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Fine Arts Gallery features California watercolors
October 4, 2007

Watercolor by David Hockney"Pacific Light: California Watercolor Refracted, 1907-2007" now on display at the Art Department's Fine Arts Gallery through Oct. 20, looks at 100 years of art history through a watercolor lens.

The gallery's first professional show of the year features 50 works spanning a century of artistic genres -- from the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s to the photorealism of the 60s and 70s, to a contemporary work by San Francisco graffiti artist Barry McGee.

Mark Johnson, professor of art and director of the Fine Arts Gallery, said Pacific Light represents several years of collaboration among faculty, students, museums and artists. Presented by the International Center for the Arts at SF State, it is the gallery's first exhibit focused solely on the watercolor medium. Visitors to the gallery will experience works by leading Chicano, Asian and Native American artists, including Masumi Teraoka, Chang Dai-chien, Julio Cesar Moralez and Brian Tripp. The exhibit also features one work by artist Martine Ramirez, who began painting from inside a Sacramento mental institution in the 1930s. A New York Times art reviewer recently deemed Ramirez "one of the greatest artists of the 20th century."

Works by SF State faculty include photorealistic paintings by Professor Emeritus Robert Bechtle and Professor Emeritus Richard McLean, and an installation by Assistant Professor of Art Gail Dawson that combines watercolor painting, video animation and music.

Students in Johnson's Exhibition Design class researched and procured most of the works for the exhibit over the past three years. "Pacific Light" is one of four shows the students work on during the year. The student's curate, design and hang the shows as part of their course requirements. "Working on the professional shows gives our students a chance to see what's going on in the real world of art," said Johnson. The students encounter the challenges of running a gallery show such as how to present multimedia artworks with sound and video or how to select proper lighting techniques. For instance, due to the fragility of the watercolor medium, "Pacific Light" required lower lighting when displaying the works.

The show will travel to the Nordic Watercolor Museum in Sweden in the summer of 2008. Concurrent with the show, Pacific Light artists Gail Dawson, Julio Cesar Morales and Brian D. Tripp will speak about the impact of culture and media on contemporary watercolor in California at the de Young Museum on Oct. 19. The lecture, part of "Many Voices, Many Media: Native American Art at the de Young," begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Koret Auditorium. For details, visit the de Young calendar. For more information on "Pacific Light", visit SF State's Fine Arts Gallery Web site or call (415) 338-6535.

-- Barbara Hanscome


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Last modified October 4 , 2007 by University Communications