Richmond Art Center Richmond Art Center

Strange Forest

Strange Forest presents contemporary drawings devoted to abstract and surreal dimensions of the natural world. Utilizing techniques of botanical and scientific illustration, six Bay Area artists – Leo Bersamina, John Casey, Masako Miki, Nora Pauwels, Lela Shields and Elizabeth Sims – take on the role of experimental naturalists. Through processes such as painstaking delineation, classification, and focus on the lifecycle, the artists express a deep respect for the flora and fauna of our planet, while at the same time reimagining it.

Looking for encounters that move her, Elizabeth Sims starts with a close observation of nature – a Bristlecone pine and a piece of obsidian – to create large scale drawings that are part realism, part invention. The titles of her work reference artists and fictional characters who have disappeared into the wilderness.

Using an unlikely mix of sea salt, quartz and glitter, Lela Shields creates surfaces on which to depict detailed botanical scenes using gouache, pencil and gold leaf. The uneven and unstable base for the imagery prevents Shields from working perfectly, and represents a kind of metamorphosis as the fragile work is always susceptible to change.

Nora Pauwels’ work focuses on the flora that spreads unchecked around her semi-industrial Emeryville neighborhood. It does not matter what the species of plant is – Pauwels often gathers weeds – rather the leaves, flowers and twigs are collected for their aesthetic subtleties and as markers of the places they determinedly grow.

Inspired by Shinto traditions, Masako Miki’s animals and abstracted scenes represent a space in-between the material and spiritual worlds. Using a palette of primarily blue and white, these colors can be interpreted as symbolic of the known and unknown.

Flowers are a metaphor for growth in John Casey’s drawings. On the surface they represent beauty, love and purity. Yet when the flower becomes an appendage growing from one of Casey’s creatures it takes on darker meanings; beauty through unnatural mutation, as well as the ability to persist and thrive in spite of a cancer-like growth.

Leo Bersamina studies nature for its patterns and textures. These elements are simplified and somewhat abstracted in his work, yet at the same time amplified. River rocks become repeating ovals of negative space on a field of black charcoal, the layered forms cannily mimic the rippling of shadows underwater.

Delineating a rock, a weed, a feather; the artists in Strange Forest share an affinity for the natural world. Taking a microscope to nature, their chosen subjects become microcosms for exploring the state of the earth and our place within it.

Extraño Bosque

Extraño Bosque presenta dibujos contemporáneos dedicados a dimensiones abstractas y surrealistas del mundo natural. Utilizando técnicas de ilustraciones científicas y de botánica, seis artistas de la Bay Area (Leo Bersamina, John Casey, Masako Miki, Nora Pauwels, Lela Shields y Elizabeth Sims) asumen el papel de naturalistas experimentales. A través de procesos tales como delineación minuciosa, clasificación y enfoque en el ciclo de la vida, los artistas expresan un profundo respeto por la flora y la fauna de nuestro planeta, mientras que al mismo tiempo lo reinventan.

Buscando encuentros que la emocionen, Elizabeth Sims empieza con una observación cercana de la naturaleza, un pino Bristlecone y un pedazo de obsidiana, para crear dibujos a gran escala que son parte real y parte invención. Los títulos de su obra hacen referencia a artistas y personajes de ficción que han desaparecido en el desierto.

Usando una mezcla poco común de sal marina, cuarzo y purpurina, Lela Shields crea superficies en las que se representan escenas botánicas detalladas con gouache, lápiz y pan de oro. La base desigual e inestable de las imágenes impide que Shields funcione a la perfección, y representa una especie de metamorfosis ya que el trabajo frágil está siempre susceptible de cambio.

El trabajo de Nora Pauwels se centra en la flora que se extiende sin control alrededor de su barrio semi-industrial de Emeryville. No importa cuál sea la especie de planta – Pauwels frecuentemente recolecta malas hierbas – hojas, flores y ramas también son recolectadas debido a su sutileza estética y también porque son demarcadores de los lugares que ellas están determinadas a crecer.

Inspirados en las tradiciones sintoístas, los animales y las escenas abstractas de Masako Miki representan un espacio intermedio entre el mundo material y el espiritual. Utilizando una paleta de colores enfocada en azul y blanco, estos colores se pueden interpretar como símbolos de lo conocido y lo desconocido.

Las flores son una metáfora del crecimiento en los dibujos de John Casey. En la superficie, representan la belleza, el amor y la pureza. Sin embargo, cuando la flor se convierte en una adición que crece de una de las criaturas de Casey, se adquiere significados más oscuros; belleza a través de una mutación antinatural, así como la capacidad de persistir y prosperar a pesar de un crecimiento similar al cáncer.

Leo Bersamina estudia la naturaleza por sus patrones y texturas. Estos elementos son simplificados y algo abstraídos en su trabajo, pero al mismo tiempo amplificados. Las rocas de los ríos se convierten en óvalos repetitivos de espacio negativo en un campo de carbón negro, las formas estratificadas pueden imitar el ondulado de las sombras bajo el agua.

Delineando una roca, una hierba, una pluma; los artistas de Extraño Bosque comparten una afinidad por el mundo natural. Tomando un microscopio para mirar la naturaleza, sus temas elegidos se convierten en microcosmos para explorar el estado de la tierra y nuestro lugar dentro de ella.

Image: Lela Shields, Horsetail, 2017

Small Works

Small Works: Selections by Phil Linhares features original small works of art (up to 14 inches) by California artists, representing a wide range of media, artistic styles and topics. Total cash awards of $1,000.

Juror’s Statement:

“As juror for the Small Works exhibition I was very pleased by the quality of the work submitted.  Approximately 60 works were ultimately selected, the number limited by the available gallery space; more works could have easily qualified otherwise.

Artists often ask exhibition jurors “What are you looking for?” as if the juror is seeking a particular form of expression to make a larger point. My response would be “looking for very good work in any form”; the artworks here illustrate that view.

I want to thank all the artists who submitted work for consideration, and also thank the staff of the Richmond Art Center for their gracious cooperation on every phase of the exhibition.”

Phil Linhares
Small Works Juror

You can read an interview with Phil Linhares here.

About the Juror: Former Chief Curator of the Oakland Museum of California, Philip Linhares has organized numerous exhibitions on contemporary art, including solo exhibitions of the work of Leon Golub, Joan Brown, Jim Nutt, Bruce Nauman, and Ruth Asawa. In the Oakland Museum of California’s recent gallery transformation and reinstallation, Linhares directed the installation on Folk Art and Counter Culture including works by Peter Mason Bond and Martin Ramirez (Folk Art) and Wally Hedrick, Jay DeFeo and Bruce Conner (Counter Culture).


Gina Golledge, Visceral Motion, 2017, linen, upcycled wool, silk, and cotton, silk and wool thread

Annual Members’ Show

About the exhibition: Each year, the Richmond Art Center invites our members at the Individual level and above to participate in our Annual Members’ Show, which will be showcased in our Main and West Galleries. This year’s featured Member Spotlight Artists are John Friedman, Ed Lay, Hilda Robinson, and Sandy Walker.

Please be sure to join us for the Opening Reception on Saturday, June 9, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Our Members’ Artist Talk will take place on June 16 at 11:00 am.

Artists exhibiting: Tarnel Abbott, Bill Abright, Cassandra Adams, Cristina Alvarez Magliano, Peter Baczek, Donna Barati, Debra Barnes, Kirsten Barrere, Wallace Bastein, Benjamin Beede, Joseph Bellacera, Paula Bellacera, Dave Benoit, Mira Benoni, David Bernard, Jim Billy, Andi Biren, Priscilla Birge, Stephen Bischoff, Ruth Block, Bonnie Randall Boller, Lorraine Bonner, Claire Bowman, Linda Lee Boyd, Jennie Braman, Susan Brand, Stella Breslin, Edythe Bresnahan , Clair Brown, Jayma Brown, Walter Bruszewski, Sheila Cain, Lois Cantor, Donna Caplin, Suzanne Carey, Cherie Carter, Suzanne Cerny, Mari Chovan-Upton, Will Clipson, Kay Coffee, Lorna Cogen, Mort Cohn, Sas Colby, Robin Cooper, Edmund Coppinger, Hélène Paulette Côté, Larry Craighill, Cheryl Crane, Tara Daly, Barbara Daniell, Riti Dhesi, Deb Dyer, Gene Erickson, Danielle Fafchamps, Claudine Feibusch, Donna Fenstermaker, Lorrie Fink, Carole Fitzgerald, Duane Fitzgerald, Mary Fong, Thomas Franco, Nancy Freeman, John Friedman, Kathleen Gadway, Rita Gardner, Marilyn Gee-Cartwright, Carla Gelbaum, Elaine Gerber, Regina Gilligan, Kate Godfrey, Alisa Golden, Edith Goldstein, Sally Goldstein, Kathy Grady, Goodman Gries, Vicki Gunter, Patricia Guthrie, Annie Hallatt, Victoria Hamlin, Colleen Haraden-Gorski, Bryan Harris, Bea Hartman, Larry Hatfield, Ellen Hauptli, Karl Hauser, Katie Hawkinson, Heidi Headapohl, Will Headapohl, Bill Helsel, Jeanne Hendrickson, Marilyn Hill, Susie Hodges, Susan Hybloom, Lisa Jacobs, Carol Jenkins, Carol Jenkins, Dale Johnson, Bill Johnston Jr., Jessica Jordao, Sharon Jue, Myoung Kang, Kristen George Kavanagh, Betsy Kellas, Betsy Kendall, Holly King, Fred Kling, Elisabeth Koss, Lisa Krepela, Doris Kretschmer, Carol Ladewig, Eloise Larson, Allen Lavee, Diana Lawrence , Robbin Légère Henderson, Ed Lay, Sue Levin, Linna Lippke, Malcolm Lubliner, Lynn Maack, Barbara Maricle, Michael Maszk, Vicky McAdams, Erin McCluskey Wheeler, Susan Meinke, Kat Mill, Donovan Miller, Judy Miller, David Mintim, Steven Morales, Gordon Morris, Claire Murphy, Dawn Nakashima, Irene Nelson, Bernadette Ngai, Shamy Noily, Stephen Nomura, Fletcher Oakes, Owen Oakley, Karen Ondracek, Elmarise Owens, Anne Meade Paden, Rachel Padilla, Shirley Parini, Javier Perez, Heli Perrett, Lucy Phenix, Rich Quade, Lynda Reed, Jimmy Reina, Virginia Rigney, Solveig Roberts, Hilda Robinson, Joseph Rogers, Mark Rosenthal, Brian Rothstein, Linda Ruiz-Lozito, Elke Savala, Jabali Sawicki, Victoria Sawicki, Susan Schneider, Karen Schwartz, Stephanie Scott, Andrea Segall, Joani Share, James Shefik, Michael Shemchuk, Amrita Singhal, Allison Skidgel, Joseph Slusky, Bertrell Smith, Maryly Snow, Sophie Stathakos, Larry Stefl, John Steinberg, Jan Stevenson, Bethia Stone, Lynn Sullivan, Ruth Tabancay, Phoebe Tanner, Claudia Tarantino, Leitha Thrall, Pam Stefl Toki, George Tomberlin, Toby Tover, Susan Tureck, Sandy Walker, Catherine Waller, Marlene Walters, Wei-Jing Wan, John Wehrle, Susan Wehrle, Eleanor Day West, Marcy Wheeler, Heather Wilson, Albert Wong, Danielle Wright, Jan Wurm, Dave Yoas, Clarie Young, Susan Zimmerman


Hilda Robinson
Jump So High
oil pastel on paper

53rd Annual WCCUSD Student Art Show

In collaboration with the West Contra Costa School District (WCCUSD), the Richmond Art Center will present the annual West Contra Costa Unified School District Art Show in its Community Gallery.

The Richmond Art Center has a prosperous and long-standing 53-year partnership with the WCCUSD, and this year there are over 300 works of various media and subject matter on display representing the creative artistic talents of students from middle and high schools  throughout the school district. The Art Center and WCCUSD share an ongoing vision that art education is a crucial component of a thriving and productive society.

There will be a special reception honoring the students and art teachers on Tuesday, April 17 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, which will be free and open to the public.

In addition, numerous art awards will be given out by the Richmond Art Center, the El Sobrante Art Guild, and other community members for the students’ artistic talent and originality.

The West Contra Costa Unified School District has generously sponsored the annual student exhibition.

The student show coincides with the Art Center’s featured  exhibitions: Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Worth and Selections from the Betty Ann and Raymond Barnett Collection.


Christian Keanu Dufourt, Madayag, 2018

Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Worth

The group exhibition, Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Worth, includes artists working across many platforms to address issues of identity, race, gender, status and societal values. Painting, photography, sculpture, and video present the variety of ways in which artists situate themselves in life.

Over the centuries artists from Rembrandt to Warhol have used the self-portrait as a vehicle to investigate aging, wealth and poverty, social position and social non-conformity. The contemporary artists gathered together in this exhibition use the self-portrait in these and other explorations to reflect contemporary life. In these times of diversity and multicultural experience, the artist’s image is both a cypher for the human condition as well as the foundation for complex iconography in which the cultural object stands to reflect the impact of societal norms on the individual.

From the groundbreaking feminist work of Judy Dater in her personifications of societal expectations, to the deceptively bright scenes of Allan deSouza’s collaged alter-ego responding to racism, these artworks all bring pause. The underlying values of contemporary society are brought forward for reflection and response.

Other artists participating in Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Worth include Mildred Howard, Judith Linhares, Abel Rodriguez, Nyé Lyn Tho, Lava Thomas, Cate White, and Vanessa Woods. Using brush or camera, these artists bring humor, persistence, and intimacy to life.


Abel Rodriguez
Self-Portrait in Green with My Hair Pulled Back
Oil on panel
16” x 12”

Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Worth (Mire Adelante: Autoimagen & Autoestima)
Galería: Main Gallery
Fechas de la Exposición: 27 de Marzo – 19 de Mayo de 2018
: Sábado, 24 de Marzo, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

La exposición colectiva, Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Wort (Mire Adelante: Autoimagen & Autoestima), incluye artistas que trabajan en diversas plataformas que abordan cuestiones de identidad, raza, género, estado y valores sociales. Pintura, fotografía, escultura y video presentan la variedad de las formas en que los artistas se sitúan en la vida.

A lo largo de los siglos, artistas desde el Rembrandt al Warhol han utilizado el autorretrato como vehículo para investigar el envejecimiento, la riqueza y la pobreza, la posición social y la inconformidad social. Los artistas contemporáneos reunidos en esta exposición usan el autorretrato en estas y otras exploraciones para reflejar acerca de la vida contemporánea. En estos tiempos de diversidad y experiencia multicultural, la imagen del artista es tanto un código para la condición humana como la base para una iconografía compleja en la que el objeto cultural puede reflejar el impacto de las normas sociales en el individuo.

Desde el innovador trabajo feminista de Judy Dater en sus personificaciones de las expectativas de la sociedad, hasta las escenas engañosamente brillantes del alter ego de Allan deSouza que responde al racismo, estas obras de arte provocan una pausa. Los valores subyacentes de la sociedad contemporánea se presentan para la reflexión y para la respuesta.

Otros artistas que participan en Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Worth(Mire Adelante: Autoimagen & Autoestima)incluyen a Mildred Howard, Judith Linhares, Abel Rodríguez, Nyé Lyn Tho, Lava Thomas, Cate White y Vanessa Woods. Usando un pincel o una cámara, estos artistas dan vida al humor, la persistencia y la intimidad.


Abel Rodriguez
Autorretrato en verde con mi cabello al lado.
Óleo sobre tabla
16 “x 12”

The Cutting Edge: Collage

The century of collage that began with George Braque and Pablo Picasso taking wallpaper or newspaper directly to drawing or painting opened a floodgate of exploration and expression making use of diverse materials in concert. Of today’s moment, the seven artists in The Cutting Edge exhibition sharpen their vision employing scissors and wit, glue and gumption.  John Hundt, David Jones, Diana Krevsky, Sherry Parker, Kim Smith, Livia Stein, and Shayna Yasuhara each pursue a different vein of inquiry to touch upon the dream, the dreaded, the seductive, and the puzzling. Riotous color, cool text, and fanciful imaginings all call for visual discovery.

Heir to this lineage, John Hundt makes use of vintage printed images to reconfigure the erotic body, to relocate the physical landscape, and to disorient the conventional thought. In the hands of Sherry Parker, the diverse elements seek to coalesce in a bitter-sweet scene of poignancy. And with yet another inflection, one tinged with nostalgia as well as irony, Kim Smith glues and writes to ask directly what is missing, what is lost, and how do we manage to make things whole again.

It is with the bits and pieces from her own drawings and paintings that Diana Krevsky re-imagines psychological landscapes. This transcends a recycling of materials and images to a discovery of new voices in the re-assembled. The taking of an element from previous work to propel a new vision is also common to Livia Stein as seen in etchings re-incorporated in larger compositions.

Livia Stein opens her work to the culture of India where she has had artist’s residencies: the intensity of color, the sensuality of cloth, and the impulse of ornamentation all propel these complex compositions into an abundance of energy and movement. Similarly, Shayna Yasuhara takes on a visual language of a specific culture – but here it is popular culture: the visual language of animé, the sensibility of cute, and the flat, close values of a palette orchestrated in a muted register.

The specificity of palette, the convention of drawing style, and the open expansiveness of space also figure in the work of David Jones. Lending a sense of nostalgia to the found images that are interrupted by the mixing of puzzles, the inconsistent visual narratives themselves take on a dreamlike disorientation so that even in a seemingly completed construction – the scene, the story, the meaning  – remain puzzling.

22nd Annual The Art of Living Black

The Art of Living Black, now in its 22nd year, speaks to a long history of social struggles, cultural affirmation, and art making as a transformative practice.  As a preview exhibition and self-guided open studio art tour that recognizes Bay Area artists of African American descent, the exhibition contains a vast range of artistic endeavors, styles and media that references forgotten cultural histories, struggles and personal identity. Here, it is the artists’ ability to construct meaning for themselves and others that defines the significance of the work.

This year also recognizes the creative talents of Kelvin Curry and Damon Powell, who were awarded the 22nd Annual Spotlight Artists Award.

The Richmond Art Center would like to express it gratitude and appreciation to the supporters of The Art of Living Black and Steven Hopkins and Henri Schuyers, whose efforts have contributed to the success of the annual Art of Living Black exhibition and the Artists’ Open Studios.

In Focus: Current Photography

Invented during the birth of the industrial revolution, photography continues to be a critical element of our cultural lifestyle. Its ability to capture time, construct history, and illustrate or manipulate truth and identity helped it climb the ladder of importance in the art world. The evolution of photography is indeed as interesting as the evolution of art itself; with its exciting discoveries and technical progress coinciding with and reinforcing current artistic streams, and social, economic, technological and political events in society.

In the current age of digital manipulation, photography’s once sole aim to represent reality as truth has become optional and even immaterial. It once required technical expertise, specialized equipment and time to create an image. Now it takes less than a second with a mobile phone.

The juried exhibition In Focus on display, provides a diverse selection of 37 insightful and at times emotional images created by California-based artists, reflecting today’s ever-changing society. The selections were made by nationally known Bay Area photographer Judy Dater, who will have a major solo exhibition of her work, titled Only Human, at the DeYoung Museum from April 7 through September 16, 2018.

Juror’s Statement: Judy Dater

Everyone who has ever judged a contest is always faced with his or her own personal taste and biases. Mine range from being more interested in emotionally charged photographs as opposed to abstraction. I also prefer “straight” photography to “manipulated” pictures. This accounts to some degree for the choices I have made. I respond to photographs that speak to me on a visceral level. In the end, I tried to pick images that would represent the best of what was submitted, and that hopefully would make an interesting exhibition. No two people would make the same choices.

In Focus: Current Photography (En Foco: Fotografía Actual)
Galería: South Gallery
Fechas de la Exposición: 16 de Enero – 19 de Mayo de 2018
Inauguración: 3 de Febrero de 2018

Inventado durante el nacimiento de la revolución industrial, la fotografía continúa siendo un elemento crítico de nuestro estilo de vida cultural. Su capacidad de capturar el tiempo, construir historia e ilustrar o manipular la verdad y la identidad le ayudó a aumentar su importancia en el mundo del arte. La evolución de la fotografía es tan interesante como la evolución del proprio arte; con sus descubrimientos emocionantes y progreso técnico coincidiendo y reforzando corrientes artísticas actuales, y eventos sociales, económicos, tecnológicos y políticos en la sociedad.

En la era actual de la manipulación digital, el único objetivo de la fotografía de representar la realidad como verdad se ha convertido en algo opcional e incluso inmaterial. En un determinado momento, se requirió experiencia técnica, equipo especializado y tiempo para crear una imagen. En contrapartida, actualmente se lo lleva menos de un segundo con un teléfono móvil.

La exhibición jurada In Focus (En Foco) presentada, ofrece una selección diversa de 37 imágenes perspicaces y en ocasiones emocionales creadas por artistas basados ​​en California, que reflejan la sociedad actual que está en constante cambio. Las selecciones fueron hechas por la fotógrafa  de la Bay Area nacionalmente conocida, Judy Dater, que tendrá una gran exposición individual de su obra, titulada Only Human (Solamente Humano), en el Museo DeYoung desde el 7 de abril hasta el 16 de septiembre de 2018.

Todos los que alguna vez han juzgado un concurso siempre se enfrentan a sus propios gustos y prejuicios personales. Los míos oscilan entre mi interés por las fotografías que tienen una carga más emocional en vez de las fotografías abstractas. También prefiero a la fotografía “directa” a las imágenes “manipuladas”. Esto explica en cierta medida las elecciones que hice. Respondo a las fotografías que me hablan a nivel visceral. Al final, traté de elegir imágenes que representaran lo mejor de lo que se me fue enviado, y así espero haber creado una exposición interesante. No hay dos personas que tomarían las mismas decisiones.

Joan Brown: In Living Color

An exhibition of works on paper, Joan Brown : In Living Color, reflects the bold originality and the continued impact Brown has had on artists, educators, and collectors in the Bay Area and beyond. Joan Brown’s deep determination and humanistic commitment catalyzed artists in the San Francisco Bay Area to forge a path against the grain of formalism in upholding the narrative. The core of Joan Brown’s life and experiences became the subject of her art.

Joan Brown : In Living Color reveals the intimate and personal in the renderings of an artist who never stopped drawing. Any piece of paper could be taken in hand for notation of child, cat, dream, or view of oneself. Many of these works come from the artist’s estate and have never been exhibited publicly.

We are deeply grateful to the following individuals and organizations who have generously sponsored this exhibition:

Susan and Steve Chamberlin
Jacobs & CO
Jay DeFeo Foundation
James Curtis III
City of Richmond
Susan and Thomas Newmeyer
Elizabeth D. Moyer and Michael C. Powanda

Model with Foot on Table
Acrylic, graphite, and ink on paper
36 x 24 in.
Estate of Joan Brown courtesy Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco

Earth, Wind, and Fire

In conjunction with Joan Brown: In Living Color, the Richmond Art Center is presenting a companion exhibition, Earth, Wind, and Fire

In Earth, Wind, and Fire, the Richmond Art Center looks to artists working across multiple media to investigate, reflect, and assert a vision of the environment, nature, and human nature as played out in an ecology of imminent concern.

Chester Arnold
Oil on linen
74 x 84 in.

Visit and Contact

Richmond Art Center
2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, California 94804

Contact us
Get directions
Report an issue

Tue – Sat, 10 am – 5 pm
Closed Sundays and Mondays & Major Holidays.

Gallery admission is free.