Art Picks, February 2011

Posted on February 11, 2011 – 7:22 AM | by OldManFoster
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American Gothic: Regionalist Portraiture from the Collection
Nelson Gallery
Through March 13,

I zipped over the causeway last month to check out the Grand Opening of the new Richard Nelson Hall – I’ve got plenty of fond memories of the old Nelson Gallery, so I was somewhat concerned.  Wow. Not only is the new Nelson (the old University Club building) significantly better for looking at art than the old gallery, the inaugural show is jaw-dropping good.  The show, guest curated by Lee Plested, culls some of the cream of the crop (125 pieces!) from the University’s collection.  Of course there are classic Thiebaud pop paintings and works by Arneson and Manuel Neri and pretty much everyone else that taught at Davis in its ‘60s heyday – and that in itself would be an impressive show. But what really makes this show special is the breadth of work on display… everything from a stunning series of etchings by Bruce Conner to conceptual works by Stephen Kaltenbach to film by Bruce Nauman.  I spent an hour taking in the show and I really need to go back for at least that long again- the longer I looked, the more I found.  Perhaps the single biggest revelation of the show is Every Trapper Should Have An Indian Dog, a large 1960 painting by funk maestro Roy De Forest.  I’m not particularly drawn to funk (it may be that I’ve just seen so much of it) but looking at this piece and imagining it in the context of 1960 was really eye-opening – it’s as if De Forest got to 1970 ten years ahead of everyone else!  This is one of the best exhibits I’ve ever seen in the region – if you see only one show between now and March 13, make it this one.

Richard Nelson Hall, UC Davis
Hours: Mon – Thurs 11AM – 5PM, Friday By Appt, Sat – Sun 2 – 5PM

Greatest Hits
Bows and Arrows
Opens February 12
Reception: February 12, 6 – 9PM

Last month in this space I mentioned that local indie boutique Bows and Arrows had been doing a surprisingly solid job of presenting up-and-coming artists in their monthly shows.  True to form, last month’s show was engaging, and was largely sold out by the time I got over there late on Second Saturday.  That’s good news, but the better news is that Bows will soon be relocating to a new space on 19th Street with an actual gallery.  To celebrate the impending move they’ve put together a huge group show (over 20 artists!) featuring some of the region’s most intriguing emerging artists, including Nathan Cordero, Melinda and Melissa Arendt, Amanda Cook, Jairus Tonel, Jesse Vasquez, and Bows’ owners, Olivia Coelho and Trisha Rhomberg.

1712 L Street
Hours: Mon – Sun, 11 AM – 7PM

Light Matters
Christina Seely and Gretchen Skogerson
Center For Contemporary Art Sacramento
Through February 13

Work from two artists inspired by artificial light.  Seely’s LUX is a photo series capturing brightly illuminated cityscapes. Skorgerson’s video work, Drive Thru (screened at the last Whitney Biennial) documents the effect of natural disasters on man-made environments. Don’t miss Gretchen Skogerson’s lecture on February 10 at 7PM.

Cherie Hacker
Lamp & Endtable Project: 2003 – 2011
Axis Gallery
February 5 -27

Cherie Hacker has been lugging a lamp and endtable all over creation for nearly a decade, photographing them in various locations, sorta like the garden gnome from Amelie.  Back in her studio she uses the photos as inspiration for mixed media artworks, many of which will be on display here.

1517 19th Street

With a Little Help From My Friends
Phono Select
February 12 – March 10

A group show of music inspired/related work curated by local artist Amanda Cook – she promises work by 10+ artists, including her own.  If you haven’t seen her art or photos, you may have seen her Best Summer Ever blog– if not, you should.  Cook’s work sold quickly at her recent show at Bows and Arrows, here’s your chance to pick something up if you, like me, were too late last time.

2312 K Street

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