Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Read all about it: Fresno State’s ‘Between the Pages’ a strong and fun exhibition

In my Sunday column I put the spotlight on a fine new exhibition at Fresno State’s Madden Library titled “Between the Pages: Intersections of Books and Technology.” From my column:

One of the delights of this clever and good-hearted exhibition, co-presented by the library’s Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and the Special Collections Research Center, and curated by Jennifer Crow and Tammy Lau, is the way it nudges the viewer toward a greater appreciation of the staying power of books, no matter the format or technology that made them possible.

Books come in many forms: printed, audio, pop-up versions, digital. You can trace their progression in “Turning Pages” — from the hieroglyphics on a facsimile of the Rosetta Stone to an iPad version of “Horrible Hauntings,” billed as an “augmented reality collection” in which readers are able to see and interact with 3-D ghosts.

I summarize my thoughts about the exhibition in the above video review version of my column.

Light and sky at Fresno’s Spectrum Art Gallery

In Friday’s 7 section, I feature two exhibitions at Spectrum Art Gallery: Sally Stallings’ “Everyday, the Light” and Virginia Wilson’s “Against the Sky.” From my review:

Sunlight is the great equalizer. You can live in a mansion or a shack, but a shaft of sunlight streaming through a window is the same the world over: clean, bracing, bright, even hypnotic.

The exhibition runs through April 27.

Tonight: ‘Zits’ and ‘Baby Blues’ cartoonist branches out with ArtHop


You wouldn’t blame Jerry Scott — whose comics “Zits” and “Baby Blues” reach a potential 100 million readers daily — for resting on his laurels. The 58-year-old San Luis Obispo resident is at the top of his game.

But seven years ago, Scott decided that as a comic-strip writer he was feeling a little unfulfilled as an artist. He enthusiastically took up painting. And for his subject matter, he turned to one of his great loves: Western themes and the rodeo.


You’ll get to see the results at ArtHop tonight. Scott opens the second exhibition of his career, “Roughstock,” a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Clovis Rodeo, at 1821 Gallery & Studios. He’ll be there to greet fans. I got the chance to talk with the amiable Scott for a story in today’s Life section:

Scott’s oil paintings are filled with images of cows, bulls and rodeo riders rendered in a mostly realistic style that often veers toward the impressionistic in terms of color and form. The fine-art approach is certainly a departure from the world of comics.

“I’ve spent the last 25 years being the guy behind the scenes,” Scott muses about how his comics career evolved. “That wasn’t my first choice, because I’m a visual person. So all this was sort of in response to being the writer and not the artist on my comic strips.”

I admire Scott’s drive when it comes to branching out creatively. He loves comics and is no way apologetic about what he does for a living. If anything, he’s cheerfully willing to use his celebrity in service of fine art.

After the jump: view photos by The Bee’s Eric Paul Zamora of the exhibition.

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McLane High’s Arts Venture Academy competes for challenge grant

McLane High School’s impressive Arts Venture Academy is known for its impressive collaborative projects among student writers and artists, including a show on homelessness at the Fresno Art Museum and a show about undocumented students and their families at Arte Americas. In December, McLane debuted “Stories of Home,” based on 300 interviews with Southeast Asians about the Hmong experience, at the Hmong International New Year Festival.

Because of the exhibition, the Arts Venture Academy is up for a Follett Challenge grant with a top prize of $30,000 worth of Follett materials. The Follett Corporation, which specializes in educational materials and technology, runs the contest to highlight and reward innovative schools. More than 100 schools are competing in this year’s contest. (Computech Middle School in Fresno is also in the running.)

This is one of those competitions in which people vote online for a winner — but, thankfully, the online voting component is just one factor in determining the overall winner.

Here’s the link to vote for McLane. And here’s the link to vote for Computech Middle School. Deadline to vote is April 4.

Art exhibition: ‘Turning Pages’ opens at Fresno State


A new exhibition, ”Turning Pages:  Intersections of Books & Technology,” opened today at the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State. It provides a glimpse into some of the ways in which technology has radicalized books and bookmaking:

Technologies new, old, and reinterpreted have altered the paradigm of the book since its inception. From creation and content to format itself, the collective notion of the book, a benign object, is continually changing … With examples from both special collections, as well as book art from five world-renowned artists, you are invited to explore the convergence of books and technology—from advances in printing to the digital arena to new and exciting forms of art.

Exhibition artists include Thomas Allen, Su Blackwell, Brian Dettmer, Pamela Paulsrud and Mike Stilkey. An opening reception will be held 6 p.m. Friday and transition into a 7 p.m. presentation by Stilkey, a Los Angeles-based book artist.

The exhibition, which continues through May 30 in the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery, is sponsored by the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and the Special Collections Research Center in the Madden Library. The special collections division has teamed up with Fresno State’s  Center for Creativity and the Arts to collaborate on the year’s chosen theme of Data and Technology.

Brilliant Ad

van gogh cup

Checking through my Twitter to see the latest tweets when I came across this brilliant ad:

Then I nodded in grinning approval.  Nuance.

Cartoonists — and more specifically editorial cartoonists — strive to create a provocative nuance in their artwork to help communicate their ideas in much the same way that this ad does for the Van Gogh Museum.  It’s clever and so I thought I would share it you.

Saturday: artists reception at Arte Americas


If you attend the Saturday reception at Arte Américas for the dynamic new “Viva La Muxer!” exhibition showcasing 16 area women artists, be on the lookout for a special guest: Eloisa Figueroa. She is the mother of artist Carissa Garcia and grandmother to Carissa’s daughters, artists Felicita and Silvia Garcia.

The mother-daughter-trio’s collaboration for the show, a moving multimedia installation titled “At the Threshold,” was inspired by Figueroa, who figures prominently in a projected image that captures her intense resolve. A cane is close by, an allusion to Figueroa’s arthritis, which hangs on the wall as part of the installation.

The exhibition, which honors Women’s History Month, is one of inclusion. It features Latina and non-Latina artists, including such well-known local names as Dixie Salazar and Nanete Maki-Dearsan. It continues through Mother’s Day.

Details: 2-4 p.m. Saturday / Arte Américas, 1630 Van Ness Ave. /, (559) 266-2623 / Free

Tonight: North Fresno ArtHop

CRAY med

The newly opened Brush and Easel Gallery hosts the work of Cynthia (Scin Chapman) Manuszak. Her show “inside, outside” will be marked by an artist’s reception 5-8 p.m. tonight as part of the North Fresno ArtHop.

Gallery owner Valerie Green describes the new venue:

Fresno’s newest place to buy art.  Home to over 20 artists each with their own unique style.  Oil and acrylic paintings, wire work lamps and vases, metal / glass / fabric sculpture, natural stone and dichroic glass  jewelry, ceramics and pottery.

Go to the Fresno Arts Council’s website for exhibit updates.

Tonight: ArtHop

Lots to do at tonight’s ArtHop. I’ve already told you about Heather Anderson’s show at Fig Tree Gallery. Some more picks:

The Downtown Community Arts Collective is now known as P Street Studios. It features the renovated gallery space of artists Stephanie Pearl and Andrew Watrous, and for its first show features the mixed media art of Jason Plemons. Below: Plemons’ “Abstract Bridge.”

Abstract Bridge reduced

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The Beehive Interview: Heather Anderson


In Thursday’s Life section I feature artist Heather Anderson, who loves the Sierra Nevada with a profound intensity. In her later 80s, she’s still going strong, painting dynamic views of the wilderness that means so much to her. I offer a condensed version of my interview with her in the print edition, timed with the opening of her exhibition at Fig Tree Gallery for ArtHop. Here’s the extended version.

Question: Your show is titled “Wilderness.” How many paintings does it include, and are they all of views of the Sierra Nevada?

My largest series of works are of the Sierra Nevada, within which is much designated wilderness (except for Alaska, our largest U.Ss area of wilderness). Wilderness occurs in National Parks, National Forests, National Fish and Wildlife areas and (BLM) Bureau of Land Management areas. Yes, the work is all of the Sierra, the mountains John Muir called the Range of Light. I would like to have 36 views like Katsushika Hokusai but not sure how many will fit in the gallery.

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Notes from the visual arts beat


Out-of-town news about two talented Fresno visual artists:

San Francisco debut: Leslie Patterson Batty is excited about her San Francisco debut at the Adler & Co. Gallery’s group winter exhibition. The show opened with a reception Jan. 9, and she says there was a great turnout. Her work landed on the Facebook page of a San Francisco arts writer, DeWitt Cheng, who posted the above photo. Batty thinks this S.F. exhibition — which includes two of her heroes,  Robert Rauschenberg and Wayne Thiebaud — could open doors for her. It continues through Feb. 9.

For the love of dogs: Nancy Youdelman is part of the group exhibition “Good Dog: Art of Man’s Best Friend” at the Turtle Bay Museum in Redding. She will be showing two works from her “Dogs Are Forever” series.  The series began as an homage to her last dog, Romy (1997-2012).  ”He was a very dear companion and is greatly missed,” she says. The exhibition runs Jan. 31-April 27.



Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

If you’re going to brave the bad air

EnglishBeat_credit_Bryan_Kremkau (1)1. The English Beat
Two-tone ska legends + plus Fresno ska legends.

2. Tower Beer Run
This is not a real race, although some with attack it as such no doubt. Get a $1 race bib and partake in $1 beer samples from two dozen Tower District establishments.
3. Sarah Chang
The Fresno Philharmonic turns 60. Violinist Sarah Chang help celebrate with a show that includes the Bruch Violin Concerto, which she first performed at her audition for the Juilliard School. She was five.

4. Catch up on Oscar nominees
With the Academy Awards around the corner, the local movie houses are full of Oscar-nominated films including “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.” Bet you didn’t see that coming.

5. Fresno Partnership City Council Candidate Forum
Before you roll you eyes and say “boooooring,” keep in mind that life isn’t all fun and games. This is specifically for candidates in districts 1 and 7, but it’ll be good primer for anyone interested in local politics

As a sixth (and the event I will for sure be at) there is this.

New exhibitions at Fresno Art Museum


From a big show celebrating the Clovis Rodeo to online gaming performance as art, the Fresno Art Museum offers an eclectic slate of exhibitions opening Friday. Artist/curator conversations in the galleries will begin at 4 p.m., with an opening reception 6-8 p.m. Admission and opening receptions is free for members. General admission is $5 and the opening reception $10 for non-members. The shows:

Traditions of the West:  Honoring 100 Years of the Clovis Rodeo showcases historic and contemporary Western landscape paintings (including an Albert Bierstadt) along with Native American traditional art from local and southwestern US regions. The exhibition includes some never-before-exhibited artifacts, including Native American works from private collections and works from the Braun Research Library Collection of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles and The Huntley Western Art Collection at Cal Poly Pomona.

Art of the Word includes illustrations and text from artist books and folios that illuminate poetry, stories, and written thoughts. Works include many familiar artists and authors, including Wayne Thiebaud, Jose Posada, Joey Krebs, Eric Carle, Ynez Johnston, William Saroyan, and Roald Dahl. 

The Joseph DeLappe:  Social Tactics exhibition is a co-presentation with the Fresno State Center for Creativity and the Arts and showcases social-activist/artist DeLappe’s installations in electronic and new media, online gaming performance, sculpture, and electromechanics.

A Decade of Accessions is a selection of works on paper, paintings, and sculpture from the permanent collection by a number of artists, including Sam Tchakalian, Eva Abou-Ghorra, Michael Garcia, Alfredo Zalce, Alberto Beltran, Roger Bolomey, and Charles Arnoldi.

PICTURED: Joseph DeLappe’s “Mouse Mandala”

Opening: Fresno State 2014 Artists Invitational


Fresno State’s 2014 Artists Invitational exhibition opens today in the Phebe Conley Gallery, and it’s an intriguing sounding exhibition. Four internationally exhibited artists — Joelle Dietrick and Owen Mundy, Scott Groeniger, and Jason Salavon — offer works that address the themes of data and technology.

The exhibition runs today through Feb. 14. Opening festivities are Thursday, when artists will lecture from 3-5 p.m., followed by a reception 5-8 p.m.

The exhibition is sponsored by Fresno State’s art and design department in conjunction with the university’s Center for Creativity and the Arts.


A new art gallery for Fresno


Fresno welcomes a new art venue: the Brush and Easel Gallery, owned and operated by Valerie Green. The gallery, at 1476 W. Shaw Ave., will hold its grand opening 5-8 p.m. today in conjunction with the North Fresno ArtHop.

The gallery includes a working studio, teaching space for adult and youth art classes/workshops, and gallery space exhibiting the work of Green and more than 20 local artists.

Masterpiece Art (made easy)

I am grappling with this idea of  ’Masterpiece Art’.  I am not questioning the skill involved by artist Glenn Brown or the inspiration (that appears quite clear) my curiosity is left dumbfounded by the price tag for work that seems (to me) less than original.  See what I mean at TheVerge.


“Ornamental Despair (Painting for Ian Curtis)” by Glenn Brown

Tonight: ArtHop


I offer some picks for ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods, in Thursday’s Life section.

Among the intriguing options: a show by Michael McKee titled “Conceptual Christmas Concept at Gallery 25. (A mild and unrelated rebuke, by the way, to the redesigned Gallery 25 website: Having an audio clip start playing when you land on the site is so 2007.) McKee’s exhibit includes paintings, sculpture, works on paper and mixed media artwork influenced by the themes of creation, purity and rebirth — with a “nod and a wink’ to the celebration of Christmas. Pictured: the artist’s “Scream Santa.”

December ArtHop is a great time to Christmas shop for stuff you can’t find at Target, of course, so that’ll be a prime opportunity tonight.

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Make plans to see Hockney exhibition


How enthusiastic am I about this show? If I could stand on my hands and do a little dance for you right now, I would — if it would get you to consider catching the exhilarating “David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition” at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. It’s big in so many ways, from the sheer size of some of the pieces (how about a 12-foot iPad painting?) to the innovative technologies used (you actually get to see in some cases the brush strokes that Hockney made in those iPad works). Then there’s just the sheer number of works: more than 300 displayed in 18,000 square feet of gallery space, making it the biggest in the history of the museum.

I get all evangelistic about the show in my most recent Spotlight column, which ran on Sunday. I don’t often urge people to drive six hours roundtrip to do anything, but in this case I really do feel it’s an art exhibition you don’t want to miss. It runs through Jan. 20. Sounds like plenty of time, yes, but you know how busy things can get in the holidays and beyond. Make your plans now.

My ArtHop picks

Gates of the Valley

I’ve already told you (lots) about the new M Street Arts Complex and its first ArtHop. Here are two other ArtHop picks from my story in Thursday’s Life section that deserve a special shout-out:

— Each year Spectrum Art Gallery invites a notable figure in photography to show his or her work. This year’s honored artist is master photographer Alan Ross, who worked side by side with Ansel Adams as his photographic assistant. An exhibit at Spectrum through Dec. 1 features more than 30 of Ross’ original photographs. He is best known for his tonally exquisite black-and-white photographs of the American West. This weekend, Ross will participate in two events at the gallery: an artist’s reception 4-8 p.m. Saturday; and on Sunday a photographic workshop.

— San Francisco artist and printmaker Beth Van Hoesen’s career spanned more than five decades. (She died in 2010.) Her work will be displayed in a special exhibition at 1821 Gallery & Studios at 1821 Calaveras St. through Nov. 27. The show includes examples of her pristine and elegant botanical art, along with a number of prints drawn from a series titled “Punks” focusing on young punk street people from San Francisco’s Castro District.

Plus: There’s the annual “Nudes in November” show at the Chris Sorensen Studio, an exhibition titled “Clay Paper Sticks” by Kathy Wosika at Fig Tree Gallery, and a big “Art and Music” show featuring bands Bad Suns, Fatty Cakes and Evelyn at ARTHOUSE. Happy Hopping!

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The Beehive Interview: Julia Woli Scott

photo (16)

Julia Woli Scott has been having a big week. Not only did she and her partner, Christina Rea, help design and open the beautiful new M Street Arts Complex in downtown Fresno, but she co-curated with Rea a new exhibition titled “Spectacle: A Closer Look at Fresno.” To mark the complex’s first ArtHop tonight, I talked with Scott about the M Street complex and the exhibition in today’s Life section. Here’s an extended version of the interview.

Question: We’ve already covered the opening of the M Street Arts Complex in detail, but for those who missed it, could you give a brief recap?

Answer: The M Street Arts Complex is a collaborative project funded and developed by Granville with creative direction from myself and my partner Christina Rea. Our part of the 22,000 square foot warehouse has undergone a 1 million dollar renovation to build rentable space designed for professional artists that offers air conditioning, private parking, wi-fi and security.

During the Grand Opening on Saturday, Fresno State President Joseph Castro and Dr. Vida Samiian, Dean of the college of Arts and Humanities announced that the school intends to have a presence in the not-yet-renovated other half of the building, an expansion of their graduate program.

How did the opening weekend festivities go?

We had a tremendous turn out, I actually had to step outside shortly after people were allowed in the building because I was overwhelmed by the crowd, an estimated 600 through the 3-8 pm event. There was a tangible sense of excitement especially during the evening’s artist reception, with conversation even managing to drown out the rumble of Christopher Lopez’s thunderous sound piece, State of Detachment, 2009.

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First look: M Street Arts Complex

The M Street Arts Complex opens this weekend with “Spectacle, a Closer Look at Fresno.”

The 10,000 square-foot complex makes use of a renovated auto-part store, and includes gallery space, art studios and art-gallery combinations, including unfinished warehouse-style spaces. The project is a collaboration between GVUrban and artists Christina Rea and Julia Woli Scott.

Earlier this week, Donald Munro and I got a tour of the new space.

Both the complex and its first exhibition look very promising. Donald will have an in depth analysis of the complex (including a Fresno State connection) in tomorrow’s paper. In the mean time, here’s a quick video of Woli Scott explaining the concept, and talking about a few of the artists featured in the exhibition. There was still work being done, so please excuse the audio quality.

Art honors: a billboard of his own and more

Let’s catch up with some visual arts honors:

BILLBOARD EXPOSURE: Some artists get their work displayed in galleries or museums. Arturo Rios Mercado of Fresno can see his on billboards in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston.

Rios’ drawing of an Aztec warrior won a national Indio beer contest in which artists were asked to explore the theme “Make It Yours.” He headed to Los Angeles recently to see his winning entry in person:


Rios was featured in an August profile in Vida en el Valle. He won $5,000, which will buy a lot of beer. On the jump, another look at his winning design, plus art honors for Mac Mechem and Leslie Batty.

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R.I.P. Lou Reed (1942-2013)

The obits for Lou Reed, who died yesterday at the age of 71, reference the man as an avante-garde rock-and-roll poet, which is the least one could say. He was a true artist. His work wasn’t easy or accessible, or even that popular (though it manifested itself in pop culture again and again). As with many great artists, his legacy will likely be marked as much by those he influenced as by his own work.

My favorite Lou Reed track: “Walk on the Wild Side.” This was his most popular tune, and made most accessible to the casual listener (I first heard it as “borrowed” by Marky Mark), which is crazy given the song’s subject manner. As a teenager, hearing the song for the first time, I couldn’t fully appreciate what I was hearing. Probably still can’t. Here we have these dark, heavy themes couched inside a quirky pop song with a great hook. You can sing along on the radio without realizing the song is about a transvestite, drugs and prostitution.

That is a work of art.

What about the rest of the Lou Reed fans out there? We’d love to hear your thoughts/memories on his passing and what his music/vision meant from the following generations of artists.

To-do this weekend: Sierra Art Trails

Anita Stoll "Awesome Morning" Sierra Art Trails October 2013

It looks like a glorious weekend, weather-wise, for the 11th edition of Sierra Art Trails. Which shouldn’t be a surprise. I can remember only one time going to this annual event when it rained. It’s blessed.

I give a rundown on the three-day event, which starts today, in Friday’s 7 section. The condensed version: Buy an $18 catalog, which serves as a ticket for two people to visit the  private studios and galleries of more than 100 artists in the Yosemite foothills. (Pictured above: Anita Stoll’s “Awesome Morning.”

As part of my article, I include my recommendations for suggested stops based on past Art Trails experiences:

Carolyn Hartling Home Studio: Retired from a career in interior design, she now focuses on watercolors and pastels. Her spectacular Coarsegold house is on the banks of the Fresno River.

Anita Stoll Home Studio: Long a favorite local artist of mine, Stoll’s pastels waver between representations of nature and abstraction. (And she always gives away M&Ms.)

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Donald’s mailbag: where to find Rollin Pickford prints?


Cheri Stromberg of San Diego writes:

A couple of days ago, I was driving on Highway 99 and stopped at a beautiful rest stop near Tipton. It was full of interesting information about the valley and displayed works by local artists. I really enjoyed my stop there. One artist really struck me, Rollin Pickford. I read your article in the Fresno Bee about his death and his life. It was so interesting.

I would love to buy a Rollin Pickford print, but I have not found any when searching the internet. Can you suggest a place that I might find his prints? I know there is a book about him, but I would like a big print to put up in my home.

Does anyone have any suggestions for Cheri?

Pictured: A Blossom Trail annual poster art piece by Rollin Pickford from 1998.


UPDATE 9/16: Joel Pickford, Rollin’s son, writes to let me know that Rollin’s Facebook page is a good place to find out information about the artist.