Heritage is theme for new shows at Bakersfield Museum of Art

From The Bakersfield Express

Posted by admin on 9/15/09 • Categorized as Arts and Culture

By Beth Pandol, Director of Marketing for Bakersfield Museum of Art

Three new exhibits celebrating culture and heritage, from local to international, are opening Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. The reception begins at 6 p.m. and is free to museum members, $10 for nonmembers. A no-host bar and appetizers will be available. The museum is located at 1930 R St. For more information, call 323-7219 or visit www.bmao.org. All shows will be on exhibit through Nov. 22.

The Colors of China: Paintings, Calligraphy and Children’s Art

"Plum Picture" by Huang Chu Ya, 10.

Some 120 pieces of art by children and adults will adorn the museum in this exhibit.

The artwork was created by youth and adult artists from all over China, and includes paintings, pottery and calligraphy. The large exhibit will be in both the Cunningham and Dezember galleries, and wrap through the hallway of the museum. The exhibit is curated by the museum and the Heritage of America

"Luck" by Yong Zhong Dan Ge, 12.

Educational and Cultural Foundation offices of Bakersfield and Beijing, under the direction of Jess Nieto and Jian Hu.

Curator Emily Falke said the exhibit is significant, particularly since 2009 marks the 30th year of diplomatic relationships between China and the United States. There is a great change in the style and content of the art, she added, and it is more diversified and lively than before, with a combination of traditional and contemporary styles.

“It’s colorful and upbeat and cheerful in tone. The adult artists, potters, painters and calligraphers are well known and some famous within their country and beyond,” she said.

The child artists, ranging in age from 9 to 18, have previously exhibited in major museums and galleries and are all prize winners of various art competitions. The children’s works express the language of contemporary painting, Falke said.

“Vivid and bold, the compositions and brushwork show the juvenile’s point of view, and the harmony of a child’s pulse. The child has not run out even when he or she is heading toward maturity. There is a bridge over from childhood to adulthood,” Falke said.

Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead

"The Veil" by Gage Opdenbrouw

This exhibit is a colorful collection of paintings and sculpture. Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and by Latinos (and others) living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The exhibit will also include skulls painted by local artists.

“This will be very colorful, very engaging and should be of interest to those who know a bit about the history of the Día de los Muertos and those who have never seen it. We think people will enjoy its novelty and detail,” said Falke.

Participating artists include: Jose Guadalupe Posada, Miguel Linares, Paul McMillan, Mark Vallen, Dirk Hagner, Gage Opdenbrouw, Gregg Stone, Frederick Chiriboga and Joaquin Patino.

Many artists and craftsmen have used the Day of the Dead as an inspiration. The skull (calavera) and the skeleton (calacas) are the common symbols of this holiday and are reflected in all the works. One of the most prominent “Día de los Muertos” artists was José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913). His images have become one with this holiday and his work has been honored with homages by many other artists.

Today, the ritual of the Day of the Dead celebration is different from the celebration of the Aztecs. In the rural areas of Mexico people go to the cemetery to visit departed loved ones. They decorate the gravesides with flowers and candles; bring food, toys for the deceased children, and perhaps a bottle of the departed adult’s favorite beverage. In the United States, Canada and in Mexico’s larger cities, families build and decorate altars for their deceased loved ones at their homes.

Eye Gallery

"The Berlin Wall" by Nicole Saint-John

This is The Bakersfield Californian’s popular annual art exhibit which showcases local artists. This year, 15 pieces will be on display in the museum’s Collector’s Gallery, all done under a theme of “Heritage.”

According to Jennifer Self, lifestyles editor at The Californian, the Eye Gallery series has grown over the past three years, and had an impact on the artists who have participated. Bakersfield Mazda has also come forward as an additional sponsor.

“Partnerships like this support The Californian’s mission to give more exposure to artists who add so much to the cultural life of our city,” she said.

In addition, The Californian asked returning Eye Gallery artists whether their involvement in the project opened any doors or ignited greater interest in their work.

“We were gratified to learn that the exposure has led to more shows for the artists, some commissions and other recognition,” said Self.

Participating artists include: Nicole Saint-John, David Gordon, Vikki Cruz, Kevin Hardin, Beth Ramone, Prapat Sirinavarat, Nancy Putney, Kathy Pope, Iva Cross Fendrick, Johnny Ramos, Marisela Oropeza, Art Sherwyn, Charlotte White, Elyse Watkins and Claire Putney.  Eye Gallery works are for sale with a tax deductible percentage of the sale going to the museum, and a percentage to the artist.