Are you frazzled due to impending midterms? I know I was, so I’m glad I came across the Sac State University Library art exhibit, “Stremmel Gallery Presents.” With a brain full of caffeine and a mind riddled with medieval vernacular I wandered into the library intending to read another 600 lines of William Wordsworth’s “Excursion,” when I balked at the prospect of stepping onto the antique escalator and instead wandered into the annex of the University Library Gallery. As someone who loves to draw and paint, and who, between having 18 units, working 20 hours a week in a busy day spa, and doing a weekly radio show, barely has the time to do anything but doodle, I never pass up an opportunity to be inspired by artwork. I think of myself as an auditory viewer; often when I view art I hear musical impressions in my mind, so I’d like to share some of my impressions of a few pieces I saw at the exhibit in the hope that it will inspire you to stop in and see it yourself.
Upon entering the annex you will be greeted by Teresa Stanley’s body of work in the form of luminous acrylic paintings on wood panels in series sets and large singular works. Think faded straw flowers, dusty citrus-colored sun-rooms, and mystical greenhouses overflowing with willowy plants in clay pots. I hear Iron & Wine, Mesita, and maybe some Jenny Lewis singing here.
Enter the main gallery and read Peter Stremmel’s artist’s statement, who tells us, “It has been somewhat challenging for us to try to remain relevant in the face of certain realities of maintaining an art gallery, with a large staff and facility, in what is essentially, a regional market.” I believe his collection represents this statement beautifully, as I turn around and see the work. I hear echoes of Joni Mitchell, followed by a crescendo of Creedence Clearwater Revival and some Dick Dale surf instrumentals to round it out. There is a unique California feel here.
Catherine Courtenaye catches my eye with her 9 panels entitled “Extracurricular Series,” which evoke a whimsical calligraphy coupled with sweet pastel-colored clouds. I feel like I am on a picnic blanket listening to bluegrass music in the park. . .now a string quartet plays Mozart, but not too loudly.
Peter Alexander takes me to the Big Sur surf at twilight, capturing phosphorescence in a way I have never seen. Beach Boys harmonies fill my head, the gentlest guitar picking follows, and I’m swimming! This painting is a 48″ x 53″ acrylic on canvas, and a portal to another world.
Phyllis Shafer brings me back to Northern California in her two paintings, “Deep Day” and Upper Truckee Ramble” which make me long for the smell of horses and alfalfa followed by a trail ride to a secluded swimming hole. It’s the music of me tinkering with my own musical instrument, the ukelele, this time!
Before I met my current love of five years, I was once “stood-up” on a rainy afternoon in San Francisco. John Salminen’s watercolor, “Kearny and Columbus” brings me back to that day and not in an unhappy way. Sometimes you have to experience the gloomy times as deeply as you can in order to understand their promise of better things to come. I can still smell the ozone and hear Elliot Smith crooning softly in the background.
Take a micro-holiday and check out this lovely exhibit. There are numerous other fascinating works including a large Andy Warhol lithograph and some intricate dioramas. This exhibit runs through May 16th, 2015, at the University Library Gallery at California State University, Sacramento.
For other ruminations on health, music, spirituality and art, tune in Wednesdays at 10AM each week to my show, The Healthy Hornet.
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