The Annual Members’ Exhibition opens our summer with the sights and textures of the diverse work of our members. We have highlighted the following artists to exhibit in greater depth: Francesca Borgatta, Susan Spann, John Wehrle, and Erin M. Wheeler.
As the Richmond Art Center celebrates its 80th Anniversary year, it is preparing a major exhibition in tribute to its history and its mission. The exhibition, Making Our Mark, looks to artists who have had a history with the Art Center: artists who have exhibited, supported, and enriched the programs over the years. In selecting these artists, we reflect on the scope of interest—media as richly varied as painting, ceramics, fiber, sculpture, and photography—and themes as diverse as the cultural backgrounds at the foundation of the community.
We have also asked each of the invited artists to put forward a younger artist: someone whom they have taught or mentored or whose work they have felt should be shown and promoted. This, too, is in line with our history and our mission—giving voice to new artists and opening the galleries to new visions.
Some of the invited artists, including Jim Melchert, Hung Liu, Squeak Carnwath, and Lia Cook, had their very first exhibitions at the Richmond Art Center and have over the years served as the core of the Bay Area art community, teaching, mentoring, and lighting a path for younger artists. And for some of the younger artists, this exhibition presents one of the first major showings of their work.
Turning our attention to materiality, the environment, systems of power and inequality, these artists have followed different modes of expression with a common passion for their art.
These 28 artists participating in Making Our Mark, including William Wiley, Christopher Brown, Mildred Howard, Richard Misrach, Deborah Oropallo, Enrique Chagoya, as well as Allan deSouza, Michael Hall, Johanna Poethig, and Dru Anderson stretch in many directions and their art will occupy the Main, South, and West Galleries in a survey of our history, our present moment, and our anticipation of the future.
The Human Spirit: Contemporary Figuration as an Expression of Humanism
David Park: Personal Perspectives contains 37 works on paper in various media executed from the 1930s through 1960, the last year of Park’s life. Drawn from the artist’s estate and private collections, this exhibition includes works shown for the first time. Presented in the intimate South Gallery at the Richmond Art Center, visitors will have an unique opportunity to study his space, compositions, and very personal narratives.
The exhibition The Human Spirit: Contemporary Figuration as an Expression of Humanism bridges the Art Center’s historical role in presenting formative exhibitions of the Bay Area Figurative artists in the 1950s, The Human Spirit will extend our consideration of legacy to the work of over 20 contemporary Bay Area artists who have expanded the figurative art tradition through paintings, sculpture, photography, video, and performance. This survey will include the work of Elmer Bischoff, Joan Brown, Terry St. John, Christopher Brown, Charles Garabedian, and Enrique Chagoya. Following a highly personal path with exuberant use of materials and iconography, these artists have forged visual language built on vocabularies including folk, medieval, aboriginal, and outsider art.
Opening Reception Saturday, March 19th 5-7 p.m A first viewing for RAC members and the community, artists, their families and friends. Free and open to the public.
David Park: A Personal Point of View Sunday, April 3rd 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. A discussion of the artist’s work and life with the Artist’s daughter, Helen Park Bigelow and family and friends. Free.
Being Human: A Performance by Allan deSouza Sunday, April 10th 2 p.m. Artist, critic, and, educator, deSouza presents a performance developed for the exhibition, “The Human Spirit,” with an eye to the rhythms and movements of society and personal experience. Free.
David Park in Perspective: A Radical Choice and a Profound Legacy Sunday, April 17th 1:30 -3:30 p.m. In light of Park’s influence on his contemporaries and impact on teaching, art attitudes and practices, and the persistence of values with artists, we bring together a roundtable discussion with artists exhibiting in “The Human Spirit” examining directions within, outside, and against the mainstream in art. Free.
Critical Approaches to Figure and Form, Concept and Content Sunday, April 24th 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. A panel discussion and open forum with art critics, writers and historians including DeWitt Cheng, Terri Cohn, and John Zarobell. Free
Modeled and Formed: Drawing from the Model in the Company of Park Thursday, April 21st 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. A working session with model open to artists of the community for a Park- inspired evening of drawing. $25
The Del Sol String Quartet Concert Saturday, May 7th 2 p.m. These extraordinary musicians programming music in concert with the exhibition and improvising off individual artwork. Suggested Donation. No one turned away!
Plein Air Perspectives: A Watercolor Workshop Sunday, May 15th 12- 2 p.m. Pack up your paper, watercolors and gouache and join us for painted vistas and views around the Richmond Art Center.
Never Fade Away: Closing Reception for David Park Sunday, May 22nd 3-5 p.m. Free and open to the public.
Watch the exhibition videos:
Video 1: David Park: A Personal Point of View
David Park produced a late body of work extraordinary for its focus and direction. In a sharp shift from abstraction to figuration. Park’s move stands out as a re-orientation of radical proportion. Yet it is as a teacher and mentor that Park presides as the cornerstone of an entire art movement and perspective, which came to be known as Bay Area Figurative Art in the 1950s. Video 2: David Park: A Radical Choice and a Profound Legacy
Artists Chris Brown, Kota Ezawa, Allan deSouza and Livia Stein participated in a roundtable discussion as artists exhibiting in The Human Spirit. The panelists examined directions within, outside, and against the mainstream in art, in light of Park’s influence on his contemporaries and impact on teaching, art attitudes and practices, and the persistence of values with artists. This event was moderated by our Director of Exhibitions, Jan Wurm. Video 3: Critical Approaches to Figure and Form A panel discussion and open forum with art critics, writers and historians John Zarobell and DeWitt Cheng, moderated by our Exhibitions Director Jan Wurm.
The Richmond Art Center is grateful for the generous support and sponsorship of the exhibition provided by Blick Art Materials, Susan and Steven Chamberlin, Jacobs & CO., James Curtis III, Nina and Claude Gruen, Hackett | Mill, Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation, Oliver and Company, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.
David Park, Woman with Baby Gouache on paper, 1960
David Park, Untitled (Seated Male) Ink on paper, 1955-59
David Park, Lydia Drinking Coffee
Gouache on paper, 1960
The Art Center’s well-known Art in the Community program brings art-making classes to children and teens to various sites in Richmond, where professional teaching artists design and implement age-appropriate and engaging art experiences. The teachers give feedback, share their work and help students find meaning from art. Students listen to peers, share opinions and learn to constructively critique.
In conjunction with Art in the Community, the Richmond Art Center will present an exhibition with student works from classes taught throughout Richmond in 2015-16. The Art Center continues to maintain the vision that arts education is a crucial component in the creation of a thriving and robust society.
“They (students) were incredibly proud of the show and it had a large effect on the people who were looking at the work.” – Teaching Artist Callen Zimmerman
The exhibition will be showcased in the Community Gallery. The Art in the Community program provides in school and after school art programs at 17 schools, community centers and the Richmond Public Library.
The student shows will coincide with the Art Center’s featured and important companion exhibitions David Park: Personal Perspectives and The Human Spirit: Contemporary Figuration as an Expression of Humanism runs from March 19 – May 22, 2016, and will focus on the historical and aesthetic development of Bay Area figurative art over the past 60 years.
This exhibition gives the viewer a deep view into the studio life of the painter Terry St. John. Building figures formed from the air that surrounds them in a space that expands, contracts, and at times, merges with the body, these works present a profound exploration of light and shadow. Maintaining strong ties to Bay Area traditions, St. John has pursued a visual journey investigating the shape of our world. As represented in his vigorous practice, the paint itself brings forth body or bay, house or hill.
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 51-year partnership with the WCCUSD, and this year there are over 300 works of various media and subject matter on displayrepresenting 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 Thursday, April 14 from 5-7 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: David Park: Personal Perspectiveand The Human Spirit: Contemporary Figuration as an Expression of Humanism focusing on the historical and aesthetic development of Bay Area’s figurative art over the past 60 years.
Pictured, top row:
Rudy Suarez, Untitled, Kennedy High School
Alex Contreras, Tatanua Inspired Mask, Korematsu Middle School
Kevin Hoac, Burger Fries & Milk Shake, El Cerrito High School
Karla Cadena, Adinkra Cloth, Pinole Valley High School
The people and places which mark a town as “Our Town” are as varied as our lives.
The histories and generations of schools and teachers, shops and customers, workplaces and co-workers, these populate our days.
As the Richmond Art Center reflects on its 80th Anniversary, we are asking for your views, impressions, thoughts on what makes a place unique, what gives a place its identity, what meaning can be drawn from experience, association, or memory. We invite artists to show us their art reflecting their town, our town, a better town.
Juror: Jack Fischer, director of the vibrant Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, brings a unique point of view to this selection. Always fresh and direct in his response to art, Fischer extends a multi-textured and open approach to “Our Town.”
Image: Christ’s Entry into Brussels, James Ensor, 1888.
Bridging the Art Center’s historical role in presenting formative exhibitions of the Bay Area Figurative artists in the 1950s, The Human Spirit: Contemporary Figuration as an Expression of Humanism will extend our consideration of this legacy to the work of over 20 contemporary Bay Area artists who have continued and expanded the figurative art tradition through paintings, sculpture, photography, video, and performance. This survey will include the work of Elmer Bischoff, Joan Brown, Terry St. John, Christopher Brown, Charles Garabedian, and Enrique Chagoya. Following a highly personal path with exuberant use of materials and iconography, these artists have forged visual language built on vocabularies including folk, medieval, aboriginal, and outsider art. The work has engaged popular culture, autobiography, inner landscape and dream to produce unusual palettes, inflected mark making, and often dizzying perspectives.
Pursuing other modes of autobiography, social commentary, and cultural reflection, the sculpture, film, video, and performance of Lava Thomas, Kota Ezawa, Farley Gwazda, and Allan deSouza draw the painted dialogue into other media. From the intimacy of the photography of Judy Dater, Katy Grannan, and Richard Misrach, to the beading and capturing of images in the memorial hangings of Taraneh Hemami, the myriad manifestations of the human visage and the human spirit for survival extend this exhibition beyond the personal or the domestic. In a time of social, economic, and environmental instability, the art employing the human figure to illuminate the struggles and spirit of contemporary life is of greater power and significance than it has been in nearly a century.
We hope you will join us for upcoming events and performances in conjunction with this event. Please view our Event Calendar for the entire series.
David Park produced a late body of work extraordinary for its focus and direction. In a sharp shift from abstraction to figuration. Park’s move stands out as a re-orientation of radical proportion. Yet it is as a teacher and mentor that Park presides as the cornerstone of an entire art movement and perspective, which came to be known as Bay Area Figurative Art in the 1950s. Concurrently, the Richmond Art Center in its new civic facility of galleries and studios, mounted a series of pivotal exhibitions and workshops highlighting the figurative Bay Area artists through it series of exhibitions and programs which provided a platform for several emerging artists to launch their careers. The Richmond Art Center was an important venue for David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and the artists active in their time.
Celebrating its 80th Anniversary, the Richmond Art Center will curate and present companion exhibitions that trace the human figure as vehicle in Bay Area art. Scheduled for March 19 – May 22, 2016, the exhibitions David Park: Personal Perspectives and The Human Spirit with accompanying programming and catalog will focus on the historical and aesthetic development of Bay Area figurative art over the past 60 years. In conjunction with the exhibitions the Richmond Art Center will offer a set of informative public programs including performances, video, music, and a series of talks.
Anchoring this project is the exhibition David Park: Personal Perspectives, containing 35 works on paper in various media executed from the 1930s through 1960, the last year of his life. Drawn from his estate and private collections, these include works exhibited for the first time. Presented in the intimate South Gallery, the visitor will have an unique opportunity to study his space, his compositions, and his very personal narratives. In the focus on the human figure, Park reclaimed the concrete expression of the human experience. Drawing from the model was a routine which gave structure to the weekly drawing sessions with Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff. This is work which drew former students and friends, most notably Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff, as well as their students after them, into an investigation and a vocabulary which had been abandoned throughout their circle of peers, indeed, throughout the art centers of the world.
Park set the stage and inspired his cohorts and the generations since to follow the singular and the diverse impulses evident in figurative art explored in the drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and performance represented in the Art Center’s companion exhibition, The Human Spirit. With these elements considered, the companion exhibition will establish a bridge from David Park as the catalyst for the development of Bay Area Figurative Art to the activities of contemporary artists who move between painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography to explore issues of figuration, identity, and humanistic perspectives.
Throughout the exhibition, the Richmond Art Center will present a series of public programs. This includes a discussion with Helen Park Bigelow, daughter of the artist, a plein air workshop exploring gouache and watercolor while referencing David Park, and a session for contemporary artists to draw from the model while referencing David Park’s approach to the figure. A roundtable discussion with artists exhibited in The Human Spirit will establish contemporary concerns and visual approaches in the fluid movement across diverse media. A panel of art writers is planned for a round table discussion of art criticism, shifting frameworks and systems of analysis, and what it means to step outside the historical flow. The forum will include the voice of Terri Cohn, critic, independent curator and educator (San Francisco Art Institute), DeWitt Cheng, writer and curator of Stanford Spaces as well as writers who cross print and electronic media, and John Zarobell, curator, art historian, and Director of International Studies at San Francisco University.
We hope you will join us for upcoming events and performances in conjunction with this event. Please view our Event Calendar for the entire series.
Untitled (Seated Man)
Ink on paper, n.d.
17 x 13 3/4 in.
The 20th Anniversary of the Art of Living Black: The American Experience 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 talents of Lorraine Bonner, Bill Dallas, and Stephen Namara, who were awarded the 20th Annual Spotlight Artist Award.
The Richmond Art Center would like to express its gratitude and appreciation to the supporters of The Art of Living Black and in particular Steven Hopkins and Henri Schuyers, whose efforts have contributed to the success of the annual Art of Living Black exhibition.