Thursday, September 23, 2004
There’s something very intimate about entering an artist’s workspace. To view artworks in the place they were created provides a deeper appreciation for the work and the person driven to make it.
It’s like archaeology. Ancient pottery sitting in a museum case is beautiful, but it doesn’t tell you much about where it came from or who made it. Examined in situ, however, pottery is full of information. The depth at which it’s found and the other cultural materials it’s found with can shed a great
deal of light on its origins, purpose and meaning.
This weekend, more than 100 artists will throw open their doors to the public for the 16th Annual Monterey County Artists’ Tour, with an encore weekend Oct 2-3. Sponsored by Artists’ Equity, this self-guided circuit is an opportunity for art lovers to dig up the unknown cultural gems that lay hidden throughout the county while seeing how their favorite artists create.
Beautiful, full-color catalogs are available countywide for $5 to guide art tourists from studio to studio.
“The catalog is a wonderful reference that people will find helpful year-round, not just for the tour,” says studio tour director DiAnna Holubec-McArthur. “We have 106 participants this year. It’s the first time we’ve broken 100.”
Considering this year’s unprecedented artist turnout, it’s hard to believe that two years ago there was talk of disbanding the event.
“We had a problem with volunteer consistency and focus,” says Holubec-McArthur. “But this year we’ve managed to make the tour better and bigger.”
Other changes for the 2004 Tour include the sponsorship of the Youth Arts Collective, a lively non-profit art studio and sanctuary that serves 35 high school and college-age artists in the Monterey Bay area; an exhibit of 18 Big Sur artists at the Sunset Center in Carmel; and a revitalized event identity.
“This year our logo design was done by Jerry Takigawa,” Holubec-McArthur says. “In terms of a professional identity, the catalog is a real step forward for us.”
Some Pacific Grove tour highlights include the jade sculpture studio of Don Wobber (#43) and the underwater black-and-white photos of Scott Campbell (#35).
Wobber has recently installed nearly two tons of Big Sur jade boulders into the yard around his house, while Campbell will be showcasing the ethereal submarine images he captures while freediving.
The remarkable and darkly expressive paintings of Jennifer H. Sullivan (#63) and the finely-wrought figurative sculpture of Steven Whyte (#62) can be found on Cannery Row. Sullivan’s oddly powerful work varies from humorously eerie characters to glowing landscapes. Whyte’s renowned sculpture ranges from bacchanalia to sober realistic reflections on the human form.
In Sand City, Fred Slautterback (#6) uses unique processes and materials to heat and apply molten plastics to paper or canvas. Frequently assembled into three-dimensional panels and grid arrays, his original abstract art is colorful, upbeat and lyrical. Carol Chapman’s (#5) portraits, landscapes, and abstract art are described on her Web site in “glowing” terms: “light seems to shine out of her canvases. Her paintings just make you want to go there, and if you have her paintings on your wall, you may feel you have arrived.”
Carmel Valley may hold the biggest surprises for art tourists. Lance Marshall Boen (#9) creates fresh, surprising fish sculptures in leather. Marina Flournay’s (#13) intense figurative and abstract oils are haunting. C. Love (#20) produces whimsical allegory and unforgettable images. And Alan Masaoka’s (#18) divine creations in glass are not to be missed.
There’s a lot to see, and Holubec-McArthur suggests planning ahead by beginning your tour at Pacific Grove Art Center’s preview exhibit, where work by a number of participating artists is on display.
After purchasing a catalog, make your selections. With 106 participants from Carmel to Sand City to Salinas, art tourists need to prioritize. Using the detailed, foldout maps in the catalogs, chart your course across the county.