Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Thursday: North Fresno ArtHop

ArtHop for the northern part of the Fresno area — held the third Thursday of the month — doesn’t get as much ink (or pixels) as its downtown/Tower District sibling. Which is why I want to highlight a couple of interesting events:

The Down Syndrome Association of Central California is presenting a special exhibition of artwork created by children and adults with Down Syndrome. The show, “The Colors of Down Syndrome,” highlights the artistic abilities of various individuals expressing their vision through painting. Proceeds from the purchase of the art will benefit Down Syndrome Association programs. ArtHop North Reception is 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Boling Fine Arts Gallery, 5100 N Sixth, Suite 120.


I received an interesting note and essay from Homer Gee Greene, Jr. of Fresno City College. He writes:

Fresno City College’s new exhibition in the Art Space Gallery is titled “Art and Bonsai: Installations of Art Responding to Bonsai.” As the title of the exhibition implies, this display attempts to exhibit the nexus between art and bonsai.

This exhibition runs from January 14 thru January 17, 2013. The exhibition is collaboration between the Fresno City College Visual Art Faculty and the Fresno Bonsai Society. The bonsai trees are from the private collection of Fresno City College Greenhouse Technician, bonsai artist Steve da Silva. ArtHop and a reception will be held on January 17 from 5-8 p.m.

The goal of the exhibition is to showcase unique parings of paintings from Fresno City College art instructors and the unique skill of a bonsai artist.

I was impressed with their attempt to blend diverse mediums of western art forms with the various styles of the art of bonsai, which is an eastern art form from Japan. What really jumped out at me is that this exhibition truly showed the dialectic, juxtaposition of two opposite, between inorganic, non-living, media and organic, derived from living matter, media. Western art in this exhibition represents the inorganic and the trees represent the traditional Eastern organic art of bonsai, translated as trees in pots.

The inorganic is represented by various styles of western art which included: sculpture, painting and mixed media. The organic is represented by bonsai trees trained in one of the following bonsai styles: upright, informal upright, cascade, semi-cascade, slant, clump and broom.

There were the following species of trees styled as bonsai: evergreens – junipers, olive, heavenly bamboo, cedar, scheffelera, black pine, boxwood; and deciduous – ginkgo, Japanese Zelkova and dawn redwood.

In order to get the trees into the desired shapes, the trees were wired to train the tree branches and trunk into the image or shape that the bonsai artist wanted the tree to transform into. The main goal of the bonsai artist is for the tree to be designed into an image that reflects a tree in nature. The wire can also be aesthetically viewed as the body of a serpentine dragon coiling and slithering its body around and up the trunk and onto the branches of the tree and mystically shaping the tree into the vision of the artist.

The dialectic of the art presented is that the Western art is static and inorganic and the Eastern art is dynamic and organic. The Western art that was exhibited either just hung there or just stood there and will always be non-active whenever it is exhibited. On the other hand, the art of bonsai is active and living. During the life of a tree that has been trained as a bonsai, from 100 years to 800 years, the tree is pruned yearly and wired when needed in order to maintain the aesthetic shape of the tree. The trees remain outdoors all year long but are brought inside on occasion to be exhibited for short periods of time.

If you go to the ArtHop reception on January 17, 2013, from 5:00 – 8: 00 p.m., you will be able to ask questions of the visual artist as to their vision in harmonizing or blending their inorganic Western aesthetic expression to an organic object or tree. You will also be able to ask the bonsai artist about the art of bonsai, the styling of the trees; how he blended or harmonized his organic Eastern aesthetic expressions to inorganic aesthetic objects and also ask him questions pertaining to the history of each tree. Some of thetrees exhibited were collected, meaning dug up, from Fresno City College.

The dialectic of the exhibition is balanced from the point of view that both the visual artists and the bonsai artist share the muse of personal aesthetic creative expression. This creative desire to create is the mean or nexus that harmonizes the Western and Eastern halves of the inorganic and organic dialectic.

The exhibition closes after the ArtHop reception.

Responses to "Thursday: North Fresno ArtHop"

Steve DaSilva says:

If I say so myself this exhibit is a fine example of Bonsai in winter silhouette. This is a must see for plant and art lovers!

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