Harold Joe Waldrum (1935-2003) was a painter, etcher, photographer, author, and teacher, as well as an activist for the preservation of historic churches. His work is full of vibrant color and powerful geometric lines. Fueled by a critic’s remarks about work he created in the late 1970s being “New York paintings”, Waldrum sought to depict the quintessential New Mexico image and chose to paint the back of the church at Los Ranchos de Taos, focusing on the dramatic adobe architecture and deep contrasting shadows found in the Southwest.
This experience inspired the artist to explore painting more of the unique adobe churches and develop the style for which he is well-known. During the 1980s, working for a time in the historic studio of Joseph Henry Sharp, Waldrum continued to paint these architectural forms, becoming more engaged in their need for preservation. He established the El Valle Foundation to help raise funds for restoration of structures in disrepair. In the 1990s, the artist settled in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and established RioBravoFineArt Gallery, dedicating himself to his work and supporting local artists until his death in 2003. This exhibition showcases series of prints by Waldrum from the museum’s collection as well as paintings on loan from private collections.