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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
We don’t often devote a 7 cover story to a non-museum art exhibition, but that’s the case with “Double Vision: Images in Fabric,” an impressive show at 1821 Gallery & Studios. Kerby C. and Lura Schwarz Smith just might change the way you think about quilts. You can read my take on the show, which includes excerpts of the following interview, in Friday’s 7. Here’s an extended version of that interview.
Question: Can you give us a brief rundown about how quiltmaking has changed since our grandmothers’ time?
Lura: What many people visualize, in hearing the word “quilt”, are the useful, often quite lovely, traditional quilts made to function as bed coverings for many generations. In decades past, quilts were a way to use small scraps of fabric to create something they needed. Wealthier people could afford purchased fabrics, even the “whole cloth” quilts which required large, more expensive pieces of fabric. Though the result was often very beautiful, the main purpose of quilts was functional. So, quilts on the wall? That can be confusing to folks, but there are a great many textile artists now doing just that: using textiles of all sorts and sometimes mixed-media, to create art, not a functional piece of fine craftsmanship.
Conceptual artist Nicky Watts lived for two weeks with her head in a box. It was Plexiglas and fairly self-contained, fitted around the neck with only air-holes in the top for breathing. Conceptually, the box was a stand-in for the emotional barriers we construct around ourselves. She wore it for eight hours each day.
“It’s about self-imposed, emotional isolation,” says Watts, who is currently on tour with “Hidden Right Past,” what she calls a “livin performance” piece. She will do three performances (at 3, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday) in the Vault at the Pacific Southwest Building. This is the second stop on a five-day tour.
There will also be an installation of Watts’ visuals works, which were produced in collaboration with dozens of other creatives.
You may have seen Watts out and about in the last few days. She’s been in town setting up the show and is hard to miss, what with the box on her head. Part of the concept of the tour is wearing the box out in public. “That’s where the conversation starts,” she says.
One thing you can say for the folks at the Chris Sorensen Studio: They know how to have fun with a mural contest. Hence, the top winner at the studio’s recent mural contest is dubbed the “world champion.” Ricardo Corrales of Fresno won the Best of Show award and $1,000 in the first Chris Sorensen Mural World Championship.
The contest attracted 16 artists who painted 14 murals on the west wall outside the gallery. Sorensen, whose studio at 2223 S. Van Ness Ave. is a hot ArtHop stop, put up $1,000 for prizes in the mural contest. Sponsorship also came from Allard’s Art and the Electric Motor Shop, which boosted the pot to more than $2,000, says Kerby C. Smith, a spokesman for the studio. Renowned Fresno artist A.F. “Corky” Normart judged the competition.
“Convergence”, a painting by Jackson Pollock. AP photo
I have long admired the frenetic “Drip Period” art of Jackson Pollock, whose work captivated the American art world during the late 40s and early 50s. He and his art became enormously famous overnight after a LIFE magazine interview in 1949.
More than half a century later Pollock continues to influence and inspire. TV commercials, print advertising and younger artists employ some of his methods.
Somehow I must be channeling his artistic soul because I see the influence in just about all things. So much so that I have begun to document the ‘sightings’ with my Smartphone. Here are some examples. The titles are self explanatory.
Chris Sorensen — approaching nonogenerian status and still working hard on fabulous metal sculptures as Fresno’s “Man of Steel” — is celebrating his 88th birthday with a big show at the studio bearing his name.
The exhibition, which continues through June, features new work from Sorensen along with older pieces loaned by collectors. You can stop by and wish him a happy birthday tonight as part of ArtHop.
——————– Pictured: Chris Sorensen in 2012 with his daughter-in-law, India Ivans, and the metal sculpture “Dolly the Llama.” Photo by Craig Kohlruss, The Fresno Bee
When I met up last week with Daisy Addicott, the Fresno art collector I profiled in Sunday’s Spotlight section, my first thought upon entering the gallery featuring her impressive collection at the Fresno Art Museum was: Wouldn’t it be cool to see the artwork that usually hangs on my walls featured in a museum?
That thought certainly has occurred to Addicott, 83, who was beaming as I walked through the exhibition with her.
Art collectors occupy a prime position in the food chain of the art world, and I found Addicott’s confidence about what she likes (minimalist and conceptual art) and assurance in her acquisition philosophy (collect local artists, especially up-and-coming ones) to be transfixing. Most of the works in the museum show are usually found on the walls of her Fresno home. I write:
The result in the new exhibition is a unifying aesthetic you notice the moment you enter the gallery. Though from different artists, it’s as if these works seem to make up a cohesive unit — not in a matchy-matchy sort of way, but more with an energized calmness, a domestic tranquility. You can tell that each one was lovingly selected, and, in their own way, adored.
It was also fun with this story getting to know the two men responsible for the show: New York artist Rodney Harder (pictured above, right) and Fresno artist Mark Rodriguez (left), both good friends of Addicott’s. They’re clearly both devoted to her. After getting to meet her, I can see why.
VIDEO: To watch a video interview with Daisy Addicott, click here. PHOTO by The Fresno Bee’s Mark Crosse.
Marcos Dorado has been busy recently on his latest ambitious project: a salute to veterans. He’s been drawing local ones in graphite, and you can see the results tonight at Boling Fine Arts Gallery with the opening of his Veterans Portrait Project. There also will be a special reception Saturday in honor of Armed Forces Day. After the show closes, the veterans will get to take their portraits home. What a treat!
In my column this week I talked about a sort of self-revelation I had concerning the amount of litter around Fresno and my own particular role in the problem.
Apparently, the theme hits home with Fresno Bee readers.
I’ve gotten half a dozen emails and a phone call in support of the piece, including one from local artist Edward Gillum, who has reacted to the litter problem in his installation pieces. The image is from an installation that will be up at Quady Winery this weekend. It’s a pile of garbage replicated in silicone rubber.
NEW MURAL: The newest piece of art in Downtown Fresno’s Mural District will be unveiled at 6 p.m. at 1612 Fulton St. The design, right, was created by Fresno resident Nary Tan and was selected out of 50 entries as part of Granville’s 1612 Mural Project. Tan’s piece, titled “Butterflies Lovers,” is being painted by a professional muralist on a 40 foot wall.
MAKING “CONNECTIONS”: In a solo show at Gallery 25, Valerie Runningwolf explores her personal experiences through reaching out to others through artistic expression to evoke a sense of connectedness. Many views and images of connections are explored, with the main focus on aging. [Details]
TWO SHOWS: Karl Kallmann of the K-Jewel Art Gallery writes: “We have two well known Fresno artists presenting their works in May at the K-Jewel Art Gallery. Carol Tikijian is an excellent mixed media artist, who does very large-format pieces, which will be juxtaposed against the acrylic layered, colorful paintings of Valerie Greene (pictured below). Onstage will be Fresno music icon, Evo Bluestein.” [Details]
In today’s Bee, Rick wrote a story about SemiFormal Studios — makers of Ensemble Online, a game where players can built, explore, fight and interact in a mystical world — and how the local game makers are trying to help independent game creators get a foot in the door at the E3 electronics convention in June.
I’m not a huge video game person, though I do love to play Ms. Pac-Man and compete like a madwoman on various Wii games. But I was totally delighted by this “hand-drawn sketch card” Ensemble Online team created for me. I think it definitely wins as the most creative and fun press item I’ve received. Thanks, Ensemble team!
For the past two years, local artist Hazel Antaramian Hofman has been documenting the stories and images of those who endured the historic Great Repatriation of Armenians from the Diaspora to Soviet Armenia after 1945. She’ll be on hand 5-8 p.m. tonight at the Armenian Museum Exhibition Hall (inside the UC Center at 550 E. Shaw Ave.) as part of North Fresno ArtHop for the opening of “Repatriation and Deception: Post World War II Soviet Armenia.” The exhibition, which continues through May, includes writing, studio art, lecture presentations, collected ethnographic photographs and personal interviews. You can learn a lot more about the exhibition at the artist’s website.
Below: American-Armenians Bobby Maynazarian (left), Paul Antaramian (center), Johnny Kadekian (right) sailing from New York to Soviet Armenia on the Rossiya in 1947. Photo courtesy of Paul Antaramian. (Copyright 2012)
A lot of what you read in the newspaper and the Beehive is short, punchy and — let’s face it — fairly easy to understand. Sometimes arts stories can’t be those things. For my Sunday Spotlight column, I wrote a piece about Caleb Duarte, one of the six artists featured in the Fresno Art Museum’s terrific “Breakthrough” show. Duarte made an installation for the museum based on a performance-art piece he did in the state of Chiapas, Mexico.
I’d describe the performance piece and the installation in an easy paragraph for you, but I can’t. Hence, the column. Let’s just say Duarte’s work involves getting nearly buried alive. It includes some intriguing ideas about physicality and the corporeal experience we have of being in our own bodies, plus some pretty heady musings about economic and political issues. And it helps to know Duarte’s own back story when considering his art. I feel privileged to have the space when I need it to dive into complex issues, because art sometimes needs to be complex.
So, if you have a few minutes to really get into the meaning and spirit of a work, take the time to read this column. I enjoyed getting the chance to talk at length with Duarte and enriching my own experience at “Breakthrough.”
After the jump, I include some photos that help add to the understanding of Duarte’s work.
In the midst of one of the busiest performing arts weeks of the year, don’t forget about ArtHop. I offer my picks in today’s Life section. Top of the list is a chance to see work by the immensely talented Nick Potter of Fresno State. He rarely shows in this area. His “Dystopian Romance” opens at Corridor 2122. Check out the Fresno Arts Council’s ArtHop lineup here.
And, of course, there’s a whole lot of Rogue to keep you busy.
GARBAGE INTO GOLD AT ARTE AMERICAS
My favorite of the three new shows at Arte Americas — all under the umbrella theme of environmental sustainability — is the wonderful “Nothing Wasted,” a group show from local artists who recycled used materials into artistic gems. Francisco Vargas’ “Red Baby Grand,” which he repurposed from a piano burned in a house fire, is worth the trip alone. A statewide touring show titled “Ignite” offers a serious look at the environmental problems facing California. Read my cover story in Friday’s 7 about the Arte exhibitions. Plus: Here’s a video I made featuring artist Ann Savageau, a UC Davis professor who made a piece for “Ignite” about the Central Valley. A reception for “Nothing Wasted” will be held Sunday. [Details]
Artists Karen LeCocq and David Medley’s new heart-themed show at Gallery 25 arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day. We devote my column and a big chunk of the front of Sunday’s Spotlight section to “26 Years of Valentines,” which documents the couple’s traditions of making heart-themed artworks for each other each year to celebrate the holiday. As part of the Spotlight package, I filmed my first Fresno Bee video. (One thing you can say for my job: I’m always learning something new!) Check it out:
Here’s the link to the video on the fresnobee.com video page if you want to share it.
“26 Years of Valentines” continues through March 3. Oh, and for you lovebirds: LeCocq and Medley will be on hand at the gallery 5-8 p.m. Thursday for special Valentine’s Day hours.
Sunday’s Spotlight section puts the spotlight on “Breakthrough,” the terrific new Fresno Art Museum show featuring six vibrant artists with Fresno connections. You can read my centerpiece column about the show here. (Sneak preview: I loved it. My only regret with this column is that I didn’t have enough space to go into as much detail as I would have liked with each of the six individual exhibitions that make up “Breakthrough.” But I’m sure I’ll have more to say in the weeks to come.) Bee photographer Craig Kohlruss and John Alvin collaborated on the image above.
I asked each of the six artists to complete an email interview with me about themselves and their work in the show. We feature interview excerpts in Sunday’s print edition. (Also, don’t forget that we have a nice online photo gallery where you can view examples of each artist’s work.) On the jump you’ll find the extended versions of the interviews.