The Orion

Chico gallery shows off its artisans

Amanda Rhine

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Artists discuss and present their work to the public at the Chico Art Center on Friday. Photo credit: Zach Aucella

Artists from all over Butte County get a chance to show off their favorite pieces for the next few weeks.

The Chico Art Center’s annual “Member Showcase” opened Friday with a warm reception from both artists and art lovers. An acoustic guitar player sang folk songs while dozens of attendees drank wine, ate cheese and chatted with each other about the medley of artwork presented.

Since there were no restrictions on the type of artwork for submissions, the gallery is filled with almost every type of art imaginable. From pastels and sculpture to jewelry and quilts — the show truly has something for everyone’s aesthetic preference.

“I love coming to these kinds of mixed shows,” said Francis Baker, an Oroville resident. “There’s such an eclectic collection of art, and I feel that I get exposed to many different, and sometimes new, techniques that I wouldn’t normally. I love it.”

Jodee Merrill Smith, a Chico resident and Chico Art Center member, is often inspired by Mother Earth when it comes to sculpting. The piece she has in the showcase depicts an elaborate sunflower in a vase entitled “Sunflowers don’t apologize. Put me in your garden.”

“I like to do kind of organic things, like leafy or treeish stuff,” she said.

Keeping with her earthy tastes, Smith was blown away by a large, eye-catching papier-mache mushroom fairy house, an untitled piece by Victor Porter.

“I saw this (mushroom) and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, this is amazing!’ I can’t believe it’s made out of papier-mache. I need to come back and take pictures of it. I could just look at it forever. It’s such a fantasy,” Smith said.

Even though the organic artwork spoke to her the most, Smith had to give props to the collages in the showcase, she said.

“(Collages) are like dream images. You can interpret what they might mean in your psyche. It’s fun,” she said.

Like many of the center’s patrons, Lucille Wanee, a Paradise resident and longtime frequenter of the gallery, is always wowed by the local talent and looks forward to all upcoming exhibitions.

“We came to Chico in ’65 so we’ve seen (the center) evolve. It’s amazing,” she said. “I like this (member’s) show because you see a big range of talent and people are willing to put themselves on the line.”

 

Exhibition Details

  • Dates: Jan. 16 – Feb. 6
  • Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily
  • Location: Chico Art Center
  • Price: Free (accepts donations); all art pieces are for sale unless otherwise indicated.

Amanda Rhine can be reached at [email protected] or @am_rhine on Twitter.

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Chico gallery shows off its artisans