"Basil's Ride," by Tony Natsoulas. Courtesy photo


Pence Gallery: Hit the road to see ‘Cartalk’

By From page A5 | June 10, 2014

I’ve never really understood America’s fascination with cars. My first car was a 1980 diesel Oldsmobile sedan, with deep scratches in the paint that I tried to fix with nail polish. The droopy fabric ceiling was stapled in place by my dad, and hosted mice in the winter who loved to nest under the hood.

The hot rods, sports cars or Teslas of the future, they were so exotic to me that I never contemplated acquiring one as a serious mode of transportation.

Fast-forward 20 years, and it seems that “Top Gear” is always on in my home, or the newest electric or Google car is headlining in the media. In honor of the two mechanics from Brooklyn who guffaw on the radio every Sunday, I’ve named our current exhibit on cars “Cartalk.”

On display from Friday, June 13, through Aug. 22, it features the work of 13 artists who are obsessed with cars and all that they symbolize. Visitors to the Pence Gallery, 212 D St., will enjoy both paintings and ceramics that are car-crazy by artists such as Tony Natsoulas, Melissa Chandon, Alejandro Rubio, Iver Hennig, Rachel Kline and more.

Opening on June 29 in the Main Gallery is our annual exhibit titled “Slice: A Cross-section of Regional Art.” What’s fun about this display is that it represents a “slice” of what painters, photographers and sculptors are creating right now in their studios.

Ninety artists from all over California applied this year, and our juror, Carrie Lederer, had the hard task of choosing 30 pieces to fill the space. Carrie is both an artist and a curator at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, who has organized some really innovative exhibits there. I can’t wait to see who she picks for this exhibit.

Our reception isn’t until July 11 from 6 to 9 p.m., but she will be present to announce the awards for prizes. The show extends all summer through Aug. 24, so there’s plenty of time to stop by the gallery to see it.


We’re so excited to announce our first festival for youth in Davis! Createfest is from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 28. A teen-organized celebration of youth art, music, food and video, it is sponsored by the Pence Gallery’s teen group, Teens Take Charge.

Musical groups include Brady Corcoran, Camila Ortiz and more. Enjoy food (for purchase), dance by the Pamela Trokanski Troupe, dramatic performances, arts and crafts sold by teens, crazy bikes to ride, hands-on art activities and a video fest. All are welcome and admission is free.

The fun all takes place outside the Pence in our courtyard, and on the street. The event is sponsored by a city of Davis teen services grant.


Just a reminder that in July we have our open call for artists to drop off work for our 25th annual “Community Hang-Up” exhibit. This is a non-juried exhibit, with one artwork accepted per artist (ages 16 and up), and you just have to drop it off on either July 1 or 2 between 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Admission is $20 (or $25 for nonmembers) and is limited to the first 50 artists. There is a size restriction of 30 inches in any direction to keep in mind, including the frame.

Any form of art — such as paintings, ceramics, jewelry, prints, photography  or textiles — is acceptable. There are two prizes that will be given out to participating artists: the Public Choice Award, and the Curator’s Award, which I give to my favorite work of art during the reception on July 11. We hope to see you then!

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

Natalie Nelson

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