Keep Contemporary brings light on the darkest night

The Santa Fe Gallery’s Two Year Anniversary Show “Everything is Illuminated” opens tonight!

It’s fitting that local gallery Keep Contemporary would open its group show “Everything is Illuminated” on the darkest night of the year. Theirs is a lesson in relevancy. Founder and Santa Fe local,  Jared Antonio-Justo Trujillo, and his business partner Katie O’Sullivan are ready to turn the gallery world on its head. Tonight, Keep Contemporary celebrates their 2 year anniversary with their new show Everything is Illuminated. The event is more than just an anniversary celebration taking place in their stunning new gallery space at 142 Lincoln Ave, just a few blocks off the plaza.

Santa Fe is a city saturated with high end galleries filled with carefully calculated art. People travel from all over the world to walk Canyon Road, immerse themselves in our museums, our history, and the art culture that runs deep in our veins. “With a focus on low brow, outsider, and pop art,” reads their website, Keep Contemporary offers something fresh.

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Keep Contemporary Gallery, 142 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM. Photo by Kate Russell

Trujillo walks around the gallery as we chat. They are working on hanging pieces for the show salon-style. He straightens each frame as he walks by. “I am trying to change the way we look at art in Santa Fe,” says Trujillo, “My main goal is to support our local artists, our community, there is just so much talent here.”

Everything is Illuminated will showcase 40 artists from all over the world — Singapore, Netherlands, Spain, Iceland, but 70% of the artists are creators from here in Santa Fe. “I have been working with a lot of these people forever, you create a community base and with so much talent and support, it thrives,” says Trujillo.

“True Strength Lies in Trusting Yourself” by Katie O’Sullivan. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Katie O’Sullivan, Trujillo’s business partner and artist, has multiple pieces in this show, including a striking figurative painting called “True Strength Lies in Trusting Yourself.”  O’Sullivan sits at her desk printing labels and wrangling the chaos that ensues before any gallery opening. “I really believe in his vision, his curating, everything he brings to Santa Fe. There is no one I would rather work with.”

Walking around the gallery is captivating. The vibrant colors of the pieces and the perfectly chaotic way everything fits together draws your eyes to each frame, each sculpture. Oil paintings, collages, mixed media, metal, all working together in a cohesive way that flows without interruption. Trujillo laughs as he calls himself a cat lady but with art. “I can’t say no to good art.”

A custom mural by Nico Salazar. Photo by Kate Russell

One wall features a custom black and white mural by local favorite Nico Salazar with “Keep Contemporary” in old English font on a lowrider. Social commentary pop works like Dennis Larkins’ “American Dream” juxtapose the darker, religious imagery of Jean Baptiste Mouton’s “Secrets and Sins.” Salon style hanging creates a feast for the eyes. Their close proximity starts conversations between pieces.

“American Dream” by Dennis Larkins. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Trujillo stresses the ethos of this gallery over and over again, making sure it’s undoubtedly known. “This gallery, this art, it’s symbiotic — we need each other, to support each other. This, what you see, is artists taking care of artists, we aren’t in it for money, we are in it for community.”

Everything is Illuminated opens today, Friday December 21st from 5-8 pm at Keep Contemporary’s new location, 142 Lincoln Ave. Santa Fe, NM and is on display through January 13. Trust me when I say, you won’t want to miss this one.