Past Exhibitions 2015

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Paula McHugh: Bound to Have a Little Fun--Paintings Inspired by the Titles of American Folk Music and Songs

October 3 to November 29, 2015

A couple waltz beside a crackling campfire under a harvest moon, a medicine show pitchman sporting an Indian war bonnet extols the virtues of his elixir to a crowd of curious townspeople, a son plays a farewell tune for his mother before going off to war, a farmer stands bewildered in front of his dust blown farm, a man and a bear stand together in the forest both playing the fiddle, a deer sprouts a peach tree from the top of its head…

The work of artist Paula McHugh celebrates the rich legacy of traditional American fiddle music and folk songs. A musician herself who plays the “old-time music” with her husband in a duo called The Time Travelers, her oil and watercolor paintings bring out the joy, playfulness, and longing of this enduring art form. The characters, settings, and narratives expressed on her canvases arise from the wellspring of the American psyche and call us back to what is most essential in the human experience.


21st Annual Junque Arte Competition & Exhibition

October 1 to November 15, 2015

Designed to celebrate artistic creativity on the North Coast, and heighten the awareness of renewable resources in the art making process, each artwork in this juried exhibition is made from 100% recycled materials…reclaimed, reused, recovered, secondhand, salvaged, anything un-new!

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Andrzej Maciejewski: Garden of Eden

September 26 to November 29, 2015

Garden of Eden features 24 colour still-life photographs, resembling the paintings of old masters, but showing our modern fruits and vegetables from supermarket, with label stickers or wrapped in plastic foil. This is why the titles of images consist of the PLU numbers and names of the countries of origin of the products in the photograph. The project was completed in 2011 and its creation was supported by an Ontario Arts Council grant. The exhibition of Garden of Eden is now on the world tour, visiting simultaneously several venues across Europe and North America.

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John Jameton: Off the Grid

September 5 to September 27, 2015

Award-winning watercolorist John Jameton is inspired by nature surrounding his southern Humboldt home. His paintings have won awards in numerous exhibitions and are included in the HAC Permanent Collection.

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Barbara Milman: Sea Change

August 1 to August 30, 2015

“Sea Change” is Barbara Milman’s response to climate change, expressed in her prints and artist’s books. The books and prints complement each other – in fact create a kind of conversation in text, form, image and scale.  They share images and techniques as well as an ironic sense of humor about a serious subject.

The artist’s books are intimate in scale, combining text and images.  They invite a viewer to enter into a conversation with the artist.   The prints, much larger than the books, provide a more purely visual approach to the subject.  Unlike the books, they catch your eye immediately as you enter a gallery.

Both the books and the prints are reflections upon various aspects of climate change, particularly as they affect the oceans.  For example, ocean warming and acidification cause by increased carbon dioxide levels have proved toxic to many plant and animal species.  However there is at least one notable exception – jellyfish.  Jellyfish thrive in conditions that kill off other creatures.  They may turn out to be beautiful sea monsters of the future.  With this in mind, many of Milman’s most recent prints incorporate jellyfish imagery.

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Metaphysical Abstraction: Contemporary Approaches to Spiritual Content

August 1 to August 30, 2015

This exhibition features work by ten artists living in the Southwestern United States and in Northern California: Co-curators and painters Jamie Brunson (Lamy, NM) and Michelle Mansour (Oakland, CA); painter Pegan Brooke (Bolinas, CA); sculptor Freddy Chandra (Oakland, CA); painter David Ivan Clark (Douglas, AZ); collage artist David King (Monte Rio, CA); painter Keira Kotler (Ross, CA); painter Tracy Rocca (Albuquerque, NM); painter Jenn Shifflet (El Cerrito, CA) and draughtsman Alex Zecca (San Francisco, CA).

Working in paint, colored pencil, hand-colored cast urethane and paper collage, respectively, these ten abstract artists use the physical qualities of their materials—including luminous color, delicate surface effects and refined composition—to evoke a sense of the ineffable. By focusing on meticulous process and the tactile and sensate qualities of their media, they create sensory and visual experiences of expansiveness and mystery through their art that transcend the physical materials from which the work was made.

Although abstract, their work obliquely references the space, atmosphere and light associated with landscape; meditative states; or microcosmic and macrocosmic structures found in biology.

Collectively, their work is characterized by pristine surfaces that suggest deep, atmospheric space or emanate the quality of internal light or luminosity. The artists achieve their ethereal, often sublime surface effects through processes that require repetition or layering, uniting material and metaphysical concerns. The resulting abstract work invites contemplative, even transcendental, experiences in the viewer.

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Empire Squared Strikes Back

July 29 to September 20, 2015

Empire Squared is a local art collective founded in 2002 by a group of art students at Humboldt State University. The group was formed because they wanted to bring avant-garde/cutting age art to Humboldt County. The collective has been showing art consistently since 2002. This exhibit will focus on the diverse styles from the collective.

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Fawn Atencio & Catherine Chauvin: Where Land and Water Always Meet

June 13 to July 19, 2015

Where Land and Water Always Meet present interpretations of affected public lands and altered bodies of water.  These landscapes appear carved or diminished, but carry a visual beauty and an insistent content beyond the edges of the paper. This is the first collaboration of two professional printmakers who live and work in Denver, Colorado.

Each artist has been addressing landscapes through a contemporary lens: Chauvin, looking at man’s land use, manipulations ranging from logging, to preservation and paths through spaces.  Atencio, looks at how water behaves as it creates paths, patterns, and connections to the land it intercedes.  The body of work shown together is significant in that each artist uses a combination of low tech (monotype and relief) and high tech (digital) print processes, which convey a curiosity and concern for land and water issues in a unique and thoughtful manner.  The artists' subjects of land and water become abstracted through their choices: hand drawing meets printed and digital processes and textures of ink meet close observation.  A real environment interpreted through printmaking becomes surreal while maintaining something tangible. The artists are pursuing a collaborative goal, creating pieces leading to insightful dialogue between the work and gallery goers. 

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Here & There: Topographic Conversations with Morris Graves

June 6 to July 26, 2015

Morris Graves believed the natural world could provide meaning and subsequent inspiration for his work. In particular it was the West that influenced his aesthetics and at both his homes The Rock in Skagit County, WA (1940-47) and The Lake in Humboldt County CA (1961 – his death) he sought to create environments that would bring forth his creative potential. The natural beauty of these two counties has inspired other artists as well. This exhibition presents the work of eight artists, four from each location, together with works of Grave’s to create a visual conversation about the inspiration both he and these regions draw out. Juxtaposed with works from the MGMA collection of the renowned artist the work of these eight artists will provide the potential for discussions about the relationship between Graves, the artists, these geographic locations and how and why nature inspires us to create.


14th Annual Northwest Eye Regional Photography Competition & Exhibition

May 2 to May 31, 2015

The Northwest Eye is a five-state regional fine art photography competition and exhibition highlighting the current trends in the art of photography. This exhibition showcases the creativity and beauty caught by some of the finest photographers in the Northwest.

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Deborah Barlow: Behind, Beyond, Beneath: Scaling the Continuum

April 25 to June 7, 2015

Artists and scientists share a common fascination with nature. While both approach their work with a sense of discovery, scientists find answers through methodical procedures that break the world down into component parts. Artists on the other hand are more inclined to experience nature in its totality, relishing their engagement with wonder and awe. Rather than dismantling or categorizing the world, they seek a nonlinear entry into what lies beneath and beyond what the eye can see. The multilayered universe is limitless with secrets and the unseen, and it is that complexity that continues to compel the artist’s eye and mind. Painter Deborah Barlow has studied images from one end of the continuum to the other—the microscopy of single organisms to NASA’s hyperspectral radiographs of the multiverse. Rather than approaching these phenomena with deductive or reductive intent, she employs the materiality of paint to engage with what is essentially ineffable and deeply sublime. Luminous, evocative and richly surfaced, her paintings bring the viewer face to face with the profound mystery and wonder that is everywhere in the natural world.

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5X7 Fundraiser and Exhibition

April 18 to May 2, 2015

Five X Seven is an art sale and exhibition benefiting the HAC exhibitions and Youth Arts Education Programs. Dozens of recognized California artists create unique works of 2D art on identical 5” x 7” boards or 3D works of the same size. Each 5×7-inch artwork is only $100, or $75 for HAC/MGMA members (yet ANOTHER great reason to become a member today!). With lots of works to choose from, this is your chance to have first pick and build or add to your art collection. All pieces are displayed anonymously – only when you purchase a work of art will you discover who created it. One of the North Coast’s most unique artistic events…you can’t afford to miss it!

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Katherine Meyer: Finding Your Place

March 7 to April 19, 2015

“Being alone in nature has always sustained me.  In my twenties, I lived for 5 years in a house in the Maine woods with wood heat and no electricity or running water or money; that close to nature, I felt I had more resources than at any other time. Although I live with more amenities now, I still seek out solitary experiences in untamed territory.  What is it about a particular landscape that lets me take my place in it?  My drawings are attempts to answer that question, to make visible what helps create my heart’s own home.”

“This work is not meant to be self-reflexive only, and I don’t intend to impose my vision on viewers.  Whether my inspiration is the mystery of California redwoods or the austerity of the Maine coast, I want to make spaces that invite people to follow their own path through each drawing, to take their own place in that environment, and to sense the restorative connection that still can exist between us and nature.”

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Shawn Griggs: Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds, and Points in Between

March 7 to April 26, 2015

For some time now, I have been infatuated with several concepts... the incredible beauty of our north coast, the mysteries of life, and riding waves... All of these ideas have strong connections to my heart, and exploring each of these concepts individually as well as infusing them with one another, has been the focus of the work for my show.

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Natalie Craig: Notations on The Great Highway

March 7 to April 12, 2015

When we look at landscapes do we see the landscape itself or is it imbued with thoughts and memories? This exhibit of mixed media paintings explores the balance between what is seen and the imprint of the human spirit.  The Great Highway is a notion of passing through time and, also, the road alongside the beach in San Francisco’s Sunset. Using details of the beach along the Great Highway the artist explores how perception informs, and is informed by, place, and inspires the search for beauty.

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Beverly Corbett: Elbe

February 1 to February 28, 2015

Explore Author/Artist Beverly Corbett’s heartwarming story through original illustrations featured in the self-published book, Elbe.

“It was early morning. I woke up with a cramp in my leg. While I was lying there trying to stretch it out, I thought, ‘I wonder if storks ever get leg cramps sitting on their nest for so long?’ What if a stork could bend her legs as we do?”

“Her name is Elbe. She is a very clever and creative stork, entertaining herself, never shirking her duties to egg and nest. Her job is not unlike any other job where one is confined to a limited environment. Imagination is the key, Elbe’s key to survival.”

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Awkward Family Photos

January 21 to March 1, 2015

Childhood friends Mike Bender and Doug Chernack began a blog after Mike saw an awkward vacation photo hung in his parents’ house. Realizing there were probably plenty of other people out there with their own awkward family images, the two friends decided to create a friendly, online place where everyone could come together and share their uncomfortable family moments. Thus, Awkward Family Photos was born. The site quickly took off and became an internet sensation; it now receives millions of hits daily and submissions from around the world.

But why make it into a museum exhibit when all the pictures are available online? For Bender and Chernack, it's about the in-person experience.

"It emphasizes the fact that we're all awkward, and that we have all of this stuff in common with other families," Bender said. "When you see it laid out in a museum setting, it really hits that home."

Bender is also proud of the exhibit's picture frames, which are "awkward frames" from the 1950s, '60s and '70s. "The frames to me are almost as fun as the show," he said.

In honor of the exhibition, visitors are invited to share their own absurd family snapshots and stories behind the photos, for a chance to win fantastic MGMA and Awkward Family Photo prizes.  Visitors may hang their own photos and create wall text for them in the Knight Gallery.


Humboldt Arts Council Annual Member Show

December 6 to January 4, 2015

The Annual Humboldt Arts Council Member Show is a juried exhibition designed to highlight the fabulous art being produced by HAC Artist Members. As always, this exhibition is eclectic, surprising and enjoyable.