Thursday, February 16, 2012

Feelin' at 'Home' with Art by Lenny Foster at Casa Rondeña

For those in New Mexico who love exclusivity and elegance, a must do is joining the 1629 Club at Albuquerque's Casa Rondeña Winery.   I had never been to the winery, located in the North Valley in Los Ranchos, but walking its grounds is like what I imagine a stroll in the Spanish countryside to be.  The winter air and sky met the barren grapevines and the strong smell of piñon could be detected adding to the drama of the location. 

After walking down the long dirt driveway, I arrived at the main house, which used to be the residence of the winery's owner.  Since growth forced him to move away from the grounds, the main house has become a social club called 1629.  For around $600 per year, members of the private wine club, can take advantage of cooking and food and wine pairing classes as well as Friday night "socials."  There are also lovely salon-style concerts and barrel tastings. 

Membership caps out at 300 people and includes two bottles of wine monthly, complimentary tastings for two upon winery visits, and exculsive  invitations to "members only" parties.  One example of those parties are exciting art openings curated by well-known New Mexico artist Joshua Franco and his art maven wife Colleen Franco.  The events are called "Showing at 1629 Club."

I had opportunity to attend the opening of renowned Taos photographer Lenny Foster's exhibition entitled "A State of Grace."  The menagerie of his pieces is a combination of various series including his "Fleur du Soleil,” “The Dreamtime of Horses,” “Healing Hands” and “Calling All Angels."  Simply but elegantly placed on beautifully lit walls, including those above the grand fireplace, Foster's work calls you to explore and share New Mexico imagery which has inspired the Washington, D.C. transplant who made his home here eighteen years ago.  In an almost ethereal manner, Foster captures the essence of his subjects softly and subtly, "creating works of 'sacred moments' that are utterly beautiful."  The photographs in this show demostrate why he is such a respected contemporary master.

The Return Home"
Limited Edition Pigmented Print
"A State of Grace" continues at Showing at 1629 Club at Casa Rondeña through March 18.  It is viewable by 1629 Club members or by appointment only.  For more information about the exhibition, the 1629 Club or to make an appointment "like" the 1629 Club's Facebook page here

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