4 picks for March ArtHop: Salazar, Bickford, Spectrum Art and Vernissage

When musician Roger Perry saw an early version of Dixie Salazar’s painting “Synthesis,” he had an immediate reaction:

“I see C-sharp,” he said.

That was exactly the kind of thing that Salazar, a longtime painter and poet, was going for. She approached this particular work, painted in three sections as a triptych, with the theme of creative collaboration in mind. The idea: She would start a work, and then a musician would respond with an original composition, and then she would respond to that response.

“I saw it as a back-and-forth,” she says.

You can see the result in Salazar’s new exhibition, also titled “Synthesis,” which opens Thursday, March 5, at Fig Tree Gallery. It’s part of ArtHop. The monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods runs at most venues from 5-8 p.m. (The Fresno Arts Council offers an updated list of shows and venues.)

Salazar’s technique in this exhibition is primarily collage and oils. She begins by collecting images, and then augments and refines the work using paint.


“It’s a process I’ve been exploring for a while, and I keep going back to that,” she says.

Besides music, other works in the show include such themes as environmental and women’s issues.

Music in general has always been a great inspiration for artists, as have other art forms such as dance. But Salazar didn’t want hers to be a one-sided process. She didn’t want an artist merely to respond to her work, or vice versa; she hoped for the creative spirit that can spark when two artists feed off each other.

It’s the first time she’s directly collaborated with musicians on a show, although music has always been important to her, especially in times of crisis.

“It’s a bit personal in a way,” she says. “I lost my husband three years ago. It’s been very difficult. I guess music was something that really helped me to get through that time. I went out and listened to music. I felt like it was a healing factor. It really saved me in many ways.”

Salazar also worked with harmonica player Jeff Hallock in the musical collaboration.

An interesting thing happened in the “first round” of painting and music. The musical reaction to the triptych wasn’t what she quite expected.

The song was very lyrical, soft and peaceful.

“I thought the painting was bolder and more contrasty than his musical response,” she says.

So, in the spirit of collaboration, she made changes in the work to reflect Perry’s interpretation. And that, she says, was the idea from the beginning.

You can listen to the “Synthesis” song on YouTube, and QR codes in the gallery will allow viewers on their smartphones to access the musical component of the exhibition. There will also be live musical performances at the ArtHop opening reception and at the closing as well.

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Shannon Bickford’s ‘A Quality of Quiet.’

Gallery 25

Shannon Bickford is featured artist at Gallery 25 in the M Street Arts Complex. The show is titled “A Quality of Quiet.”

Here’s a description:

In this series of watercolor and mixed still lifes, Bickford captures a quality of quiet with the strong unidirectional light reminiscent of early morning or evening, claiming that it is the stillness of quiet that invites us to heed whispers otherwise masked by the bustle of a brightly lit day. In the quiet we can listen, reflect and gather inspiration.

The exhibition runs through March 28.

Spectrum Art Gallery

Fresno’s premier center for photographic arts, Spectrum Art Gallery, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and the first major event is the return of the annual auction at the end of March. The gallery’s March exhibit features over 50 works of fine art photography from local, national and internationally known artists. Included among the artwork is a rare portfolio of 12 highly collectible Edward Weston photographs.

The works will be offered for purchase at Spectrum’s live auction, on Saturday, March 28, at the Fresno Art Museum.

A work by Jose Aguirre at Vernissage.


Featured artist is Jose Aguirre, who has a background in film and music. Here’s his statement:

I explore Sci‐fi themes in my current artwork. I have been influenced by Surrealism, Cubism, Futurism and Abstract Expressionism. In my creative process, I start with a sketch, I paint with thin layers of oil and I let the painting dry for some time. Onto the next phase of the process I begin to erase by sanding down layers of oil paint. In some cases taking an opportunity to form and create a move that wasn’t originally from sketch. It is a critical point in the painting process that I admire. In some cases a painting can reach a point where its near completion and then it is erased and reworked.

Aguirre earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art at Fresno State in 2006.


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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