What’s in store for March ArtHop? The monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods includes some great sounding shows. I’ve already told you about the highly anticipated two-man show at A Sense of Place gallery featuring Daniel Keys and Adam Longatti. (You can find full coverage here.) Here are five more suggestions for filling your evening on Thursday, March 7. (Most venues are open 5-8 p.m.; for a complete rundown, go to the Fresno Arts Council’s updated list.)
Fresno’s Steve Dzerigian has been living and breathing photography for a long time. He is an artist, teacher, experimenter and philosopher. He makes photographs, yes, but he also loves to think about them.
Pictured above: Steve Dzerigian’s “Las Capuchinas, (The Singing Room).”
His new book, “Trail of Stones: My Path in Photography,” published by The Press at California State University, Fresno, is an educational memoir. It features 62 of his most compelling images, all of which illustrate some aspect of his creative process. (The book gets its official launch and exhibition during ArtHop at Spectrum Art Gallery, where Dzerigian is a longtime member.)
This is no photos-only, coffee-table-book vanity project that merely serves as a retrospective to his photographic career. With more than 15,000 words of text, it’s a deep-dive examination of the creative process.
“I write about the thought and emotional process that guided making the images,” he says. “It’s a personal guidebook to listening to your own voice as motivation for the act of creating.”
An example: When Dzerigian was living in Sanger, out in the country, he had a dog named “Namer” (he could never settle on a name) who would chase cattle into fences if they let her run by herself. So when he took Namer for walks, he had to use a leash. But it bothered him how controlling it was to have an animal constrained in such a way.
“So I never let the lead tighten,” he says. “I’d run as she ran. I’d stop when she sniffed.”
In other words, he followed.
“I really go by that kind of teaching, following that most resonating stimulus in the environment. That became one of my guides for pursuing my nature work.”
As an example of this “canine tracking” process, Dzerigian in the book includes a photograph titled “Las Capuchinas, (The Singing Room),” that he took in Guatemala. It depicts a light-filled, white-splashed, bare interior dominated by a massive, rounded pillar and arched doorway. It feels like a sacred space. There is an ethereal, diffuse glow to the work. It is as if he has followed the light to its very source.
Dzerigian used a blend of vintage and contemporary photographic technologies when creating the images in the book. They range from hand-crafted, fiber-based, wet darkroom prints in gelatin silver to digital archival prints. Some have added color with hand-applied color pencils, and some are cibachrome reversal color works.
In one series, he uses a technique that he loosely calls choreophotography that involves a handheld camera with a flash and a long shutter speed. As he took the photographs, he didn’t look through the viewfinder. They are an homage to a photographer he knew who was deaf, mute and mostly blind but took wonderful, intriguing images.
The lesson, he says, is to recognize your inspirations, ponder them and pay tribute to them.
“My overriding lesson in the book is, if there is one, is to be receptive to all these gifts that people and circumstance give you,” he says, “and nurture those that resonate with your individuality.”
Details: “Trail of Stones” runs through March 31 at Spectrum Art Gallery. To order the book, contact Gail Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-278-4103.
It’s sure to be a lively night at Corridor 2122, which features a new members’ invitational show. A partial list of artists includes Zack Bohny, Dawn Hart, Katie Jenkins-Moses, Samuel Karl and Julia Woli Scott. I’m excited that Julia Bradshaw, a former Fresno State photography professor who now teaches in Corvallis, Oregon, is showing some of her new work (first in Fresno!) as part of the invitational. It’s related to the 2017 total eclipse. (And I was there, if you recall.)
Details: Through March 31 at Corridor 2122.
Here’s a great opportunity to see a local talent: Fresno City College Painting Instructor Kevin Stewart-Magee is featured artist at 1821 Gallery & Studios. Here’s a rundown of his work:
This work is about time, history and memory; forces and influences that are as invisible as the wind, seen best in their effect. None of these objects or places were new, working or occupied, at the time they were painted. For a moment they were quiet performances of light and shadow. Perhaps a cycle of conception, function, retirement and abandonment runs quietly, slowly beneath the surface of our homes, schools, jobs and lives. Cheerfully, running on and on like a model train, always forward, in a circle — an arc of exhaustion and engagement.
A portion of sales goes to support the Fresno City College art department. The show runs through March 30.
Speaking of Fresno City, a solo project by poet and artist Jibade-Khalil Huffman, much of it made during a residency during January, is on display for March ArtHop at the Art Space Gallery.
Curator Elena Harvey Collins tells me that the installation combines a poem in the form of wall text with video projections filmed in the college’s black box theater in collaboration with student performers. Huffman’s work often addresses the gap between language and image, and in this new work, a narrative unfolds across multiple screens as his characters perform repeated gestures, feelings, and identities through a series of vignettes.
Huffman’s background is impressive. Recent exhibitions include The Kitchen in New York City, Ballroom Marfa in Texas and MOCA Cleveland. The show runs through April 11.
“PUT A LID ON IT!: Interpretations of Lidded Vessels,” is a central San Joaquin Valley ceramics juried event and competition sponsored by Clay Hand Studios. The judge was Ron Wrest, longtime potter and art instructor at California State University, Bakersfield. Winners will be announced at ArtHop.