5 picks for June ArtHop: Daniel Van Gerpen gets above it all at A Sense of Place

Daniel Van Gerpen likes the bird’s-eye view.

In his new exhibition “Above and Beyond,” opening Thursday, June 1, at A Sense of Place Fine Art Gallery, Van Gerpen explores the shapes and colors of the Central Valley from an aerial perspective. His collection of paintings, he says, “explores that perspective where places and things become lines and shapes, where productive fields shift to color fields, and light and color capture the essence of the valley.”

His show is a highlight of June ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods. Most venues are open 5-8 p.m. For an extended list of venues and hours, go to the Fresno Arts Council’s website.

I caught up with Van Gerpen to ask a few questions about his latest works:

Q: Did you actually get up in the air to get these perspectives?

A: Inspiration and reference for my paintings come from a few sources including low-level flights, using a drone, and sometimes imagination and combining elements from a few sources. Some of my paintings are representative of a particular place and rely more on source images; other times I just start making marks and work those into compositions that connect with my current working theme of aerial landscapes.


Q: I always make it a point when I’m flying in and out of Fresno to look out the window and enjoy the green. Do you do the same?

A: I do enjoy looking out the window while flying. I am curious in observing how the landscape changes as perspective and altitude change.

Q: The desert sun often seems to wash out the colors in the Central Valley landscape. Are you painting what you see, or are you painting what you feel?

A: While my work is concentrated on the theme of an aerial perspective of the Central Valley, I work on the spectrum between representation and abstraction.This relates to colors, elements, and compositions. In some cases I am chasing that “dirty light” of the hot summers and seeking to capture the quality of light that coats the valley. The mix of atmosphere, dirt, dust, and smog. The light in the valley has a certain familiar quality that is different from anywhere else.

Then in winter, the morning Tule fog creates a thick veil that balances on the edge of blocking out the light and creating a luminous blanket. On the edge of those two states is a beautiful moment as the sunlight begins to emerge.

My compositions are often abstracted, but recognizable. My use of color often takes on a similar quality. Some paintings are earthy and muted in color. Other times they are bold, vibrant, and border on the surreal and speak more to a sense of the place rather than direct representation.

This collection features several pieces representing the Blossom Trail. This is a special time of year when the fields are buzzing with new life. The diversity of colors at this time of year is inspiring and I draw colors from the whites, pinks, and new greens that only show themselves at this time of year. I seek to capture the energy of this season in composition, energetic brushstrokes, and colors. So I would say I paint both what I see and what I feel. To me this is not binary as how I feel influences what I see, or more appropriately, how I see.

“Above and Beyond” runs from June 1-10. Along with ArtHop (4-7 p.m.), an artist reception will be held 1-3 p.m. Saturday, June 3.

Other ArtHop picks:


The Community Media Access Collaborative is celebrating Pride Month at June ArtHop.

Says marketing and development manager Natalie Nigg: “We are showcasing community-produced programs featuring the LGBTQ+ community, which includes CMAC’s coverage of the Rainbow Pride Parades, some of our youth-produced documentaries about LGBTQ+ rights and mental health challenges, as well as work produced by the Cross-Cultural and Gender Center at Fresno State, the Fresno County Public Library, and Clovis Community College.”

The works include public discussions, group conversations and guest speakers.

CMAC is partnering with the Fresno Reel Pride Festival to mark Pride Month. An ArtHop social hour will be held from 6-7 p.m. that will include refreshments and a chance to mingle with festival organizers.

Spectrum Art Gallery

Rebecca Caraveo’s new show at Spectrum honors 30 years of “knowing wonderful people, visiting exciting places and having great adventures, with my camera by my side.”

The show, titled “Revisited,” includes the photographer’s travels in France, one of her favorite places. A highlight is images of Notre Dame cathedral and the changes before and since the fire, including two silver gelatin pieces, one highlighting the wooden centerpiece of the roof that was lost.

Caraveo is a steadfast admirer of film photography but eventually found creative inspiration in digital imagery. Her eclectic resume includes rock ‘n’ roll (“photography opened so many doors for me and allowed me to not only meet my musical heroes but play music with them”) and teaching photography at Fresno City College (“inspiring a whole new generation of photographers was a bonus, and a bucket list item I didn’t even know I had.”)

Along with ArtHop, an artist’s reception will be held 2-5 p.m. June 17. The exhibition runs through June 17.

Downtown Artist Gallery

After finishing his AA degree at Fresno City College, Michael Phillips attended Brooks Institute of Photography and received his BFA. He has pursued fine art photography for the past 42 years.

Phillips is the featured artist at Downtown Artist Gallery, 701 L St. His show is titled “First Forty.”

He fell into photography on a hitchhiking trip from California to Alaska after graduating from high school. His older brother loaned him his 35mm Nikormat camera to document the trip.

“Armed with a few rolls of black and white film, I set off,” he writes. “I had absolutely no clue what I was doing photographically but I did know this was something I wanted to explore in depth.”

Most of the images were taken with an 8×10 view camera, which requires one to be deliberate and patient.

“Instant gratification is not part of the equation. I have recently purchased a digital camera and have begun shooting with it. Getting into rhythm with nature and your surroundings is a key component of my process. I hope the photographs convey the joy and excitement that I feel when photographing.”

The window for shows at Downtown Artist Gallery is quite short. It’s open for ArtHop and then again from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, June 3.

Scarab Creative Arts

The Merced-based Contemporary Humanitarian Artists Association (CHAA) is featured at Scarab Creative Arts for June. It will be a large group show with works by Joel Aguilar, Iris Asai, Frank Ayala, Cheryl Barnett, Abel Corchado, Lisa Gilliland-Viney, Richard Gomez, Kate Jackson, Charles A. Perez, Eddie O. Rodriguez, Ruben Sanchez, Sue Thompson and Oscar Torres.

The artists have a shared philosophy: that creativity, contemplation, and exploration are key to the human spirit.

The group’s Facebook page declares: “Together we encourage that humanitarian endeavor, bringing greater awareness and appreciation of the importance of the visual arts to our existence, to our community and to society as a whole. CHAA members are committed to exploring the many themes that define art. We want others to see the world from many perspectives and be conscious of our role as part of a larger society – to help each other while being good stewards of our shared planet.”

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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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