I saw some interesting shows last night. Feel free to add your own observations about these and other venues in the comments section.
Robert Weibel is known for his “gunpowder art,” and his full show at Gallery 25 — he was scheduled to display with Karen LeCocq but she had to drop out — is, dare we say, explosive. He has a couple of works titled “Delta Smelt,” which I’m assuming is a reference to a political powder keg of a Valley water issue (sorry, I have to ease up on the munitions puns), which are stunning visually, with the mixture of gunpowder and metallic leaf making a shimmering impact on the paper. I love how Weibel organized his show, too — to the extent that representations of birds actually seem to “flock” up a corner wall, as if they’re ready to take flight. There will be a reception 1-4 p.m. Sunday at Gallery 25. The show continues through Nov. 29.
DeROUCHEY CREATIVE DESIGN STUDIO
A fun, different ArtHop stop — definitely with a youthful vibe. Most, if not all, of the artists appeared to be recent Fresno State graduates, and the crowd in this warehouse district — just down the street from the Chris Sorensen Studio — brought the average ArtHop age WAY down. I ran into Fresno State art prof Doug Hansen, who was proud as a papa of his former students. One of my favorites of the bunch: Uriel Tekunoff’s surrealist-style painting of a bearded man. This was a one-night-only show.
FIG TREE GALLERY
Mary Maughelli is a venerated member of the Fresno arts scene, and what I like about her newest show, “Looking Inward,” is the liveliness of her works and the emotional intensity. Maughelli often focuses on girls and women in her works, and in this show — which consists of collages of photos of her sister and eldest grandniece combined with the artist’s trademark figurative sketches and great works from art history — she portrays the sweetness of innocence and the vibrancy of growing up. (Ah, to be 9 again and have a never-ending future stretching before you.)
In her “Female Portraits and Memories 2,” Maughelli highlights a photo of her grandniece in a white communion dress, a classic symbol of innocence, and then surrounds her with classical symbols of emerging womanhood, in this case repetitions of “Botticelli’s Birth of Venus,” along with line drawings of figures capturing a sense of kinetic energy.
What makes it even more compelling is the day-glo color palette Maughelli has chosen for the show: lots of bright pinks, yellows, reds and oranges. It’s almost as if the place vibrates with color. She used Twinrocker paper with irregular deckled edges for this series of collages, giving them a jagged, assertive feel.
The best part is that Maughelli’s sister was there for the opening. It was touching to see a younger version of her sister in the works, then standing alongside proudly beside her sibling. The show runs at Fig Tree Gallery through Nov. 29.
Thomas Evans Howell has a solo show titled “Naked Secrets: The Pencil and the Mac,” which treats the nude female figure in very different ways. One side of the gallery is devoted to Howell’s life-size pencil sketches of nudes. Across the gallery on the opposite wall, he dives into computer-generated graphic images that incorporate photos, drawings and art history examples in a technological collage. Even though the computer-collage theme seems a little overdone to me these days, there’s a shimmering translucence to some of his computer-generated prints — and a feisty sense of provocation, such as in his work “Mary,” which juxtaposes a seductive nude with the background of a cathedral. There’s a reception for the show 12-4 Saturday at Corridor 2122, and it runs through Nov. 29.