Farmhouse Menu Features Villalobos’ aromatic images

By: Bill Whaley
12 September, 2018


For the next month, from 8 to 4, you can dine on local and organic dishes made with love at the Farmhouse Café (Overland Sheepskin building) while you look at Deb Villalobos mixed media images, prints, collages, assemblages, and cards handmade. The farm-to-table eatery says it all starts with a “seed.”

Similarly, Ms. Villalobos art begins with an organic seed but from the imagination, or “found stuff,” an aspen leaf or leaf from autumns past, perhaps an old piano, the three watch-faces of Tres Hermanas, originally inspired by both an old friend (Butchie) or the three senior sisters who attend Deb’s classes on fitness and health care at the Senior Centers in Taos and Chamisal.

Deb’s art captures the local flora and fauna, the forest, desert, the creepy crawlies who leave their skin behind among this and that abstract form though concrete in substance. Somebody played the piano or once strode flesh-filled between the bones of that Calaveras, a prescient nod to Dia de las Muertos, the next show scheduled for the Farmhouse Café (Get in touch with Deb), but presented here the image on the left as the future of us all.

She moved to Taos in 1984 and followed in the footsteps of Taosenos, who (still) scratch out a living and hustle from one job to the next. Deb cooked at the old Rexall, sold ads for Artlines and Horse Fly, writing for the latter, waitress at the Taos Inn, presenting national juried shows at her and her husband’s gallery in El Prado. As house-sitter she kept the ghosts company at Mabel’s house.

Today, there’s a lot of dancing at the senior centers because Deb sees exercise as music and movement. And there’s music and movement in these 20 or so pieces on the walls. A friend gave Deb the piano piece; in “Requiem For Spring Song” (on the right) the artist combines instrumental parts and birds’ nests, nature forever haunting the work, similarly in “The Music of Aspens and Asters.” “Loteria” features a collage of Mexican “Bingo” Cards and, like “Ghosts in the Woods,” was made with love, the way the Farmhouse Café introduces love to the ingredients in the kitchen.

The match between Deb’s art and the atmosphere of the Cafe fits like a local, organic image. Like other Taos artists, Villalobos emerges from the studio now and then to express the authentic fusion of the natural and local, while paying attention to the spirit of this cross-cultural amalgamation. The experience is based on mingling, the hand, eye, a sparkling imagination, the passion for an “assemblage” of place and people.

While you dine and your eyes wander, the sensibility alternates between 19th Century old or vague Victorian allusions, despite the modernity of assemblage and collage. Where some see debris, Deb sees “stuff.” The show, like Taos, is not for everyone, it’s not slick, but intense…like Taos. She has her own vision and translates experience into “things,” things you may have felt and/or imagined.

An opening for the artist will be held Friday, Sept. 21 from 5 to 7.

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