First the bad news. The Skinner-Howard Gallery, which began as Excentrique 17 years ago, will close at the end of the month. Its final show features functional art, making a full circle from its beginning when it focused on usable art objects.
"It's bittersweet," Pamela Skinner said of the closing. "We need to regroup but we want to stay connected."
Pamela Skinner and Gwenna Howard will continue to represent artists on a consulting basis and will maintain the gallery's website, though there will be no brick and mortar space. That's a shame because Skinner-Howard was one of the largest and most beautiful gallery spaces in town and consistently presented strong shows.
The last show continues through June 30, noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday at 723 S St. (916) 446-1786.
But there is good news too. La Raza Galeria Posada, which celebrates it 40th anniversary this year, is moving into a new space at Miller Park, at the end of Broadway where the Sacramento River flows by. The official opening on Saturday will feature an all-day program beginning with a Danza Azteca blessing and continuing with performances of dance, music and poetry and workshops on tai chi, papier mâché sculpture, and guitar. It's all offered at a family-friendly price of $8 per person (free for children 12 and younger). The event, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. is a fundraiser for the 2012-13 programs of the Galeria. The event is at Miller Park Art Complex, 2700 Front St., (916) 445-5133.
Also new on the scene is the expanded space that Elliott Fouts Gallery has moved into at 18th and P streets across the way from the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento. The gallery, which was formerly located on J Street in east Sacramento, brings a new vitality to midtown with its 5,600-square-foot space.
Entering the gallery, you find works by such Sacramento favorites as Roland Petersen, Gary Pruner, John Tarahteeff, Terry Pappas and Bill Chambers. The gallery stretches back with areas devoted to artists who have shown at Elliott Fouts over the years, among them Phil Gross, Brian Mark Taylor, Kathy O'Leary, Gilbert Amavisca and other landscape specialists. The gallery also continues to feature works for resale, including offerings by Gregory Kondos, Roy De Forest and Miles Hermann.
In the main showroom, a nearly sold-out exhibit by Canadian artist Christopher Stott lines the walls. Stott is a realist painter who focuses on nostalgic objects, such as rotary dial telephones, vintage typewriters, pre-digital cameras and the like. He also paints arrangements of books, stacked up on chairs and jumbled on shelves. Like Michael Tompkins, he uses books both as still life objects and as narrative elements, piquing our curiosity with titles like "The Art of Clear Thinking" and "The Vanishing American."
Across the street, the Center for Contemporary Art Sacramento presents an intriguing installation by Bay Area artist Chris Fraser, titled "The Air Around Us." With the help of CCAS exhibition coordinator Chris Daubert, Fraser has built an interior room that functions like a giant camera obscura. By covering the front window of the gallery with partially light-blocking film, he crafts a magical environment with ambient light that creates an illusion of a room made of light with a floor that slants up, disorienting the viewer's sense of balance. The "slices" of light that stream in through the partially obscured window range in subtle colors of green, gray and blue reflecting the sky, street, and trees outside and the motion of cars and pedestrians passing by. It's a winner.
The installation is accompanied by "First Window, June 2010," a video in which the artist captures images with his video camera without the use of a lens. The pictures are created by Fraser framing the image of a window with his fingers. His hands moving in front of the camera produce a variety of shapes and effects which at times call up the ethereal lights of the aurora borealis. Though less compelling than the installation in the front part of the gallery, it is an interesting experiment.
Christopher Stott Where: Elliott Fouts Gallery, 1831 P St.
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday- Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday -Sunday, through July 5
Information: (916) 736-1429
Where: Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, 1519 19th St.
When: Noon-5 p.m. Tuesday- Sunday through July 1.
Information: (916) 498-9811