Artist Statement

Maggie, Milo and Buddy


I work in a variety of media -- wood and metal -- and I mix old ways and patterns with new ways and innovations. I incorporate the traditional, contemporary and experimental. For me, this is part of New Mexican tradition, which has continually borrowed from other cultures, and transformed those influences into something new and unique. I enjoy participating in the Contemporary Hispanic Market where I have the opportunity to pursue my ideas, and let my work evolve within the context of New Mexican arts and crafts.

New Mexican art is a result of a long evolution of traditions, including Spanish and Moorish, then Pueblo, and other cultures.  The early New Mexican carpinteros and tinsmiths were innovators, living on the fringes of the Spanish frontier. They used whatever materials were at hand, making their own tools, and creatively fashioning things they needed for their daily life and religious observances. I take similar pleasure and inspiration from the great variety of cultural influences around me as well. 

The Moorish tradition, so prevalent in New Mexican art and architecture, has always fascinated me. I am an admirer of the Greene and Greene brothers, who practiced architecture and interior design in the early part of the century.  They were heavy borrowers particularly from the Chinese style of furniture and design. They transformed this cultural borrowing into an authentic new style of their own.  I feel part of this tradition of borrowing, transforming and creating -- from the Moors, from the Greene brothers, from the Shakers, the Japanese, the Scandinavians, and more.

The culture of science and technology is offering me opportunities for experimentation. At a recent Santa Fe Institute lecture, I was inspired by a slide showing the heat convection pattern of oil, in uniform quadrants, filled by lyrical curves. I have since adapted the pattern to a recent series of tin and copper light sconces. These lectures are interesting and accessible to the non-scientific person, and as an artist they have stimulated my creativity and visualization. New Mexican arts and crafts have a tradition of using optical and perceptual illusion in our designs; it is part of our Moorish heritage.

Three years ago I bought my first computer and started learning how to use this new tool. I have found new ways to develop designs by using the plasticity of the pixels on the screen to shape images that I can then use to create three-dimensional art. The natural patterns and flow of nature give me emotional feelings that are represented visually in much of my more recent work. An example is the "Arroyo Sand" pattern on the wall light fixture. These sand patterns represent the influence of time, in a seemingly accidental way that creates lyrical, comforting patterns. These chance patterns are the result of the interplay of the shape of the grains of sand and the flow of the water.

My dual level table is the result of an experiment to create both a functional and aesthetically pleasing table that serves a dual purpose.  It is a coffee table at one level and can be elevated to the height of a dining table on the other.  My goal is to make a piece of furniture which will enhance space in a crowded world. It is a combination of technology and sculpture. 

Roberto Gallegos

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