Arts & Theater

Art review: 30 painters to collect at Blue Line Arts

Adan herself is represented by “Pigtails: Go to the Head of the Class ... ,” a work in memory of Ernie Weiss.
Adan herself is represented by “Pigtails: Go to the Head of the Class ... ,” a work in memory of Ernie Weiss. JayJay Gallery

“30 Painters to Collect” at Blue Line Arts in Roseville brings together 15 established artists, many of them teachers or former teachers, with, for the most part, 15 lesser-known artists they have chosen as worthy of greater recognition.

You might expect these to be young artists, but some – Anthony Montanino, Julia Stagg and Patrick Marasso – have been showing for a long time and already have a degree of name recognition. But the majority have names that are new to me.

Montanino, who has had many shows at Elliott Fouts and other galleries, was selected by Jack Ogden, who is retired from many years of teaching at CSU Sacramento.

Ogden shows a blunt yet wry self-portrait in the studio with a black cat at his feet and a painting of a nude on the easel. It’s a terrific painting in his mature style that wins us over with its direct, in-your-face bravado.

Montanino offers a dark street scene with neon signs for bars and eateries juxtaposed with gigantic blues musicians – a bass player and a saxophonist. It’s a funky painting, crude and hasty, that suits its subject matter.

Irving Marcus, who was a colleague of Ogden’s at CSUS and is also retired, chose as his recommendation Stagg, who had a show with her late husband, Jim Albertson, at the Center for Contemporary Art, which has since merged with Verge Center for the Arts.

Marcus shows a small painting from the 1950s, an abstraction of a bowl of cherries, for his surprising entry. It isn’t much like the work that he does now, but it has a warm, atmospheric quality that is pleasing.

Stagg gives us a knockout of a cross-shaped canvas with plucky, cartoonlike images of a young girl blowing bubbles, a tottering toddler with toys and a family grouping below them. It’s bold and funny and dark-edged in spite of its comic qualities.

David Wetzl, who has also taught at CSUS and is now retired due to ill health, shows “Gods and Aliens Heal the Brain,” one of his intricately wrought, shaped canvasses that is based on his philosophical and psychological insights.

His choice, Marasso, who has shown at Verge and Jay Jay, offers a photo-based painting of a young boy flanked, like a trapped bird, between two men at some kind of family dinner in the 1950s. It’s a haunting image and done with a kind of refinement that echoes Wetzl’s mastery.

Suzanne Adan, in addition to being a well-known artist who has done public artworks in this city, is the curator of the Gregory Kondos Gallery at Sacramento City College where she teaches. She shows “Pigtails: Go to the Head of the Class...” – a knockout of a painting with found objects that incorporates her trademark eccentric imagery painted with obsessive strokes on a canvas placed within a kindergarten easel topped with plastic game pieces from the 1950s.

Adan selected Omar Arason, who has scored strongly in recent California State Fair art shows. He offers an apocalyptic vision that combines a tender painting of a little girl with a doll with what looks like a reference to Rembrandt’s raw painting of a flayed ox. It’s a compelling and confrontational image.

Ian Harvey, who teaches at CSUS, offers one of his lush, complicated abstractions paired with a Pop photoreal image by Mustafa Shaheen of a pallid heartthrob who is wonderfully sleazy.

William Ishmael, who has exhibited widely in the region, presents a decorative abstraction accompanied by Raphael Delgado’s impressive San Francisco cityscape that suggests a kind of decorative abstraction reminiscent of work that Wayne Thiebaud did in the 1950s.

There are too many interesting combinations of artists in the show to mention them all, save to say among other standouts are Mary Warner and Cathy Ellis, Mick Sheldon and Andrea Arnott, and Mark Emerson and David Mohr.

30 Painters to Collect

Where: Blue Line Arts, 405 Vernon St., Suite 100, Roseville

When: Through Oct. 3. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays

Cost: Free

Information: (916) 783-4117; www.bluelinearts.org

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