Wednesday, January 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Travel the country with artist

"Dear Andy #203" is part of artist Mel Smothers' series of "postcards" to be sent to the late Andy Warhol from his estate in Montauk, N.Y. Courtesy photo

By
From page A6 | December 07, 2011 |

In working with our current artist, Mel Smothers, I had to chuckle over his response to my request for an artist statement. He wrote, “The more I’ve painted, the more I’ve found to say. These works tell a portion of the stories — a portion because curator Natalie Nelson selected them. She may have known if I were to tell the story, she wouldn’t have enough walls.

“The works here begin in the wilderness area above Lake Tahoe, travel to studios in Davis and the Cascades, the art fair of Miami Beach, earthworks in the western desert and end in New York City. I believe all of them together tell a personal painting story.”

It’s true that the exhibit, titled “Postcards” (on display through Jan. 2) jumps around a bit, from work completed in the late 1990s to work that was barely dry. Smothers is one of those amazingly adaptive artists, who launches into a particular subject with such gusto that he is driven to complete painting after painting until he’s exhausted all the possibilities of the motif, scene or idea.

The exhibit previews a selection (a postcard, if you will) of four different series by Smothers, along with a recent video project.

Smothers is also a bicoastal artist, choosing to alternate part of the year in Brooklyn with time spent in Tahoe. He has deep roots in Davis and Sacramento, having lived and studied in the area before his move in 2002.

This geographic flitting between locales is solidly reflected in his choice of subject matter and the intensity of color in his paintings.

In his earliest paintings, done during his time in Davis, landscape dominates. The pull of the horizon line, which divides local scenes into sky and land, emphasizes the flatness of Yolo County. The heightened colors of his landscapes, especially noted in his scenes of Yolo and to a lesser extent in his Yosemite views, reflect an alternate sense of light than paintings completed in New York. These East Coast scenes tend to be grayer, or more tonal, in color.

Smothers’ series “Crow Stories” and “Book of the Dead” are both developed with an eye to making specific objects project in three dimensions. Using 3-D glasses (included in the gallery), birds appear to take flight. Smothers was inspired to paint this grouping of porcelain vessels after a museum trip, where he viewed the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead as well as Chinese ceramics.

More recently, Smothers has focused on creating work included in his “Dear Andy” series. He views these paintings as “postcards to be sent to Andy Warhol from his estate in Montauk, N.Y.,” thus they often include cancellation marks and messages in an ongoing posthumous dialogue with Warhol.

Smothers began this series when he read that Warhol’s oceanside estate at Montauk recently sold. While Warhol did not visit this estate frequently, Smothers enjoyed the tranquil views of the ocean and wildlife. He made notations about the estate to report back to Andy. Blended with imagery from Warhol’s paintings, his series “Dear Andy” was a way to communicate with the late Warhol.

I encourage visitors to come hear Smothers give a presentation from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Pence Gallery, 212 D St., to get a sense of his paintings as they’ve developed. This talk is free and open to the public.

————

For those of you who love films that delve into the art world, come to our next movie night at the Pence. Our feature film for December is titled “Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock”?

The documentary follows Teri Horton, a truck driver with a $5 purchase that she believes was painted by Jackson Pollock, as she takes on the art establishment in her 15-year quest to authenticate the piece.

Admission is $5 general and $2 for Pence members, and includes all the popcorn you can eat. Don’t miss it at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15.

————

During the holiday season, I want to encourage you to stop at the Pence’s Holiday Market for last-minute gifts. On view through Dec. 23, our market is filled with handcrafted bowls, warm scarves and gorgeous jewelry, created by local artists and craftspeople. Also on view are small paintings, ceramics and photos that would make great presents for someone who loves things with character and style.

This sale helps not only support our local artisans, but the Pence itself as a community gallery, going strong for more than 35 years. We hope you have a lovely holiday season, and that you visit us this month or in the new year!

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

Comments

comments

Natalie Nelson

.

News

Shrem Art Museum is a work of art itself

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Police ID suspect in South Davis hit-and-run crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
Thieves swipe Gold Rush-era nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Blizzard-stricken East digs out amid second-guessing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
CASA seeks volunteers to advocate for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UC Davis doctors strike

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Community invited to Fenocchio memorial

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
SHE to lead Center for Spiritual Living in sound healing

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Teens Take Charge program accepting applications

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Brick sales will benefit Hattie Weber Museum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Take a hike with Tuleyome on Feb. 7

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

The Soup’s On for NAMI-Yolo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Kiwanis Crab, Pasta Feed benefits local charities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Registration open for PSA Day at Davis Media Access

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Capay Valley Almond Festival will tempt your taste buds

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Learn pattern darning tips at guild meeting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

State fails to track billions in mental health funds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
CSU chancellor calls for increasing graduation rates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Covered California enrollment events planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Suds for a bug: Contest is over

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A7

Rebekahs’ crab feed benefits local families

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Forum

Family feels cut off here

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Think again on euthanasia

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Let’s speak with accuracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

A stunning contradiction here

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
It’s the final freedom

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Move past the stereotypes

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Davis club ruggers open with nationally celebrated Jesuit on Friday

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Williams-less Gauchos will test Aggie men

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Devil snowboarders place second in short and slushy GS

By Margo Roeckl | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lady Blue Devils take care of business

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS ski team takes second on a déjà vu day

By Tanya Perez | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

Name droppers: Arboretum director wins leadership award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Lemon tree, very pretty: Our most local fruit?

By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

.

Arts

Granger Smith to play at The Davis Graduate

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Art science speaker series event set for Feb. 5

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Young musicians to perform Winter Concerto Concert

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Red Meat, Deke Dickerson bring rockabilly honky-tonk twang to The Palms

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Death notice: Betty J. Cogburn

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Mary Beth Warzecka

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B6