August Art Picks

Posted on August 1, 2009 – 6:34 PM | by OldManFoster
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Axis4th National Juried Exhibition
Axis Gallery
August 1 – 30
Reception: August 8, 6 – 9 PM

The 39 works chosen for the Axis Gallery’s Fourth National Juried Exhibition represent a wide cross-section of contemporary American Art. According to juror Janet Bishop the accepted entries have one thing in common: “All of them are works of art that seemed, from their images, to merit our firsthand consideration.” Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture for the SFMOMA, carefully culled through over 1000 entries from all corners of the US, selecting only the most compelling work for the show. The resulting selection ranges from brightly patterned abstractions to new takes on realism; from beautifully constructed sculptural objects to photographs highlighting the peculiarities of life now. A peek at the names on the list of accepted entries reveals a happy surprise- almost no familiar names- a real treat for those of us on the lookout for new artists and new ideas. Kudos to Axis for successfully bringing Bishop, an internationally respected curator, to jury a show in Sacramento. She has worked with some of the most respected names in contemporary art, receiving accolades for her curation of Robert Bechtle, A Retrospective and other important shows, and is currently at work on the SFMOMA 75th Anniversary exhibition. This exhibit will likely be one of the highlights of Sacto art 2009- don’t miss!

1517 19th Street, Sacramento
Hours: Sat – Sun Noon – 5PM; or by appt.

Soaring Voices
Contemporary Japanese Women Ceramic Artists
Crocker Art Museum
August 8 – October 18

Gallery Talk: Exhibit organizer Maya Nishi, August 9, 2PM. Free with admission.

Curator’s Eye: Diana Daniels on Soaring Voices, August 14, 1:30 PM. Free with admission.

Adult Workshop: Forms in Clay, August 15, 10:30 AM-3PM. $90 for Crocker members, $110 nonmembers.

Soaring Voices celebrates the revolution in clay by the women who broke through the once male-only field of Japanese ceramics. With more than 80 signature works, including vessels, sculpture and a large-scale installation piece, this exhibition surveys the accomplishments of 25 leading female figures in contemporary Japanese ceramics from post-World War II to present day. Soaring Voices showcases work by the first three generations of Japanese women ceramists. The featured artists include self-taught pioneers, such as Takako Araki and Kyo Tsuji, who had no artistic role models, traditions to draw upon, or approval from peers, family and society at large. The next wave of artists, whose work is also on view, became the first to enroll in university fine art programs and are now among Japan’s most innovative instructors and practitioners, garnering national and international recognition. For centuries, clay was unacceptable for women in Japan; men threw on the potter’s wheel while women were strictly relegated to supporting their efforts. The gender divide was only bridged in the 1950s when the concept of the studio potter as a creative individual working alone, apart from tradition, was introduced. In this period of societal transformation, not only did the look of Japanese ceramics radically change, but also its makers.

To attend the programs that accompany the exhibit call (916) 808-1182 to make reservations; space is limited.

216 O Street, Sacramento
Hours: Tues – Sun, 10 AM – 5 PM; 1st & 3rd Thurs until 9 PM

Tangent’s Second Anniversary Show
Tangent Gallery
Opens August 8
Reception: August 8, 6 – 10PM

It seems like we were just congratulating Tangent on their first year in operation and here they are with their second anniversary already! Despite a near-zero budget and a small, off the grid location, Tangent has become the ‘Little Gallery That Could.’ Volunteers Gioia Fonda, Aaron Brown and Ianna Frisby have consistently presented some of the most ambitious art programming in the region, creating many visually dynamic, thought provoking shows over the past two years. Now they can use some help. The August show features art donated for sale at ‘recession-friendly’ prices to help keep Tangent in the black. A long list of noted area artists have contributed work, including Gale Hart, Tony Natsoulas, Shirley Hazlett, Cherie Hacker, Ann Tracy, and of course, Frisby and Fonda themselves. Monies raised will help with all the simple necessities of running a gallery: buying paint for the walls, running the website, promoting for the shows, and just having better snacks at openings (now there’s a cause we can get behind). And speaking of openings, any reception at Tangent is a guaranteed good time, but we’ve been assured that there will be extra fun at the anniversary party on August 8.

2900 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento
Hours: Sat 10AM – 3PM; or by appt.

California Fine Art
California State Fair
August 21 – September 7

The California State Fair art exhibit has a pretty amazing track record. Major California artists like Wayne Thiebaud, Mel Ramos and Robert Arneson have showed at the Fair, and many Sacto notables like Gary Pruner and Julia Couzens saw their first real notice there. [And, full disclosure, MM editor Liv Moe picked up Best of Show a few years back.] The truth is that though there is plenty of good art on hand each year, those of us who go to the State Fair specifically to see the art exhibit have one burning question: “What will Dave Lane do this year?” Lane, as Victoria Dalkey put it in the Sac Bee, has “owned the show for the past several years,” presenting a series of tyrannosaurus rex-sized metal sculptures which towered over the competition like Yao Ming at a jockey convention. Lane didn’t win Best of Show this year (that honor went to well-known local funk artist Tony Natsoulas for his whimsical ceramic, “Lee Counts His Snails Under the Bodhi Tree”), and I don’t know for sure if he even entered. Did Lane’s epic January solo show at the Nelson Gallery provide enough distraction that he actually failed to enter the State Fair competition this year? Or, did the solo show simply whet his appetite for more, more, more? We’ll just have to go to the Fair to find out. -TF

1600 Exposition Blvd, Sacramento
Hours: Mon- Thurs, Noon – 10PM, Fri- Sun & Labor Day, 10AM – 10PM

Short List

HitchHikers and Other Work
Doug Biggert
Through August 23
Verge Gallery
1900 V Street

Last chance to catch this superlative show. Acclaim for Biggert’s work is growing rapidly, with July’s Vice Magazine feature bringing Biggert’s photos of the downtrodden, weary and just plain partied-out folks to their widest audience yet.

Fantasy Is a Place Where It Rains
Ricardo Rivera
Center for Contemporary Art Sacramento
Through August 9
1519 19th St, Sacramento

Installation and video artist Ricardo Rivera explores the age of information with a series of activated digital sculptures that address and embody this new world in which we exist.

Infinite Bewilderment
Justin Lovato
Upper Playground Sacramento
August 8 – September 12
2524 J Street Sacramento, CA

New paintings by local artist Justin Lovato. Lovato is all 2009: heavy cartooning and poster art influences, with lite socio political undertones and echoes of despair. The Washington Post gives him a thumbs up.

Race for the Arts
William Land Park
August 28, 6PM

New location this year for this longtime Sacto arts fundraiser. Come out to cheer the participants, and remember, 100% of your pledge benefits the art organization you choose! For info call 916.933.4056

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