Thursday, February 2, 2012


Get ready to reconnect with some favorite artists and get inspired by some exciting new ideas pinging around out there at this week's First Friday Art Tour. Looks like our mild winter weather will continue for this second FFAT of the new year, and with the days getting longer, there are plenty of reasons to get out and see what's new on the local art scene.

Here are a few events that look interesting to me. Be sure to visit the FFAT website and design your own tour.

At the County Government Center, you'll find luscious and mysterious watercolor abstracts by Isobel George (above), along with David Fleming's narrative oils with a twist, Laurie Longnecker's precise, photorealistic paintings of iconic local sites, Sandra Cherk's vivid pastel and watercolor landscapes, and the ceramic art of Maren Sinclair Hurn.

The Zen-like meditative quality of repetition is the theme for the new show, REPEAT! at the Santa Cruz County Bank. Parceled out between its five countywide branches, you'll find work from the encaustic mantra series by Fanne Fernow. Other artists whose work plays with the idea of visual repetition include Angela Gleason, Jane Gregorius, Charlotte Kruk, Dotti Cichon, and Daniella Woolf.

Then cruise down to the Rittenhouse Building on Pacifc Avenue for what may be the coolest show of the event, Wet Art 2012. Old wetsuits have been donated by 36 local surfers to 36 local artists to create a gallery show and auction to benefit Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz County.

Participating artists include Charles Prentiss, Ann Morehauser, Coeleen Kiebert, D Hooker, Jimbo Phillips, Robynn Smith, Rose Sellery, even The Great Morgani—to name just a few! (That's Fran Battendieri's funky-chic mermaid gown, at right.)

Some of their pieces are figurative, some are fashionable (flirty to steampunk), some are alien life forms, some are deconstructed art pieces in their own right, but all are, in a word, awesome! A partial display of the work will up for FFAT at the Ritt from 5-10 pm. (The complete show will be up in time for the reception and auction, Saturday, February 18. There will also be pre-auction visiting hours 11 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday, Feb 4-5 and 11-12.)

But in the meantime, check out the website, and prepare to be stoked.

Down the road, stop in at Artisans Gallery for this year's Hearts for the Arts exhibition. In her annual homage to the venerable Hearts for the Arts benefit art auction of yore, Artisans owner Linnea Holgers has come up with a new wrinkle: a "Wall of Hearts" featuring a quilt-like display of 10" x 10" square heart-inspired art pieces from local artists.

In addition to James Aschbacher's "Love Is In the Air," artwork includes an original small heart-shaped watercolor landscape by Marie Gabrielle, a Judy Miller ceramic plate, a pique-assiette wall piece from Beth Purcell, a clever collage of hearts by painter Paul Fortis, and just about the most adorable and impudent painted sea lion, ever, from printmaker Doug Ross (working in acrylics for only the second time).

Al in all, over 20 pieces by these local artists will be on display, along with work by students and teachers from the Mariposa Art Project. All these artworks are available for viewing and bidding in a silent auction from Friday through Valentine's Day, Feb 14, so be sure to stop in and bid on your favorite! All proceeds to go art education programs for local children.

On the Westside, the R Blitzer Gallery hosts A Figurative Affair. In addition to the work of curators Sefla Joseph and Susan Hancey, the exhibition includes new work by the fiercely creative Carol Bowie, who is always coming up with exciting new ideas in new media. Look for other renowned artists Barbara Downs, Stephanie Heit, David Fleming, Marvin Plummer, and Andrew Purchin, among many others in the show.

And these are just a smattering of the many venues in SC and Capitola participating in this month's event. So—on your marks, get set — FFAT!

1 comment:

  1. Trish Melehan writes: I love James' new heart piece! Like Romeo and Juliet, the young man is floating in the air, flying high, while the girl's feet are firmly planted on the ground. Did James know he thinks like The Bard?