Pence Gallery: Calling all artists for the Community Hang-Up

By From page A4 | July 03, 2013

"Chuck Close" by Kurt Edward Fishback, 1982. Courtesy photo

"Chuck Close" by Kurt Edward Fishback, 1982. Courtesy photo

The Pence Gallery invites artists 18 years of age or older to participate in the 24th annual Community Hang-Up. This nonjuried exhibition, on view from July 12 through Aug. 18, features artwork in a variety of media, including sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking and textiles.

The Community Hang-Up exhibit brings people together to see the work of their friends, uncovers budding artists who have never exhibited previously, and surprises many who come to see the caliber of displayed work. This exhibit celebrates art by members of our growing artistic community and unveils some exceptional regional talent.

Artists should bring one artwork, fully prepared for installation, to the Pence Gallery on Sunday or Monday between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Work should not exceed 30-by-30-inches. A $20 entry fee ($15 for Pence members) guarantees the inclusion of one work. Participation is limited to the first 50 artists on a first-come, first-served basis.

We invite you to view the works during the public reception on Friday, July 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. During the awards ceremony at 8 p.m., one participating artist will receive the Curator’s Choice Award, given to an outstanding work of art by the Pence curator. Visitors also can vote for their favorite work, to be awarded at the exhibit’s close. This exhibit is sponsored by Dick and Joy Dorf, and Bob and Joanne Andresen.


In our Main Gallery, “Face Forward” presents two sides of Sacramento-based artist Kurt Edward Fishback’s artistic output, collecting more than 30 years worth of work. Primary in the exhibit is Fishback’s portrait series of artists in their studios, which has remained a salient theme over the years. Representing 27 artists, the exhibit highlights visual artists centered in Northern California or New York.

Fishback’s series began with a 1979 portrait of Robert Arneson, one of his professors at UC Davis, where he received his master of fine arts in 1970. Fishback continued his quest to capture portraits of some of the most prominent artists working around the Bay Area and Sacramento, including Manuel Neri, Elmer Bischoff, Gregory Kondos and Wayne Thiebaud.

Working with natural light and a Pentax 6×7 camera before he turned to digital, Fishback favored a small aperture setting in order to create a maximum sharpness of detail throughout the image. His promise to get a good portrait with a minimum of shots in less than an hour was a hallmark of his style.

Capturing the artist in his own studio space allowed Fishback to use the artist’s work and his environment to define the artist in a straightforward manner. Early studies in architecture and as an assistant to his father, Glen Fishback, a successful commercial photographer, sharpened his ability to frame a subject through architectural elements. Working with his father, a member of the f64 group of photographers, also meant that photographers such as Edward and Brett Weston, Ansel Adams and Wynn Bullock were family friends.

In all, Fishback’s series has included more than 250 artists, and features a large portion from his 1982 New York trip.

While Fishback’s ceramic work has taken a back seat to his photographic work since graduate school, his sculptural pieces are included as evidence of his interest in using humor to provoke surprise. This same humorous undertone runs through his portraits of artists Annie Murphy-Robinson, Clayton Bailey and Greg McGregor.

While Fishback highlights the unique characteristics that define many artists, especially those known for their surreal or provocative work, he ultimately informs us about how interconnected the artist is with the art. Perhaps Fishback’s greatest contribution to the history of this region is how in viewing his portraits, we may envision just a little more clearly that age-old question as to the meaning of an artist’s work.

To hear more on Fishback’s life and work, attend our artist talk on Saturday, July 20, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. This free talk includes images of Fishback’s early work, and he’ll tour participants in the exhibit, sharing anecdotes about artists along the way. This exhibit is sponsored by Kathy Joseph and Tom Doyle, and in part by Bill and Nancy Roe.

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

Natalie Nelson

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