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about the artist ···

Tomás Montaño was raised in a small village nestled within the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico. During his childhood, he ceaselessly marveled at the allure of sparkling streams, steep-sided gullies, or arroyos, and the crumbling walls of generations-old adobe missions.


Brought up in a strict, but relatively enlightened spiritual community, Tomás tends not to forget those strong ties to his landscape, culture, or even his childhood creed. Ancestral symbology and iconography often weave their way into his paintings and bring vision, optimism and depth into his broad-stroked, vibrantly hued, sometimes bleak landscapes. A fascination with design, typography and poetry are also evident in his work, and sometimes state the obvious effects his subconscious, iconic placement cannot. The 2010s have brought a distinct, monochromatic line-work aesthetic to his paintings—not unlike brushstrokes found on the stoneware of the Pueblo people—however, the language of his art remains the same.


Tomás has been sketching and doodling on various substrates since the late 70s. He’s a self-taught musician & wrote his first song with his father’s classical guitar in the 4th grade. He has been banging away on various musical instruments, and belting out obscure poetry & lyrics ever since.


He now resides in Peñasco, New Mexico.




  ART TALK—Gallery 518                


    “In Montaño’s work I see Jungian archetypes, examples of what some would term genetic memory—squared off symbols with rounded images strongly reminiscent of Mayan glyphs and line work hearkening back to Pueblo pots, sharing space with street art influences from artists such as Basquiat and Haring. I see commercial art sensibilities in Montaño’s design savvy and the color-ways that artists such as Warhol (who is influential to Tomás) have subverted from pop culture advertising into Pop Art transcendence. Montaño’s working style is often instinctual, a “make it up as you go” system, tying it to Surrealism and the randomness of Dada. Surrealists such as Miro and Kandinsky inform his oeuvre. Montaño’s color is all mood and blur, his black line is thought and sharp, his hues are poetry and his lines are prose, the emotive giving way to crystallized form, with the layers offering stark contrast to each other”.


    — Taken from an Art Talk with Bryan Anthony Moore, June 2016

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