Cerulean blue paint coats the walls of Marc Shereck’s art studio — it’s intended to mimic the color of New Mexico skies.

The landscape has been a perpetual muse since childhood, when his family regularly visited Taos, N.M.

“I loved the culture, the colors, the sandstone, the earth, the vegetation, the sky,” Shereck said. “I love the palette there.”

But it’s not just the colors. It’s also the people.

“The clash, and not only the clash, but the convergence of all the different cultures — the French, Germans, Native Americans,” he said. “I loved the culture. And then I’ve really become interested in the storytelling.”

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That passion for New Mexico’s people, places and stories is woven throughout his new exhibit, “Transect.” As part of First Friday Downtown, the new 50-piece show opened with a free reception at The Bridge Gallery and run through January.

His studio is where you can find Shereck on the daily, a space where his wife, Valerie Shereck, also teaches yoga classes. His well-sized desk overflows with all manner of art supplies and stacked piles of his work. He creates something every day, such as shamans, butterflies and dancers.

After three decades of a full-time career in urban planning, Shereck retired a dozen years ago. Since then he’s exhibited in multiple galleries around town, always exploring new mediums and styles, but almost always inspired by the Southwestern land and culture he loves.

Movement is at the heart of his new show, and specifically moving from one point to another. He gives the example of being in a canoe and crossing water. You break the water as you move from one point to another, and in so doing, you encounter two environments — one on one side of the canoe and one on the other.

“You come across people, architecture, trees, weather, but as you bisect that you have two sides you’re creating,” Shereck said. “And how you combine those two in your brain and in your hands and what you write and think is very interesting to me.”

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What he’s come up with runs the gamut. There are the paintings done with homemade tools made from grasses and woody bushes culled from his wife’s garden this past summer. The new medium delighted him, as it forced him to surrender to the tools.

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“You don’t control it,” he said. “You have to give yourself to that tool. The tool does it.”

Brushwork butterflies fill some frames, and dancers and movement come to life in others.

And there are his duende pieces that combine the dark and the light.

“Duende is the duality,” Shereck said. “This is the angel and then I have the devil and I have them combined. So there’s the good and evil in you and the good and evil in me.”

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He’s also interested in old ledger art, made from hotel and business ledgers in Santa Fe. Southwestern schools were given the lined ledger paper for Native American children to use for drawing and painting, and they often came up with majestic warriors on horseback. Shereck created his own old ledger paper painting, featuring a row of beaten-down and weary warriors astride horses.

“For me, with ADD (attention-deficit disorder), I can’t stay on one thing. I’ve got to keep moving,” he said. “In my artwork you’ll see edges, color. The message and the stories are all different. Because I can’t stand still.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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