October Art Picks

Posted on October 18, 2008 – 7:10 PM | by OldManFoster
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Just a quick note at the top here that the deadline is fast approaching for submissions to the annual Crocker-Kingsley exhibition, one of, if not the, most prestigious juried shows held in Sacramento. Organizers aim for a mix of emerging and established artists, and the exhibition is open to any artist currently living in California. The exhibition juror will select 30 two-dimensional and 30 three-dimensional works in a diversity of media – painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and craft – and in a range of artistic styles from representational to abstract to conceptual. Cash prizes run from $250-$3,000. This is the 75th year of this distinguished exhibition, and the list of artists who have shown is pretty impressive… Robert Arneson, Gregory Kondos, Mel Ramos and Wayne Thiebaud all made it in– how about you? Applications will be accepted through November 15. More info is available at www.crockerartmuseum.org. -TF

The Diamond Dealer
Upper Playground
Through November
2524 J St, Sacramento
Hours: Mon- Sat 11AM-7PM, Sun 11AM-6PM

I’m not terribly familiar with the street art scene, but I am just interested enough to keep an eye on Upper Playground. The Skinner show that opened the space absolutely killed, wowing everyone from Chris Daubert to a visiting group of Romanian artists to that kid that, you know, lives down the street from you and skateboards and stuff. Street art is the new Pop, meaning it excites academic art nerd types and yet it actually sells to the masses. The new installation by bay area street artist Sfaustina promises to be intriguing, heavy on Kaz/Guston cartoony illustration, but merging collage, graffiti and graphic elements into the mix. The artist cites his early years doing graffiti as formative, but the work has transcended the simple graphic qualities and shock value of most graffiti-based art—the work is sophisticated (his day job is high end design for clients like Francis Ford Coppola) but doesn’t seem like at it. Sfaustina has an impressive exhibition history, boasting recent shows in Italy, Germany and Australia, and now, Sacramento. -TF

Soul Sanctuary: Images of the African American Worship Experience
Jason Miccolo Johnson
40 Acres Gallery
October 14 – December 27
Reception: October 11, 5-8PM
3428 3rd Avenue, Sacramento
Hours: Tue – Fri Noon – 6PM, Sat 10AM – 5PM

Whenever I attend anything at 40 Acres Gallery I am always impressed by their unfailing ability to attract quality shows to the region. The space’s recent show entitled BLACK had many in the local art community talking about the caliber and variety of the work represented. Month after month gallery director Kim Curry attracts compelling and important shows to the region providing our local art community with a valuable resource. October proves to continue this lineage with Soul Sanctuary, Images of the African American Worship Experience. A show of images by award-winning documentary, fine art, and editorial photographer Jason Miccolo Johnson, Soul Sanctuary represents the African American worship experience from historic New York churches, to rural Mississippi back roads, to strip mall store fronts. Johnson’s images are absolutely stunning, presenting the viewer with a rich range of tones, and invigorating compositional narratives. In an image of a baptism at Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, sharp angles and hard lines cut through the composition from the angle of the balcony to the rows of the worshippers below. The interplay of angles is further reinforced by the baptizee’s folded hands placed over her chest. The stunning white and rich black tones complete the composition creating an image as compelling for its subject matter as it is for its formal qualities. The opening night reception will feature a performance by St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Gospel Ensemble. – LM

No Place in Particular
Alejandro Rubio
Solomon Dubnick Gallery
October 2 – 25
Reception: October 11, 5-8PM
1050 20th Street, Sacramento
Hours: Tue – Sat 11AM – 6PM

Without a vague understanding of the representational art in practice Uruguay over the past seventy years or so one might be too quick to miscategorize the work of Alejandro Rubio. At first glance Rubio’s work could be dismissed as whimsical. While there is a playful quality to the work, Rubio’s manipulations of scale and perspective create narratives within narratives depicting locations that seem oddly familiar and strange at the same time. A student of the Escuela del Sur, Rubio’s representational style at times references Joaquin Torres Garcia, one of the artist’s major influences. Rubio’s handling of the paint and his manipulation of color and value speak to Edgardo Ribeiro Nario another of the artist’s mentors. Rubio’s loose brush style, and bold palette conjure locales that straddle the border between his current home in California and the place of his birth and development. This distinct sensibility makes for an enjoyable visual journey indeed. – LM

RamosArtist’s Forum: Mel Ramos
Calpers Auditorium
October 25, 1PM
400 P Street, Sacramento

Celebrated artist and Sacramento native Mel Ramos, whose artwork is featured in the Crocker’s American Pop exhibition, will discuss the emergence of Pop Art in the 1960s and its reception then and now on Saturday, October 25, at 1PM. Ramos came to prominence during the Pop Art movement and has since experimented with realist art forms for the past 20 years. His paintings frequently have a humorous, cartoon quality, as revealed in his depiction of well-known superheroes such as Wonder Woman and Captain Midnight. Ramos is also famously known for exploring the world of the pinup and nudes derived from men’s magazines, such as Playboy and Penthouse. His paintings of semi-clad and nude women, who pose alluringly beside cigarette boxes, candy bars and ketchup bottles, comment on the depiction of women contrived by mass media and consumer advertising. “I’m apolitical about it,” Ramos has replied to critics whom have given him flack for exploiting women. “I’m not embracing it, supporting it, championing that, rejecting that, I’m just observing that it’s there and that’s the way it is.” 

American Pop, now on view through November 2, is organized around the special display of Andy Warhol’s Athletes Series, and additional works such as that of Ramos, telling the story of how Warhol and other artists made Pop one of the most successful, yet controversial movements of the era. The event is free to Crocker members, $5 for nonmembers. Reservations required, call 916 808-1182 to register. –from the Crocker

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