5 picks for October ArtHop: Chris Janzen gets personal at Fig Tree


We all have certain ways we can describe the roles we play in life. Chris Janzen prefers the say-it-all-in-one gulp approach.

How does “artist-professor-musician-parent-husband-consumer” sound?

The Fresno Pacific University art professor — and adjunct instructor of music and guitar — gets more introspective than ever in his newest show, “Chris Janzen: Recent Work,” a collection of new oil paintings and drawings.

“The show is more personal and raw than previous efforts of mine, in part due to my recent love of large-scale graphite and charcoal drawing,” Janzen says.

It opens Thursday, Oct. 4, at Fig Tree Gallery as part of ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods. (For a complete list of venues, check the Fresno Arts Council’s roundup.)


Janzen strives for a playful spontaneity in his works. He often starts with a small drawing or collage containing commercial imagery, personal photos, screenshots from social media, and other found objects or artifacts.

He writes that he combines a meditation on personal daily experience with addressing the challenges we all face as members of society.

“The paintings and drawings contain symbolic subjects representing thoughts, joys, fears, experiences, and experiments from my daily life as a means of seeking truth in unexpected ways.”

Consider one of his paintings in the show titled “Sick Kid” (pictured above):

It depicts the artist’s daughter asleep on on a wood floor surrounded by abstract splashes of color, palm trees, a stuffed-animal, a hairy green monstrous foot, and other dream-like subject-matter.

Now that’s spontaneous.

The show runs through Oct. 28.

Other ArtHop picks

Chris Sorensen Studio & Galleries

“We know how much artists love to paint landscapes,” says Diane Abbott, who’s excited about “The Land Scape” juried exhibition opening at Sorensen. (What’s also true is that people love to buy landscapes, so there’s a lot of satisfaction all around.)

These big juried shows are fun to wander through at Sorensen. I haven’t received final word about how many entries were selected, but I’m guessing there will be a wide variety of styles, media and approaches.

Also at the studio: an exhibition titled “Art Bras for Breast Cancer Awareness,” a fundraiser presented by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center and the Komen Central Valley Race for the Cure team.

M Street Graduate Studios

If you’re up for thinking deep thoughts at ArtHop, this one’s for you.

Fresno State opens an exhibition featuring the work of Fresno’s Varaz Samuelian (who died in 1995) and contemporary Armenian artist Henrik Abedian. It’s titled ““The Business of Regret: Perspectives on War, Chaos and the Rejection of Violence.”

Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Fresno State Armenian Studies Program coordinator, is quoted in Fresno State News:

The exhibit is important to Fresno State because it brings the perspectives of two artists to the question of violence and how we address it. Their works stress the rejection of violence, and, because they are from two different generations, they each bring their unique view to the question. They have different experiences, but their art brings them to similar conclusions.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Fresno State’s Center for Creativity and the Arts, the Department of Art and Design, the Armenian Studies Program and the M Street Graduate Studios, and is also sponsored by the Connect Contemporary Fine Art Gallery.

The show runs through Oct. 28. The complex is at 1419 M St. After the ArtHop reception, gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Friday to Sunday. Gallery viewing appointments can be made by calling 559.278.2516.

‘We Wear the Mask,’ by Valerie Runningwolf.

Gallery 25

Valerie Runningwolf’s new exhibition, “Behind the Mask,” hammers home a key point through the medium of mixed media: “Who we are on the outside is often not the person who is on the inside. The mask is what people see. But, behind the mask we can find our true selves.”

Gallery 25 is located inside the M Street Art Complex, 1419 M St.

William Roeser’s ‘Aspen Stand.’

Spectrum Art Gallery

Fun obscure fact about me: I love photographs of aspens. I think the trees are simply glorious. A few years back I visited Aspen, Colo., and went wild photographing all those shimmering leaves the color of saffron, set off by elegant silver trunks.

William Roeser’s new exhibition at Spectrum, titled “A Walk in the Woods,” offers aspens and more. He writes:

My photography is personal. When I’m out in the woods, I’m capturing images that are moving to me – that are stirring emotions, some of them verbally speaking to me, “wow that’s incredible” but often just a satisfying stirring of my soul as I look through the lens.

That passion for nature can be contagious.

Roeser’s show is paired with Paola Staeblein’s “Magical Snow, Mystical Ice” — also with a focus on the outdoors.

The exhibitions run at Spectrum through Oct. 28.


Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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