived from 1925 – 2005. She was a prolific painter who exhibited her work from Los Angeles to New York City. Lawrence was an artist in residence at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City from 1990 to 2005.
Buchanan curated the exhibition, calling it a collaborative effort among Lawrence’s daughters, Jane Lumsden and Amy McFall of Las Vegas, and Abigail Lumsden of New York City.
“I think this body of work is a unique opportunity for Las Vegas to see an art exhibition with both local and national ties,” Buchanan said.
The painting collection includes still lifes, portraits, collages and spiritual abstract pieces.
“The thing that makes this show exciting is it explores our mother’s transformation emotionally, spiritually and artistically,” Jane Lumsden said. “Our mother did not paint to sell or please. She painted because she was driven to explore her personal and spiritual growth.”
Jane Lumsden moved to Las Vegas in 1971, when she opened Semilla Natural Foods store, which she still owns. Amy McFall followed Jane to Las Vegas in 1992.
“This is the first time such a comprehensive collection of our mother’s artwork has been shown to the public,” McFall said. “We’re thrilled to share it with the Las Vegas community.”
“This exhibition connects me deeply with so many memories of my mother being in the studio all the time, with such passion for her painting,” Abigail Lumsden said.
Jane Lumsden said her mother loved color, using an inventory of more than 200 different colors of oil paint.
“She loved color in people, from their clothes to their cultures, to their personalities. Our mother challenged us, inspired us, and taught us to be more colorful in our lives,” Jane Lumsden said.
Lawrence once wrote in an artist statement: “I experience my soul as imagination, and create visual imagery of symbolic forms, enabling me to express and share my journey and the unfolding of consciousness on human and spiritual levels.”
The Highlands University Foundation is hosting the Barbara Davis Lawrence exhibition. The Kennedy Alumni Hall is open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“We have much appreciation for Renee Buchanan’s hard work in curating this show,” Jane Lumsden said.