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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5 picks for January ArtHop

Options include Edward Gillum at Spectrum Art Gallery, Mike Garcia at 1821 Gallery & Studios, Caleb Duarte at Fresno.co and a chili fundraiser at Clay Hand Studios

Let’s get the new year off to an artistic start with these ArtHop picks:

Spectrum Art Gallery

Edward Gillum is not an artist who works in a vacuum. Is he troubled by this nation’s current political climate? Most definitely. But he’s also intrigued. “We live in a special time, as marvelous and mysterious as it is shameful and hideous,” he says.

Gillum has long brought both a keen intellectualism and a visceral, political anxiety to his wide-ranging works, which include installation art, sculpture and photography. His latest exhibition, “Alphabet of Meaning,” weaves his childhood love of books and the written word with his concerns about a culture that he feels is resembling Orwell’s “1984.” It opens Thursday at Spectrum Art Gallery as part of ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods.

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Picks for December ArtHop

Holiday gifts are a favorite this time of year, plus two non-holiday shows at 1821 Gallery and Spectrum Art Gallery

In a time when any holiday present under the sun — including original art — can be ordered online and whisked to your home, there’s something refreshingly retro about wandering through your neighborhood gallery looking for gifts. For December ArtHop, many galleries make it possible to buy local art. My top pick of the month, then, is a compilation from the Fresno Arts Council master ArtHop list of promising places to do a little first-minute Christmas shopping:

BarbaraVanArnam_Pear and Coffee
Barbara Van Arnam’s “Pear and Coffee” at Gallery 25.

Gallery 25: A fundraiser titled the “Giving Tree” includes a symbolic representation of a tree that will have works of art of “purses” created by gallery members. The remaining part of the gallery will be a members’ exhibit.

Sorensen Studio and Galleries: The name of the game is affordable, with participating artists agreeing to feature at least one artwork for $100 or less.

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5 picks for July ArtHop

From James Dean at K-Jewel to an artistic musical bash at Tower District Records, here are promising options for the monthly open house of galleries and studios

If it’s the first Thursday of the month, it must be ArtHop. My own arts home might have changed recently, but at least one thing is still the same: my picks for this popular monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District areas. Here are five venues that sound promising:

Marilyn Monroe
Entertainment icon: S.W. Parra’s ‘Marilyn Monroe.’

K-Jewel Art Gallery

S.W. Parra, or “Surfwest” as you might know him under more breezy circumstances, is a well known local artist thanks to his long tenure as a cartoonist and illustrator at a certain Fresno daily newspaper. In January I was wandering through the Chris Sorensen Studio “Black and White” show when I bumped into Parra and his big, award-winning entry in the exhibition: a 5-foot-by-6-foot painting of James Dean titled “Icon.”

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