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Renowned Artist Chester Arnold Premieres Exhibition at Nevada Museum of Art

Arnold_EntropicLandscapeSMFor artist Chester Arnold, painting is as much about politics and social responsibility as it is about crafting luscious large-scale oil paintings in the tradition of nineteenth-century European artists. With sometimes dark humor, the paintings in Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven opening August 14 at the Nevada Museum of Art, asks viewers to consider the impacts of human and industrial consumption, accumulation, and waste on the natural environment.

Since he began painting over three decades ago, West Coast-based artist Arnold has cleverly confronted a range of challenging subjects. Concerned about the increasing impact of human interventions on landscapes in a densely populated and deeply consumer-driven world, Arnold’s work questions the nature of human beings’ relationship to the landscape, offering cautionary warnings about society’s unbridled cycles of production and consumption on an industrial scale.

“My paintings are a big conversation I’m having with the world,” Arnold says of the richly-painted canvases spanning his thirty year career. Many of the paintings in the exhibition are based loosely on real environmental scenarios, such as the monumental canyon of discarded automobile tires that populates Arnold’s Entropic Landscape—a real larger-than-life discarded tire pile exists in California’s Central Valley. Arnold’s images of deforestation and tree harvesting BusinessSMin paintings such as Histories (2010) are not unlike the paintings of similar despoiled landscapes painted by nineteenth century American artists working long before him. And Arnold has also made three paintings of large-scale strip mines, including Holding Pond (1996) seen from an aerial view. The sublime terraced canyons are punctuated by smoky canyons and smoldering fires with holding ponds that contain mineral-rich, blood-red or copper-green drainage run-off that has been left behind by the mining process. Arnold’s depictions of such altered landscapes bring the consequences of human progress to the attention of viewers.

“The pieces in this exhibition engage with issues of work and labor, nature and environment, industrial production and consumption, and the amassing and disposal of consumer products,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator and Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “The works are both cautionary and confessional, revealing human foibles and follies and what Arnold considers to be their devastating consequences. Arnold’s landscape paintings also ask viewers to consider how human activities—of both the individual and large-scale industries—impact the landscape.”

Also featured in the exhibition is a series of paintings Arnold calls Accumulations, which reveal the ongoing cycle of consumption and disposal resulting from mass production. First created during the late 1990s, a time in American history noted for its booming economic prosperity, Arnold navigates America’s seeming disregard for accumulating and discarding mass-produced merchandise.

HistoriesSMUnderlying Arnold’s critiques of America’s consumer culture is an implicit acknowledgment of the economic engine driving mass production. Many of Arnold’s paintings allude to corporate business culture and the resources required to keep offices running throughout the country. The Business in America is Business (2008) and Means of Communication (2008) both depict streets littered with discarded office correspondence, perhaps cast from the skyscrapers of urban financial districts during past ticker-tape parades. It is especially ironic that the global financial services firm Lehman Brothers acquired one of Arnold’s paper accumulation paintings, Means of Communication (2008), for its corporate art collection not long before the company declared bankruptcy in 2008—the largest U.S. bankruptcy filing in history.

“Arnold’s works ask viewers to consider how one’s individual behaviors interface with ongoing cycles of industrial production and consumption,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “They ask us to acknowledge and celebrate hard work, but to consider the irrevocable consequences of our labors.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a special dialogue between San Francisco Chronicle Art Critic Kenneth Baker and artist Chester Arnold takes place Saturday, September 11 from 5:30 to 8 pm. Join Baker and Arnold as they discuss Arnold’s work on display in the Feature Gallery. A reception following dialogue is included in the ticket price. Cost: $15/$12 Museum Members; $18 at the door.

Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven is presented at the Nevada Museum of Art from August 14 through October 17, 2010 as part of the Museum’s wide-ranging Art + Environment Series, which provides timely, engaging, and rewarding educational opportunities for artists, scholars, and communities to engage with ideas pertinent to the intersections of art and environments. In 2009, the Museum launched the Center for Art + Environment, an international initiative that supports the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and the natural, built, and virtual environments. A book, published in conjunction with the exhibition, will be available in the Museum Store featuring essays by Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections and Colin M. Robertson, Curator of Education.

The Rotund World of Botero

The Nevada Museum of Art presents an ambitious exhibition boasting over 100 paintings and thousands of pounds of bronze sculptures, through the unforgettable works of Colombian painter, sculptor, and draftsman Fernando Botero in The Baroque World of Fernando Botero.

Drawn exclusively from Botero’s personal collection, the 100 works featured in this exhibition, including previously unpublished paintings and drawings, represent the full scope of his work from a uniquely personal perspective.

Many of these—portraits of friends and family members and remembered scenes—have remained in the artist’s possession since their creation, while others he has bought back from collectors over the years because they mark significant developments in his career. For example, Still Life with a Mandolin, painted in 1957, was the first time Botero enlarged the volume of the musical instrument in a manner now identified as the artists’ own style.

“This exhibition is both thought-provoking and inspirational to audiences of all ages and is not only a show for those who appreciate modern and contemporary Latin American art. The intricate sculptures and paintings in this exhibition reflect Botero’s radical, unique and humorous style. From gigantic bronze sculptures to paintings, this exhibition is the perfect opportunity to experience Botero’s engaging and dramatic works.”

Botero’s exaggerated and rounded forms depict the comedy of human life – moving or wry, with mocking observation or with deep emotion. His first images draw upon the Spanish colonial baroque style, rich with decoration and flourish, gaudy angels and tormented saints.  Some of the key works in the exhibition connect Botero’s own past with the present of his homeland,  The exhibition also presents a section on everyday life in South America: women observed in the intimacy of their boudoir, street scenes, dance halls, and the suggestion of houses of ill repute.

Dates: May 1 through July 25, 2010 every Wednesday through Sunday.
Location: Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery located at 160 West Liberty Street in downtown Reno.
Cost: Museum members free; $10 adults; $8 students/seniors; $1 children 6 – 12; free for children five and under.

For more information, please call 775.329.3333 or visit www.nevadaart.org.

Gee’s Bend… Not Your Grandmother’s Quilt

A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts at the Nevada Museum of Art – Not Your Grandmother’s Quilt

gees bend quiltWhen you think of quilts you may not think of amazing works of art. However, the Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts at the Nevada Museum of Art will definitely change your perception. The women of Gee’s Bend Alabama have been quilting as a way to keep their homes free from drafts and family members warm since the 1800s.

These talented quilters used old scraps of fabric from work clothes or pillows for example and transformed them into amazing quilts that have been heralded by the New York Times as pieces of Modern Art. The vibrant colors and varied textures make these quilts visually appealing and simply beautiful.

Walking through the exhibit evoked feelings of inspiration, perseverance and awe. To think that many of these women have overcome insurmountable challenges having no idea what ‘art’ is, but were creating magnificent works of art based on their intuition is simply astounding.

When I originally thought about going to see this exhibit, I was not too interested. After all, it’s a quilt. I can say that my opinion was drastically changed after seeing these pieces of art. If you are planning a trip to Reno and are looking for something unexpected that will open your mind and touch your heart, make time to visit A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts at the Nevada Museum of Art. I can assure you, you will not be disappointed. You may even become inspired to learn to quilt!

Now at the Nevada Museum of Art thru April 11, 2010

MP3’s about the Gee’s Bend Quilters from other Museums
1 Linda Day Clark_ Gee’s Bend
2 Gee’s Bend – Revil Mosely
3 Gee’s Bend – Sarah Benning
4 Gee’s Bend – Mary L Bennett
5 Gee’s Bend – Ruth Kennedy
6 Gee’s Bend – I Found
7 Gee’s Bend – Nettie Young
8 Gees Bend Quilters

Reno gets the girl

Raphael’s La Donna VelataPainted nearly 500 years ago, Raphael’s La Donna Velata or La Velata (The Woman with the Veil) traveled nearly 6,000 miles across land and sea to get to Reno, Nev. – and wow, was it worth the trip!

One of only three American cities to be graced by her enchanting  beauty, Reno proudly features the painting through March 21, 2010 at the Nevada Museum of Art and presented by the E.L. Wiegand Foundation’s Arte ITALIA. The attraction of the Woman can be explained in many ways: her idealized beauty and mysterious smile, the legend of the mistress believed to be the model for the image, and the sheer talent of the painter himself.

One of the most important – and certainly among the oldest – works of art to grace the Museum walls, Raphael’s The Woman with the Veil provides audiences of all ages a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a distinctive and renowned work by a High Renaissance master and contemporary of such icons as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Three gallery spaces have been dedicated to showcase the single painting, including an interpretive area and screening room. Unique programming and guided tours are also available. The exhibition continues at Arte ITALIA, located at 442 Flint and California Ave., where additional information and film are on display.

Cost: FREE for Members / $10 adults / $8 seniors and students / $1 ages 6 to 12 years / FREE children under 5.

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm, late on Thursdays until 8 pm.  Galleries, Museum Store and Café Musée are closed Mondays, Tuesdays and national holidays.  For more information visit: www.NevadaArt.org

Cowboy poetry the theme of Nevada Museum of Art exhibit

Come to The Nevada Museum of Art for the feature exhibition “Between Grass and Sky: Rhythms of Cowboy Poem” through May 17. The exhibition is part of a jointly developed exhibition between the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nev.

The complementary exhibition, “Between Grass and Sky: Trappings of a Ranch Life” will be on exhibit at the Western Folklife Center through Aug. 29. Working together, and in celebration of the 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the two organizations created joint exhibitions that evoke a range of experiences central to life in the American West. Both exhibitions are designed by Nik Hafermaas of UeBERSEE Design in Los Angeles and are intended to present opposite, yet balanced perspectives as part of the overarching exhibition.

The Nevada Museum of Art in Reno is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Thursdays until 8 p.m.

This exhibition of contemporary artwork by artists such as Karen Kitchell, Adam Jahiel and Theodore Waddell, offers fresh insight into the varied experiences arising from life in rural and ranching communities. Inspired by the widely celebrated poem Grass—written by legendary Texas poet Buck Ramsey—Rhythms of a Cowboy Poem features a selection of contemporary artworks combined with the spoken voices of renowned cowboy poets.