5 picks for February ArtHop

Options include Dixie Salazar at Fig Tree Gallery, Suzanne Bertz-Rosa at Bitwise, and the new show “Kindred” at Arte Americas

Dixie Salazar turns her attention to a prominent issue in her new show at Fig Tree Gallery: global warming. It’s one of my picks for interesting sounding exhibitions in ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and exhibitions in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods.

I checked in with Salazar to get a preview of “Summer 2017: Fire and Water.”

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Q: How many works are there in the show? Tell us about your approach.

A: There are four quite large painted collages. They are abstract but with much perceived water imagery and fire also. I also collaged burned paper onto the pieces. I was working on this piece in the summer of 2017 and was affected at some level by all the devastation caused by natural upheavals. I work intuitively, so much of this became apparent to me after I finished the work.

There are three other smaller painted collages. I call them this because they start out as a collage and eventually, I paint on them to unify the compositions and they then become a kind of hybrid. There are also about twenty-five smaller oil pastel drawings, with pencil and colored ink. Many relate to the theme, but some veer off into other themes. There are a series of un-still life ones and a some others exploring negative space.

I was initially exploring mediums. The oil pastel drawings grew out of explorations with a switch in mediums. The large painted collages became the focal point of the theme of this show. I am very concerned about what is happening to our environment. Governments and leaders come and go, but the environment is forever (hopefully.)

Q: What inspired you to do the show?

A: The large four piece work titled “2017 Summer of Fire and Water” speaks to me in a metaphorical way. There are dreamy shapes hinting at water and undersea flora and fauna and fire imagery interspersed. I liked working with the hot, cool color combinations. I am always attracted to water themes and have come back to them again and again in my work. In 2009 I did a large body of work called “Escaping Gravity,” using the figure floating in various positions under water, inspired by illustrations from a Red Cross water safety book. Water is central to our survival but can also be a destructive force. The same goes for fire. This summer I became more aware of the dangers facing the survival of the human race if we don’t address climate change.

Q: You’re including a talk on global warming at the closing reception. Have you ever included a talk on a hot-button issue as part of a show before?

A: I thought that if I am to bring awareness to this issue, it needs a bit more than just visual images. It is always a challenge to explore themes in visual terms, and I don’t like being too overt in the work. But, hopefully, the viewer will sense/feel the urgency of this issue through the images. And the talk will be a reinforcement, I hope. Yes, I have tackled many issues in my work before, social justice issues in the Mayan inspired work at Artes several years ago, for one. I’ve also explored homeless issues in a series of paintings and photographs I took at the H Street encampments that were shown at a social justice conference in Stanislaus last year.

Q: Anything else you’d like to say?

A: I’ve been waiting a long time to show this work. The drawings have been done for a few years, so I’m excited about the show. I welcome responses.

Details: Through Feb. 24 at Fig Tree Gallery, 644 Van Ness Ave., Fresno. The closing reception (2-4 p.m.) on Feb. 24 includes a talk on global warming.


Bitwise

Suzanne Bertz-Rosa, a prominent area graphic designer, is featured in her first solo show. You can see it at Bitwise South Stadium along with a concurrent show by photographer Paul Mullins.

Bertz-Rosa’s “Pieces of Mind” chronicles her creative work for the last 20 years, from early drawings and photography to artistic conceits of vulnerability, snark and happiness.

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It’s divided into five mini-exhibitions. Details from her artist’s statement:

Mind & Memory: My early work consisted of primarily of drawings from years spent at numerous art schools in San Francisco. Drawing is a muscle and takes repetition to tone and hone. Regrettably, it is a muscle that I hardly exercise anymore. These drawings represent my hand at its fittest.

The Fable: Originally initiated as an animated short, “The Land of Handmade Sadness” morphed into a book. It is an illustrated tale imagined and written by Roy Rosa and designed by me. It provides the narrative for characters in an untitled mural on the side of Broadway Studios.

Bits of Me: My newest mixed media pieces are influenced by artists and movements that most resonate with me: Miró, Calder, Abstract Expressionist, Dadist, and Pop Art. To me they express the desire to live a full life with love, beauty, and humor.

Home & Away: As someone with a designer’s eye, I’m inspired by compositions encountered in everyday life. These photographs share the places I’ve lived and visited.

Birds on a Wire: The lyrical and graphic nature of the lines provided by the wires that crisscross our sky speaks to my inner graphic geek. Like in paintings by Demuth, the lines seem to create both abstraction and composition, appealing to me both as artist and designer.

The show “is about vulnerability and growth — about breaking out of the designer constraints in hopes of discovering new thoughts and feelings,” she writes.

Details: Bitwise South Stadium, 700 Van Ness Ave., Fresno. The building is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.


KINDRED arte americas

Arte Americas

Danny Greene was hit by a drunken driver and suffered a major brain injury. The accident gave him a virtuosic ability to paint — he only painted once in junior high school — and he can utilize any medium.

He’s just one of the artists featured in “Kindred,” a new exhibition at Arte Americas.

Curator Frank Delgado writes: “It should be noted that each participating artist’s own life stories can read like a compelling novels. These artists, whether they have met or not — are kindred.”

Participating artists are Rebecca Caraveo, Judy DeRosa, Jose Elias, Richard Gomez, Greene, Charles Perez, Christina Ramos, Ruben Sanchez and Oscar Torres.

Details: Arte Americas, 1630 Van Ness Ave.


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Fresno City College

The Art Space Gallery features “Clase abstracta de brujería,” a solo project by Fresno based-artist and City College instructor Ricardo Rivera. This site specific exhibition has evolved as the artist worked in the gallery over recent weeks. Rivera’s expansive practice includes performance, drawing, and immersive installations that blend projections, video, sound, and sculpture.

“It is a very immersive and interactive exhibition,” curator Elena Harvey Collins says.

Details: The exhibition runs through Feb. 15.


DonnaleeDunee_July10inUtah

Gallery 25

Finally, here’s a sexy exhibition title for you: Gallery 25’s February/March show is called “Erotica.” If that doesn’t cause increased traffic to the gallery, what will? The co-op’s stable of established artists offers varying takes on the theme. Pictured is Donnalee Dunne’s “July 10th in Utah.”

Details: Gallery 25 is located in the M Street Arts Complex, 1419 M St.


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Author: Donald Munro

Covering the arts in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond.

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