Eclectic and inspiring lineup of new exhibitions opens at Fresno Art Museum

At the Fresno Art Museum, a new round of exhibitions is a little like Christmas: So many gifts under the tree, and they all get opened at the same time.

On Friday, the public will get the first glimpse at five new Summer/Fall exhibitions at the official opening reception, which includes featured artists talking about their shows. It’s an eclectic and inspiring lineup. “As chief curator I think about how the new exhibitions relate to, or are different from, each other,” says Michele Ellis Pracy, who is also the museum’s executive director. “I approach our galleries as living, breathing entities that will impact and enrich our visitors.”

The galleries will open to regular museum visitors 11 a.m. Saturday, July 14.

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Kay Sekimachi,’s “Three Leaf Bowls” (1996). Photo / Courtesy of the Artist and Forrest Merrill

All of the exhibitions are original to the museum, meaning that Ellis Pracy and the curatorial staff decided whom to show and then proceeded to select the work in person for exhibition. Original shows take a great deal more work than pre-packaged exhibitions that tour to various institutions, and museum staff worked on these for a year before opening.

A slender but powerful thread connects the exhibitions. “The consistent, subliminal concept that marries them is perseverance and history,” Ellis Pracy says.

I’m sure that in the coming months I will be writing about and diving more deeply into some of these exhibitions. But for starters, here’s a rundown on the lineup:

Kay Sekimachi

The exhibition: “Master Weaver: Innovations in Forms and Materials.”

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5 picks for May ArtHop

Options include 1821 Gallery & Studios, A Sense of Place, Spectrum Art Gallery, Gallery 25 at M Street Arts Complex, and Chris Sorensen Gallery and Studios

For a comprehensive list of ArtHop venues and shows, don’t forget to check the Fresno Arts Council roundup. ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods, is Thursday, May 3. Most venues are open 5-8 p.m.

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1.

1821 Gallery & Studios
‘Spaces of Desire’
Nick Potter and Peter Janzen

Both artists are fascinated with modernist architecture, and as this show enters its second ArtHop, you don’t want to miss their works in juxtaposition. From the gallery:

Potter’s paintings use architecture as a prism to examine symbols of power and propaganda. His idealized, pseudo-utopias are often highly seductive.

Janzen’s paintings investigate the mysterious qualities of light and space in mid-century modern interiors. Exploring the underlying tension that pervaded the time and questioning our nostalgia towards it, Janzen creates a precarious balance of anxiety and contemplation, of absence alongside the optimism of modernist thought.

Buildings and interiors can have a power all their own. (Potter’s work has always had the ability to make me feel unsettled, sometimes even spooked, which I consider very compelling.) Our lives are profoundly impacted by built environments. Both artists put the focus on place. Putting them together is a good call.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (April 27)

Whether it’s cutting-edge chamber music or the classic play “The Crucible,” there are lots of options for the weekend. I’ve already filled you in on Good Company’s “The Heiress,” Jeremy Denk performing with Keyboard Concerts and the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra in separate concerts, and the Fresno Community Chorus spring celebration of Leonard Bernstein. Here are even more choices:

‘The Crucible’

Don’t you love the poster for the new College of the Sequoias production? (Kudos to the designer.)

crucible poster

“The Crucible,” of course, is Arthur Miller’s 1953 classic play about the Salem witchcraft trials, but it can also be read as a searing allegory about McCarthyism or more generally mass hysteria in times of political unrest. The new production is set in a post-World War II small town that “feels eerily close to our own.”

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5 picks for April ArtHop

Fresno State’s new exhibition of art from Avenal State Prison is a highlight of the month. Other picks include Spectrum Art Gallery, Fresno City Hall, Corridor 2122, Arte Americas and fres.co

My ArtHop picks for April include a meaningful new exhibition at Fresno State’s M Street Graduate Studios. “Insider Art: Exploring the Arts Within Prison Environments” features work from incarcerated individuals serving time at Avenal State Prison. More than 100 paintings, drawings, sculptures and other work — most created by men in prison art classes — will be on display. But this is more than a simple exhibition. It’s meant to be an immersive experience. The multimedia elements include a video of a performance by the prison’s theater group, recordings of music from the prison’s five different bands, recorded interviews with some of the artists, and a series of photographs by Fresno State professor Neil Chowdhury offering a behind-the-scenes view of prison life.

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Joseph Frye, who contributes to the catalog for “Insider Art,” has this artwork in the show.

ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods, runs from 5-8 p.m. at most venues on Thursday, April 5. My other picks (which you can read about below) are at Spectrum Art Gallery, Fresno City Hall, Corridor 2122, Arte Americas and fres.co.

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5 picks for March ArtHop

Options include Maxine Olson at 1821 Gallery & Studios, Linda Zupcic at Fig Tree Gallery, and April Grigsby at Clay Hand Studios

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.

maxine olson

“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.”

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At ‘Trashique 2018,’ a night of elegance and a hat made from a Costco box

Notes from Saturday evening’s glamorous “Trashique 2018,” in which an aircraft hanger at the Fresno airport was transformed into a shimmering creative oasis. (Except that an oasis brings to mind a desert, while this year’s show, thanks to Mother Nature, was closer in terms of topography to Arctic tundra):

My favorite piece: Kristine Doiel’s tribute to mid-century designers Charles and Ray Eames. This power couple is best known for their contributions to mid-century American architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing. Doiel’s creation, modeled with a strutting certainty by Katerina Guerrero, offered a whimsical tribute to the Eames’ artistic vision.

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Model Katerina Guerrero, left, and artist Kristine Doiel at “Trashique 2018.” Photo / The Munro Review

The materials: Doiel used plastic mattress packaging, milk containers, mesh vegetable bags, food packing boxes, magazine pages, leather and fabric upholstery swatches, rubber, rope, packing foam and cardboard boxes. She fashioned a stunning dress boasting a cheerful grid of colors and textures, along with a wide-brimmed “hat” that suggested a giant Eames wedding-cake topper — it also made me think of an immobile mobile — complete with full-sized light bulbs. (Guerrero, the model, told me that it was actually quite easy to wear.)

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5 things to know about Fresno’s newest piece of public art

“Acero Picado” will be unveiled in a Monday ceremony

The City of Fresno will officially unveil its newest piece of public art in a ceremony at Mariposa Plaza at noon Monday, Feb. 26. Here are five things to know about “Acero Picado,” a beautiful addition to the downtown arts scene:

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Olga Bergstrom enjoys the new “Acero Picado” art installation at Mariposa Plaza downtown. Photo / The Munro Review

1.

It’s substantial.

“Acero Picado” consists of three designs, each consisting of two parts. The larger pieces are 10 feet by feet. The smaller pieces are 3 feet by 8 feet. Each piece is made of inch-thick steel that has been waterjet cut in very intricate patterns, then powder-coated with distinctive colors. Benches are part of the design.

2.

The artist is a big deal.

Gordon Huether, a Napa sculptor, has created public art installations for universities, hospitals, recreation centers, civic buildings, libraries, museums, airports, transportation centers, parking garages, and private corporations throughout the world, according to his bio. In his biggest project to date, he’s working with the Salt Lake City International Airport Department of Airports in designing, fabricating and installing multi-million dollar installations for its Terminal Redevelopment Program, which will be completed in 2020.

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DIY Duchamp: In Fresno Art Museum’s ‘Trashique,’ a new cycle of artistic inspiration

Pattie Wilkinson expands her artistic horizons with her take on Duchamp’s ‘Bicycle Wheel.’ Plus: You can win a pair of tickets to one of the biggest social events of the year

UPDATE: Our lucky winner is Adrienne Lucero. She gets two tickets to tonight’s “Trashique.”

ORIGINAL POST: Pattie Wilkinson didn’t think she had much in common with Marcel Duchamp when she picked him as her inspiration artist for “Trashique 2018,” the swanky Fresno Art Museum fundraiser that has emerged in recent years as a clever juxtaposition of fashion show, art history lesson, dazzling social event and recycling pep rally.

Wilkinson, who has had a long career designing trade-show displays and as a consultant in the arts and crafts industry — and is an experienced crafter herself — grew up learning to make practical things such as clothes and Christmas gifts. (She came from a family of modest means.) Duchamp, on the other hand, the famed French painter and sculptor, is known for his contributions to Cubism and his groundbreaking contributions to conceptual art. One of his best known pieces involved taking a commonplace urinal, titling it “Fountain” and in 1917 submitting it to an art exhibition. It was a moment that rocked the art world.


Win two tickets to “Trashique 2018,” which for the first year is being held in an airplane hanger. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us the most surprising thing you ever found in the trash. (Or, if you don’t have a good Dumpster Diver story, just tell us why you want to go.) Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22.


But thanks to “Trashique,” an event featuring glamorous (if not always practical) fashions made from recycled materials, the always-up-for-a-challenge Wilkinson found herself paired with none other than the “urinal guy.”

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