A Means to an End

"A Means to an End," by Michael Kerbow. Courtesy photo


Pence Gallery: New exhibits grace the walls this fall

By From page A8 | October 02, 2013

The Pence Gallery is launching its fall season with three new exhibits, representing a diverse array of artistic talent. In our Main Gallery, art critic DeWitt Cheng selected paintings and drawings by artists Arthur Bell, Mark Bryan, William Harsh, Chris Leib, Pierre Merkl and Michael Kerbow that feature varying levels of pictorial realism.

Titled “Reality2,” the display highlights individual visions that are imaginative, personal and idiosyncratic, often drawing from representational sources. Largely centered in the Bay Area, each of the painters illustrates with wisdom, imagination, and considerable humor, the strength of realism to convey an alternate or superior reality.

One of the most remarkable paintings in the exhibit, which illustrates the ability of artists to tweak our perception in unusual and thought-provoking ways, is Michael Kerbow’s “A Means to an End.” A network of freeways snake through the urban scene, holding thousands of gridlocked cars. The beauty of the ocean nearby is marred by a tall smokestack, which rises out of the water without explanation. The view is oddly familiar, as we’ve all been in those traffic jams, but the smoke stack also could be seen as a funnel cloud.

For many of the works on display, the exhibit raises more questions that it solves. To hear from the curator, and ask those burning questions, join Cheng on Friday, Oct. 11, from 5 to 6 p.m. for a quick overview tour of the exhibit with support from the artists. Following this, we’ll have our Second Friday ArtAbout reception from 6 to 9 p.m. to meet the artists, sample some food and wine by Holly’s Hill Winery, and view the exhibit.

The “Reality2″ exhibition is sponsored by Far Western Anthropological Research Group.

In our smaller gallery, the work of Davis painter Cynthia Martin Kroener is on display through Nov. 3 in “Magic Lands.” Whether she is painting the cliffs of France, the alpine beauty of Lake Tahoe or tropical island life in the Caribbean, Kroener is inspired by translating the intensity of color and pattern. Her paintings show her ability to transform complicated architectural and landscape forms into abstracted scenes, full of magic and lively hues.

Kroener is an experienced traveler, and she has visited and painted locales as diverse as the Kalahari Desert in Africa, the pyramids of Mexico and vineyards of France. Capturing her most recent travels, the exhibit is vibrant with wildlife from a recent African safari, boats on Lake Tahoe and the stepped pyramids of pre-Columbian Mexico.

Her painting process will be highlighted during a two-day demonstration from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Stop by the gallery at 212 D St. to meet Kroener and observe her techniques, as she builds a painting of a new locale from idea to completion.

Later on, she will lead an artist talk from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15. Join her as she talks about her travels near and far, and some of her history as she has evolved as an artist.

This exhibit is sponsored by Coldwell Banker-Doug Arnold Real Estate Inc., Steve Roth and Anne Lincoln and Carbahal & Company.


Diana Jahns is an artist and instructor who lives in Sacramento, and is familiar to many due to the fact that she lived and worked in Davis for years. I’ve always admired Jahns’ ability to market her talent to people online, and she is a whiz at website design.

To learn how to use online sources to share your art with others, take her class on Oct. 20 and 27 from noon to 4 p.m. The cost is $90 for Pence members or $100 for the general public. Register by Oct. 19 by calling 530-758-3370.

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

Natalie Nelson

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