Art Scene – August 2022

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Art Gallery at the Orinda Library: Ceramic Vessels to Inspire, Woodturnings, Fabric Art, Photographs and Paintings
    The Lamorinda Arts Council presents ceramics by Jeannine Calcagno, Rick Nelson’s wood turnings, the fabric art of Tina Nelson, photographs by Wendy Pyman and paintings and drawings by Nancy Vachani in the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library during August. Learn more about these talented artists Saturday, Aug. 6 from 3 – 5 p.m., when light refreshments will be served in the Gallery.

(Courtesy of Nancy Vachani)
This Spirit of the Ukraine painting by Orinda artist Nancy Vachani is one of a pair. Vachani will donate the proceeds from the sale of these paintings in exchange for a donation to a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the humanitarian needs of the Ukrainian people.

    Aristotle said, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward experience.” The artists in this month’s exhibit are so skilled that once you gaze at their work for a few minutes outward appearances might evoke an inward experience.
    For example, Calcagno’s “Blue Hydrangea” black stoneware vessel, while diminutive in size (9.5” x 6.5”), calls to mind memories of a shady pathway lined with large globes of lush blue hydrangeas.
    Calcagno, who works out of her Santa Cruz studio, will show a dozen ceramic pieces from her own collection as well as 25-30 other pieces.
    “I hold to the philosophy of William Morris: ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,’” she said.
    For 50 years she has made pottery that people use in their homes. Her style pairs a glossy décor with the raw texture of stoneware clay for both decorative and functional pieces.
    “I keep things fresh by using new materials and firing techniques,” she said.
    View her YouTube video about colored clay slip decoration at https://youtu.be/MvKDvI9q4kg or visit www.calcagnopottery.com for more about her work.
    Rick and Tina Nelson, residing in Walnut Creek, are longtime members of the Oakland Art Association (OAA). Rick volunteers as OAA President and will display 10 woodturning pieces.
    Simple woodturnings can be challenging. The intent is that when done they will blow away the most complex, over-thought designs. Rick’s designs epitomize this premise. His “Swirl Bowl,” a 10” x 14” turned wood bowl made of maple, purpleheart and walnut, exemplifies this idea.
    “The greatest challenge is always to ‘tell a story’ with the finished piece,” he said.
    See more of his woodturnings at www.oaklandart.org/.

(Courtesy of Rick Nelson)
Rick Nelson, President of the Oakland Art Association, displays his 10” x 4” woodturning Swirl Bowl, made of maple, purpleheart and walnut. “The challenge of creating such a basic form as a bowl with new artistic value keeps me going,” said Nelson.

    Tina Nelson is captivated by the texture and creative possibilities demonstrated by other fabric artists. She continually collects cellphone images, then spends hours mulling them over for new ways to use wool and linen to depict images and communicate the emotion of the moment.
    “Wool stitching on linen incorporates all the fundamentals of other fine art media while offering an additional set of ‘tools’ to help communicate emotion and feeling to the viewer,” she said. “Examples of these tools are textures and mixture of colors you would find in heavy oil paintings, but because the are stitched with heavy wool, the element of touch is added. Sometimes I stitch on other materials, such as mosses and ribbons, which also provide color and texture,” said Nelson.
    The artist related that when the project she is working on starts to lose excitement for her, she forces herself into a new genre such as portraits, landscapes, abstracts, etc. In “Benicia Train Depot,” an 18” x 26” work of wool stitched on linen, the storybook nature of the scene gets accentuated by the fabric textures. View a YouTube video of her work at www.youtu.be/uIuevq4KEoo or visit www.oaklandart579.org/.
    Pyman lives in San Francisco but worked in Berkeley for 22 years and knows the East Bay well. For her, photography is a means of self-expression, but she also seeks to convey a sense of place for the viewer.
    She wants to draw people into the scene and experience awe and oneness with nature that speaks to her.
    “It is not just about light, composition or location, but finding harmony and balance among color, lines, textures and rhythmic patterns,” she said.
    “Transition,” her 20” x 30” photograph on metal, memorializes subtleties of light, all too ephemeral in the moment.
    Larry Ulrich, David Muench, Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter, as well as other well-known landscape photographers, have particularly influenced her work. She challenges herself to intercept the light and capture a scene in all its glory.
    Her work can be found at the Moraga Art Gallery, ArtSpan, Lamorinda Arts Alliance and the Oakland Art Association. Visit www.wendapyman.com/ for more information and follow her on Instagram @wendapymanphotography.
    Vachani, of Orinda, is showing about 20 works, mostly oil paintings but also some drawings.
    “My theme, ‘On Being Human – a Global Milieu,’ is basically about our human condition with all its beauty as well as troubling problems,” said Vachani.
    “Futbolista for Social Justice,” Vachani’s 24” x 18” oil painting, was featured in the recent Alice Neel exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco with the following caption: “This young Hispanic woman soccer player in the painting has been active in the Bay Area promoting social justice issues for minorities. She organized an exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center that highlighted the importance of using sports as a means of bridging gaps in communities of color and the injustices suffered by those communities. The chalkboard in this painting was installed at the exhibition, so those attending could write what sports mean to them. Dania, the passionate Fubolista in the painting was an inspiring figure to paint.”
    Visit the de Young’s online site to learn more about the exhibit at https://bit.ly/3Puopes. To learn more about Vachani’s work, go to www.instagram.com/vachaniart/.
    Learn more about the Lamorinda Arts Council at www.lamorindaarts.org. This exhibit runs Aug. 1 through 31 in the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library at 26 Orinda Way. Hours are Mon. – Thur., 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fri. – Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed Sun. Call 925.254.2184 for more information about the Library or visit http://www.ccclib.org/. Email the curators with questions at gallery@lamorindaarts.org or call the Lamorinda Arts Council at 925.359.9940.

(Courtesy Grant Glossop)
Grant Glossop’s wood designs are inspired by subjects in Yorkshire, UK. All pieces are one-of-a-kind and handcrafted in California.

Art Gallery at Wilder Reclaimed Wood Transformed with Patina and Imagination
    The Lamorinda Arts Council (LAC) presents the woodwork designs of featured artist Grant Glossop at its virtual Art Gallery at Wilder from Aug. 6 through Sept. 9. Access Glossop’s artwork online at www.lamorindaarts.org/online-galleries/.
    Glossop, hailing from Yorkshire in the U.K., now lives in Novato. He originally trained as a jeweler in the U.K. where he developed his love of working with metals. After finishing art school, he became interested in creating larger pieces. This led him to incorporate wood into his designs.
    For many years, he designed and created work for himself, but during the pandemic that changed. Glossop launched a website to expand his reach.
    “Creating during quarantine helped me find some kind of balance during a challenging time,” he said.
    His goal is to make something that someone else sees as beautiful. His 12” x 4” x 4” Loxley Floating Box, made of treated wood and paint, seems to hover above its resting place, catching the eye and imagination. Learn more about Glossop’s work at www.grantglossop.com.
    The Wilder Art and Garden Center is located at 20 Orinda Fields Lane, Orinda. The exhibit, virtual-only due to COVID-19 restrictions, runs Aug. 8 through Sept. 9. Viewings by appointment with Curator Ani Breslin can be arranged by contacting her at anistonbreslin@berkeley.edu. For more information, call the Lamorinda Arts Council at 925.359.9940.

Elana O’Loskey can be reached at business.orinda@gmail.com.

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