New Mexico Recognizes Paul Shapiro for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts

paul shapiro 2009 self portrait

Seventy-year-old Paul Shapiro of Santa Fe is a celebrated international artist whose work is collected by museums, galleries and private individuals throughout the world.

Shapiro’s paintings have been shown in venues as diverse as the Roswitha Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland; the Art in the Embassies Program in Copenhagen, Denmark; and at the Los Angeles and Fort Worth Art Expos. His work is also represented in private collections, including those of actor Jack Nicholson, art collectors Anne and John Marion, the Neutrogena Corporation, AT&T, The Swope Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art.

“Paul’s interest in art and his commitment to painting is unassailable and extends to the depths of his being,” said Jon Carver in his letter supporting Shapiro’s nomination. “The Artist's knowledge of art history and art making is unsurpassed, and his voice has been vital to the artistic dialogue of our region for many decades.”

Shapiro came to Santa Fe in the early 1980s and immediately established a name for himself as a strong representational, regional painter. In the early 1990s, he shifted his focus and began to produce abstract work, a style for which he known today.

In his artist’s statement for “Quantumscapes,” Shapiro said that after 20 years of representational painting, he returned to abstract painting in 1990. “Even though my work was fairly loose and abstract, I felt very confined by the envelope around recognizable forms and gravity based relationships. In my abstract paintings, I have tried to create a concrete reality that brings an invisible world to the surface: evocative implications of a suggested parallel reality similar to what happens in poetry.”

The Governor's Arts Awards were established in 1974 by Governor Bruce King and First Lady Alice King to honor New Mexicans who have made a significant lifetime contribution to the arts and are identified with New Mexico. This prestigious annual award recognizes both individuals and organizations and acknowledges the considerable role, both economic and cultural, that artists, craftspeople and arts supporters play in the life of New Mexico. For more than three decades a prominent and diverse group of painters, weavers, sculptors, dancers, musicians, storytellers, poets, actors, playwrights, potters, and supporters of the arts have been honored.

Nominations for the awards are invited each year from interested New Mexicans and arts groups statewide. Nominations are reviewed by the New Mexico Arts Commission and the Governor and First Lady.

Governor Bill Richardson and First Lady Barbara Richardson, along with the New Mexico Arts Commission, have announced the ten artists and arts supporters who will be recipients of the 2010 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

“I am honored to pay tribute to some of New Mexico’s finest artists and art supporters through the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts; these men and women have made major contributions to our economy, tourism industry, education and quality of life,” said Governor Richardson.

“The Governor and I join all New Mexicans in applauding the 2010 Arts Awards winners,” said the First Lady. “This honor is a tribute to their extraordinary talent, creativity and community spirit, through which they enrich the lives of all New Mexicans.”

The 2010 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients are: Woody Gwyn of Galisteo for Painting; Tom Noble of Taos for Painting; David Scheinbaum of Santa Fe for Photography/Arts Education; Arlene Cisneros Sena of Santa Fe for Traditional Arts/Santera; Paul Shapiro of Santa Fe for Painting; Wes Studi of Santa Fe for Film/Actor; Marian and Abe Silver Jr. of Santa Fe – Major Contributor to the Arts; Whited Foundation of Raton – Major Contributor to the Arts; Working Classroom of Albuquerque – Major Contributor to the Arts; and Robert Redford of Santa Fe for Leadership in the Arts.

The Governor's Arts Awards were established in 1974 by Governor Bruce King and First Lady Alice King to celebrate the extensive roles – both economic and cultural – that artists, craftspeople and arts supporters play in the life of New Mexico. During its 37-year existence, a diverse and prestigious list of painters, weavers, sculptors, dancers, musicians, storytellers, poets, actors, playwrights and potters have been honored. Past awardees include Tony Hillerman, Glenna Goodacre, John Nichols, Georgia O’Keeffe, N. Scott Momaday, Tammy Garcia, Luis Jimenez, Pop Chalee, Richard Farnsworth, Bill Mauldin, Maria Martinez and Patrick Oliphant.