An exhibition of works by Kingsburg artist Maxine Olson is always worth your attention. Nine of her paintings are featured at 1821 Gallery & Studios in a show titled “It’s All About Sex.” It’s one of my picks for Thursday’s March ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods. (Most venues are open 5-8 p.m.; check the Fresno Arts Council’s site for details.)
Olson’s work in this show is mostly from the 1980s. Gallery owner Bruce Kalkowski says the paintings have a lush and magical feel, and they suggest Portuguese influences mixed with the Old Masters.
“The Visitation” features “satyrs from Rubens, and they have a real mythological look,” Olson says. “They also look a little naughty with twinkles in their eyes and a girl lying prone on the bed in the background, giving the piece a Bacchanalian tinge. The painting deals with issues of fear, innocence, cunning and dominance.”
Though the title of the show sounds risque, and while the works are mildly provocative, “It’s nothing I wouldn’t show my grandkids,” Kalkowski says. The show is about sex in the sense that the works have a feminist viewpoint.
This will be Olson’s first appearance at 1821 Gallery. Though these works are all oils, the artist is also known for her digital works.
“Maxine is one of the area’s most accomplished artists,” Kalkowski says. “I felt in these times it needed to be seen.”
Details: “It’s All About Sex” runs through March 31 at 1821 Gallery & Studios, 1821 Calaveras St., Fresno.
Fig Tree Gallery
Linda Zupcic’s block woodprints are featured in her first exhibition at Fig Tree Gallery. As a Prather resident, she’s drawn to the beauty of the foothills.
“My work certainly reflects my preference for rural life,” she says. “My husband and I are Bay Area refugees and wanted to be closer to the mountains to indulge our love of backpacking. I’ve tried city life; it’s not right for me, and after 14 years in the hills I know I can never go back.”
Her ArtHop opening includes a printmaking demonstration at 6 p.m.
Details: Linda Zupcic at Fig Tree Gallery, 644 Van Ness Ave., Fresno. The show runs through April 1.
Clay Hand Studios
If you’re a fan of bonsai, you don’t want to miss the work of clay artist April Grigsby, who integrates her creative energies with the traditional Japanese art by making functional containers for bonsai trees. Her new show is a highlight at Clay Hand Studios. From her bio:
During my teens, I became very interested in the art of bonsai and eventually began pursuing it as a hobby. After a move to southeast Florida in the mid 1990’s I became an active member in the Lighthouse Bonsai Society. During the early 2000s I began making bonsai pots. In 2002, I entered two pots in the 2nd National Juried Bonsai Pot Exhibition and won a second place in the traditional category.
Since moving to the area, she has become active in the Fresno Bonsai Society.
Details: April Grigsby’s “Functional Vessels” at Clay Hand Studios, 660 Van Ness Ave. The show runs through March.
Fresno City College
Art Space curator Elena Harvey Collins alerts me to a new (and sort of wild sounding) show titled “Thickets” opening in her gallery.
Boasting works from such artists as Judy Chicago, Tina Williams Brewer and Teresa Flores, the exhibition is described as “a tangle of media, intergenerational connections and feminisms.” It includes quilting, painting, collage, sculpture and installation art.
Details: “Thickets” at Fresno City College Art Space Gallery on campus. The show runs through April 6.
M Street Graduate Studios
Fresno State’s Center for Creativity and the Arts, the university’s art and design department, and the Black Faculty and Staff Association have teamed up to present ““Eyes Forward: Creating our Narratives,” an exhibition featuring four contemporary African-American artists.
Sculptors Michael Chukes and Tim Washington and multimedia artists April Bey and Loren Holland are featured.
The show is a scaled-down version of a larger exhibition that debuted at the Los Angeles Art Show in January. Cindy Urrutia, director of CCA, tells Fresno State’s arts and humanities blog that although the four artists have diverse backgrounds, interests, and life experiences, their narratives intersect on themes related to race, class, social and gender issues. In “Eyes Forward,” the viewer is invited to contemplate the artists’ disenchantment with the current social establishment, as well as their altruistic vision for a more harmonious future.
Details: “Eyes Forward” runs through March 31 at M Street Graduate Studios, 1419 M St. Holland and Chukes will be part of an artist lecture and panel moderated by Keith Jordan from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1, in Conley Art 101 on the Fresno State campus.
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