December’s ArtHop is always a festive affair. And it can be a great way to shop for Christmas gifts. Both Gallery 25 and Fig Tree Gallery use the occasion to exhibit all-members shows, in which you get a taste of what lots of different artists have to offer.
I offer some ArtHop picks in Thursday’s Life section, including the members shows at Gallery 25 and Fig Tree. (Pictured below is Lylia Carr’s mixed-media piece “Winter” at Gallery 25.)
I also highlight a show by Paul Mullins at K-Jewel Art Gallery. It sounds as if the gallery will be a festive place to be, with entertainment by the City Singers and Brass Ensemble from Fresno City College. I’m even told that each visitor who walks through the door will get a slice of sweet potato pie. (Though one of my editors was curious about that menu selection: Is that considered a holiday dessert? K-Jewel folks, can you fill us in?)
On the jump: a couple more pieces of art you can see tonight. Feel free to leave a comment on this post saying where you’re planning to “Hop” tonight.
In my list of ArtHop picks coming up in Thursday’s Life section, I start off with the first solo show since 2009 from Robert Weibel, who has had a lot of fun the past few years making his “gunpowder drawings.”
Weibel’s show is at 1821 Gallery & Studios, 1821 Calaveras St. If you’re intrigued by Weibel’s technique and want to experience it firsthand, you’ll want to mark this date on your calendar: Oct. 13 at the gallery, when the artist will offer a live sundown demonstration of gunpowder drawing.
ArtHop is the monthly open house of studios and galleries in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods. It’s held 5-8 p.m. the first Thursday of the month (although some places stay open later.) For information on more venues, go to the ArtHop website.
We didn’t have room in the print edition to include all the images I would have liked to feature, so look for more on the jump.
If it’s August, it must be time for William Raines’ annual invitational “Splash” show at Corridor 2122. The theme this year is “Home.” Raines selected works from 13 artists across the country for the show, which kicks off Thursday night with an ArtHop reception. Raines writes about the show:
Home is represented by both its exterior and interior through a cross section of social layers within the ideal of neighborhood. How do we express community, urban blight, belonging, security and suburban flight while believing in the American Dream of home ownership? A home is typically a place where people and ideas gather and find shelter, a place where sociability is rehearsed and reproduced. How, then, do we house the social?
I highlight “Splash” in my roundup of ArtHop picks in Thursday’s Life section. Another show that gets some ink is Cynthia Cooper’s “The Tower Tribes — A Rat’s Eye View” at Spectrum Art Gallery. More on that show — and a shout-out for The Art House, a new ArtHop venue — after the jump, along with still more picks.
1. SAMPLE SOME OPERA
The California Opera Association kicks off its annual summer festival tonight with a introductory artists showcase at 7 p.m. at the Fresno Art Museum. There are three more weekend events: an “Opera Americana” youth showcase 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and an abridged production of “La Traviata” (with principal singers but no chorus) at 2 p.m. Sunday, all at the museum. I have a big roundup in Friday’s 7 cover story about the festival. [Details]
I also offer my ArtHop picks in the print edition. Here they are with more images:
The Chris Sorensen Studio, 2223 S. Van Ness Ave., is holding a benefit exhibition for the Mariposa County Arts Council, which saw its offices and exhibition space destroyed in a May fire. Brian Kincade, one of the artists who lost work in the fire, is among the participants in the show.
One of the highlights of July’s ArtHop, which takes place 5-8 p.m. Thursday at galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods, is a big retrospective of works by Heinz Kusel at Fig Tree Gallery. (The works, donated by Kusel’s family, are being sold by silent auction.)
The artist, a Fresno State art professor and a well-known figure on the local arts scene until his death in 2005 at age 89, had a fascinating background that ranged from being forced to join the Hitler Youth to spending seven years in the Amazon with an indigenous tribe. I have an interview in Thursday’s Life section with Barbara Van Arnam, a former student of Kusel’s, who helped put the exhibition together.
Here’s an extended version of that interview. Following that, you can read a biographical summary about Kusel prepared by Elaine Lynn in conjunction with the show.
Question: What prompted this new exhibition of the works of Heinz Kusel?
Answer: Tom Kusel, Heinz’ son, after choosing the art that he and his family wanted to keep, felt it best to distribute Heinz’ artwork to the greater public, and to sell it, with proceeds going to benefit Fig Tree Gallery, where Heinz was a long time member. Tom wants Heinz’ legacy to live on beyond the immediate family.
1. GET ‘AWAKENED’
Lots of excitement over “Spring Awakening” at the Fresno Memorial Auditorium. I’ll be there tonight for opening. The show runs through July 7. We give the production a big splash in today’s issue of 7:
1. GET ‘MERRY’ WITH THE WIVES
“The Real Housewives of Windsor” they aren’t (well, maybe just a little), but Amelia Ryan as Mistress Page and Jennifer Hurd-Peterson as Mistress Ford manage to stir up a lot of silly in the first show of the Woodward Shakespeare Festival summer season. “The Merry Wives of Windsor” is anchored by a wonderfully puffed-up performance by Aaron Spjute, whose blustery Falstaff tries to woo the two leading matrons in town, with predictably disastrous results. It plays 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday.
1. GET ‘DIRTY’ ONE LAST TIME
The Good Company Players happy production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is in its final weekend. Peter Allwine (pictured below), Gordon Moore and Danielle Jorn give high-caliber comedic performances in this adaptation of the 1988 film. [Details]
Bob Sieloff peers up a 16-foot metal sculpture by Karen Johnston, part of the March ArtHop exhibition at K-Jewel Art Gallery. Also featured: photographs by Tamela Ryatt; Black and drawings by Anne Scheid. Musical guests for the night are Mike Dana, Rich Severson, Gary Newmark and Roy Carlson.
There are lots more ArtHop options for the night. I wrote a piece in last Friday’s 7 section detailing four of them, which I’ll post on the jump.
Where will you be going for ArtHop? Artists and galleries, feel free to pitch your shows in the comments section.
In Thursday’s Life section I offer some picks for tonight’s ArtHop, the monthly open house of studios and galleries in the downtown and Tower District areas. Top on my list is Ramiro Martinez’s Anvil Gallery & Studio, which has just opened in Manchester Center mall — an unlikely spot for an ArtHop venue. From my story:
The gallery is the first of its kind in the shopping center, but Martinez says he doesn’t feel artistically lonely. He hopes that more galleries will follow.
It’s an interesting location for a new gallery, and an exciting one. Can you imagine if three or four galleries joined Martinez’s to create a nice little ArtHop destination? It could become a new unlikely hot spot.
This young-and-hip Israeli percussion duo PercaDu teams up with the Fresno Philharmonic 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. I interview Adi Morag, one-half of the duo, in today’s issue of 7. Also on the Philharmonic program: Barber’s “School for Scandal Overture” and the Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 1.
1. ENJOY A RADIO PLAY
I don’t know what the ticket situation is for “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” for the final two performances tonight and Saturday at Fresno State, but an email I received yesterday from the box office was encouraging people to buy beforehand and avoid long lines. I gave this charming production my highest recommendation. Here’s my review.
Ogata — one of Fresno’s great talents — calls his new show “Haiku.” The photo above doesn’t do the works in this series justice. There’s an intense, dimensional feeling of depth to these minimalist works done in chalk and acrylic, and it’s easy to let your eyes almost swim in them, especially when you get up close. I love the moody color schemes, the sense of line and movement, the way that the elongated shadows seem to stretch to impossible proportions. If you were to inspect an inventory of the actual elements of these works — the lack of strong colors, the large amounts of open space, the near-organic forms (are they flowers? dragonflies?) in heavy silhouette — you’d think the whole experience would be somber. But the works come across as brisk, lively, light. They’re enveloping.
The artist’s reception at Fig Tree Gallery for the show will be 2-4 p.m. Sunday at the gallery, 644 Van Ness Ave.
In Friday’s 7 section I feature a show titled “Trans-Formation” by Iris Duarte at Fig Tree Gallery. (I’d provide a link, alas, but that gallery has a very hard time keeping its website updated. Best bet is to go directly to Duarte’s website.) There’s an interesting premise for the show: Duarte learned two years ago that her daughter, Rachel, planned to change her gender identity from female to male. It was a traumatic time for the artist, who had always liked to think of herself as tolerant but discovered that it can be harder to practice what you preach when you’re talking about your own child. Duarte spent the next two years making art in reaction to her son’s new identity — and he, now called Ewan, in the meantime, made a short documentary film about the experience, which is scheduled to be shown in the upcoming Fresno Reel Pride gay and lesbian film festival.
Here’s the complete interview with Duarte:
Question: Tell us about the letter you received from Ewan.
Answer: It was eight pages in length and explained my daughter’s decision to change gender from female to male, as well as a new name. It was a jolting shock. Due to the very close relationship I have with Ewan, intuitively I knew it was coming. To actually receive it and see that he had made to final decision to come out made it real. No more hoping, pretending, or denial.
One of the highlights of tonight’s monthly ArtHop in the downtown and Tower District is a juried exhibition at Gallery 25 called “Centralism 2.” I have a piece in Thursday’s Life section that talks a little about the show. The idea: Stand in the middle of it all, take a broad look at trends and styles in the art world, give a sweeping view of the current scene without taking any stand or involving a bias of one’s own.
Organizer Edward Gillum coined the term for last year’s first “Centralism” show:
“We are not necessarily trying to create a new ‘ism’ as much as offering an open sense of appreciating all ‘isms’ within the concept of Centralism,” Gillum says. “Being located in the Central Valley and seeking to have as diverse a representation of art being made today serve as the motivation for this show.”
More of my ArtHop picks for this month after the jump. Artists and patrons: Feel free to plug a favorite show in the comments.
No fooling, it feels like it’s going to be a big, exciting ArtHop tonight — there are lots of interesting shows planned. Lots of enthusiasm in the air! I offer my picks in Thursday’s Life section. I kick off with the festivities at the KJWL studios, where a giant, three-story mural of Frank Sinatra is just one of the paintings on display by Karen Kallmann. I write:
Kallman, who describes her work as “Ethereal Expressionism,” will not only be showing what is likely the largest ArtHop work – the mural is 36 by 12 feet – but the smallest as well, a 1-inch by 2-inch oil painting, one of several paintings featured inside the gallery. Kallmann, of San Jose, recently had two of her paintings displayed in the Women Artists of the West 38th Annual National Exhibition, a juried competition, at The Hilligoss Gallery in Chicago.
More of my picks on the jump. Artists and gallery owners: Feel free to make your own pitches in the comments section.
I saw some interesting shows last night. Feel free to add your own observations about these and other venues in the comments section.
GALLERY 25 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.
To kick off the national release of “Capitalism: A Love Story,” I’ve asked the studio to offer a number of screenings in the nation’s hardest hit cities — the ones with the highest unemployment rates and highest foreclosure rates — where those who’ve lost their jobs or who are in foreclosure (or have already been evicted) may attend my film free of charge. They’ve agreed, and so tonight (Thursday), the night before our opening day, ten cities will grant you free admission if you have fallen on hard times. The list of theaters and cities is below. You don’t need to bring any “proof” of your situation — just show up — it’s the honor system, no questions asked.
My review of “Capitalism” is in Friday’s 7 section, but it’s already moved on the national McClatchy wire. Here’s a sneak peek from the Kansas City Star.
Amy Kasai was truly a beloved artist in the Fresno area. As one of the founding members of Fig Tree Gallery in 1962, she made a big impact on the arts scene. A retrospective featuring the work of Kasai, who passed away recently, is up this month at Fig Tree. A free reception will be held 4-7 p.m. Saturday at the gallery.
I caught up with Mary Maughelli, who curated the show, via email to ask her some questions about Kasai’s legacy.
Question: How did you pick the works in this retrospective exhibition?
Answer: The artworks in the gallery were chosen to give an overview of the media she worked in
such as printmaking, collages, photographs with pastels extending the image, and the silver mylar work as well as the Flotsam series. These works show her development and her bold experimentation. The paper collages are emphasized because this was the area she primarily worked in. But the earliest piece in the show is a woodcut of a figure and was done in New York in 1952. She did not work in collage until she returned to Fresno.
In today’s Life section I put the spotlight on the 35th anniversary show celebrating women artists at Gallery 25, which brings together a number of original members of the co-op with nine emerging artists selected for their passion and technique. (At right, a painting by Meiru Huang called “Trouble the Chaos.”) Together with the recently opened show at Fresno State devoted to the students of Judy Chicago, this month is turning out to be a big deal for people interested in feminist art.
I received an annoyed call this morning from a member of Fig Tree Gallery, just down the street from Gallery 25, who was upset that I hadn’t given the same kind of coverage in the print edition to the Amy Kai show opening in that space. This tribute to Kasai, who passed away earlier this year, is a major show, the caller said, and I should be very sorry for having missed it.
I do wish that I’d been able to include the Kasai show in my roundup of ArtHop events, but the problem is that Fig Tree is so inconsistent with its publicity. When I was checking for September shows, I went to the Fig Tree site, saw that it hadn’t been updated from the August show, and gave up. Other galleries manage to get the word out and update their Web sites. Why can’t Fig Tree?
So, while you’re at Gallery 25, don’t forget to check out the Kasai show. She deserves the attention. In the meantime, check out a few other ArtHop highlights on the jump.
Mike Oz beat me to the punch with his Thursday checklist, but I just wanted to add a couple of interesting options for tonight:
FREE CONCERT: David Skinner was kind of a music nerd when he graduated from McLane High School in the early 1980s. And no one from his family had gone to college. So it probably would have surprised people back then to think that 25 years later he’d be a professor at Cambridge, the holder of a doctorate from Oxford, one of the top early-music scholars in the world and the founder of a prominent musical group with a recording career. Oh, and that he’s even picked up an English accent and hangs out with the Duke of Norfolk. I have a story in Thursday’s Life section.
Skinner conducts the Choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, which is on a West Coast tour. It’ll perform 7 p.m. tonight at the Shrine of St. Therese Catholic Church, 855 E. Floradora Ave., in the Tower District. And it’s free!
ARTHOP OPTIONS: Mike tipped you off to some good ArtHop possibilities. There are some interesting shows at some of the other usual suspects, including Gallery 25, Corridor 2122 and Fig Tree Gallery. I wrote about them in my Sunday Spotlight column (second item).
Mike Oz gave you some great options, and I fall to my knees on a towel and praise the heavens that none of his picks involve 1) parolees; 2) hats; or 3) transmission of the H1N1 virus. Here are a few more weekend suggestions from the arts/culture side of the aisle:
LISTEN TO OPERA IN A MAGNIFICENT CHURCH: The Fresno Grand Opera’s annual “Opera on Van Ness” concert features “opera’s biggest hits along with the greatest of classical melodies sung by the Fresno Grand Opera Chorus and Soloists.” 5 p.m. Sunday, First Congregational Church, 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd. There’s a pre-performance Silent auction and reception at 4 p.m. presented in association with the church.
This self-imposed manifesto puts him beyond the limits experienced by amateur weekend photographers content to traipse the highways and byways of the Valley seeking the glories of nature. Purple Hat prefers the kind of locales that are accessible only by sweat and calories. In a 21-day trip he took last August to the high Sierra, Mr. Hat conquered California’s highest lakes by swimming (and photographing) them. The highest, situated a bit over 13,000 feet, was 51 degrees. “I was really glad when I got out of it,” he says nonchalantly.
The swimming was secondary to the photography, however. Purple Hat’s show, which he calls “The Source,” features the artist’s massive panoramic landscape views. He’s joined by Madera photographer Bob Barks, whose “Terra Homini, An Exhibition of B & W Nudes” has a completely different emotional feel than P.H.’s big, enthusiastic glimpses of nature. It’s an interesting combination.