Celebrating the Old and the New – Dawning Pollen Shorty’s Exhibit in E.I. Couse’s Old Studio

Dawning Pollen Shorty with grandma, aunts and brother
Dawning Pollen Shorty with grandma, aunts and brother

Four generations, from great-grandmothers to little girls, were there to honor Dawning Pollen Shorty, Taos Pueblo sculptor in micaceous clay, at an exhibit that was held at Starr Interiors on Sunday, August 21st. Many others were there, including her father, well known sculptor Robert Shorty, and her brother, as well as many art enthusiasts, personal friends and many other relatives.

Many from the community were in the courtyard visiting with each other and with Pollen. They were there to see her work, of course, but also there to celebrate with her. Continuing in the tradition of her mother Bernadette Track and aunt Soge Track, both artists as well, Pollen’s love of the clay and the earth of which it is part was reflected in her delicate and lyrical figures.

Clay demonstration - Dawning Pollen Shorty with Susanna Starr
Clay demonstration - Dawning Pollen Shorty with Susanna Starr watching

Earlier in the day, Pollen gave a demonstration showing how she painted the fired clay. In this case, it was a beautiful mask depicting a Pueblo woman in her ceremonial hair style, almost reminiscent of an Etruscan mask. Later some of those at the demonstration, including some who had studied with her previously, returned for the reception to celebrate her work. One of the men, I’m told, went home the following day and dug out his pail of clay that he had been guarding since he had studied with her some time ago. How’s that for inspiration?

It was a delightful time, a beautiful day and evening, and an opportunity to honor another young Taos artist who’s a well known teacher as well. As always, it was also a chance to reconnect with other people in the community. This was the second in the series of Starr Interiors Invites Taos Artists. The courtyard at our historic building, over a hundred years ago home and studio of famed artist, E.I. Couse*, seems to be made for embracing and celebrating Taos’ own art community.

E.I. Couse with Native Model, Taos New Mexico
E.I. Couse with Native Model, Taos New Mexico - photo courtesy Couse Foundation

Please check in with us to find out more about the next show in this series to be held on Sunday, September 25th, featuring the work of Richard Hawley and Tupper Heaton Hawley, both carrying on in the tradition of Taos families of acclaimed artists.

*E.I. Couse (1866–1936), founding member and first president of the Taos Society of Artists

Photos by © John Lamkin except where otherwise noted.

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