Celebrated stone sculptor John Suazo credits his late “Uncle Ralph” with inspiring his own career, while he watched him work.
Ralph Suazo carved what he saw around his Taos Pueblo home, in wood. Often, they were human figures.
Using only a knife, he developed an abstract, modern look that also maintained the essence of the subjects.
This beautifully finished, double wood figure looks almost Asian, with its tranquil power and lovely simplicity.
Aside from the criss-crossed texture of the man’s braids, there is virtually no detail, except for the simple, carved folds of the couple’s blanket, facial features, and hair.
One of Ralph Suazo’s gifts was using the wood itself to enhance the subjects. Notice how the wood grain beautifully and subtly indicates the figures’ blankets.
Their expressions are contemplative; the whole sculpture is suffused with serenity.
A compellingly spiritual piece, it evokes tribal arts of other tribes and other cultures, as well as the modern art that these influenced.
This is the last piece we have, by the late, much-honored sculptor.