Pence Gallery: Pence reopens with color and light


Pence Gallery: Pence reopens with color and light

Every year, artists from all over California apply to have one of their pieces displayed in our “Slice: A Juried exhibit of Regional Art.” We had almost 200 artists apply for admission, and UC Davis Professor of Art Hearne Pardee was our juror who had the difficulty of selecting 30 pieces out of this diverse group of work.

There are some great sculptures, paintings and photographs included that truly defy definition. The exhibit is in our Main Gallery from July 10 through Aug. 16. The award-winning pieces will be announced on our website on July 10, so be sure to watch for that!

Given the eclectic nature of pulling together a cohesive show, Pardee stated that he “was especially impressed by new applications of traditional processes. Ceramics and fabric arts show particular strength, with their transformations of conventional materials and suggestions of strange biology at work, while sculpture opens up fresh perspectives on everyday objects. Photographers increasingly explore the potential of new digital technology, but the power of the medium still rests in the ability of the lens to reveal new aspects of the visual world. Painting, meanwhile, has become a field for cross-fertilization of media.”

Marti Schoen’s “Trap Neuter Release” is among her other ceramic sculptures in the exhibit “Kindred Connections,” on display through Aug. 16, upstairs at the Pence Gallery.
Courtesy photo

Visitors also will enjoy our two-person exhibit upstairs. Opening on July 3, Marti Schoen and Binuta Sudhakaran unveiled their recent work in “Kindred Connections,” on display through Aug. 16.

Sudhakaran and Schoen met about 10 years ago, while they were painting scenic art at Davis Musical Theatre Company. They discovered, as they worked side by side, a similar approach to the use of color, how to illustrate a theme or resolve a visual challenge.

For their display, the artists have been reflecting on their common technique for applying layers of colors, as Sudhakaran works with paint and paper on a support, and Schoen works with glaze over clay.

Schoen’s figurative ceramic sculptures use symbolic motifs to reveal stories through attention to detail and texture. Her interest lies less with symmetry and function, than with balancing the movement of random elements.

Her process involves rolling and tearing slabs of clay, which are then slumped over a uniform shape. Glazes, underglazes and mason stains are applied in broad abstract patterns, that anticipate unexpected fluxes to emerge when fired.

Binuta Sudhakaran’s “Lotus” is part of the exhibit “Kindred Connections,” on display through Aug. 16, upstairs at the Pence Gallery.
Courtesy photo

Sudhakaran is a visual artist and yoga teacher who lives and works in Davis. Originally an architect practicing in India, she moved to Davis to raise her family and has been exploring abstraction on canvas for the past 10 years.

She has great reverence for the folk arts and traditional hand-made textiles around the world. After years of working in figurative art and still life, the transition to pure abstraction has allowed her to capture the essence and spirit of her subject matter through the medium of glazes on canvas.

In our Dowling Community Gallery, artist David Olivant’s work is on display from July 10 through Aug. 16, in an exhibit titled “Because I Know I Shall Not Know.” David is a mixed-media artist who just retired from teaching at CSU Stanislaus as an art professor. We are so lucky to have his amazing work at the gallery, as his art bridges the realms of ceramics, painting, drawing and photography.

This exhibit presents a new aspect of his oeuvre, where his common practice of making sculptures out of found objects, coupled with exquisite drawings of subjects from life and art history, is ground zero for the creation of a series of large-format prints. Titling them “retroglyphs,” the new large, high-resolution photographs are a collaboration with his studio assistant Jennifer Van.

His artistic process and the resulting prints are multi-layered in nature, offering us an insight into the mind of the artist, where allusion and meaning are multifaceted, chaotic and evolving. This exhibit is sponsored by Tandem Properties.

Through July 24, the Pence will be closed to the public following Yolo County protocol and to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The gallery will still be open by appointment, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Call 530-758-3370 to make an appointment to see our exhibits or peruse the gift shop.

Our staff and volunteers will be wearing masks and we ask that all visitors wear masks and social distance 6 feet from other people during their visits. We also have created a suggested path through the gallery with blue tape on the ground, so that we can give visitors a little space from one another. We also limited the number of people to 37 at one time, which, frankly, rarely happens unless we have a program or reception.

As you can imagine, we are not holding large events, such as receptions or talks at this time. Instead, we are looking at ways to hold smaller talks or virtual events until we can do larger events safely.

On Friday to Sunday, July 31 through Aug. 2, the Pence is holding its annual Treasure Sale. (This was rescheduled from early June.) This fundraiser for the gallery’s programs brings some donated items like collectibles, china, antiques, small furniture, jewelry, linens and more, and offers them for sale outside in our courtyard. Bring a mask and we’ll be doing social distancing and cleaning to minimize any potential risk to visitors.

Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for Sunday, when we close at 3 p.m. There are some great deals! We are still accepting donations of similar items at the gallery; call 530-758-3370 if you are interested in donating to the Pence for a tax receipt.

— Natalie Nelson is the executive director and curator of the Pence Gallery; her column is published monthly.



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