Thursday, September 24, 1998
All too often, art is seen as a product, a commodity hanging on a shop wall, waiting for a new owner. There''s little chance of the buyer ever making contact with the artist who created it, to find out the "why" or the "how" of the painting, sculpture or photograph. In a very real way, the work is disconnected from the person who created it, and the public distanced from the artist, creating a rift that hurts everyone involved.
Without some human framework in which to view the art, it''s all too easy for the public to misunderstand or undervalue the creative process. As a consumer product, what looks like a jumble of lines that might--or might not--match the color of someone''s carpet, might be seen as an artistic revelation when viewed with the artist''s added human context. On the other hand, an artist might be forced to admit that a painting is mute, regardless of personal associations, if enough people are unable to understand it. A face-to-face meeting between artist and public can be a learning process for everyone concerned.
For the last nine years, the Artists Studio Tour has offered a chance for artists and the public to break down the usual barriers.
Spokesperson Rene McClue, director of this year''s 10th anniversary tour, says there''s a renewed sense of dedication and vigor in this year''s event.
"There''s a lot of new blood," says McClue. "There are a lot of past-participating artists--veteran artists--plus new blood; it''s about half and half. We are regenerating the studio tour; this is our 10th anniversary and we feel a real regeneration."
During the tour, participating Monterey County artists open the doors of their workspaces--a mixed bag of formal studios, hopeful garage walls and crowded living room corners--to the public. For two full days, 11am-6pm Saturday and Sunday, 73 artists from Big Sur to Marina, Pacific Grove to Salinas, invite all interested parties to check out what they do, and where they do it.
"There''s a full range [of artists] throughout the Peninsula," says McClue, "and there are more artists participating in Salinas than ever before--and we''re very proud of that. There are people all the way down to Big Sur."
Because the tour is a free event, with no tickets sold to document the exact number of people who go studio hopping, it''s difficult to quantify the numbers involved. But McClue estimates participation as being in the "thousands."
"There were 1,200 people at the opening [last year] and we expect the same this year," says McClue. "Then some people only go to five or six studios, some go one day, some go both."
Typically, some artists receive more visitors than others. Artists in the further flung corners of the county usually see fewer guests than those located in downtown areas (particularly in Pacific Grove and Carmel, where more than half of the participating artists hole up). However, McClue points out, a paucity of visitors is no excuse for an artist to shut shop early.
"It''s a contract they sign when they sign up," says McClue. "They have to be there. If they close up early, they''ve brokent their contract with me. And I can be a mad dog when I have to be. If they have to go pee, that''s OK with me. But they can''t go take a shower and wash their hair."
Participating artists should beware. As director of the event, "Mad Dog" McClue, an artist herself, is not opening her studio this year, and is planning to visit as many studios as she can during the two-day tour. By doing so, McClue joins many other local artists who make it a practice to participate on the tour every second year so they can check out other studios on the off years. It''s a way for artists to stay in touch with what''s happening around them.
"It''s a situation where the only people who benefit are the people who participate," says McClue. "When the artists open the door, they get regenerated by the community. And the community gets to meet the people they live with; it''s a very symbiotic relationship. It''s a mutually educational event, everybody learns from everyone else."
This year, as in all previous years, there is a preview exhibit featuring works by all the artists participating in the tour. Although last year''s exhibit was shown at the Monterey Museum of Art, the exhibit returns to the Pacific Grove Art Center, where it has been all other years. A "big gala opening" reception for the tour takes place at the PGAC this Friday, from 7-9pm, and will offer a foretaste of the weekend''s tour.
"All the artists will be there," says McClue. "It''s a preview exhibit; the public can come in and see a representative piece from all the participating artists. And they can speak with the artists."
And, although the walls between artists and community at large are unlikely to come tumbling down, at least there will be a breach in the barrier. cw
Preview reception on Friday at the Pacific Grove Art Center, 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 7-9pm. Maps to the individual studios are available at PGAC, as well as many galleries and art-oriented businesses throughout the county. For more information: 635-0578.
Bosso''s "World Music Festival." Photographs of the 1997 World Music Festival taken by Jane Morba. 685 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 622-9060. Reception: 9/30, 7pm.
Monterey Museum of Art "Juried All-Media Show." Works in many media by 95 artists from around the Monterey Bay. Also "Art From the Collectors'' Guild," paintings from private collections. 559 Pacific St., Monterey. 372-5477. Reception: 9/25, 5:30pm. Through: 11/29.
Renaissance Shop & Gallery Fine art gallery, featuring local artists, celebrates grand opening. 208 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-8804. Reception: 9/25, 6pm. Through: 9/25.
Valley Art Gallery "The Last of the Robys." A collection of oils and watercolors by the late John Roby. 218 Main St., Salinas. 422-4162. Reception: 9/29, 5pm. Through: 11/1.
Bytes Internet Cafe "The Invisible World." Photographs by Helene Constant. 403 Calle Principal, Monterey. 372-2987. Through: 9/30.
Carl Cherry Center for the Arts "The Language of the Body." Group exhibit surveying contemporary themes and techniques in figure painting. Guadalupe Street and 4th Avenue, Carmel. 624-7491. Through: 10/11.
Carmel Art Association "Fin de Siecle." Mixed media on paper by Robert Bradshaw. "European Travels." Oil paintings of scenes from Italy, England, France, Switzerland and Germany. Through: 10/7. Also "Gallery Showcase." Oil paintings by Reed Farrington, Brenda Morrison, Philip Thorngate and sculptures by Ken Wiese. Dolores between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 624-6176. Through: 10/7.
Center for Photographic Art "So That the Souls May Sing." Photographs and paintings by Jeffrey Becom celebrating the Day of the Dead. At the Sunset Center, San Carlos Street and 9th Avenue, Carmel. 625-5181. Through: 11/1.
Chapman Gallery & Frame Shop Plein air style oil paintings by Ron Elstad. 7th Avenue, between San Carlos and Mission streets, Carmel. 626-1766. Through: 10/15.
Forest Hill Manor Vest Pocket Gallery "Artistry in Wood Carving." 551 Gibson Ave., Pacific Grove. 649-5215. Through: 9/30.
Henry Miller Library "Sculpture ''98." Sculptural works by 21 members of the Pacific Rim Sculptors Group. Highway 1, Big Sur. 667-2574. Through: 11/5.
KAZU Community Room "Music Photography." Color photographs of jazz, rock and blues performers by Coast Weekly music columnist Beth Peerless. 167 Central Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-7275. Through: 10/31.
Monterey College of Law Photographs by Jerry Bell. 404 Franklin St., Monterey. 659-5310.
Pacific Grove Art Center "Artists Studio Tour ''98." Works by local members of Artists Equity who will participate in the annual studio tour on 9/26-27; "The Unknown Sculptor," works by Dick Iverson; "The Silk Road," photographs by Meredith Mullin. 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208. Through: 9/27.
Pajaro Valley Gallery "Harvest Home: Farm Works by Local Women Artists." Works "that have something to say about this fertile valley from ancient times to the present" by 12 women artists. 37 Sudden St., Watsonville. 723-3062. Through: 10/17.
Parking Lot Gallery "Parked in the Past." An assemblage resembling a car, created from 213 items on loan from Last Chance Mercantile. Parking lot in front of WWII Hospital, 3rd Street, California State University Monterey Bay. 373-0823. Through: 10/10.
Santa Catalina School Gallery "South Mountain/North Mountain." Landscape scrolls by Joan Larkey. 1500 Mark Thomas Dr., Monterey. 655-9350. Through: 10/18.
Searle Art "2D and Not 2D." Works by the Monterey Peninsula College Art Club. 639 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 373-0126. Through: 10/2.
Valley Art Gallery "Color Your Life." Watercolors by Grace Bryan. 218 Main St., Salinas. 455-1706. Through: 9/26.
Vehicle Gallery "Otterly Motor Sport Surrealistic Paintings." Photographs and paintings by Lola Disco Volante and Spyder McLaren. Also, "Autorotica," photographs by Alan Olmsted. In the Camera Exchange, 551 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 373-0448, 646-0611. Through: 9/26.
Venture Art Gallery Watercolors by Bobie Osterdock. 260 Alvarado Mall, in the DoubleTree Hotel, Monterey. 372-6279. Through: 9/30.
Weston Gallery "Italy: In the Shadow of Time." Photographs by Linda Butler. 6th Avenue, between Dolores and Lincoln streets, Carmel. 624-7190. Through: 10/26.
Zantman Art Galleries "Souvenirs de France." Recent paintings by Duane Alt. 6th Avenue and Mission Street, Carmel. 624-8314. Through: 10/9.