Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
Another opening! Another show! Fresno's monthly Art Hop highlights galleries featuring a mix of new and old art. Here are some of each.
This month, Ma Ly's Vernissage gallery has hung a dozen of Marianne's textured mixed media pieces. Nice space. Nice work - and commercially successful. Friend Pat bought a red mixed media panel for Marianne's first sale from Vernissage. New clients are always a very welcome endorsement.
Part of the fun of Art Hop is that artists show up and socialize. In the room Marianne was using, Terry Ellsworth had a wall full of his large, colorful acrylics. I like these space-inspired pieces, both from a distance and close up.
Dixie Salazar, a local painter and writer for decades, had a room full of her work in a display entitled "People, Places, Things". Definitely big-city worthy. She also added to Marianne's artist-prepared cookies in one of the small-town aspects of Fresno Art Hop. It's all good.
I'm not really part of Marianne's show, at least not enough to spend the three-hours an Art Hop Thursday requires, so I headed out to browse and take a few pictures at other venues.
I started with Chris Sorensen's on the far side of Fresno. Chris runs a co-op of sorts and rents space to a couple dozen artists of varying skills and reputation. At the upper end is Kliszewski Glass, some of the nicest glass anywhere, big city or small. Bob Kliszewski was not open for this Art Hop, but he's worth a mention anyway. Absolutely, one of our favorites.
I wandered around Sorensen's rabbit warren of artist galleries, soaking in the rough nature of much of the work on display. Chris Sorensen's own art is based on "found material", usually metal, often ingredients as simple as coat hangers. His artist-renters also seem like a collection of found material.
On this evening, I chatted with David Spencer, a painter who featured small scenes from the Tower District, his and our neighborhood. (Outside the back door of Sorensen's building was a junk yard. I wonder if this should more properly be viewed as a mine for artist material. It all depends.)
Next on my wanderings was the studio of Robert Ogata. Ogata's work is wonderful, reflecting skills developed over 50 or 60 years teaching and practicing art. The works on display are large, almost monochrome, but filled with details that require up-close, in-person, examination. (His work is featured in galleries in San Francisco and Arizona, in case you can't make it to Fresno!)
Across the street is Clay Hands Studio, another of my regular stops on Art Hop Thursdays. Clay Hands is a co-op where the mission is both to make art and to create an environment for like-minded artists to learn from one another. This month's challenge was pots-with-lids, simple sounding, but reflecting skills in forming, coloring, and firing.
1821 Gallery always has high-quality art on display. This months featured artist was Kevin Stewart-Magee, a Fresno City College painting instructor. The paintings were of common items done in a very subtle style. I was most impressed with how he transformed a shirt or shoes, hanging out to dry, into art, not realistic, but not really abstract either. A blend I wish I could do with photographs. (Maybe I'll try?)
My last stop was at church, the First Presbyterian Church of Fresno. This is not a regular place for me (on Art Hop or any other day), but I still had a few minutes to spend before heading back to Vernissage.
This month, the church was featuring Sue Hague a "writer" of icons, a very traditional art form Marianne and I first encountered in our time in Kiev, Ukraine. (The tradition includes "writing" the works, not "painting" or "creating".) Hague was there, explaining her process and the overall history of icons. This was apparently her first Art Hop and I can imagine it will not be her last. Her skills and enthusiasm for her particular expression of art needs to be rewarded with attention, as it does for all other artists in our community.
As for Marianne's show at back at Vernissage, it was a success. Her mixed media panels received both positive attention and a sale, the real measure of art appreciation.
Now she needs to work on the next show, in July, again at Vernissage, but with a room large enough to show a full range of her work. I suppose this will keep her busy both selecting display-worthy parts of her old work and creating new pieces.
John and Marianne