August ArtHop picks: The Cooler heats things up. Also: Moulton and Barrett at Spectrum; ‘Beneath the Surface’ closes; Fig Tree and Sorensen

In the heat of summer, it can pay off during ArtHop when your name is The Cooler.

Pictured above: Chitra Gopalakrishnan’s “Blinded by the Tears.”

This organization is a relatively new addition to the ArtHop scene, and it’s one of my picks for the August edition of Fresno’s open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods.

Hours for most venues are 5-8 p.m. Thursday, July 6. Check the Fresno Arts Council’s website for a list of venues, hours and updates.

Here are five picks:

The Cooler at The Reclaim

Suzie Falk Mariano founded The Cooler a year ago and has been holding quarterly group shows at The Reclaim (2001 N Van Ness Ave.), a therapy collective in the Fresno High neighborhood.


“My partnership with Reclaim has been great,” she says. “As a therapy practice, they wanted to showcase art and be a part of the ArtHop event. Together we came to the conclusion that these shows would be themed around topics that come up in their practice with clients so the four shows have the following themes: emotion/feeling, connectivity/relationships, body and space/place.”

The current show is titled “Body Language” and features local and out-of-town artists.

More from our conversation:

Q: Tell me more about The Cooler.

A: It’s really about offering a place for the community to see and experience art both local and from out of the area. We would love to bring some new names, fresh experiences and further the conversation around arts here in town. The plan is to host more pop-up shows, more workshops, and artist talks in the near future.

Q: What is your role?

A: These shows are curated, organized and installed by me. For all the shows I seek out and pitch the show to the artist I want on board and curate the pieces to fit and tell the story of the theme. I have had two so far with an impressive attendance and will have two more this year.

Q: How did you connect with The Reclaim?

A: The Reclaim is a group of therapist offices and they have been our location-partner for this four-part series. Each show theme coincides with issues and topics that come up in the work they do with their clients. The show in February was about emotions and feelings, May was about connectivity like relationships, this show is all about the body and then the November show is about spaces and places and their effect on us.

It has been such a wonderful partnership with goals that are aligned. We started working together because they wanted to destigmatize their space and invite the community in to see what they do and who they are. We’ve worked together to further conversations about the human experience and offer a unique space in the Fresno High neighborhood.

The body theme is something everyone can relate to as we all move through this world in one. All of the artists have a unique take on what it means to process ideas of the body through their work.

Q: Who are the artists?

Allyson Darakjian, of Fresno, recently graduated with her MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Southern Nevada University. She has explored themes around motherhood for the past 4-5 years and will be doing a 45-minute interactive performance (starting at about 7 p.m.) She will also be showing a few of her 2D abstract paintings.

 Tomas Galvan is a local musician who has been exploring a new sound recently that is more pop – to try and get people to move their bodies.

 Adrienne Carcha-Diaz is at Fresno City College studying art. She is making some oversized tapestries with paint and embroidery that are replications of some body scarring that she and other people she knows have experienced.

 Erica Everage is a Los Angeles native. She recently graduated with her MFA from Otis and has been featured in Forbes, Timeout and a few other art publications. I came across her work at a hotel I was staying in and was just obsessed with them. She is a former dancer and actress and creates mixed media work that has forms and outlines in a sort of pre-historic way of portraying the body.

 Chitra Gopalakrishnan is an Indian-American living and teaching in San Diego. She is a designer by trade but has been painting a lot recently. She also co-owns a textile company that supports the rural textile makers in India. Her pieces are so amazing and punchy. The three pieces I chose for the show depict female figures in postures from classical Renaissance paintings but reimagines them with cloth over them from a female, immigrant gaze. They are stunning.

 Ezra Benus is a photographer and artist from New York. He does work around people with illness and disabilities. I thought it was important to have a perspective of ability, the healthcare system and illness.

 Child Art: We will be featuring 10 pieces from kids aged 4-9. We prompted them by asking them to draw their bodies and gave them freedom in materials and expression. The pieces are great and bring joy. I wanted to have a bit of work that showed a less adulterated view of body, something from a time more innocent and less complicated.

Q: What do you hope people get out of this particular show?

A: In addition to the overall vision of the shows and The Cooler being about encouraging conversations and process through direct experiences with art, I hope that people will leave feeling energized about the art they have seen. I hope that the work at this show and all shows can begin a discourse within individuals and relationships about art they like, art that they resonate with, even art that they hated! I hope people walk away with a curiosity about the work, the subjects and the artists. I think as we begin talking about our experiences with art we gain a new lens through which to look at the world. It can be transcendental. Ultimately, I would hope that people experience something that stands out and keeps them looking to The Cooler as a place to continue having those experiences with art.

Spectrum Art Gallery

In “Vantage Point,” opening at Spectrum Art Gallery, husband-and-wife pair Joshua Moulton and Jessica Barrett offer an exhibition that celebrates the differences in the art created by two people who are seeing the same scene.

Moulton is an award-winning landscape photographer who seeks out “large, imaginative scenes that skew towards the fantastical,” while Barrett is a published poet who gravitates toward “intimate, singular images whose quiet palpability can echo just as powerfully.”

As a married couple, they can usually agree on their next destination, but as Moulton puts it, upon arrival they often find themselves “facing in different directions.”

An example: “Highland Morning,” one of the photographs in the show, was shot in Glencoe, Scotland.

“Once I’m on site I’m usually running around trying to build the image that I had in my mind or, more often than not, trying to build something new because what I originally planned didn’t work out or just wasn’t very good,” Moulton tells me. “Jessica, on the other hand, tends to take things slower and finds beauty in much smaller details that I tend to look right over in my attempt to capture grand scenes.”

Other images in the show were made in such places Geneva, Switzerland; the Isle of Skye in Scotland; and New Zealand

Moulton says that in terms of discussing their shots on site, he’s the effusive one.

“I’m usually the one who is so excited and can’t contain images I’ve captured or how I’m framing something to myself. Jessica is much more likely to see something she loves, take a quick photo of something and won’t even show me until we’ve made it back to the car or even later!”

Corridor 2122

“Beneath the Surface,” a powerful show by guest artists Julie Araujo and Katrina Elaine Sanchez Carlock, opened at Corridor 2122 at July ArtHop and, in a novelty of programming, will close with August ArtHop. (The closing reception is 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3.)

Sarah Delgado wrote an in-depth account of the exhibition that’s well worth a read.

Fig Tree Gallery

The Fig Tree Gallery Invitational features artists from outside the gallery to exhibit “as a way of supporting and honoring our outstanding artist community.”

Artists are Jamie Nakagawa Boley, Philip Bowers, Allyson Darakjian, LeeAnn J. DiCicco, Audia Yvonne Dion, Janet and David Dowis, Melinda Downing, Michael Frank, Giselle Garcia, Ray Garcia, J.L. Johnson, Sandy Kowallis, Ren Lee and Christina Roe.

Sorensen Studios & Gallery

Too much reality in your life? “Abstracts in August,” the new group exhibition at Sorensen Studios & Gallery, will be a welcome diversion. The ArtHop evening also includes live painting by James Godfrey.

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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.

Comments (2)

  • Victor E. Kral

    Fresno/Clovis has a wealth of entertainment venues. from Fresno State Arts, to Save-Mart, to Roger Rocca’s, to CMT at the Veterans Memorial Hall. A variety of Cultural Arts abound. To provide, the next generation to also be able to enjoy these venues, parents, teachers, and other care-givers need to expose their children to the Arts. For perhaps, one day, they too will be part of the Performing Arts and/or hopefully future audience members.

  • Jackie Ryle

    Thoroughly enjoyed this review, Donald. Regret I’m not here to see the venue first hand. Appreciate you keeping apprised of what Is happening and giving a sense of what to expect.


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