TCA Exhibits – E Pluribus Unum: El Norte Portraits by Axle Contemporary

Saturday , August 26th, 2023

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Taos Center for the Arts

TCA Exhibits 

E Pluribus Unum: El Norte

Portraits by Axle Contemporary 

Encore Gallery 

August 26 – October 8

Gallery Hours: Open before all TCA Events and by appointment by calling TCA Office (575) 758-2052


About the show:

During the summer and fall of 2022, artists Matthew Chase-Daniel and Jerry Wellman traveled in their mobile studio-gallery, Axle Contemporary, set up at festivals, fairs, farmers markets, libraries, schools, cafes, plazas and roadsides, and invited all who came by to sit for a photographic portrait. Each portrait features the subject/participant holding a small object brought with them that holds some personal significance. Each object reveals something about the identity of that individual, and anchors the photograph in a specific time and place.

Two copies of each photograph were printed immediately onsite in Axle’s solar-powered print studio. One was given, free of charge, to the participant, while the other was pasted to the exterior of the studio/gallery. The resulting is a portrait of 22 Northern New Mexican Communities As the artists visit more regions of the state with these projects and witness the distinct cultures and traditions of New Mexico, they share visions of the compelling contemporary individuals that make up this place and our shared humanity and our strength as communities.

The project took place in Los Alamos, Española, Chimayo, Pojoaque, Ohkay Owingeh, Truchas, Peñasco, Dixon, Taos, El Prado, Questa, Costilla (Garcia CO), Raton, Watrous, Clayton, Roy, Mosquero, Tucumcari, Las Vegas, Mora, Abiquiu, and Chama.

The exhibition will also include one large image made by digitally blending equal portions of every portrait in translucent layers. This image is part of the overall portrait of the community created by the project, and embodies the “e pluribus unum” (from many one) of the project title. This image will also grace the cover of a book which also includes all of the individual portraits, and essays by the artists. The book will be available at the TCA exhibition and at bookstores and libraries in the project area.


About the artists:

Axle Contemporary

Axle Contemporary is an art gallery on wheels. Founded in 2010 by Matthew Chase-Daniel and Jerry Wellman as a collaborative work of art and innovative vehicle for arts distribution, Axle is housed in the back of a custom retrofitted 1970 aluminum step-van. We exhibit installation art, performance, works on paper, including photography, drawing, and painting, and occasionally sculpture. Our mobility allows us to visit both typical art venues and unusual ones, such as schools, empty lots, restaurants, grocery stores, and city streets. The 6′ x 10′ exhibition space features high wood ceilings, exposed beams, track lighting and a magnetically based system for displaying unframed works on paper.

More info at